Showing posts with label Ethics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ethics. Show all posts

The Human Condition And The Human Predicament

How can those of us who contribute to the destruction of creation come to terms with humanity's predicament? 

We need to address it by harnessing greed for the greater good. 

I see us free, therefore, to return to some of the most sure and certain principles of religion and traditional virtue —

  • Avarice is a vice.
  • The extraction of usury is a misdemeanor, and the love of money is abhorrent.
  • Those who walk most faithfully in the path are those who are most true to themselves. 

We'll choose the good above the useful once again. 

We will honor those who can teach us how to virtuously and well pick the hour and the day, the pleasant individuals who are capable of enjoying direct pleasure in things, the lilies of the field who neither toil nor spin. 

However, use caution! I warned you, all of this isn't yet the right moment. 

  • We must lie to ourselves and everyone else for at least another hundred years that fair is foul and foul is fair, since foul is useful and fair is not. 
  • For a little while longer, avarice, usury, and prudence must be our gods. For only they can lead us out of the tunnel of economic necessity into daylight. And perhaps never. 

Market arrangements not only minimize the need for coercion as a means of social organization, they also reduce the need for compassion, patriotism, brotherly love, and cultural solidarity as motivating forces behind social improvement. 

“Behold the lilies of the field,” Jesus is said to have said (Matthew :), but this is not the same as “Look at those lilies!” “Behold” is a delicate term that implies that things have their own wonderful authenticity and integrity. 

  • To behold is to stand among things with a respect for life that does not wear an arrogant cap as it walks through the realm of the non-self. 
  • That's correct, a rhetorical acknowledgment of a basic ecological concept of man, whose father is God but whose brother is the whole of Creation. 

We need to call into question the idea that man is the center of the universe is so apart from the rest of God's creation that he may treat it with Olympian arrogance, as if it had no inherent selfhood. 

The newest expression of humanity's dilemma is the arrogation of the biospheric economy by a monetary system founded on self-interest. 

Religion as an evolving primitive proto-science can become more whole, relevant and worthy only with an increase in Truth born in Knowledge and the Human Understanding of it. 

  • Religions combat self-interested arrogance by fostering awe for life in all of its wonderful beauty and integrity. 
  • Religions may also help people deal with their problems. 
  • There are religious answers to the issue of society going down a road we don't want to go down—one that leads to the destruction of creation and the environment. 
  • These answers have the potential to mend the rifts that exist between science, ethics, and practice. 

To lead human civilization along the road of personal and biospheric purity. 

  • Scientists who are bold enough to describe things as they are; 
  • Journalists, writers, editors, and publishers who are bold enough to describe the human predicament as it is revealed in the present; 
  • Ethicists who are forthright enough to engage in pursuit of what ought to be; 
  • Builders, engineers, economists, designers, planners, and managers who are disciplined enough to confine their work within the limits of what ought to be the natural reality we strive for in creation.

In response to the cosmic demand made to us, 

  • By the way things are, 
  • By the nature of nature, 
  • And by God, a self governing omnipresent intelligence, who orders creation and holds all things together with integrity, religion in its entirety. 

When existence is known rather than merely perceived as the binding together of science, ethics, and praxis, can thus nurture the passion both to live right and to spread right living in response to the cosmic demand made to us by the way things are. 

Only when Religion and Science meet nearer their true entirety can we nurture the passion necessary to resolve the Human Predicament in this reality we inhabit.

You may also want to read more about Spirituality here.

Be sure to check out my writings on Religion here.

Sweet Shop Of The Spirit


The ability to inquire as to why? may be a beautiful feeling of liberation. 

It's like to letting a tiny child wild at a candy store, but there are clear consequences. 

Overindulgence at the sweet counter may make us feel really unwell, and being spoiled for spiritual options can have its own set of risks. 

The query "why?" may not yield the results you desire, so where do you go from there? 

You can be perplexed by competing moral or ethical norms. 

For example, numerous celebrities who profess to follow Buddhism are homosexuals; the Dalai Lama has said explicitly that homosexuality is incompatible with Buddhist practice. 

Many of these issues arise from the hundreds of mind, body, and spirit books now on the market that are solely focused on spiritual approaches. 

The seeker approaches the instructor with a working grasp of the language but little understanding of the truth of the faith they claim to be studying. 

Many people approach with a checklist that informs them how much dedication they can get away with. 

