Can morality exist separately from a belief in God?
From Descartes to Dostoevsky, the debate concerning the relationship between religion and morality has raged for centuries. Can there be a solid foundation for ethics without God? Or would we be consigned to a relativist morality, where "the good" is just a product of societal values or natural selection? In this landmark work, acclaimed philosopher and theologian, Keith Ward, presents a revolutionary new contribution to this discussion. Reflecting on the work of philosophers old and new - including Hume, Mill, Murdoch and Moore - he argues that our conception of morality intrinsically depends on our model of reality. And if we want a meaningful, objective ethics, then only God can provide the solid metaphysical foundations.Carefully structured and written in Ward's famously clear prose, Morality, Autonomy and God will be an invaluable primer for students of theology or philosophy of religion. But more than that, this strident and controversial book is guaranteed to shape philosophical opinion for years to come.
Keith Ward is a Fellow of the British Academy, and Professorial Research Fellow at Heythrop College, London. He was formerly Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford, and is one of Britain's foremost writers on comparative theology and Christian issues.
‘Masterful… each position is set out briefly and clearly… Ward is totally in command of his subject in a way that enables him to touch on the most difficult problems of moral philosophy in an accessible manner… this book offers as good an argument as there is likely to be for the grounding of our ethics in the purpose of a good God.’
– Church Times
'This is a fine and comprehensive review of the relationship between theism and morality; clear and well argued. I would wish that all philosophers and theologians were equally nuanced and rigorous.'
– Lord Stewart Sutherland, President, Royal Institute of Philosophy
'Ward’s book is informed by a grasp of moral philosophy spanning Plato and Dworkin, and a rare understanding of theism across religious traditions. It offers an impressive answer to a vitally important question.'
– Nigel Biggar, Professor of Moral Theology, Christ Church, Oxford
'How are God and goodness related? What kind of ethics makes sense for reflective theists today? In this bold, wise, and wide-ranging book, Keith Ward presents an original meditation on these key questions which combines the virtues of learning and accessibility.'
– Tim Chappell, Professor of Philosophy, Open University