Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What Motivates Doing Good?

Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you." In a new study by the University of California at Berkley, the "religious" do good motivated by doctrine and the non-religious do good motivated by compassion. On the surface of it, the study seems to be confirmation of the continuing prevalence of the affliction Jesus noted amongst the religious of his day. You will recall his railing against the behavior of some Pharisees (read "the identifiably religious). However, the study could also be read to indicate that religious people do good because of a sense of duty (a Kantian Deontological morality), rather than acting purely on feelings; that is, doing good even when they don't feel like. Another study needs to be done of the "religious" to separate the Kantians from the Pharisees.

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