What it Means to be Moral: Why Religion is Not Necessary for Living an Ethical Life

What it Means to be Moral cover

By Phil Zuckerman, PhD '98 (sociology)

In What It Means to Be Moral: Why Religion Is Not Necessary for Living an Ethical Life, Phil Zuckerman argues that morality does not come from God. Rather, it comes from us: our brains, our evolutionary past, our ongoing cultural development, our social experiences, and our ability to reason, reflect, and be sensitive to the suffering of others.

By deconstructing religious arguments for God–based morality and guiding readers through the premises and promises of secular morality, Zuckerman argues that the major challenges facing the world today—from global warming and growing inequality to religious support for unethical political policies to gun violence and terrorism—are best approached from a nonreligious ethical framework. In short, we need to look to our fellow humans and within ourselves for moral progress and ethical action.

Counterpoint Press, September 2020