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The power to make others worship

  • AARON SMUTS (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 November 2011

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.

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Martin Blaauw (2005) ‘Worship me! A reply to Brown and Nagasawa’, Ratio, 20, 236240.

Campbell Brown and Yujin Nagasawa (2005) ‘I can't make you worship me’, Ratio, 18, 138144.

John Christman (1991) ‘Autonomy and person history’, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 21(1), 124.

Christopher Grau (2006) ‘Irreplaceability and unique value’, Philosophical Topics, 32(1&2), 111129.

Niko Kolodny (2003) ‘Love as valuing a relationship’, Philosophical Review, 112(2), 135189.

Robert Kraut (1986) ‘Love de re’, Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 10, 413430.

S. Matthew Liao (2007) ‘The idea of a duty to love’, The Journal of Value Inquiry, 40(1), 122.

Robert C. Roberts (1988) ‘What an emotion is: a sketch’, The Philosophical Review, 97(2), 183209.

Tamler Sommers (2007) ‘The objective attitude’, The Philosophical Quarterly, 57, 321341.

Richard Swinburne (1993) The Coherence of Theism (New York: Oxford University Press).

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Religious Studies
  • ISSN: 0034-4125
  • EISSN: 1469-901X
  • URL: /core/journals/religious-studies
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