Critiques of Religion and Morality

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  • Critiques of Religion and Morality
    • Where does morality come from?
      • From God - theonomous
        • God is the source of moral knowledge
        • God is the motivation to do good
        • God is the source of moral goodness
      • From the individual - autonomous
      • From someone else - heternomous
    • Euthyphro Dilemma
      • Divine Command Theory
        • God --> moral --> humans
        • Critiques
          • Non-religious people must be able to be moral. But, since they don't believe that moral standards are derived from God, how can goodness come from God's command?
          • There is a questionable basis for morality as it is sometimes motivated by a fear of punishment from God
            • Surely it is better for people  obey God out of love, rather than fear
          • Does God forbidding something make it wrong? It could end up trivialise God's law-making authority
          • Some religious believers may focus on a limited range of moral commands which they hold to be at the heart of Go's moral commands and become extreme
          • If God commands something, is it sufficient grounds to say that it is moral?
          • Leibniz - devaluation of the acts of goodness
            • if goodness is solely that which God commands, the n it follows that there is no intrinsic value to a good action
          • Supervenience - moving from a non-ethical belief to an ethical statement (is-ought gap)
          • Wht do we do in situations where God doesn't expressively give a command? (eg: euthanasia)
      • Morals --> God --> humans
        • Critique (there is only one)
          • since God is getting his morals from some other higher being. he is not omnipotent
    • Biblical Morality
      • Kierkegaard
        • Book: 'Fear and Trembling'
        • The Religious Stage-
          • characterised by the individual having a personal relationship with God
            • views faith (subjective) as the highest end (irrational/ paradoxical)
        • It is reasonable for an individual to abandon morality in order to fulfil the demands of faith
        • The 'Teleological suspension of the ethical'
          • We should disregard all morally right and wrongs agreed by the community
            • instead, we put all faith and trust in God, which is a higher 'telos' (purpose)
        • The Ethical stage -
          • the generally agreed stage by the community of what is right and wrong
            • ethical life conforms to community-based rules
              • the rules prescribed by the state, religion and community do not lead you to conform to the will of God
      • Moses
        • killed thousands of men, women (who were not virgins) and children
          • had already received the the Ten Commandments that stated"Do not kill"
          • God ordered Moses, with an army, to kill which contradicts statement in the Decalogue
            • had already received the the Ten Commandments that stated"Do not kill"
      • Abraham and Isaac
        • God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, in order to prove faith in God
        • Is Abraham's act justifiable since it is one man vs. thousands of people?
          • killed thousands of men, women (who were not virgins) and children
            • God ordered Moses, with an army, to kill which contradicts statement in the Decalogue
          • Daphne Hampsn: Sarah (Abraham's wife) would have known that God was testing him, and that you were supposed to question
      • Nietzsche & the slave revolt in morals
        • Slave Morality
          • there has been a terrible event  that has turned human values upside  down
          • slave morality questions the values of the masters and seeks to enslave them too
          • Christians and their successors have supported slavish values like humility, mercy and forgiveness, which seek to topple the rule of the strong
            • Christians came up with morals such as mercy and forgiveness; makes the master conform and become on the same level as the slaves, making the hierarchy be destroyed
              • Marx: opposes with the sense of status and morality
                • rulers are bad and want to suppress the working class
        • Master Morality
          • self automous
          • no place for God
      • Richard Dawkins
        • Critique 1 - Religion is immoral
          • believes that the indoctrination of children is the worst part of religion
          • God of the Old Testament is 'the most unpleasant character in all fiction'
        • Critique 2 - Moral behaviour be based on religion
          • You do not need to be religious to be moral
          • Freud - parents police our moral compass by telling what is right and/or wrong when we are young
          • Nietzsche - slave morality; blindly following morals
          • morality has evolved in order for the continuation of species to occur
      • Psychological
        • Freud
          • We need a father figure but we mistakenly turned to the idea of a perfect being (God)
          • religion stemmed from primitive tribes
            • God becomes the substitute to help humanity deal with actions
        • Jung
          • religion is a natural process that stems from the archetypes within the unconscious mind
            • unconscious mind
              • collective unconscious - common to all humans
              • personal unconscious - individual experiences
    • in the exam, you are asked for to critiques
      • Dawkins - critique 1 and 2
        • Critique 2 also links with psychological, Nietzsche and Euthyphro Dilemma
        • Critique 1 also links with Biblical morality

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