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Introduction To Religion And Ethics Philosophy Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 5484 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Religion represents the worship of God. Human beings were born to believe in god through the religion of his family or ideology of the state is drive upon him from the very beginning of his existence in the world. Moreover, Religion is the principle or beliefs’ system held to with ardour and faith toward god. Archaeological research explained that religious beliefs have been existent since the first human societies. God gave every individual all intellects to make the right decision and to be wise when facing challenges in the coming future. The believers of religion generally express the mutual culture and values through doctrine, ritual and myth in religion.

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The knowledge of god is taught through religion institution over years to educate every individual about right belief, moral and ethical values so that they can differentiate the right or wrong behaviour. Furthermore, religion attempts to answer the intrinsic questions to society’s condition such as the reason of suffering and punishment during and after life through the relationship to the sacred or perception of the true nature of reality. The purpose of punishment is to let human to understand the consequence of making sins and wrong decision. This is to ensure every individual will be in the right path in life. Hence, the existence of religion is important in societies to create a harmonious environment for human to leave in peace.

Over centuries in different nation, many religions were developed in different societies. Therefore, major dissimilarities of religion were confined within a particular society in past. As these religions hold different cultural and value in the belief of god, arguments and misunderstanding between each religion were easily formed. However, Hicks (2003) clarified that societies still have the abilities to develop religious’ tolerance and acceptance to creates harmony and unite all religion as one. In recent time, religion has changed various countries where people in dissimilar backgrounds or religions can live side by side in a tolerant environment.

In addition, the fundamental of religion has proven to have effects on business ethic. Some researches indicated that it is important to provide guidance on accommodating different opinions about religion practice in the organization (Webley, 2011). This is because religion hold the idea that god reveals insights about life and true meaning, while ethics form a humanistic perspective (James.A, 2006). Therefore, all religions believed in one universal value concept ‘do unto others as you would want others to do to you’. The concept helps organization to solve conflict of interest and decision making with common humanity and common sense among different religious’ employees (Webley, 2011).

Last but not least, religion’s beliefs cannot be separate from people in any society or organization (A.Hicks, 2003). It is impossible to divorce the organization’s culture with the nature of employees (Admin, 2012). Any organization is expected to consider the existence of every religion in the organization with respect and supportiveness to develop strong ethical value and common interest among employees and managers (Webley, 2011). This could help create a working environment with free of opposing discrimination of differ religion and enable all employees to fully contribute at work.

Issues related to the Religion and ethics in organization

Although it is believed that religion brings ethic into workplace, argument on whether religion can be accepted to improve peace and ethic still exist in this twenty first century (A.Hicks, 2003). Webley (2011) indicated that religion and the ways it is expressed in public can generate strong emotion and opinions especially in the workplace. Researcher has reviewed the number of ethics issues happened in the companies and other organizations when the employees wish to pursue practices that express their religions conviction while at work (Webley, 2011).

However, every individual holds different beliefs according to their religion concept (James.A, 2006). Therefore, conflicts of interest and ethical dilemma sometimes happen between employees as their religion is not the same (Webley, 2011). The issues that caused conflict will be discussed below.

Religion discrimination and ethical dilemma

Religion discrimination and employees’ ethical dilemma has indeed arisen in an organization (Hicks, 2003). According to the record by the Equal employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the state and local fair agencies, was prove that there was a positively increase in the number of religious discrimination issues in the workplace (Gregory & Daniel, n.d.). Individual in different religion expect to be respect, treated equally and tolerate with their belief in the ethical value of honesty and justice (Admin, 2012). Therefore, the role of ethic is important to provide common understanding among employees and managers to resolve this dilemma. Webley (2011) stated that offering assistance through corporate code of ethic in the organization’s policy is a good exercise to resolve furthermost common ethical challenges that are likely to arise. Direct and Indirect Discrimination

Discrimination is divided into direct and indirect discrimination. Direct discrimination describe certain employees in religion that are least favourable in an organization are treated unfairly by managers such as dismiss them, refuse to provide training and giving adverse terms and condition (Acas, 2005). A survey conducted by British churchgoers in 2009 found that there was a number of issues are happened in workplace such as faced opposition at work because by the religion, some of employees felt they had been passed over for promotion, beside they also had reprimanded or cautioned because by sharing their religion while work (Webley, 2011). For example, a job interview becomes unfair for Indian applicant because of his religion and culture. Although he has met all the requirement of skill and competences, the organization still decide not to recruit him. Nonetheless, direct discrimination may only be found in limited circumstances where it is easily shown.

