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A religious path to moral goodness

Responsibility and Atonement

Richard Swinburne

Oxford University Press, 1989

Research details

Type of paper: Theoretical/Conceptual/Review

Open Access: No


When we do good or harm to each other, we acquire merit or guilt; deserve praise or blame, reward or punishment, and may need to make atonement. Others may need to forgive us, or show mercy to us. The first part of this book (Chs. 1–7) is an account of how these moral concepts apply to humans in their dealings with each other. The second part (Chs. 8–12) then applies the results of the first part to reach conclusions about which versions of traditional Christian doctrines that utilize these notions are morally plausible. It considers the doctrines of sin and original sin, redemption, sanctification, Heaven and Hell.