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A Right Ethical Act Is One Approved By God. Discuss.

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Introduction

A Right Ethical Act Is One Approved By God? (25 Marks) Divine command theory of ethics says that an act is either moral or immoral solely because God either commands us to do it or prohibits us from doing it. The only thing that makes an act morally wrong is that God prohibits doing it, and all that it means to say for example is that killing is wrong because God forbids murder. Within Devine command theory we find that it is wildly far-fetched for reasons best illustrated by the Euthyphro dilemma, which is based on a discussion of what it means for an act to be holy in Plato's Euthyphro. ...read more.

Middle

do not require justification in terms of any external principles. Devine command theory is therefore a kind of moral relativism by saying what's right or wrong is what one's God (like one's self or one's society) says is right or wrong - and there are no moral standards apart from this. Yet if God said that 2+2=100, 2+2=100 would however be false because 2+2=4 is true regardless of what God says. The same point holds for moral propositions like "inflicting unnecessary suffering solely for fun is wrong." If that proposition is true, then it is true regardless of whether God commands or prohibits inflicting such suffering. If there is no standard of ?being morally right? apart from God?s commands, then God could literally command us to do anything and it would be right for us to do it by definition. ...read more.

Conclusion

There is the belief that goodness flows from God's nature, this merely changes the form of the dilemma and raises the question ?Is compassion good because it is a part of God's nature, or is compassion a part of God's nature because it is already good?? The first option produces problems parallel to those for Devine command theory. If malice were a part of God's nature, for instance, it is doubtful that malice would automatically be good. So if there were any objective and absolute moral standards that already stood independent of whatever God had to say, then a God can be either good or evil, and the assessment of a god's character, whether good or evil, would then depend upon criteria independent of any god's commands. In further detail ? If God commands an action because it is good; then what is it that makes God good? ...read more.

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