Research Paper: Religion Meaning Ethics Future Monotheism

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[. . .] .." (Exodus 20:5). This is fundamentally different from the 18th century Enlightenment philosophy of Deism. While Deists acknowledge God as the creator, they believe that He endowed humans with reason and has now stepped back from caring about world events. Now our reason must hold sway in determining ethical decisions.

Freedom and the freedom to choose to do right and to sin is an important component of monotheistic faiths. However, the 20th century philosophies of existentialism and nihilism stress the negative rather than the positive aspects of such freedom. Nihilists suggest that there is no inherent truth structure at all to the evolution of the universe. Existentialists concur but, in adopting at least some of the perspective of monotheism, stress the responsibility of human beings to do what is right. With freedom comes great responsibility, including the often heavy responsibility of creating a moral structure in the absence of God. Yet this freedom does not necessarily make the individual happy. The existentialist Jean Paul Sartre famously said that anguish is inherent to the human condition (Zunjic 2012).

Naturalism can be called a kind of 'nature worship.' Instead of looking for God's hand in the natural world, naturalists stress that human beings must look for moral guidance in nature and in history. Practical rather than esoteric wisdom is the highest value. In contrast, pantheists believe that God or at least a divine presence is evident in nature. But this may be the result of the influence of many Gods and many sources of divinity, not just one. New Consciousness believers stress that the individual is the greatest source of power, and God's hand is evident in the human person. But rather than seeking guidance from outside, formal structures of religion New Consciousness adherents look to psychology and personal sources of reflection for wisdom.


Exodus. (2012). Bible Gateway. Retrieved at:

Zunjic, Bob. (2012). Jean Paul Sartre. Phil 358. University of Rhode Island. Retrieved at: [END OF PREVIEW]

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