• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Hard determinism and the religious approach to ethical living are not compatible"

Extracts from this document...


Hard determinism and the religious approach to ethical living are not compatible" Hard determinists hold the view that all our actions are completely governed by previous events: all actions stand at the end of a complex network of prior events, this network includes sociological, psychological, political, religious and cultural influences. The sum total of all these influences is enough to determine all our future actions. The implication of this would be that a person cannot be held morally responsible for their actions. John Locke (1632-1704) uses the idea of the man "locked room" that chooses not to leave the room and upholding the belief that he could in fact exit the room if he wished, to show how all moral chooses are illusionary. Spinoza also wrote on the issue of illusion of freedom, "men think themselves free on account of this alone, that they are conscious of their actions and ignorant of the causes of them." ...read more.


It seems Therefore that these two beliefs are like repelling forces. Determinism destroys human responsibility. If God is the cause of all human actions, then human beings are not morally responsible. One is only responsible for a choice if there was free will to avoid making it. All responsibility implies the ability to respond, either on one's own or by God's grace. Ought to implies can. But if God caused the action, then we could not have avoided it. Hence, we are not responsible. Determinism renders praise and blame meaningless. Similarly, if God causes all human actions, then it makes no sense to praise human beings for doing good or to blame them for doing evil. For if the courageous really had no choice other than to show courage, why reward it? If the evil had no choice but to commit their crime, why punish them? ...read more.


But this is impossible, for in that case God would be giving a desire against God. God would be in effect against Himself, which is impossible. Therefore Christians argue we must have free will and make ethical choices. However the religious approach to ethical living is also in question. As a Christian only lives an ethically correct life: out of fear of divine retribution or sense of guilt if they disobey religious laws. Therefore actions are not done due to the person innately wanting to produce a good deed but in fear of the consequences of their actions. You cold go as far to argue that fundamentals of the Christian belief are selfish an completely un ethical as good acts are only carried out in order to preserve oneself and achieve a place in heaven. In conclusion, hard determinism and the Christian approach to ethical livings are, for the most part incompatible on the subject of ethical living. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Practical Questions section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Practical Questions essays

  1. "It is impossible to reconcile any kind of determinism with the concept of freewill." ...

    But can you tell that this pleasurable feeling is mediated by dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens? You certainly cannot. Freewill is the doctrine that human choices are not predetermined, we are self-determined, not (ultimately) subject to forces outside of our control - it means, we could have done otherwise.

  2. Humans are Eternal Beings

    An implication of this is that the two are in conflict, or can be in conflict with each other. Plato compares this with a charioteer - the soul tries to guide the mind and body together like two horses rather than allowing them to contradict and be pulled in opposite directions.

  1. Capital Punishment

    Within the Christian traditions, many versions of the argument exists but the basic proposition is always the same, that 'life is sacred and given to humans by God'7. So God created human beings in his own image'8. Therefore each human being must be holy because they are made in God's

  2. Examine and comment on Christian beliefs about homosexuality

    torn between the script and word of the Bible and today's modern society. They also are currently debating whether to condone gay priests and gay marriage. The United Methodist Church instructs "homosexual persons are no less human than heterosexual persons, as individuals of sacred worth...although we do not condone the

  1. In what sense (if any) was Machiavelli's approach to politics 'scientific' rather than 'moral'?

    In order for him to solve the immediate problem or at least to understand it, it was not enough for him to find a moral standing, he had to search for a scientific solution. It was this desire for strong absolutist governments in Italy that would withstand pressure from Europe

  2. Discuss the claim that ethical and religious language is meaningless.

    For Ayer, the statement "abortion is wrong" is just making some primitive noise, it is without meaning. "A strictly philosophical treatise on ethics should make no ethical pronouncements". This principle of verification certainly challenged the notion that ethical and religious statements have meaning, but the resulting debate brought out some significant weaknesses in the principle itself.

  1. Our freedom to make ethical choices is only an apparent freedom. Discuss

    However even though these laws are in place I still have the power to break them therefore making me free. Merovingian: Please Mon Cherie, I have told you, we are all victims of causality. I drank too much wine, I must take a piss.

  2. Assess the claim that Free Will and Determinism are compatible

    Both Darrow and Honderich's form of Hard determinism becomes problematic when taking into account that human beings cease having any responsibility for their actions, meaning that nearly anyone can be condoned for any crime. Starkly opposed to Hard Determinism is Libertarianism, with which the idea of free will is wholly advocated.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work