Religion and Morality


Religion and Morality seeks to answer two fundamental questions regarding the relation between religion and morality. The first is the puzzle posed by Socrates, the so-called ' Euthyphro dilemma', which asks: is morality valuable by virtue of its intrinsic importance and worth, or is morality valuable because, and only because, God approves it and commands us to follow its dictates? The second question is raised by Kierkegaard in Fear and Trembling. He asks: Is a conflict between religion and morality possible? Does God ever demand that we neglect our moral commitments? The discussion on these questions is divided into three parts. In the first two parts, we discuss the idea that morality depends on religion. The authors distinguish two types of dependence: strong dependence, according to which the very existence, or validity, of moral obligations depends on God's command, and weak dependence, according to which though morality itself is independent of God, God (or belief in God) is necessary to enable human beings to know their moral duties and to carry them out. The authors reject the strong dependence thesis, as well as most versions of the weak dependence. The third part of the book discusses different versions of the view that religion might conflict with morality. The authors reject this view, and show that very few religious thinkers would follow it all the way through to its ultimate consequences. The book has implications for the philosophy of religion, in its emphasis on the centrality of the moral element in religion, and for moral philosophy, in its highlighting, among other things, of the nature of moral judgments.

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Review Quotes
”This study of the relations between religion and morality by two Israeli philosophers is one of the clearest and most thorough expositions available of the conceptual issues in this area. … Those preparing lectures in this territory had better order this book: it will save them a good deal of time and effort.” in: Religious Studies 32 (1996)
“…thought provoking, lucidly written…” in: Israel Journal of Psychiatry
Table of contents
Foreword. Preface. General Introduction. PART I: THE STRONG DEPENDENCE OF MORALITY ON RELIGION. Introduction. Chapter One: Divine Command Morality: A Conceptual Analysis. Chapter Two: Divine Command Morality: Moral and Theological Aspects. Chapter Three: Religious Truths as Entailing Moral Obligations. PART II: THE WEAK DEPENDENCE OF MORALITY ON RELIGION. Part II: Introduction. Chapter Four: Epistemic Dependence. Chapter Five: The Dependence of Moral Activity on Religion. PART III: CONFLICT BETWEEN RELIGION AND MORALITY. Part III: Introduction. Chapter Six: The Normative Conflict. Chapter Seven: Religion, Moral Autonomy, and Moral Education. Chapter Eight: Morality and Religious Life. Notes. References. About the Authors. Index.
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