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Spiritual Wisdom Ethics: A Linkage Between Religion and Government

Author: PATRICK S. SMITH
Published in GVER, Vol. 3 No. 1

This article addresses a new approach to ethics called Spiritual Wisdom Ethics. It relies and builds upon the vast historical and collective values found in the five major religious faiths in our world – Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. However, it does so without the imposition of any particular set of religious beliefs. It represents a global approach to individual and group ethical development based on the concept of virtue ethics developed by Aristotle.

A major test of this faith-based approach to ethics is its compatibility with the fundamental value of American society that is called the separation of church and state. At first consideration, an approach to ethics that is faith based seems incompatible to that value given to Americans by their founding fathers, especially with the application of the regime values of strict separation of church and state that is upheld by the U.S. courts. This article argues otherwise by presenting a brief review of American history regarding this debate and then by summarizing the basic elements of spiritual wisdom ethics. This article argues that spiritual wisdom ethics is consistent with this doctrine. Furthermore, this approach to ethics offers a return to the fundamental perspective on ethics that is consistent with the First Amendment notion of freedom of religion.

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