Philosophical analysis

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A possible confusion between theological beliefs and ethical principles can be witnessed in regards to homosexuality. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, the Bible states, “9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). In the above quote, the Biblical writer is indicating, among other things, that men who have sex with men will not inherit the kingdom of God. Although telling another person that he will not be able to go to heaven because he is homosexual is not entirely against the law, it would seem that stigmatizing a group of people in this context is unethical by contemporary standards. As such, this constitutes an instance where Biblical teaching is at odds with ethical principles.

When one considers such statements, applying the fundamentals of ethical reasoning is somewhat complex. On one hand, preserving the freedom of religion and freedom of expression would seem to support the individual’s ability to make the statement above regarding preventing all homosexuals from entering the Kingdom of God. Implementing Kant’s categorical imperative to the issue, it would also seem that extending the above belief throughout all of society would make it unethical (Kant’s Moral Philosophy,(2017). The reason for this is that the Biblical scripture appears to be criticizing homosexuality without considering that many homosexuals are born with this sexual identity. As such, if one were to extend this ethical precept to all society, it would be embracing the notion that it is all right to condemn other people based on aspects of themselves that are intrinsic to their very being. Implementing a utilitarian perspective, it would be possible to support the above statement. This framework argues that an action is ethical as long it provides the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest amount of people. If a mass of society believed that they would be happier without homosexuality than it might seem that condemning such individuals would be an appropriate form of action. However, this disregards the understanding that doing so is a gross violation of a person’s human rights.

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In conclusion, while the approach ethical frameworks have towards the Biblical condemnation of homosexuality is complex, it would ultimately seem that the religious perspective is at odds with contemporary ethical standards. While one can make a weak argument that such an action is supported through utilitarianism, as this action violates human rights at a core level as well as Kant’s ethical theory it is unethical. One must further consider the historical dimensions of the Bible and the subsequent realization that many of its moral precepts may have reflected societal and health needs of the time that have since been disregarded. Ultimately, then, religious beliefs may require rethinking within the context of modern standards of conduct.

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  1. Corinthians 6:15-16 – NIV – Do you not know that your bodies are members of…. (2017). Bible Study Tools. Retrieved 21 March 2017, from http://www.biblestudytools.com/1-corinthians/passage/?q=1-corinthians+6:15-16
  2. Kant’s Moral Philosophy. (2017). Plato.stanford.edu. Retrieved 21 March 2017, from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-moral/
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