The most critical is indirect discrimination where organizations have selective policies, criteria and employment rules that are disadvantaging employees or applicant with different religion. It very is unlawful whether it is intentional or not compare with direct discrimination (Acas, 2005). For example, an organization set a dress code policy whereby men are not allowed to wear ponytails. This becomes indirectly disadvantage for Hindu men whom wear Shika. However, to justify this discrimination, the organization much show there is a legitimate aim where the business need and the practice is proportionate to that aim (Garcetti, 2006). Therefore, indirect discrimination is certainly prejudiced some employees in other religion. Harassment and victimisation

As stated above, ethical dilemma exists in an organization. This caused many employees to felt stressful when working (Garcetti, 2006). These dilemmas include harassment and victimisation. Harassment is a behaviour that is offensive and distressing. It may be a way of bullying which is obvious or violent to a victim but can also be unintentional or subtle and insidious (Hicks, 2003). Harassment in an organization may involve teasing, sexual contact and unrespecting. These behaviours are upsetting for employees that become a victim. Harassment happens in different way in an organization. For example, it happens because of an employee’s religion is not the same with majority. Otherwise, the general culture of an employee was teased as jokes which are not tolerable (Hicks, 2003).

Victimisation occurs when employees is treated detrimentally. This is because the individual behaviour may be unacceptable in an organization (Acas, 2005). For example, the employees have made a complaint about discrimination or harassment is listed as “troublemakers” neither rhyme nor reason. These employees were punished and boycotted in the organization. They may face denied promotion and tanning without reasonable right to voice out their dissatisfaction (Acas, 2005).

Economic issue

Religions should be considered in issues of economics (Gundolf & Filser, 2013; Rodgers, 2011). This is because it influences the behaviour of human in ethics as it is related to the market, industry, and activity in basis of labour or investment (Rodgers, 2011). Religion had a connection to morals and the principles should be considered in issues of economics which include immigrant rights, poverty, crime and labour. In the Muslim perceptive, the idea of Qur’an has a prohibition of social justice and interest. The Qur’an recognizes “ownership” of wealth, protecting by legislation, and increase the economic wealth. At the same time, Qur’an concept provides radical offers about critique of ownership (Koshul & College, 2005).

Moreover, Pace (2012) explained that religions can be tame materialistically. This can be justified in the Buddhist ethical doctrines. The doctrines are believed to have affected the consumption of clients through compassion, loving kindness, empathetic joy and equanimity. Furthermore, one of the principle Buddhists believe in is the need of saving and not wasting is important. Therefore, any wasting behaviour is viewed as a negative effect on the economic growth that is fuelled by consumption and self-desired (Pace, 2012). Based on the study, materialistic tend to trade-off between satisfying wants and desires for socializing, the more social interactions, and the more economic growth (Beugelsdijk & Smulders, 2009).

International trade issue

In the other words, religion also influences the ethics in international trade. According to Lam (2005), the religiosity can affect a person’s preferences with regard to international trade, which is the religion can affects the attitudes towards trade. Besides, religion is playing a significant role in shaping preferences toward free trade. Lam (2005) used the cross-country individual level survey data from the world values survey, he founded the degree of religiosity is positively correlated with protectionism. Religious people are more likely to be protectionist controlling for wide range of economic factors (Patrick Lam, 2005). Religion effect on attitudes towards trade, because the religion serves as a conservative influence on the attitudes of its adherents.

Helble (n.d) explained that the shared of religious belief can enhance the trust in the societies. Therefore, it can reduce the transaction costs between trading partner. Futhermore, each religion has its own ethical standpoint towards the activity of trading. Some of the religions perceive trade as a necessity, others as a value creating activity. (Helble, n.d). Conclusion, the religion affect the attitude towards the international trade, beside it also can enhance the trust and ethics between the trading partners.