This is one of the reasons why many neo-pagan faiths appeal to spiritual nomads: there seems to be few regulations in the public realm to clog up the process. 

When people are not taught what they want to hear, or when reality does not match the newest New Age book, they will seek for something more approachable. 

For example, you may buy a dozen books about tantric sex with the most vivid graphics, but few (if any) would explain why comprehending what is perhaps India's oldest religion is so important. 

Neopaganism is more closely related to Christianity and the 1960s flower child movement than it is to the indigenous traditions from which it claims descent. 

Mel, an esoteric guru, says, "People will always tell you what they anticipate from a spiritual path." 

After reading a few books and deciding this is what they want, many are taken aback when they discover entrance isn't handed to them on a silver platter. 

Before becoming a chief in most real esoteric systems, you must study for three to seven years. 

After all, you wouldn't expect to convert to the Jewish faith without much study, so why do people believe that any other road or tradition will be any easier?'

You may also want to read more about Spirituality here.

Be sure to check out my writings on Religion here.

The Holistic Truth

Everyone notable is espousing the merits of a newly chosen holistic approach to life, health, and beauty that promotes inner and outward harmony. 

Most, one assumes, are simply hopping on the PR bandwagon in order to appear more fascinating, "spiritual," and wealthy! 

As previously said, nothing prevents anybody from incorporating the insights or practices of other traditions as long as they are done in a way that does not diminish the spiritual worth or compromise religious/spiritual purity. 

However, whenever substantial expenses are associated with spiritual activity, we must maintain a significant degree of skepticism. Is it possible for such actions to make individuals more spiritual?

In a nutshell, the answer is no. 

To begin, we must recognize that studying these techniques is not immoral, but that they are just self-centered physical exercises. 

They aren't spiritual or religious in any way. Most are offshoots of many Eastern forms of mysticism, and if they lead to a healthier, calmer outlook, they should not be dismissed. 

However, no matter how many Qabalah parties we attend, we will not be able to develop the spiritual half of our nature unless we engage in long-term mental training and discipline. 

We know how to do a simple chakra exercise, meditation, aromatherapy, and relaxation methods, but they are just a small portion of the discipline necessary to discover our spiritual nature. 

We could even realize that we have a special skill for one of them, which motivates us to help others, but without the private, inner discipline and dedication, we shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking it's part of our spiritual search. 

Be truthful to yourself and write down your responses in your journal: 

What do you hope to get out of any changes? 

What do you believe the outcome of your adventure will be? 

Why do you feel compelled to make a change? 

When did you make the decision to change things? 

What strategy will you use to complete your mission? 

Our holistic approach to assisting you on your path ensures that you do not seek to construct a spiritual illusion on shaky ground. 

You'll be wallpapering over the cracks until you know why you need to look into different options in the first place. 

All of the questions we've asked and the answers you've given should have provided a clear picture of the underlying issues that are causing your discontent with your current situation. It's time to start distinguishing between spiritual hunger and religious commitment.

You may also want to read more about Spirituality here.

Be sure to check out my writings on Religion here.

The Goats From The Sheep? Mammal...

Although spiritual counseling or teaching from a friendly priest or mentor may be extremely valuable, it is an unavoidable truth that all faiths have bad priests. 

If you and your priest are at odds because you or a member of your family have broken the rules, you must honestly assess whether the fault lies with the priest or with yourself. 

It doesn't make him a terrible or terrible priest just because he won't give in to your begs or pleadings. If, on the other hand, he dismisses your request without explanation or discussion, you are free to take your ‘custom' elsewhere. 

After all, the clergy is just human, and the ego may inflate a person's feeling of self-importance to absurd levels. 

A local wedding was on the verge of being canceled when the female vicar objected to the bride's desire that the words "to obey" remain in the wedding ritual. 

After several weeks of heated fighting, the vicar eventually conceded defeat and went about his business. Bullying and blackmail are frequently associated with the fabric. 

In other words, refusing to accept theology without explanation is considered a sin, and the sinner faces expulsion from the church. 

The worst documented incidents frequently stem from monotheistic fundamentalists who oppose any sort of democracy, religious tolerance, free speech, or separation of church and state. 

Fundamentalism, on the other hand, is not limited to the ‘big three' (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam); it may even be found in the more passive Eastern faiths of Buddhism and Hinduism. 

