Moral objectivism and a punishing God

Authors
Hagop Sarkissian
CUNY Graduate Center
Mark Phelan
Lawrence University
Abstract
Many moral philosophers have assumed that ordinary folk embrace moral objectivism. But, if so, why do folk embrace objectivism? One possibility is the pervasive connection between religion and morality in ordinary life. Some theorists contend that God is viewed as a divine guarantor of right and wrong, rendering morality universal and absolute. But is belief in God per se sufficient for moral objectivism? In this paper, we present original research exploring the connections between metaethics and particular conceptions of God among religious participants. Study 1 shows that, when controlling for religiosity, age, and belief in God’s loving characteristics, it is belief in God’s punishing characteristics (specifically, the existence of Hell) that uniquely predicts rejection of moral relativism. Study 2 shows that followers of Abrahamic faiths are more likely to endorse moral objectivism when thinking of the Divine, regardless of loving or punishing characteristics. And Study 3 shows that priming for moral objectivism makes theists more likely to endorse God’s punishing characteristics. A general picture is suggested by these data. For Abrahamic theists, God’s particular characteristics are not germane to the question of whether his moral commandments are real and objective. And while theists strongly endorse God’s loving characteristics, focusing on the objective nature of morality can highlight God’s punishing nature, reminding theists that objective morality requires a divine guarantor of justice to enforce it.
Keywords moral psychology  moral objectivism  religious psychology  God conceptions  religious morality  metaethics  punishment
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Aspects of Folk Morality: Objectivism and Relativism.Hagop Sarkissian - 2016 - In Wesley Buckwalter & Justin Sytsma (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Experimental Philosophy. London, UK: pp. 212-224.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Aspects of Folk Morality: Objectivism and Relativism.Hagop Sarkissian - 2016 - In Wesley Buckwalter & Justin Sytsma (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Experimental Philosophy. London, UK: pp. 212-224.
Practical Ethics and Moral Objectivism.Margarita M. Valdés - 1999 - The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 1:73-81.
A Single True Morality? The Challenge of Relativism.Harry Bunting - 1996 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 40:73-85.
A Single True Morality? The Challenge of Relativism: Harry Bunting.Harry Bunting - 1996 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 40:73-85.
Moral Objectivism Across the Lifespan.James R. Beebe & David Sackris - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (6):912-929.
El reino de los derechos y la objetividad de la moral.J. J. Moreso - 2003 - Análisis Filosófico 23 (2):117-150.
Objectivity.Ross Colebrook & Hagop Sarkissian - 2018 - In Todd K. Shackelford & Vivian A. Weekes-Shackelford (eds.), Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2019-03-05

Total views
23 ( #290,995 of 2,312,749 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
23 ( #21,789 of 2,312,749 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature