An analysis of christian morality : inconsistency and self-interest


Some systems of authoritarian, Christian ethics present a very straightforward, unambiguous, concise set of rules in accordance with which one supposedly ought to live. Some believers hold that these rules are purportedly justified by the fact that they were created by god and no further explanation is necessary. In fact, a deeper examination of the issue is discouraged by such theists because the concept of a divine and perfect being and the author of morality is inconsistent. It retains at its core certain theoretical shortcomings regarding the compatibility of the characteristics commonly said to hold of a supreme and ultimate being. Many adherents to Christian ethics accept the authority of their deity on faith alone because it satisfies a certain need they have for peace of mind, and in order to eliminate doubts regarding the unknown. This, I contend, is epistemically irresponsible and not fully rational. Furthermore, many versions of Christian religious ethics profess to be primarily other-regarding but they retain at their foundation an appeal to self-interest. This system of ethics openly and unnecessarily denigrates valuing the self and instead advocates an abnegation and prostration of the self both to others and to god, which is not possible according to their own admissions regarding the disposition of human psychology. The absolute sovereign of the Hobbesian social contract provides an astute analogy to the god of Christianity. Both systems of absolutism seem generally to assume that deliberative agents are willing and able to submit blindly and indefinitely to authority without question. The possibility that one can or will submit blindly is questionable given our propensity for self-interest at least insofar as we will not sacrifice the self either morally or physically without some incentive which appeals to our most fundamental interests.


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Thesis Completion





Stanlick, Nancy A.


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program



Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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