What Does God Require? Understanding Religious Context and Morality

Christopher D. Bader, Roger Finke

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

14 Scopus citations


Morality is not the sole domain of religion as virtually all institutions and associations have codes of ethics or moral boundaries that distinguish right from wrong. This chapter reviews research that identifies the distinctive contributions of religion with relation to moral beliefs and behaviors. We begin by briefly reviewing why religion is unique. Why does it hold a distinctive relationship with morality and what drives this relationship? Next we turn to the relationship between morality and religion. We will briefly explore how personal religiosity relates to attitudes about moral issues and related behaviors, referencing a growing body of research has found that religious networks and religious context strongly influence when individuals will act on personal religious beliefs. We continue this line of thought by pulling back our focus to the level of nations. Building on the theory and data reviewed in the first two sections, and moving beyond the cultural context of local networks, we outline a research agenda for understanding morality and religion using cross-national research. Finally, we will end with some general statements that summarize the current understanding of the relationship between religion and morality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2010

Publication series

NameHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research
ISSN (Print)1389-6903
ISSN (Electronic)2542-839X

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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