Morality and Religion

Linda Zagzebski

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780195138092
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835348 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

 Morality and Religion

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Almost all religions contain a code of morality, and in spite of the factthat there are moral codes and philosophies that do not rely upon anyreligion, it has been traditionally argued that there are at least threeimportant ways in which morality needs religion: (1) the goal of the morallife is unreachable without religious practice, (2) religion is necessary toprovide moral motivation, and (3) religion provides morality with itsfoundation and justification. These three ways in which morality may needreligion are independent, but I argue that there are conceptual connectionsamong the standard arguments for them. I identify reasons for resistance tothe idea that morality needs religion and then turn to arguments for each ofthe three ways in which morality may need religion. All three are related toclassic forms of the moral argument for the existence of God. I conclude bycomparing classic Divine Command Theory with my Divine Motivation Theory andargue that the latter has advantages over the former in the way it providesa theological foundation for ethics.

Keywords: Divine Command theory; Divine Motivation theory; moral arguments for the existence of God; moral motivation; morality; morality and religion; theological foundations for ethics

Chapter.  10955 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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