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Challenges to Moral and Religious BeliefDisagreement and Evolution$
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Michael Bergmann and Patrick Kain

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199669776

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199669776.001.0001

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Toward God’s Own Ethics

Toward God’s Own Ethics

(p.154) 8 Toward God’s Own Ethics
Challenges to Moral and Religious Belief

Mark C. Murphy

Oxford University Press

In characterizations of the Anselmian God — that is, God as an absolutely perfect being — it is common to ascribe perfect moral goodness to God. This moral goodness is, furthermore, of a familiar sort, such that God’s exhibiting moral goodness of that sort entails that God will be motivated to prevent setbacks to the well-being of humans and other sentient animals. But the ascription of this familiar welfare-oriented moral goodness to the Anselmian God is unjustified: we lack justification for the view that the moral norms that properly govern human conduct properly govern the conduct of the Anselmian God, and we have some justification for denying that view. That the Anselmian God’s ethics is not of the familiar welfare-oriented variety has important implications for our understanding of the problem of evil.

Keywords:   God, ethics, Anselmian, perfect goodness, moral goodness, welfare, problem of evil

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