Assignment 1: Discussion
In the first part of this module, we studied two Eastern religions, Hinduism and Buddhism. At their heart, these two religions are consequentialist, or ends-driven. The “right” ethical principle has the ability to advance one toward the ultimate goal or end. How and when one achieves the Ultimate Reality or Nirvana (the end or consequence of the faith) is through one’s own effort following a series of reincarnations. Thus, the individual determines his/her ethical principles to find the path to successfully reach the end of joining with the cosmos.
In monotheism (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), the “right” ethical principle is determined by God. Humans are his creation and bound to follow these principles out of a sense of duty, love, and honor to him. This could be viewed as a non-consequentialist approach, in which morality is independent of the consequence of the action. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are monotheistic religions with an emphasis on faith and obedience to one God. However, these religions have very different understandings of the nature of God, the inspired texts of scripture, and the moral duties required of each believer.
Discussion Question: It is common to hear that it does not matter what one believes, all paths lead to the same place. In view of our study of the five major religions of the world, answer the following questions:
1. Is it true that all religions lead to the same place? Why or why not? Explain your answer using a reference from the lectures or other readings from this week.
2. Can the Eastern religions of Buddhism and Hinduism and the monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam produce the same ethical results? Why or why not? What is the determining factor?