Secular Virtues?

Many lengthy books have been written on the topic of moral virtue. Therefore, today’s topic needs to be narrowed considerably. Consider the question of how human virtues relate generally to religious considerations. More specifically are all virtues essentially religious? Theists generally endorse a divine command theory of morality, essentially linking all moral laws to divine laws. Yet being an atheist or an agnostic does not disbar one from believing in virtues, both moral and otherwise. For the ancient Greeks of Homer’s time a premier virtue was hospitality. They thought it was particularly important because it was one of Zeus’ primary concerns. A survey of the world’s religions suggests that, historically, the human virtues have been linked to one’s religious commitments. One’s view of what makes one morally virtuous has generally depended upon one’s religious commitments. But the absence of religious beliefs have not caused discussion of the virtues to cease.



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