Religion and Morality

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  • Created by: Liv1996
  • Created on: 08-04-14 14:19
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  • Religion and Morality
    • The euthyphro dilemma- Is what is pious loved by the Gods because it is pious or is it pious because it is loved?
      • Moral rules are true by virtue of being commanded by God is called Divine Command Ethics
      • Emil Brunner- 'The good consists in always doing what God wills at any moment'
      • Is anything not defined as good or bad by God neither?
      • Surely murder is intrinsically bad? (arbitrary)
      • A.J.Ayer- 'No morality can be founded on authority, even if the authority were divine'
      • Gottfried Leibniz comments 'it seems to be that one destroys' without realising it, all the love of God,and all his glory. For why praise him for what he has done if he would be equally praiseworthy in doing exactly the contrary?'
      • However, if absolute moral rules are true in themselves we are left with no religious reason to be good.
    • Is religion immoral?
      • Religion is bad for humanity, citing crusades and inquisitions as evidence for the immorality of religion.
      • Prevents the improvement of human civilisation- Bertrand Russel
      • David Hume wrote 'Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy are just ridiculous'
      • But a lot of good has happened because of religion. Mother Teresa was inspired by her religious beliefs. The abolition of slavery in the UK was strongly due to Christian convictions. And Martin Luther Kings was also inspired by religion.
        • Where religion has been suppressed (Nazi Germany and Stalin's Russia) horrendous injustices and crimes took place
      • St Augustine wrote, 'God is not the parent of evils... Evil exists by the voluntary sin of the soul to which God gave free will.
    • Religion and Morality are linked
      • Immanuel Kant argued that morality supports religion- he dismissed trying to prove God but there is something about morality which makes it reasonable to believe in God
        • Our goal is the summum bonum, which cannot be achieved in one lifetime, need an afterlife
      • John Henry Newman argued that feelings of responsibility and guilt point to God
      • D.I..Trethowan suggests that an awareness of obligation is an awareness of God
      • H.P.Owen writes that it is impossible to think of a command without also thinking of a commander
    • Religion is a reason to be moral
      • Dostoyevsky- 'without God everything is permitted'
      • Justifies a set of moral absolutes and saves us from moral relativism
        • We could act without God, to do our duty to others, maybe on the basis of harmony, or the desire to have a civilised society
          • But we could also act selfishly and look after our own best interests
      • Mackie- If there was no judgement, heaven or hell, then there might be instances in which immorality was in our best interests
        • Are we being good for the right reason?
      • D.Z.Phillips- 'To be a Christian, to do one's duty is to do the will of God'
        • But why? 1. God has the full picture of what's best for humanity when laying down the moral rules. 2. He created us 3. He is our superior and His orders must be obeyed
      • Rachels maintains that such obedience is inappropriate for a moral agent. He concludes that a being such as God can't exist, as no God that requires a human being to abandon his or her moral autonomy is worth worshipping.
        • Maybe God doesn't require us to abandon our moral autonomy. maybe he wants us to work out what is the right thing to do- Joseph Fletcher- situation ethics
    • Ways forward
      • Mackie has suggested one solution, which is to maintain that moral truths exist independently but are the product of the creative will of God, who has made humans for which these rules are right. Just as humans were created by God but are now free and separate from God.
      • James Rachels- suppose that a leader commands a follower to do something. The follower performs the action, not because he is oredered to do so, but because he thinks that the action in itself is right. in this situation the rightness of the moral action isn't conferred because it's commanded by God. The rightness of the action comes from the fact that it's right in itself.


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