Volume 4, 1999
Philosophies of Religion, Art, and Creativity
Ethics and Religion
Philosophical, Psychological, and Political Connections
The aim of this paper is to offer a framework for discussing the connections between ethics and religion and to propose some broad substantive theses about how they may be related philosophically, politically, and psychologically. Section I outlines some ontological, epistemological and conceptual connections between ethics and religion, focusing particularly on the question of whether either is dependent on the other. Section II mainly addresses the motivational capacities of religious as opposed to secular ethics. In Section III the main concern is to assess the extent to which conflict between religious and secular ethics should be expected, given certain plausible assumptions about the grounds of both. The final section makes some proposals for reducing conflict between religious and secular standards for structuring democratic societies and for the conduct of their citizens.