Political Issue

Political is also one of the issues of religions affecting ethics. Indeed, politics will be affected by the religious and this is powerfully influenced the political attitudes. Rodgers (2011) stated that the commercial and top management could affect employees conduct in political term. Above and beyond, there is relationship of between political context and public (Rodgers, 2011). Consequently, top managements are responsible to be ethical when come to any decision making for employees welfare and religion practice can help them to make the right ethical decision. For example, William (1991) describe that the use of religious categories to elect who would be selected for compensatory discrimination benefits such as Muslim electorates and reserve legislative seats for the Hindu or Sikh religion in the scheduled castes in India. There are low-status citizens to Islam and Christianity in India (William, 1991).

In contrast, a study has found that the employees could affect the organization conduct (Rodgers, 2011). Besides, these effects always have a relationship of ethics in a political context and public. The religious lead the employees to prefer more on redistribution and welfare provisions to the citizen. For instance, different organization in countries like the United States and Muslim-majority countries should follow the moral standards based on their sacred texts (Steffy, 2013). For example, Indian Christians appeal a love-hate relationship with the episcopal forms developed in Europe, but patriarchal and monarchical forms in Indian history, whether Muslim and Aryan (William, n.d).

Nevertheless, it is hard for the top managements to find satisfaction to complete equality and happiness among employees (Tjaya, 2009). The political issues will affect the business, investment and market directly as well. This can be proven in the management of Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. A research found that these organizations have similar conflicts among the complex multiplicity of ethical, culture and politics in both the United States and China (Tan & Tan, 2012). Additionally, the aim of politics and justice includes its concerns on work, knowledge, health, security, the environment and pleasure. The services will link to the ethical improvement of each individual as a social being for the management (Tan & Tan, 2012).

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The importance of religion and ethics to organization and its effects on the organization performance.

Before 1957, the Malaysian business sector was controlled by Chinese community and other foreign investor; while Malays were work as farmers and Indians were mainly focus on rubber plantations. After May 13th 1969, the bloody tragedy, the New Economic Policy (NEP) was established to balance the gap between the races in business sector. Hence, the NEP was contributed in Malays community in which successfully produced the excellent Malay business men such as Tan Sri Dato’s Haji Basir Ismail of Maybank Berhad, Tan Sri Dato’ Azman Hashim of Arab Malaysian Group and so on. The problems are in the 1960s, the Chinese businessmen started to bully the poor fishermen and farmers by using monopoly-monopsony system in weighing and measuring.

While, in Hong Kong in 1983, the Malay businessmen Jahil Ibrahim which is the chief auditor of Bumiputera Bank Berhad involved in the murder crime that related to business. The unethical business practices in organization become more sophisticated. If the organizations believe religions, these tragedies will not happen to the society. Islamic persuades Muslims businessmen must avoid the negative values such as hirs (greed), zulm (cruel), israf (extravagance), bukhl (miserliness), and ihtikar (hoarding of wealth). Of course, Islamic encourage Muslims businessmen to practice istislah (public interest), sabr (ability to stay calm and accept annoying and delay), infaq (spending to meet social obligations), al-‘adl (justice and fairness), ihsan (kindness), and amanah (honesty). Production and distribution are control by the halal-haram code in order to provide fairness dealing (Muhamad & Ghani, 2006).

The author of Buddhist Economics, Phra Debvedi said that production is not creating thing but it is transforming somethings into another new things. This kind of transforming can be a positive result or negative result toward ecology. The Agganna Sutta who tell the origin of human world said that human begins and nature are interrelated which means what organization produced will affect the ecology. Thus, the organization should use Right Livelihood approach in their production. Right Livelihood is emphasizing on producing the things that do not harm to the society such as poisons, lethal weapons, dangerous addictive items and etc. Besides that, the organizations must take into consideration in exploitation of nature by produce the goods based on market demand, do not produce the low quality products, and choose the production technology that environment friendly. Buddhism also stated that the production should aim for society’s happiness and peace (Numkanisorn, 2002a).

