Contemporary morality uses the notion of moral obligation. Similarly, one may argue that the only way to have objective moral values is by appealing to God otherwise moral values would just be the result of historically determined cultures. Thought Question : is this right? More generally, what do you think is the origin of moral values?
How about evolutionary pressure? The basic issues about the relation between morality and God concern:. The relation between God's commands and morality :. This view highlights the idea of divine omnipotence. Problems :. What could a theist say? One could go further and claim that God is not just but Justice, nor loving but Love, not moral but Morality, etc.
Thought Question : do these proposals work? This view highlights the notion of divine righteousness. Thought Question : Is objectivism sufficient to base morality on God, given that morality does not depend on His will? Thought Question : if you are a theist, which of the two previous positions do you adopt? The role of God in moral knowledge Suppose you are a moral theological objectivist but still think that some aspect of morality depends on God. Presumably, many an atheist has good justifications for the belief that murder is wrong or, at any rate, not worse justification than those a religious person could offer.
Much depends on what kind of justification one is looking for. The role of God as the guarantor of the universal objectivity of morality. Some argue that without God, morality would just be a social convention without any universal validity beyond cultures or self-interest. Problem : the usual reply is that since we are rational beings, we can understand that basic moral rules apply universally.
The role of God as the ultimate administrator of justice. Some theists have argued that morality depends on God because God is the only person who can assure that justice is done, namely that in the next life one receives good and evil in proportion to the good and evil one has done. In other words, morality can be fully actualized only if God exists. Problem : That justice can be brought about fully only by God does not show that the source of morality is God. Thought Question : This will work only if what happens in the next life depends, at least in part, on our actions in this life.
So, the requirements for salvation, a perennial topic in Christian theology, are obviously relevant here. What do you think? Religion and Morality. There are different ways in which one could tie morality and religion. For example:. The reason is that if one believes that some god exists and one wants to please it, then one will behave in a certain way, whether god exists or not. One might argue that the belief in a god who will punish and reward us in the afterlife on the basis of our deeds is a necessary component of moral motivation.
Alternatively, one might say that only a belief in God, a being who is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent, can r ationally reconcile the drastic demands of morality and our self-interest by guaranteeing that morality and happiness will ultimately cohere. One might argue that even if God has given all of us the ability to tell right from wrong, believers have an advantage because of revelation, where God tells the faithful how to conduct their lives.
Or, more radically, one could say that morality totally depends on revelation. However, this sobering finding — and it is a finding — is no reason to assume that we do not have duties to one another, to other species, and to the biosphere. Dostoevsky said that without belief in god men would be capable of anything: surely we know by now that the belief in a divine order, and in divine orders, is an even greater license to act as if normal restraints were non-existent? If Moses and Jesus and Mohammed had never existed — let alone Joseph Smith or Mary Baker Eddy or Kim Jong Il or any of the other man-made prophets or idols — we would still be faced with precisely the same questions about how to explain ourselves and our lives, how to think about the just city, and how to comport ourselves with our fellow-creatures.
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