We now turn to the last of the main themes of Murdoch’s work, that of religion, and the place it occupies vis-à-vis morality. Murdoch is not religious herself, yet, ‘in spite of her atheism, she has always been deeply interested in religion and the religious life’ (Kaalikoski, 1997, p. 144). Throughout our exploration of Murdoch’s moral vision we have noted the religious concepts she invokes: for example, attention – a device ‘for the purification of states of mind’ (Murdoch, 1970a, p. 83) – as a secular form of prayer, and use of the term ‘pilgrimage’ to describe the moral life. Indeed, even her presumptions about the illusion-ridden nature of the human condition owe much to religious thinking, a debt Murdoch acknowledges in her recognition that Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism all assert that ‘our guilt or sin is our existence itself’ (Murdoch, 1992, p. 69). If we replace the religious terms ‘sin’ and ‘guilt’ with the secular term ‘egoist illusion’ we have the Murdochian picture. Yet, despite the religious-sounding nature of her moral vision, Murdoch is an atheist. Indeed, her philosophy is premised on the assumption that ‘human life has no external point or telos’ (Murdoch, 1970a, p. 79) and on the belief that ‘there is no general and as it were externally guaranteed pattern or purpose of the kind for which philosophers and theologians used to search. We are what we seem to be, transient moral creatures subject to necessity and chance’ (ibid.).