In all religion perceptive, right acts are not right because god commands them and sees morally right (Martin, 1988). Individuals in different religion respect gods because they are afraid of punishment after death. Religion practice teaches to take action and make decision wisely and follow the guideline set by god. As part of it, it can be apply in an organization, if employees use religion practices in doing their daily works, then they will think twice before making decision. The decision makers will think the effects of the action whether it will harm the society, personal or the environment. For example, for Muslim they got their Islamic law called Syariah (Martin, 1988). They apply this law in their daily life and even though business. This is the religion guideline for the Muslim to behave in the ways that their god think it’s right to do. For example the Shariah laws that apply in business included there is no element of riba, fraud, gambling and compulsion.



Bloom (n.d.) stated thar religious belief as an evolutionary accident or is supernaturalistic belief, which belief in the reality of the supernatural. This is widespread among human being. Most human beliefs have a connection with evolutionary fitness; they have led to action, such rituals or prayer to survival and reproduction (Inwagen, 2009). People believe in gods and spirits to their religion, this is the principles of human nature responsible for the religious belief in gods and intelligent agents. Therefore, belief in gods and spirits is a sense of the natural and depends on fundamental principles of human psychology (Collier, 2013).

Religious beliefs can be explained as an aid to in-group cooperation. This is because cooperation requires penalties for wrong acts. Therefore, those penalties can provide the threat of punishment from omniscient and omnipotent being. Indeed, some cheats can escape human detection, but their each wrong act will be detected and punish by punitive God (Oxford University, 2009). A particular established religion is belief in God or many gods, or neither; revelation through historical scriptures or personal inspiration. Many religious experiences relate the practitioner’s individual interest. So, people can find their believed symbolic system with meanings that are more communal than temporal life with its mundane expectations (Deacon & Cashman, 2010). Therefore, Religion is to build up the justifiability of well motivated and reprehensible behaviors. Besides that, religions also regulate the spheres of human life and conduct. So, religion can be a guiding light through personal and interpersonal relationships within a milieu (Oiadosu, n.d.). Hence, religious belief will reference to specific situations to make suggestion that what is right and what is wrong. If the suggestion is acceptable, the religious belief cloud analysis the effect of morality by social practices of the community. Hence, the moral principle can be controlled or influences a person’s ethics, such code of beliefs and principles (Oiadosu, n.d.).

Religious experiences are critical to the establishment of character and virtue. Borrowing from Deacon and Cashman (2010), experiences can be explained as transforming and ‘transcendent’, which considered as unusual and of a higher order than most day-to-day experiences. The coded symbolically, cognitive and emotional process influence to generate new modes of experiences. In overall, religious origins are the human value of the emergent emotional experiences that are influencing of religious symbols and practices. Most of the religious experiences are the sense of the sacred and selfless act for another, such as reverence and awe. In addition, religious experiences also can be a sense of unity with the humility; charity, cosmos, and loving-kindness are emergent responses to the universe, these including controlling emotional experience and maintaining mundane relationships with the physical world (Deacon & Cashman, 2010)

Religion and ethics can be refers to ideas of life, what thing should do and should not do, what is correct and what is wrong. Religion and ethics often link with people, community, or society, because people and society establish norms and values to regulate. These regulations list down what should be done and what should not be done, which morality. Ideologically, these may affect people with physical or psychological balance, which injury, despair and anxiety (Oiadosu, n.d.). So, Morality is an outcome of religion, which God presents in people the sense of what should be done and what should not be done thereby showing about the sense of obligation. Besides that, morality also can be the common sense and past experience over a long period of time that brought about the sense of good and bad. Furthermore, morality has its origin in the society, which inculcates in people the sense of good and bad (Oiadosu, n.d.).

