Worthy of Worship?

Worthy of Worship? August 5, 2013

I’ve assigned Aaron Smuts’ chapter “‘The Little People’: Power and the Worshipable” from Philosophy in The Twilight Zone when I’ve taught my class about religion and science fiction in the past. Here is a link to the episode “The Little People” to which the title refers, in case you’ve never seen it:


It turns out that not only is an earlier draft of Smuts’ chapter available online, but so too are many others of his writings. Among them, and of related interest, is a piece called “The Power to Make Others Worship.” Here’s the abstract:

Can any being worthy of worship make others worship it? I think not. By way of an analogy to love, I argue that it is perfectly coherent to think that one could be made to worship. However, forcing someone to worship violates their autonomy, not because worship must be freely given, but because forced worship would be inauthentic—much like love earned through potions. For this reason, I argue that one cannot be made to worship properly; forced worship would be unfitting. My principal claim is that no being worthy of worship could exercise the power to make others worship it, since the act of making another worship would necessarily make one unworthy of worship.

There are also a great many papers related to topics such as what makes life worth living.

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