Members of the group are barred from mixing with ‘outsiders,' whom they see as inferior and/or dirty. In this case, anyone seeking to quit the group will be more afraid of the priesthood than of God's wrath.

You may also want to read more about Spirituality here.

Be sure to check out my writings on Religion here.

The Soul's Mirror

A priest serves as a communal conscience. 

If one is required. They remind us that if our contracts with our deities are to be honored and preserved, we have specific duties as individuals and as a collective of whatever size. 

Should we wander too far from recognizing that our souls are assessed by our finest achievements rather than the depths to which we may go in our specific tradition? 

A priest might remind us that it is the purpose for an action – not the deed itself – that our souls are evaluated against. 

A "good" action, for example, might be carried out for the wrong motives - selfishness, manipulation, and so on. 

A priest or priestess is essentially a servant of the god to whom they are sworn. This implies that what is communicated to members of that faith or tradition may not always be popular — we all resent constraints, especially if they serve as a reminder that we are not up to par. 

We should try to listen to the message rather than shooting the messenger merely because we don't agree with what they're saying. 

If we are unwilling to listen to a religious priest, it may be a good idea to consider why we are shutting our ears and thoughts to them; perhaps our own hubris tells us that we know more about our lives than they do. 

However, like a mirror, they may be able to see something that we cannot. We don't smash a mirror just because it reveals our grey hairs! We either learn to live with them, color them, or remove them - in other words, we deal with the problem, good or bad. 

The priesthood is also the servant of people for whom they assume responsibility - whether it be a parish, a coven, a grove, or a hearth. 

They are, however, simply servants of that organization as long as it keeps its end of the contract with the deity it purports to worship. 

This isn't something that can be negotiated. 

Why should the priest reject their God's desires in order to pander to the contract defaulter if the god has indicated a preference for a specific form of behavior and that wish is continuously and purposefully ignored? 

So, what is the priesthood's function? 

In short, a priest serves as a mirror to the soul, as a facilitator and conductor of particular rites of passage, and as a piton in climbing, ensuring that any fall is limited to the distance between the piton and the ground. arating as a rib prod to remind us to speak out and ask for an explanation, or a tap on the skull to remind us to think for ourselves. 

While we are concerned with physical and material issues, as a mentor and (in the Celtic language, anam chara), a soul-friend. Or, to put it another way, a help-meet. We all need a sounding board now and then, but none more so than when we're going through a spiritual crisis. 

Is there somebody you can talk to about spiritual matters? 

Is it tough for you to talk about your spirituality? 

Do you feel vulnerable and alone due to a lack of personal support? 

Doubts and periodic lapses of faith are more widespread than the priests would like to acknowledge, as we've already covered. 

For fear of the doubts spreading to the rest of the flock, the wandering lamb is frequently sent out, and the 'doubting Thomas' is made to feel as if they've performed some terrible act of faith. 

In actuality, Thomas was the sole disciple who wanted proof rather than accepting Jesus' return on the basis of faith.

You may also want to read more about Spirituality here.

Be sure to check out my writings on Religion here.

Soul Studies And Guides

People have come to assume that the priesthood is nothing more than a self-proclaimed channel via which they are supposed to speak with deity through time. 

It's also true that several priests from numerous global faiths and traditions have advocated for this position. They've done very little to dispel myths and even less to inspire people to explore their spirituality inside the faith. 

At the absolute least, a ‘good' priest or priestess - one who is skilled in their duty – is a sheet of paper on which we sketch down how we wish to approach our deity. 

This isn't to say that the priesthood makes decisions for us or tells us what we can and can't do. Rather, they provide a mirror or sounding board for us to view our own mental processes and behavior via their talents and questions. We know what we're attempting to express as people, yet what we say may not be what others hear. 

A priest should be a "debating or study companion," or if you choose, a "co-counsellor." 

They and we are both studying and investigating the subject of'soul studies,' and though they may express their knowledge of the issue at that time (based on their own and second-hand knowledge of other people's experiences), it is not within their capacity to provide an answer. 

There isn't always a single, constant response to a question. 

We can only give each other "an" answer at most, which may be enough till we can go deeper into the spiritual worlds. A skilled priest will not avoid difficult questions with clichés like "It's God's will," "You don't need to question, just believe," or any of the other evasions. 

If they do, it shows that they are spiritually immature. 

