The question about the relationship between religion and ethics has long been around as a fundamental question that necessarily arises so long as religion exists in society. When a religious faith points to a transcendental, unordinary direction, it creates something distinctly different from the standard values shared in society. Needless to say, this is one of the meanings of the existence of religion. At the same time, values generated by religion have often had tremendous impact on the ethics and the formation of values in society. Even today, when secularization of society and diversification of religion are progressing on a global scale, there exists tension between religion and ethics that requires to be constantly revisited. As a result of rapid scientific and technological advances, however, humanity is now facing an age of unprecedented confusion of values. This confusion can hardly be cleared away if established religions do nothing more than wielding the traditional values one-sidedly. What is required is a fundamental reexamination of the relationship between religion and ethics based on the past tradition with the near future in scope.
This association was established in order to respond to this contemporary challenge academically with the following purposes:
It is presumed that each religion’s doctrinal interpretation of ethical issues contains originality and, at the same time, generality that can be understood beyond religious borders. For instance, questions such as “Why do good (righteous) people suffer?” and “Why are bad people saved?” are themes common to many religions in the past, and in the present when they can still be recognized widely as valid questions.
The first objective cannot be achieved if each religion only provides its own self-contained interpretation. An academic foundation is indispensable that allows religions to exchange their views with one another as statements that are also meaningful to others.
It is hardly possible, when discussing religion’s ethical roles in the 21st century, to avoid questions about the relationship between religion and science.
Religions, and values created by religions, traditionally tended to be formed from men’s perspective. Additionally, in many religions, sex itself was historically treated as taboo. It is required to provide academic insight into this fact.
Triggered by unethical acts of cultic religions, misunderstanding and social unease about religion in general have been growing. Today, serving as a point of contact with society not only is of considerable religious and academic significance but also results in maintaining an open attitude toward society.
The association’s findings will be widely communicated to the world through such means as the publication of the association’s bulletin and the use of Internet. Issues related to bioethics and environmental ethics, for instance, require collaboration on a global scale and more empirical research is made possible only through interaction with the international community.