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Challenges to Moral and Religious BeliefDisagreement and Evolution$
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Michael Bergmann and Patrick Kain

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199669776

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199669776.001.0001

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Not by “Reason” Alone, or Even First

Not by “Reason” Alone, or Even First

The Priority of Sanctity over Dignity1

(p.135) 7 Not by “Reason” Alone, or Even First
Challenges to Moral and Religious Belief

Timothy P. Jackson

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines five key moral ideas – justice, reason, utility, dignity, and sanctity – and how they relate to the religious notions of the image of God and prophetic love. Having clarified these matters theoretically, the chapter turns to capital punishment to illustrate how these ideas bear on a concrete social issue. The crux of the essay is that neighbor love has moral primacy in so far as it attends to the sanctity of human life and not merely the dignity of rational agents. To the extent that religion helps us to (re-)discover the sacred, it can be a crucial source of moral insight and an ally of science and democracy, properly understood.

Keywords:   justice, reason, utility, dignity, sanctity, image of God, prophetic love, capital punishment, science, democracy

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