A good priest will acknowledge to their own ignorance, doubts, and even loss of faith — as well as how they re-found it. 

Failures, not achievements, the tools we used to find our path, the mistakes we made, and what we gained from them are the most significant gifts we can give to each other.

You may also want to read more about Spirituality here.

Be sure to check out my writings on Religion here.

The Start Of Anything New

Do you recall how, as a youngster, you used to drive your parents crazy by constantly asking why? 

To adopt a Joblike mentality, we must quietly take all that life (or our gods) throws at us. 

Instead of asking God the "grail inquiry," 

"What does this mean?" 

Job sat mute and dumb, learning nothing until even Jehovah lost his cool and gave up. 

In Arthurian tales, the equivalent is apparent when the dumb knight fails to ask the why? inquiry. 

The actual meaning of sangraal, or the hunt for the grail, is the pursuit of knowledge. 

Those who embark on this trip are each searching for their own personal "holy grail," which will lead them to their spiritual destiny. 

Whatever road we take, we must have some type of guidance, which commonly comes in the shape of a priest/ess or guru on a spiritual level. 

Some people will believe they can handle it all on their own and that they don't need somebody to arbitrate between them and God. 

Of course, you don't need anyone – but how can anybody investigate a religious path or tradition if they aren't sure what it comprises or how long it will take? 

This is the kind of knowledge that cannot be discovered in books, particularly those that praise the benefits of dealing with angels and nature spirits. 

One student grew more irritated as he sensed a lack of tolerance for New Ageism, especially in the publishing industry. As he correctly pointed out, there is an exotic, watered-down, popularist version of every new "fad" that appears, bombarding the novice with a high proportion of shallow and erroneous information. 

Many of the books do include suggested reading lists and bibliographies that a serious reader may delve into further to have a better grasp of the subject, but in fact, few people care to do so. 

The result is that people with only a rudimentary grasp of esoteric tactics form groups, publish magazines, create books that are plagiarized from others on the shelves, and generally attract media attention. 

Because everyone was pursuing the same objective, our student believed that there should be a balance and harmony between traditionalists and New Agers. 

He can't wrap his brain around the idea that many traditionalists studied for at least seven years to achieve their positions, but many New Age adherents have simply read a professionally produced book. 

Consider how much time and effort you're willing to put into your quest: would you prefer to study entirely through books? 

Would you consider a priest's or a priestess' involvement to constitute interfering? Do you prefer one-on-one instruction? 

Since we grow familiar with the "jargon," sound book learning is always a good foundation on which to build, but it seldom substitutes for the genuine cut and thrust of an active spiritual journey.

In esoteric circles, there's an ancient proverb that says we'll find our next teacher when we're ready to absorb the wisdom they're prepared to give us. 

You may also want to read more about Spirituality here.

Be sure to check out my writings on Religion here.

Freedom Of Mind And Spirit.

An individual must strike a balance between ethics and morality. 

Morals are the expectations we have for each other as a social community. 

Ethics refers to what we tolerate in ourselves and/or each other as persons. 

There might be a significant difference in either way, since one person's ethics may be more strict than the morals of that community - or vice versa. 

Many faiths, both ancient and modern, have been used to control large groups of people, particularly when communication and access to outside influences are restricted. 

People in most societies are now considerably more willing (and legally competent) to change their religion, just like they would their car's transmission if it broke down. 

As a result, several religious organizations have had to reconsider how they communicate with and interact to their followers. 

They can no longer impose one set of ideas on a whole society without provoking negative reactions. 

If individuals cannot find the peace that their souls, minds, and bodies yearn for inside their own ‘family' religion, they will, no matter how painfully, abandon their faith and seek it elsewhere. 

People will seek for faiths, sects, and cults that pretend to accept them as they are now for that "feel good religiosity." 

They will frequently seek faiths that do not evaluate them as persons, but rather as humans with issues. 

The focus has shifted from: 

'I am a sinner seeking to achieve perfection' – implication: 'I'll never get there – it's impossible' 


'I am a perfect soul plagued by sin' – implication: 'I was there – I am now "fallen" – I can return'. 

Those who have been banned or banned from religious community will undoubtedly find this new method appealing. 

Those on a spiritual path should now be able to look at these difficulties through the lens of mental and spiritual liberation. 

