“Religion and Morality” Presented at the University of Cape Town – 27 Feb. – 1 Mar., 2019 (7 pages; with notes 15 pages) – Updated August 2019

Updated August 2019

Religion and Morality by Douglas R McGaughey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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Religion and Morality[1]


If there is anyone who was not (and today would not be) surprised about a disconnect “between religion and ethics, it would be Immanuel Kant.[2] Nonetheless, the two are deeply connected: there can be no morality without particular experience in the world and the transcendental conditions of possibility for which the term religion is appropriate.


Two inter-related questions, concerned with the origins of rational capacities and not with the consequences of decisions and actions, drive the following paper with respect to the relationship between ‘religion’ and ‘morality’:

    • Are we humans playing a zero-sum game? Are we merely on a cruise ship with finite resources only able to re-arrange the chairs on the deck according to power relationships as we head towards the iceberg?
    • … or is there any place in nature that is open-ended? Is there a species capable of acting and thinking beyond the blind processes of natural events?