Founders’ Questionable Ethics
Instructions: First, in your own words, provide a concise but thorough description of each action or teaching listed below. Second, in your own words, evaluate each action or teaching from a moral/ethical perspective. In your moral evaluation, you may employ emotive and even disapproving language if it befits the action or teaching under consideration. Type your answers in full sentences and employ good grammar. Single space your answers. Do your best. Your professor is aware that you are probably not a religious historian.
[When appropriate, do your best to take into account the possible gap between literal and figurative language. Also consider the fact that meticulous historians (who seek to determine the literal or figurative intent of exhortations) examine the extent to which the disciples of religious and political leaders have literally applied their leaders’ exhortations. In other words, if they interpreted the message literally, then many of the fervent followers would literally obey the message.]
It appears impossible to ethically evaluate the founder(s) of Hinduism because Vyasa Krishna Dwaipayana was the chief compiler and editor of Hinduism’s most important sacred books, but probably not Hinduism’s founder. In the case of Yehoshua (Jesus) min Natzaret, since there is probably no reliable record of his immoral actions, we have to examine his controversial words instead. If you disagree with that claim, please feel free to present your view with buttressing sources.
This assignment is an analytical exercise for adults. This assignment is not meant to weaken anyone’s faith. This is an exposition of the imperfect nature of perhaps otherwise admirable spiritual pioneers. Perhaps these historical accounts generally point to the importance of repentance followed by spiritual and moral growth. Please keep in mind that the scriptural and historical records also meritoriously emphasize the applied virtues of these historical people who founded the Planet Earth’s major religions. Siddattha spent his life traveling and showing people how to suffer less. Avraham implored HaShem to spare the guilty people of a city from destruction. Mosheh confronted a king and liberated his people from slavery. Yehoshua taught people to love and pray for their enemies, even to the point of beseeching HaShem to pardon and save his own torturers and executioners. Muhammad outlawed female infanticide. Nevertheless, let us not immaturely choose to ignore their recorded shortcomings by blindly pretending that they all lived their entire lives perfectly. By the way, you are permitted to disagree with this perspective. Your moral evaluations do not need to coincide with the unstated opinions of your professor in order to earn a good grade. Nonetheless, you must complete this report in order to successfully complete this course.
1-Read about what Siddattha Gotama (the Buddha) did to his bride Yasodhara and their newborn son Rahula, according to Chapter 21 of the Story of the Buddha Illustrated Textbook (Buddha’s Biography Coloring Book on Canvas) or more formal written sources.
1a-Concisely but thoroughly Describe Siddattha’s actions:
1b-Morally Evaluate Siddattha’s actions:
2-Read about what Avraham (Abraham) started, but did not finish, doing to his son Yitzhak, according to
Genesis 22:1-19 (especially verses 9-12). [Be aware that not all rabbinical interpreters agree on the moral nature of Avraham’s actions in this passage.]
2a-Concisely but thoroughly Describe Avraham’s actions:
2b-Morally Evaluate Avraham’s actions:
3-Read about what Mosheh (Moses) and the Levite men did to the Yisraelite idolaters, according to Exodus 32
(especially verses 25-28). [Note that the “revelry” in verse 6 probably refers to a fertility religion orgy.]
3a-Concisely but thoroughly Describe Mosheh’s actions:
3b-Morally Evaluate Mosheh’s actions:
4-Read about what Yehoshua (Jesus) min Natzaret taught his disciples about self-mutilation, according to the Gospel according to Saint Matthew 18:8-9 and the Gospel according to Saint Mark 9:43-47. [Note that there are no historical records of Yehoshua’s direct disciples practicing self-mutilation. However, some later Christians have practiced self-flagellation, and some even self-castration in the hopes of mitigating their overpowering sexual drives.]
4a-Concisely but thoroughly Describe Yehoshua’s message: