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Responsibility in religiosity

  • STEVEN G. SMITH (a1)

Abstract

Understanding ‘responsibility’ in its normal sense of freely fulfilling a role in a collaborative scheme, rather than as a basic agent integrity or prosocial disposition, I argue that the desirability of responsibility is one of the main supporting and constraining factors in the formation of religious thought and practice, with diversely typical manifestations. For those who are disposed to assume responsibility and to be religious, religious beliefs and practices offer a way of maximally enlarging one's responsibility, an intrinsically appealing prospect. The global relevance of religious responsibility is shown by comparing exemplars in a wide range of cultures. Aeneas, Kongzi, Dharmakara, and Miaoshan each embody maximal responsibility in a distinct way that motivates and sets standards for a religiosity.

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