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Religion and Morality

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Introduction

Religion and Morality Ai) Morality as dependant on religion The idea of whether morality and religion are linked or not was first looked upon by Plato, where in his Euthyphro Dilemma he asks, 'Is what is pious loved by the Gods because it is pious, or is something pious because it is loved?' In other words he is questioning whether things are good because God commands them to be, or does God command them because they are good? I will first examine the view followed by theists today, that things are good because God loves them and that religion and morality are linked. There are a number of ways which you can establish a possible link between religion and morality, the first being heteronomously. Heteronomy is the view that morality depends on religious belief, or things derived from religion. The rules in heteronomous societies are from religious authority so will obviously be linked to religion, however a non-religious person is still capable of being heteronomous as they live and abide by the culture's laws therefore adopting a morality based on religion. To a certain extent it is hard to deny aspects of heteronomy, since words like 'good' and 'evil' are shaped by religion. It would be hard to present an ethical theory free from these terms. A theonomous link can also be made, where morality and religion depend on one source (for example, in Western cultures God) ...read more.

Middle

so it can be said that religion is unnecessary There are many autonomous arguments against the DCT, beginning with the fact that God himself is not bound by any moral law. This would mean that God's Ten Commandments could easily have been totally the opposite to what they are, encouraging acts like murder and we would still consider them to be good as God is the epitemy of good. This worrying problem was recognized by philosophers such as G.W Leibniz, who decreed, 'Why praise him for what he has done, if he would be equally as praiseworthy if he had done the contrary?' There is belief that if God had commanded acts such as murder, people still would not do them as we through our intuition feel they are intrinsically wrong. Another difficulty with the DCT lies in the many different interpretations which can be drawn from God. The existence of lots of different religions all with equal claim to God makes it very complicated as we cannot tell which one is right. Also, if morality depends on God then surely it would be impossible for an atheist to live a moral life, but this is obviously untrue as so many atheists do live morally. Further criticisms of the DCT stem from its assumption that God is omnibenevolent, a claim which is not easy to comprehend for the atheist because of the undeniable existence of evil. ...read more.

Conclusion

These set in stone rules are also cause for discussion, as they are obviously inarguable to a Divine Command Theorist. To them, consequentialist views such as killing someone to save a greater number would undisputedly be wrong. Even if our intuition is what is telling us that defying a command is right, the believer in DCT would say it is our intuition at fault; They do, however fail to take into consideration that by their own decrees intuition is given to us by God to live morally, so why would we intuitively want to go against God? Dawkins' arguments suggest that religion is responsible for the most part of evil in the world and his descriptions of people like terrorists as e.g. 'Not psychotic; they are religious idealists who, by their own lights, are rational' certainly make sense. However he makes it seem that no religious person has the capacity to do good, which can easily be refuted at the mere mention of the names Mother Theresa, or Martin Luther King. He also unsurprisingly doesn't mention the likes of atheist like Stalin who birthed communism in Russia. Despite this, the majority of Dawkins views and the massive flaws in the DCT show the latter statement in the initial question ('Is something good because God commands it, or does God command something because it is good?') to be the most convincing of the two. Although the DCT offers a way for humanity to be good, religion itself harbors too many inconsistencies to base everything we stand for on. Anthony Flood 12F ...read more.

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