Because we are no longer cognitively constrained by dogma, we can see that the priesthood does not need to offer a hotline to our chosen deity. 

Do you feel at odds with your own faith's teachings at this point in your spiritual journey? 

Interested in something less dogmatic and more personal?

That you'd want to learn more about inside your own religion? 

Exploring Spirituality isn't about switching to anything new. 

It's about reconnecting with the old whenever feasible and learning more about the mysterious forces that make you rethink whatever you think isn't meeting your spiritual needs. 

No one should judge you if you desire to pursue your faith on a deeper intellectual or spiritual level than the weekly service provides.

You may also want to read more about Spirituality here.

Be sure to check out my writings on Religion here.

Morality, Ethics and Religion

The link between faith and ethics or morals – I don't make a distinction between these words because it's complicated, including questions like whether religion is essential to or appropriate for ethics, and whether ethics is one of the necessary features or requirements for defining a group of activities as "religion." Regarding the first instance, in certain parts of the world, being outside the majority faith or outside the Abrahamic, “God-fearing” sects altogether can easily be considered hypocritical or ethically suspect; declaring yourself an atheist or a practitioner of animism, for example, can easily lead to skepticism.

The mission of the Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment intelligentsia in Europe has been to build and legitimize ethics on nontheological grounds; this is unquestionably one of Kant's accomplishments and a continuing project in ethics in the analytic tradition. Concerning the second issue, late-nineteenth-century evolutionists used ethics as a standard to differentiate between so-called "magic" and "religion," and it was one of the accomplishments of later twentieth-century anthropology, through the study of people like Mary Douglas, to explain the ethical in such unusual positions as food taboos and hygienic procedures. One of the most important aspects of this research is that ethics may be implied, as well as overt, in ways of practice.

The entire debate is framed by two major historical cycles. The first is the curtailment or retrenchment of faith in Europe, especially Christianity and Judaism, by movements or innovations that may be categorized as "secularist," particularly in law, research, and philosophy. Attempts to undermine or abolish faith within communist regimes may be added to this general image. The second historical phase tends to be a worldwide effort to defeat animism or polytheism, especially by the two major rival monotheistic religions, Christianity and Islam, which are thereby put in more conflict with one another and claim their respective roles in part on moral grounds.

This is a kind of moral rationalization, but it's not the same as Weber's disenchantment. Many of these past processes include "counter-reformations," through which purificatory "fundamentalism," in answer to the first, but also animism, if not polytheism, and theological pluralism, in response to both, return, resurge, or merely perdure. While the former response is sometimes identified with an ethos, if not a politics, of social change that begins with the home, the latter is often associated with an ethics of personal self-fashioning. Scholars in religion and ethics, like anthropologists, are not necessarily impartial participants of all of these vast historical systems, which are partially constituted by argument. They are authors, whose use of terms and perspective has consequences. We engage in these systems either explicitly or indirectly. The analytic ground is complicated, as these remarks indicate, by the lack of consensus about what constitutes either "religion" or "ethics," and by the fact that the different meanings proposed for one sometimes have clear consequences for discerning or describing the other, leading to circular debates regarding their "relationship."

Furthermore, it is far from obvious that essentially secular and analytical modes of thought such as philosophy or anthropology will avoid their philosophical heritage from particular religious practices and instead function indirectly within their parameters. In what follows, I would not pretend to have the authority to decide which meanings are valid in any objectivist context, assuming that some are correct. I'll try to mix a realistic account built on an anthropological tradition of abstraction, analogy, and deduction with a practical, inductive, geographical, and ethnographic understanding of how things turn out in real life, in human history, and over time. This necessitates approaching cultural difference with rigor and generosity, as well as coming to terms with the fundamental conflict between relativism and universalism. Finally, this article will only examine some of the claims that arise from reasoning about the relationship between religion and ethics.


One issue with the answer to Frazer that ethics can be found in the most surprising ways is that it may leave the relationship between ethics and faith unquestioned, simply extending the scope of both. However, faith – in the form of the ideas and, most importantly, the practices that go by the word – has little more claim of being ethical than all other human endeavors. Indeed, ethics, defined as the repeated establishment of standards for assessing practice as good, just, right, etc., as well as subsequent behavior adopted in light of such criteria, may be argued to be intrinsic to all human behavior. Even when ethics is clearly described as good conduct or the profession, explanation, advocacy, or cultivation of such behavior, or the knowledge of its limits, it is debatable whether it is more widespread in religion than elsewhere, considering assertions to the contrary by certain religious authority. Robert Orsi, for example, shows the cruelty as well as the benefit that faith can incite in his admirable and brave account of mid-twentieth-century North American Roman Catholicism. Although faith is often thought to include ethical certainty and self-formation, Orsi's is only one of the academic accounts that demonstrate how a religious practice can be riven with internal ethical debate and unequal implications.

