Why there is no obligation to love God

Religious Studies 60 (1):77-88 (2024)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

The first and greatest commandment according to Jesus, and so the one most central to Christian practice, is the command to love God. We argue that this commandment is best interpreted in aretaic rather than deontic terms. In brief, we argue that there is no obligation to love God. While bad, failure to seek and enjoy a union of love with God is not in violation of any general moral requirement. The core argument is straightforward: relations of intimacy should not be morally imposed upon autonomous beings. We contend that such reasoning applies to human beings’ relationship to God. So, even if our ultimate end is to enjoy communion with God, God has no right that human beings seek a relationship with him. If this is correct, then the command to ‘love God’ is not the sort of moral principle that can be supported by threats of hellfire or other forms of coercion.

Links

PhilArchive

External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Whither the “Offices of Nature”?: Kant and the Obligation to Love.Bernard G. Prusak - 2009 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 83:113-128.
Love and Sex.Raja Halwani - 2017 - In Christopher Grau & Aaron Smuts (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Love. Oxford University Press.
Aristotle on Love and Friendship.David Konstan - 2008 - Schole 2 (2):207-212.
Duty and love.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1998 - Philosophical Explorations 1 (1):4 – 9.
Tragic Dilemmas, Suffering Love, and Christian Life.Philip L. Quinn - 1989 - Journal of Religious Ethics 17 (1):151 - 183.
Liturgical Love.Nicholas Wolterstorff - 2017 - Studies in Christian Ethics 30 (3):314-328.
The essence of ethics.Frederick R. Bauer - 2004 - Worcester, Mass.: Ambassador Books.
Love’s Vision.Troy Jollimore - 2011 - Princeton University Press.

Analytics

Added to PP
2023-01-11

Downloads
254 (#76,467)

6 months
125 (#27,080)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

William Bell
Washington University in St. Louis
Graham Renz
Marian University

Citations of this work

Divine Authority as Divine Parenthood.Nick Hadsell - forthcoming - Religious Studies.

Add more citations

References found in this work

The Moral Nexus.R. Jay Wallace - 2019 - Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Horrendous evils and the goodness of God.Marilyn McCord Adams - 1989 - Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. Edited by Eleonore Stump & Michael J. Murray.
Rights Forfeiture and Punishment.Christopher Heath Wellman - 2016 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

View all 10 references / Add more references