Free Religion And Ethics Essay Sample

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Religion, God, Utilitarianism, Christians, Science, Value, Happiness, Church

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/10/06

There always has been a perceived, inherent conflict between Christianity’s endeavour after the ultimate truth and science’s search for immediate and testable truths. Religion insists on the existence of a single truth, revealed through scripture, with God having created the universe and everything thereon. It is believed that man is empowered to understand and exert control over God’s creation. Science forms one of the most important of man’s way of seeking to unravelling the laws of nature that were put there by God, which by implication means that there is no inherent conflict between science (technology and business) and religion. With the emergence of utilitarianism, an emphasis was placed on pragmatism and the pursuit of happiness/satisfaction as the true ends of all human endeavours. Effectively, religion and its pursuit of the ultimate truth ceased to be an end in itself, but its ability to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the believers is (Hawking & Mlodinow, 2010; Harker, 2010).
Christians are expected to obey the bible and a biblical worldview in their understanding, application and development of both science and technology. It rejects the proposition that technology/science/ business are morally neutral and independent of one’s world view (Genesis 6:5; 1 Timothy 6:20-21). Further, Christianity holds there are no inherent conflicts between scientifically revealed knowledge and God’s divine revelations, not least because God is all knowing, but also the creator of laws of nature. In the same breadth, Christianity believes that science, technology and business are not inherently evil, as man is God’s steward, responsible for preserving and productively using the resources given to him by God for the benefit of humanity and God’s glory.
The eighteenth century ushered in the ruthless pursuit of happiness and immediate good as against the possibility of inheriting heaven envisaged by Christianity. In particular, utilitarianism requires that the ethical value of actions are determined based on the utility that they yield, relative to the disutility associated with the same. It emphasizes the ultimate consequences or ends as against the means to attaining those ends, and, in fact, accepts that the pursuit of happiness or other utility involves a measure of pain. Provided the ultimate gain supersedes the resultant disutility, then it is justified or ethical to undertake such actions. The immediate difficulty between Christianity and utilitarianism was the different approaches i.e. the emphasis on principle on one extreme and the insistence on the result on the other extreme. Science, technology and business seek to create more value, even when such value involves considerable disutility. For instance, the ruthless pursuit of profit by merchants created wealth for them and their home countries, at the expense of poorer nations. Slavery was an important means of production in the eighteenth century and justified on utilitarian basis because of its ability to create more value than what was destroyed, it involved the treatment of people as lesser humans, contrary to biblical teachings. According to Christianity, ends can never be justifications for the means. All means must be inherently justified according to the consistent and objective word of God.
Faced with deep religious conservatism, utilitarianism sought to re-imagine Christianity and its beliefs using natural laws, justified based on the utility that they yield to humanity. Theological utilitarianism (which sought to use natural law reinforce theology) was the consequence of this reaction. It partly derives from the argument that God desires that humans are happy and that this desire is the foundation of all morality. According to some proponents of utilitarianisms such as Stuart Mill and Paley, it is possible to reconcile Christianity with utilitarianism with the emphasis on a radically benevolent God. Effectively, to utilitarianism, religion was a repurposed to serve the need for greater utility and good. According to Harker (2010), morality and religious beliefs flowed from the need to achieve some real good (natural happiness) in things that are loved by humans, which in turn led to the attachment of value to those things encouraged such happiness , which in turn became beliefs. For instance, if murder was considered bad, then humans attached a negative value to it, which made it a sin. This means that a sin is not bad in itself, but it is undesirable because it results in disutility to humanity.
Utilitarianism sought to find justification for the religious beliefs and goals using a purely securely framework or natural law. The new approach sought to establish an intrinsic value in the religious beliefs and principles, which in turn created a utilitarian religion. The concept of a radically benevolent God is particularly central to the reconciliation of utilitarianism and religion, which in turn finds justification for the roles of science, technology and business in religion. It provides that God intended that human beings are happy, and thus their engagement in activities that create value or happiness such as modern medical research and business is compatible with religion.


Gish, D. T., & Cunningham, A. (1999). The Christian World View of Science and Technology. Sunnyvale: The Coalition on Revival, Inc.
Harker, R. (2010). God in Government: The Christian's Guide to Civic Responsibility and Political Ideology (1st ed.). New York: Dog Ear publishing.
Hawking, S., & Mlodinow, L. (2010). The Grand Design. London: Random House Publishing Group.

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Free Religion And Ethics Essay Sample. Free Essay Examples - Published Oct 06, 2020. Accessed June 28, 2022.

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