Divine Beauty and Our Obligation to Worship God

Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 94:153-169 (2020)
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Abstract

Some recent philosophers of religion have argued that no divine attribute sufficiently grounds an obligation to worship God. I argue that divine beauty grounds this obligation. This claim is immune to the objections that have been raised to claims that other divine attributes ground this obligation, and can be upheld even if, for the sake of argument, those objections are granted. First, I give an account of what worship is. Second, I consider reasons for and against the claims that the obligation to worship is rooted in God’s having created us, God’s being our final end and lawgiver, God’s numinousness, and God’s goodness. Finally, I show how divine beauty grounds the obligation to worship, by drawing together accounts of beauty from Thomas Aquinas, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Plato, Aristotle, and others.

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Mark K. Spencer
University of St. Thomas, Minnesota

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