On the Origin of Ethics: is Ethics Dependent on Religion?

Mindaugas Briedis


The paper deals with the historical and intellectual linkage between two fundamental spheres of culture – religion and ethics. The theistic ethical perspective and its most radical “supranaturalistic” form are explored. On the other hand, the atheistic position is also revised and the notion of anti-theism is introduced. After that critical analysis is presented on a substantial question concerning the kind of relation between religion and ethics: subordination, assimilation, complementarity or opposition. This question, in turn, demands a careful observance of various religious and secular perspectives, concerning the sources of morality, and poses the problem of faith and knowledge in a new light. Ethical norms constitute crucial part of various religious doctrines and to a certain degree correlate with major shifts in the history of secular culture. However, are these historical and theoretical testimonies sufficient for maintaining that ethics depends on religion and if so, what kind of dependence is it? In the last part of the paper the author formulates a sketch of an answer to a major theoretical concern on the way of reconciling religion and ethics beyond subordination or assimilation.


Article in: English

Article published: 2008-09-15

Keyword(s): ethics; religion; morality; anti-theism; Euthyphro dilemma

DOI: 10.3846/1822-430X.2008.16.3.4-13

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Coactivity: Philosophy, Communication / Santalka: Filosofija, Komunikacija ISSN 2029-6320, eISSN 2029-6339
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