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The power to make others worship

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 November 2011

Department of Philosophy, Rhode Island College, 600 Mount Pleasant Avenue, Providence, RI 02908 e-mail:


Can any being worthy of worship make others worship it? I think not. By way of an analogy to love, I argue that it is perfectly coherent to think that one could be made to worship. However, forcing someone to worship violates their autonomy, not because worship must be freely given, but because forced worship would be inauthentic – much like love earned through potions. For this reason, I argue that one cannot be made to worship a fitting object; forced worship would be unfitting. My principal claim is that no being worthy of worship could exercise the power to make others worship it, since the act of making another worship would necessarily make one unworthy of worship.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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