Thus, the Muslim piety movement, for example, will be unable to substantiate the arguments that its followers are inherently superior to other Muslims or that they often behave ethically. Furthermore, being ethical or behaving ethically, as well as the related rewards and punishments, as well as the risks and delusions, are not to be equated with acting ethically. Ethics must inevitably involve self-questioning, not only about one's own arguments or actions, but also about the boundaries of what is possible in areas like human well-being, understanding pain, and delivering justice. Indeed, a central argument in Geertz's popular essay on faith is that it does not only have a theodicy, but also take responsibility for recognizing its limitations. To this, one might add the conflict that exists in all religious hierarchies between ethical people, practice, or insight and the authority or influence to render or enact ethical judgments or lay claim to the ethical high ground. This isn't to say that religion doesn't provoke or motivate people to do good things at times, and often religious leaders, such as "saints," can be used as ethical role models, as can everyday people who use "religious" tools to expand their ethical scope.

Religion, on the other hand, will seek and execute demons, heretics, and immodest people in ways that outsiders might find hypocritical, and it often honors ethically ambiguous characters such as roaming ascetics, holy fools, trickster figures, and the like. Indeed, myth has been criticized for its ethical complexity, and this ambiguity can be seen in different aspects of mythopraxis, particularly in the variety of traditions and figures synonymous with "liminality," carnival, and other similar events. Finally, common people's ethical actions and insights may be "religiously" told while remaining beyond and sometimes contradicting the precepts of "official" faith, as in popular attempts in Vietnam to satisfy and liberate the dead's ghosts. Anthropological definitions of “religion” have shifted over time, from relatively narrow objectivist accounts in which belief in God or other “supernatural” beings was simply asserted as a definition, to broader accounts characteristic of symbolic and structural anthropology, and more recently, to narrower genealogical and skeptical ones based on the emergence into public discourse of the word “religion.”

One of the reasons why some anthropologists painted the field so widely was to demonstrate that rituals outside of Abrahamic beliefs or "axial sects" were not outside the ethical pale, and thus deserved the same academic and functional respect as those within them. Such rituals may be interpreted as substantive and ethically aware as those within Abrahamic traditions thanks to the structural–symbolic convergence of the s and s. Indeed, the popularity of this work provided anthropologists with the resources and confidence to take on the Abrahamic rituals themselves, which had previously been left to scholars beyond those traditions.

Not just that, but the Abrahamic sects were distinguished by systems, relationships, and stereotypes that could be seen in popular culture as well as within their respective gatekeepers' established boundaries. “Sacrifice” in all of its forms, from headhunting to Hindu temple offerings, rules for butchering and consuming animals, alms and charity, or Faustian bargains made with innocent victims, is a prime example of an analytical, not “natural” category that allows for fruitful comparison across cultural, religious, and institutional lines and encourages anthropological work within the Old Testament. Sacrifice connects to the philosophical side of the gift literature, raising and debating different concerns regarding the relative and absolute principles and virtues of sharing and receiving, reciprocity, and altruism. The notion of "grace" can underpin claims concerning the "pure blessing" in philosophical responses to Mauss, which are often marked by a Christian bias. In the work and lives of missionaries and religious martyrs, as well as activists in philanthropy, international development, and humanitarian aid, similar ideals of ostensibly selfless giving recur, repeating Weber's formulation of the calling.