Religions require believers of group for participation which remember theological claims and make sacrifices to the gods or the ancestors. These show commitment and cooperate between believers in the group. Hence religion carries two pivotal things, which is epistemic and practical. First, Epistemic describe as virtue of the fact that believers must internalize and sustain counterintuitive. Next, religions also need participants to engage in practices, such sacrifice crops to unseen gods. Indeed, epistemic and practical play a core role of proving religious group membership as well as cooperative and commitment. In addition, believers are more committed to the religion when engage in regular ritual events. This led them to view the ritual as less mundane and burdensome, and may be a perception of enhanced advantages (Michael & Moore, 2009)

Stories of the origins of religion, about the nature of the cosmos have historically constituted the founding narratives for religion. These stories always normative implicate, which provide the premises for justification. In other word, this can be called as myths. In a period time, ancestors lived in a precarious and full of uncertainty environment, such as harvests, illnesses and war. So, human beings experience fear and anxiety of contingency, and ancestors found them in the extreme situation. Because of fear and anxiety, these motivated them thinking about the secret forces, which personify the hidden powers of nature to dominating their destiny. Hence, passions and imagination require for the development of religious belief, ancestors served to reduce their fear and anxiety in the uncertainty situation. So, people cannot live without these latter beliefs, and this is necessary as well as natural (Collier, 2013).

Thus, different myths inform different religions and different paths of morality. These may lead people in different directions. Therefore, people who believe in the truth of stories of religions are regard as fundamentalist. Indeed, all religion impulse to spread meaningful value via story, so stories provide a very clear template for ethics and touchstone for religion. Thus, best religion agent should spread the stories of religion through art, music, ceremony, festivals and literature, generation by generation (Mathews, 2011). Besides that, the religion agents is based on cognitive constraints in simulations of others human minds. So, commitment to gods and spirits is based on motivate each other. Thus, the belief of religion can be influence through petition and prayer serves to decrease anxiety (Collier, 2013).

Religious belief is adaptive or maladaptive or perhaps a spandrel. The religious belief often focuses on rationality, reasonableness, justification and warrant by scientific explanations (Oxford University, 2009 ; Deacon & Cashman, 2010). Indeed, Religious is adaptations for people, it provides psychological and social benefits to individuals. These contribute psychologically adaptive and effectively in day-to-day behavior, such reducing the angst of uncertain. Besides that, religious is also being socially adaptive to maintain social cohesion. These are contributing the transmission of religious systems and psychological supports. Deacon and Cashman (2010) views as cited in Rappaport (1999) and Wilson (2002), cultural trait might benefit to the people that adopt these practices, which kin reproduction and maintenance of social group. The religious ideas and practices provide transformational experiences and ultimate meaning to believers. Hence, religions can be act as social parasites on the believers’ minds and exhibits actions that have been supported only (Deacon & Cashman, 2010).

Since the 1960s psychologists of religion have used the methodology of psychometrics to assess different ways in which a person may be religious. The people who stand religion as quest may get the Spiritual Support and Spiritual Openness. “Spirit” and “spiritual” are words which are constantly used and easily taken for granted by all writers upon religion – more constantly and easily, perhaps, than any of the other terms in the mysterious currency of faith (Underhill, 1933). In fact, there is a distinction between being “spiritual” and being “religious”. The connotations of “spirituality” are more personal and psychological than institutional, whereas the connotations of “religion” are more institutional and sociological. In this usage, the two terms are not synonymous, but distinct.

Spirituality involves a person’s belief, values, and behavior, while religiousness denotes the person’s involvement with a religious tradition and institution. Of course, religion is intimately tied to everyday life, including a wide variety of beliefs and behaviors. Weekly religious meetings guide the faithful throughout life. Obviously, religion can act as a guide of people behavior. And, religion is also tied with sociality. Religion connects individuals to each other and their groups; encourage the communication of community. Religion is a powerful device by which people are absorbed into a tribe and psychically strengthened (Lumsden & Wilson, 1983). In this way, both religious bodies and the societies of which they are components strengthen themselves in numbers and importance.

