The Sources of Morality
31 Pages Posted: 26 May 2017
Date Written: November 15, 2011
There is much confusion about morality, God, Christianity and conscience today. This confusion is unfortunately not limited to non-Christians but exists within and between the various Christian denominations. This paper seeks to dispel some of that confusion by considering the sources of morality, that is, where morality comes from. The paper first examines some current approaches to morality before considering the natural law as a source of morality. Next the paper considers whether there is really one ultimate source of morality - the Christian Trinitarian God. The paper then considers the sources by which we can know the content of morality: reason and the natural law, revelation, the scriptures, Tradition, the Church and, because of its centrality to popular consideration of morality, conscience. The paper concludes by arguing that morality must be considered as part of a holistic study of the Christian Trinitarian God, of scripture, Tradition and of the Church and its sacraments. Although, in its discussion of the Church as a source of morality, the paper will briefly consider the constitutive elements of morality which have historically been termed “sources” of morality (the object chosen, the end or intention and the circumstances of the action) it takes a more foundational approach to the identification of the sources of morality.
Keywords: morality, God, Christianity, conscience, source, reason, natural law, revelation, scripture
JEL Classification: Z12, Z18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation