The divine command theory

How is the divine command theory related to ethics and morality? The divine command theory is one of many philosophies of morality and moral behavior. It is a sub-category of moral absolutismwhich holds that humanity is subject to absolute standards that determine when acts are right or wrong.

The divine command theory

References and Further Reading 1.

Divine Command Theory | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

On a law conception of ethics, conformity with the virtues requires obeying the divine law. A divine law requires the existence of God, as the divine lawgiver. Since we have given up belief in God, we should also give up the moral understanding that rests on such belief, and engage in moral philosophy without using such terms.

For Anscombe, this meant that we should abandon talk of morality as law, and instead focus on morality as virtue. Alan Donagan argues against these conclusions. First, he rejects her claim that we can only treat morality as a system of law if we also presuppose the existence of a divine lawgiver.

Second, Donagan contends that neither must we abandon law-based conceptions of morality for an Aristotelian virtue ethic. Given this, if we assume that human reason is at least in principle adequate for directing our lives, then the substance of divine law that is relevant to human life can be appreciated with human reason, apart from any reference to a divine being.

Moreover, according to Donagan, even if we conceive of morality as Aristotle did, namely, as a matter of virtue, it is quite natural to think that each virtue has as its counterpart some moral rule or precept.

And if we can apprehend the relevant moral virtue via human reason, then we can also apprehend the relevant moral law by that same reason. Given the foregoing points raised by Anscombe and Donagan, a divine command theorist might opt for a conception of morality as virtue, as law, or both.

Before looking at some possible advantages of Divine Command Theory, it will be helpful to clarify further the content of the view. Edward Wierenga points out that there are many ways to conceive of the connection between God and morality. A strong version of Divine Command Theory includes the claim that moral statements x is obligatory are defined in terms of theological statements x is commanded by God.

At the other end of the spectrum is the view that the commands of God are coextensive with the demands of morality.

Wierenga opts for a view that lies between these strong and weak versions of Divine Command Theory. In what follows, I will, following Wierenga, take Divine Command Theory to include the following claims: According to Kant, we must believe that God exists because the requirements of morality are too much for us to bear.

We must believe that there is a God who will help us satisfy the demands of the moral law. With such a belief, we have the hope that we will be able to live moral lives.

However, if there is a God and an afterlife where the righteous are rewarded with happiness and justice obtains, this problem goes away. That is, being moral does not guarantee happiness, so we must believe in a God who will reward the morally righteous with happiness.

The divine command theory

Kant does not employ the concept of moral faith as an argument for Divine Command Theory, but a contemporary advocate could argue along Kantian lines that these advantages do accrue to this view of morality.

Another possible advantage of Divine Command Theory is that it provides an objective metaphysical foundation for morality. For those committed to the existence of objective moral truths, such truths seem to fit well within a theistic framework.

That is, if the origin of the universe is a personal moral being, then the existence of objective moral truths are at home, so to speak, in the universe. By contrast, if the origin of the universe is non-moral, then the existence of such truths becomes philosophically perplexing, because it is unclear how moral properties can come into existence via non-moral origins.

Given the metaphysical insight that ex nihilo, nihilo fit, the resulting claim is that out of the non-moral, nothing moral comes. Objective moral properties stick out due to a lack of naturalness of fit in an entirely naturalistic universe.1 Divine Command Theory 1.

Divine Command Theory: This is the view that rightness stems from God’s commands: That is, an action is right if God commands it, and wrong if He forbids it.

On this view, morality is dependent on God. Two Worries for Divine Command Theory While DCT is often appealed to in popular defenses of religion, it’s controversial among religious thinkers. In Christianity, William of Ockham defended DCT, and so did many Protestants, but NLT is a much more common view among Christian philosophers.

Divine Command Theory, or DCT, is the most prominent ethical framework adopted by religious thinkers in modern times.

The idea for them is that it gets them an objective grounding for morality. Divine command theory holds that morality is all about doing God’s will.

God, divine command theorists hold, has issued certain commands to his creatures. We can find these commands in the Bible, or by asking religious authorities, or perhaps even just by consulting our moral intuition. Mar 01,  · Divine command theory - Wikipedia Religion has had a strong influence over molding and shaping our culture and attitudes for centuries.

We have internalized values from religion such as telling the truth, respecting our parents, respecting property, mores of propriety, chastity and so on. Divine command theory (also known as theological voluntarism) is a meta-ethical theory which proposes that an action’s status as morally good is equivalent to whether it is commanded by theory asserts that what is moral is determined by what God commands, and that for a person to be moral is to follow his commands.

Divine command theory - Wikipedia