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Divine Command Theory

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By emilyhinman
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The Divine Command Theory is a clear theory on how to relate God to morality. The theory states that God commands what is right and what is wrong. Though God does not press his rules upon us, it is said that “if we live as we should, then we must follow God’s laws.” (Rachels, pg. 51) Though someone might believe in the existence of God, it is possible they can reject the Divine Command Theory. With examples such as the Euthyphro question, the Arbitrariness objection, and God’s authority, it makes it possible to reject this theory.

One positive outlook to the Divine Command Theory is that people don’t need to reason about what is right or wrong and they do not need to reply on emotions because what they need to do is follow God’s commands. For example, God has commanded to be kind to thy neighbor, so with that command, why listen to instincts when we can listen to the words of God? If God had commanded us to do one good deed per day, that’s what we must listen to, not our own basic instincts on the matter.

One problem with the Divine Command Theory is made evident by the famous quote: “Is an act holy because the gods command it, or do the gods command an act because it is holy?” This question is known as the Euthyphro question. Socrates’s question is about “whether God makes the moral truths true or whether he merely recognizes that they’re true.” (Rachels, pg. 52) As you can see, each of the dilemma’s horns presents a problem for the Divine Command Theory. If what is morally good is commanded by God because it is morally good, then this makes God just a middleman between humans and objective moral standards. If God is commanding these things because they are good, they must be good in virtue of some standard that is outside of or apart from God himself. Thus, the Divine Command Theory is simply wrong because what is morally good is not good because God…...

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