Morality and religion
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Morality and Religion. Big Question. Does morality depend on religion?. Big Answer . NO!. BIG BUT. But Morality can be shaped by religion!. Religion.

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Presentation Transcript

Big question
Big Question

Does morality depend on religion?

Big but

But Morality can be shaped by religion!


  • “Religious justifications are sometimes lumped into the category of “absolutism” and are shrugged off by “rational” philosophers. However, many people hold that moral values SPRING from religious beliefs about the world and that we should not deny these foundations. Indeed, these foundational beliefs should be respected as part of reasonable dialogue. (emphasis added)

    • Moralityplay, Dr. Jessica Pierce

Divine command theory
Divine Command Theory

  • “Morally right” is a matter of being commanded by God and “morally wrong” is a matter of being forbidden by God.

  • The ultimate source for morality is revealed will of God found in scripture– The Bible, the Koran, the Vedas…

The euthyphro dilemma
The Euthyphro Dilemma

  • Does God command things because they are good, or are things good because God commands them?

    Do God’s commands:

    make something right?


    Indicate that is right? (recognize)

If god s command makes it right then
If God’s command makes it right then…

  • Morality is mysterious; that is, morality would be detached from reason and argument.

  • Morality would be arbitrary; aka: Ethical Voluntarism. Anything God commands would be good because he commanded it. (e.g. child abuse/torture)

  • Morality would be dependent on God – and what if God did not exist OR did not speak on it?

If god recognizes what is right then
If God recognizes what is Right then…

  • Morality is based outside of any theological constructs, that is , there is a standard outside of God’s commands.

Alternative divine command theory
Alternative Divine Command Theory

  • The standard IS outside of the commands of God.

  • The standard is the character of God that is reflected in God’s commands.

  • Morality is founded on God’s Character not on God’s commands.

  • God is bound by God’s character to makes “rules” that are consistent with who God is.

  • God’s rules must be inline with general revelation

Declaration of independence

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Self evident
Self Evident

  • A priori knowledge: When you consider it, immediately you know it…to be true or false without need for further proof or reason.

  • It is intuitive

  • Example:

Natural law theory
Natural Law Theory

  • General Revelation

    • Everything in nature has a purpose (Aristotle)

    • What is it?

    • What is it made of?

    • How did it come to exist?

    • What is it for?

  • General, objective, and widely shared moral values: such as, fairness, respect for others, human dignity, justice

Natural laws weaknesses
Natural Laws Weaknesses

  • Natural law not only states how things are but how they ought to be.

  • But some natural things are bad: cancer, self-centeredness

  • Modern science has answered the question of purpose – it is but brute facts – evolutionary randomness

  • It is too anthropocentric