Religion and Morality

Religion and Morality, A2, Edexcel, 2010


Theonomy: Philosophers

THEONOMY- belife that religion and morality are linked and that morality comes from god.

H.P.Owen- Moral laws are Objective. they exist in all countries. this concludes that there must be something external which creates the conststancy= God.

Plato- Believed in the world of forms (there is a perfect form of everything in another universe) could be used to argue a perfect form of morality and goodness IS God!

C.J.H.Newman- Consience is the voice of God. he described it as "you can not think of a command without a commander".

Aquinas- Good is measured by reference to God. God is therefor nessisary for morality.

Russel- Goodness and morality reflects God.

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Theonomy: Strengths and weaknesses


  • Keeps morality consistant
  • Gives us a Yard Stick inwhich to judge people fairly
  • Intuitionist- could argue that our internal/ innate knowledge of good comes from God.


  • Kant- proof of God is impossible to know
  • there are different and controdicting religious rules = un-clear and confusing
  • Euthyphro Dilemma- does God command good? meaning that it is seperate. OR does Good command God? meaning that it is not god
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Autonomy: Philosophers

AUTONOMY- Religion and morality are seperate and should be seperate

Neitzche- Religion creates a "slave moralty" where suffering and inequality is admired.

Freud- Religion is a form of psychotic illness, enouraging an infentile view. Also, your conscience is the voice of authority figures, like your parents, and NOT God.

Marx- religion is man-made and used by upper classes to control the lower classes, preventing them from rebelling an fighting for equality. He described this as "the opium of the masses".

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Autonomy: Stengths and Weaknesses


  • Autonomy promotes independence
  • Explains how morality changes throughout times and cultures. for example, during the Victorian age it was acceptable for children to wok, in modern society it is immoral for children to work.
  • it is more person centered than centered around God.


  • Habgood- "in a difficult situation, even atheists need more than custom."
  • Natural Law- moral law is written in our hearts, as we are made in God's image.
  • Marx- Marx's ban on religion enforced underground churches in secret. You can not remove religion from society.
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Possible Conclution

In conclution, i belive that autonomy is a more convincing argument than theonomy because i agree with Freuds view that conscience is the voice of authority figures and not God. However, i do belive that to say religion is a form of psychotic illness is to extreme when considering religion and morality. Personally, i belive that religion was needed in the past to give authority tomodern, moral laws, but in a secular, autonomous society religion is not needed.

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Exam example and what needs to be added in it.

1a) What are the grounds for holding the view that there is a fundamental unity between religion and morality? (10 marks)--> in this question you would include infomation from the theonomy and autonomy: philosphers card

1b) State and evaluate the arguments put forward against this view. (15 marks)--> in this question add infomation from strengths, weaknesses and conclution card

all questionsa are simular to this one. Just read the question carefully and good luck.

NOTE: Usefull to be able to apply knowledge of either theonomy and autonomy with weaknesses to Kant, Natural Law or Virtue Ethics!!

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megan smith



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