Nonbelievers Ethical Theories

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EXTENDING RELIGIOUS ETHICAL CATEGORIES BEYOND THE FAITHFUL: THE PROBLEM OF SCOPE

There are two questions to be asked about nonbelievers: first, which values affirm coexistence with those outside the world of the believer, and which do not? Second, can the values that affirm coexistence be strengthened by leaders and activists in such a way as dramatically to remove animosity toward nonbelievers?

There is today an unprecedented level of interaction between people of many faiths around the world, due to patterns of rapid mobility, mass communication, and the spread of market capitalism. This is deeply threatening to many religious leaders, especially fundamentalists of whatever stripe. These leaders are reacting to the chaotic reality of
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The complexity of mixed motivations does not negate, however, the usefulness of interacting hermeneutically with a religious tradition. It simply means that the interaction must be initiated on many levels, as would any secular discourse. Some people think of peace and conflict as a rational calculation of interests; others think in terms of ideological principles that necessitate conflict; and still others in deep emotional terms. Most people tend to envision the dialogue as a combination of cognitive and emotive constructs. It is exactly the same in religious life. Some people are moved to conflict or hatred by deep emotional scars, and they express this in religious terms--they need to be moved from that stance by deep emotive methods that emerge from traditional moral guidelines combined with appropriate conflict resolution techniques. Others, especially in leadership positions, tend to think more in terms of the cognitive categories of faith, dogma, law, and institutional interests. They need to come to believe that coexistence and peace are defensible legal and metaphysical possibilities within their system of belief, and are of practical benefit to their institutions as well. The successful conflict resolution expert will learn to interact creatively with all of these strains of religious…show more content…
Let us assume that there is a broad range of values in most of the world 's religions that express a commitment to peace and elimination of violence. That happy circumstance does not begin to address the problem of countervailing religious beliefs that will at times override the call for peace. This struggle of conflicting values or, in some traditions, conflicting laws is, to be sure, often manipulated by powerful interests that do not want peace. Still, the conflict of values remains a formidable reality for the average believer or cleric who struggles with his/her conscience. Acknowledging and dealing with countervailing beliefs is crucial for conflict resolution in a religious

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