God as an asset and some paradoxical implications

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Conventional monotheist religious believers commonly believe that God will sometimes assist them, will be on their side. God, in other words, they believe, is an asset. Conceptually an asset is anything (such as a person or an object) that can assist one, something that is prima facie good to possess or to have on one's side, that is likely to or can assist one to make one's life go better, overall. Having assets can have weighty implications, including moral ones. I argue that here the implications are quite surprising, and indeed paradoxical. In particular, the religious will have in certain circumstances good reasons, and sometimes even moral obligations, to give up their interests for those who lack such assets, namely secular non-believers. The claim is not that religious people actually see things in this way but that, normatively, given their beliefs, many of them should, in the sense of the subjective 'ought'. This can be relevant both in this world and concerning the next. Moreover, in many situations plausible religious replies are not sufficient to block the move. This topic has not, to the best of my knowledge, ever been seriously analysed philosophically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-203
Number of pages11
JournalReligious Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 16 Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press.


  • assets
  • moral dilemmas
  • moral obligations
  • moral paradoxes
  • Religious beliefs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • Philosophy


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