The importance of the selected topic and its effects on society and organizations in general

In Soulth Delhi, the 23-year-old lady who was the trainee physiotherapist in the private hospital, Delhi with her 28-year-old male friend, a software engineer, were walking home from cinema. Afterward, they took a public transport to go home and inside the bus has five men from the city’s slums, a teenage boy, and a bus driver. Her male friend started suspicious because the bus had to deviate from its usual route and the men locked the bus door. What would happen at next? The men beat her male friend unconscious with a metal rod. Then, the five men raped her for almost an hour.

The worst thing was the five men pushed a metal rod inside the lady and her internal organs were severely injury. Her and her friend dumped at the roadside with half naked, they felt cold, unconscious, and psychological trauma. After twelve days, the lady passed away in Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital (The Nation, 2013). Another case was happened in Sudan, a girl suffered hunger and struggling for survival and the vulture was waiting at there. At the same time, a photographer took a picture of the girl and he just leaves that girl without intervene to save the girl. The photographer was under criticism for unsuccessfully to help the girl. The photographer was Kevin Carter who won the Pulitzer Prize for his photograph in Sudan (Paech, 2004).

The society is getting sick. What is ethical behaviour? How to differentiate between right or wrong and what should or should not the society to do? The people’s perception toward right or wrong are according to the people’s interest not personal’s interest. However, religions are encourage society to be ethical, behave in proper ways, and free from social influence (Noor, 2008). Therefore, every religious are teaching how society can live in harmony rather than emotional, cruel, fear, aggressive and so on. Nevertheless, a few religious that are encourage society to act violence. The history of Buddhism is free from bloodshed and violence (Dhammananda, n.d.). According to Dhammananda (n.d., p.8) define religious is “the Kingdom of heaven is within.”

If the society follows religious principle, they can live in peaceful and harmony. Religious encourage people willingness to forgive someone and being kind and pleasant to somebody will lead to peaceful and harmony. If society believe religious, they can avoid dehumanization and doing something for someone without hoping to return back. Religious organization can practice a set of power sources to different source of power which are information, expertise, coercion, reward, legitimacy, and reference to influence society in peaceful (Hossain, 2010).

Relevant Theories

The term “religion” are positively influence the ethics theories, the religion effect peoples’ behavior. Moral value is created basically to maximize the happiness of humans, moral actually come from somewhere which perhaps from the nature of human, the agreement between humans or from the God (Heathwood, 2012). Beside, there is other scholar was claimed that the God was the resources of moral principles. The morality only can be understood through the religion, the morality is dependent on the religion (Maja, 2011). The moral value will lead or influence an individual’s decision making, the moral intensity will influence the ethical decision making. Moral awareness will lead or influence the individuals to moral action (Lincoln & Elizabeth, 2011).

On the other hands, the researchers claimed that people who have the more religious will more likely to behave themselve, the people who less religious will less behave themselve, because the greater religious the greater ethical attitudes (Fogel, Mc Sween, & Dutt, n.d.).The researchers also claimed that the religious also play an important role in the coporate social responsibility, more religious greater coporate social resposibility and the opposite of it (Fogel et.al.,n.d.).

The religion not only affect the ethics in the humans’ behavior and attitude, its also affect the ethics in the business such as workpalce. The religion was causes the ethics problems in the workplace. Religion issue was cause the discrimination between the employees’ religions in the companies. This was causes many unfair problems in the workingplace such as the employees’ punishment, promote on the jobs, decision making and etc activities at workplace (Gregory & Daniel, n.d.). Religion was played important role in the humans’ life, religion is a system of beliefs and practice for humans to respond their feel. The religion also is a knowledge that justify and control the humans attitude and behavior (Kum & Teck, 2010). In conclusion, there are a positive relationship between religion and ethics.

Other relevant concepts related to the selected topic

Religion can be defined as a set of structured that consist of self-belief, culture and world panorama that link the human being behavior to spirituality and moral values (Geertz, 1973). In history, there are different kinds of reasons to create different religions over time that come with different ways. There is a man we often called prophets who believe that he is the person who can contact with the god. He will start telling the human that he know god and start to gain followers and form the religion. They spread the religions and the moral value written in form of words and at the end it became the value of the religion. Moral values and ethics from religion are widely used by people to apply in their life and workplaces. The workings of the world can be illustrated by religion durin


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