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Moral laws require a law-giver—God•“Divine Command Theory” (DCT)—Morality is created by God:An act is morally required just because it is commanded by God and an act is immoral just because God forbids it•Question: Does God command actions because they are morally right, or are actions morally right because God commands them?•This is a version of the “Euthyphro Problem”
Against Moral laws require a law-giver—God(1)If actions are morally right because God commands them, then God creates morality (DCT)(2)If God commands actions because they are morally right, then God relies on an already existing morality in issuing commands•We have strong reasons for preferring (2) over (1)•On (1) God does not permit or forbid actions because they are right or wrong—there is no right or wrong until the command is made•But then the commands are arbitrary•And if God’s commands are arbitrary, then God is imperfect
Against Moral laws require a law-giver(1)Either God has reasons for His commands or God lacks reasons for His commands (DCT)(2)Suppose that God lacks reasons for His commands (3)Assuming (2), God’s commands are arbitrary(4)If God’s commands are arbitrary, then God is imperfect (5)Suppose that God has reasons for His commands(6)Assuming (5) then it is the reasons and not the commands that explain why actions are right and wrong (7)If the reasons and not the commands explain why actions are right and wrong, then Divine Command Theory is false(8)So either God is imperfect or the Divine Command Theory is false(9)It is not the case that God is imperfect(10)Therefore, the Divine Command Theory is false
Moral laws require a law-giver—God•If God’s commands are supported by reasons, and the reasons explain the rightness and wrongness of actions, then the absence of God does not entail an absence of morality•“God is not needed to create the moral law; indeed a perfect God is one who fully understands, embraces, and adheres to a moral law not of his own making” (65).•So the argument we opened with is mistaken
Religion is required for moral guidance•If the last section is right and God is not the creator of morality, is it even possible for religion to provide moral guidance?•Yes—even if God is not the author of the moral law, if God exists then he perfectly understands an existing moral law•In that case, God’s commands would perfectly match an existing moral law•Even if we reject DCT it may still be the case that an act is morally required if God permits it and is immoral if God forbids it•Does that make any sense?