However, we know that one-sided ethical formulations of pure donation or entirely disinterested actions can be viewed with caution, at the very least tempered by Mauss' sense of balance, which he derived from both Aristotle on virtuous conduct and Kant and Durkheim on duty. The combination of desire and disinterest, independence and duty in the gift has been well explained by Parry, who draws the appeal of the pure gift from a kind of idealized dialectical contrast to the notion of the capitalist pure product, rather than from the Christian idea of grace. Furthermore, according to Mauss and Lévi-Strauss, circulation, like reciprocity, is generally regarded as a social good in and of itself; moreover, these are known as the forms in which precapitalist communities "naturally" operate, rather than as heroic actions or explicit religious values difficult to attain in this universe by ordinary mortals. Finally, Mauss regarded acts of generosity and sacrifice as "absolute social facts," rather than abstracting them as "religion" or "ethics," far less addressing them in terms of the "relationship" between those reified abstractions. This implies, in fact, that the topic of this essay is historically specific, only possible to formulate and discuss in this way in a secular modern epoch. Human sacrifice has provided a major theological source for ethical contemplation in a particular kind of abstraction. For centuries of scholars, the Akedah, the account of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac, has done so, not just for religious believers but also for historians and anthropologists interested sacrifice. The interpretation of this religious occurrence or story can ultimately lead to a distinction between religious and ethical considerations.

The Akedah reveals for Kierkegaard that religion is a teleological suspension of the ethical. Having divine beliefs and demonstrating it goes far above the ethical – a father willing to sacrifice his son – or, at the very least, beyond ordinary ethics. This desire to destroy his children, to make a human sacrifice, is not selfish or ethically utilitarian, as the Greek sacrifice of Iphigenia by her father, Agamemnon, as portrayed by Euripides, may be, but it is supra-ethical; it serves no calculable ends. And it's true that much of what falls under the banner of religion pushes people to violent extremes that aren't ethical in the ordinary sense: headhunting in Southeast Asia, slicing off the foreskins of Muslim and Jewish babies or children, penitential flagellation in Roman Catholicism and Shi'ism, the Hindu widow who jumps onto the funeral pyre, the Buddhist protester who throws herself on the ground.

Religion, in the very least, provides an idea of a hero or martyr who sacrifices the mundane for something greater or above. Victor Turner argued, more generally and less dramatically, that the liminal period of ritual is a moment where social norms and distinctions are dismantled, making everything and anything possible, and thereby beyond ethics in any respects but the existential one of pure liberation. To summarize, religion may also contextualize or circumscribe ethics, but religion may often be contextualized or circumscribed by ethical considerations, whether by a silent "descent into the usual" Das or a drastic overturning. To summarize, religion and ethics are not completely isomorphic and cannot be fully associated with one another from an anthropological standpoint. Yet, to ostensibly liberate the spiritual from the supernatural, an account of faith and ethics must consider the historical repercussions of abstracting them from the rest of social and cultural life as distinct contemporary regimes.

And of the most intriguing steps here will undoubtedly be to replace a plain binary pair with the triangulation that is common in today's culture of faith, ethics, and law. For example, the statute should be formulated as legal as it comes to delivering justice; but what happens when it is seen as breaching fundamental ethical values from a moral standpoint, such as admitting or banning capital punishment, abortion, blood transfusion, or same-sex marriage? What does it mean to transform a secular legal language of freedom into a religious language of duty, loyalty, respect, obedience, and so on, and vice versa? Where does “ethics” fit into this discussion, and how does or does it help to mediate or intensify conflict? An ethnocentric account of ostensibly dis-embedded institutions, on the other hand, must be wary of the ethnocentric assumption that our context, whether we call it “modernity” or “postmodernity” or the neoliberal state, is a special case, unique in its radical difference from all the other cultural and historical differences that preceded it and that continue to be found more or less hidden alongside it or that the neoliberal state is a special case, unique in

Aren't there conflicts between faith, ethics, and the law all over the place? Isn't it true that Igbo mothers of polluting twins who were doomed for imminent death were among the first to convert to Christianity because of ethical concerns in the face of divine injunction? Tensions between Rujia Confucian ethical ritualism and Legalism have existed in China since ancient times. Finally, rather than take the institutionalization of faith and ethics in a historical sense literally in a way that assumes their mutual incommensurability, it would be more interesting to think of "religion" and "ethics" as separate, incommensurable approaches to analyze the social whole or the human experience. In anthropological accounts of the relationship between faith and ethics, there are roughly two main streams or themes that can bypass any of the aporias I've mentioned. I refer to these streams as Durkheimian and Weberian, after their respective metaphysical forefathers Kant and Aristotle, while noting that there is a lot of overlap and diversity between them in practice. The Durkheimian stream stresses submission to a particular social or liturgical order, while the Weberian stream is concerned with the realistic juxtaposition of alternate living styles.