Why a Christian should accept a Divine Command Theory, part 1

If you’re a Christian, you should hold a divine command theory of ethics, and I’m going to tell you why.

As I’ve indicated before, I hold a Divine Command Theory of ethics. That’s the view (or family of views) in which what is right or wrong is what God commands (or forbids). I hold it tentatively in that I don’t think I have anything personally invested in holding this view. I don’t have to hold this view and I really would give it up if I thought the objections to it were any good. As best I can tell, they are not. I’m going to commit the philosophical sin of peering into other people’s motives, but I think that most non-religious criticisms of divine command ethics are really motivated by the critics’ rejection of religious beliefs, and since a divine command theory involves religious beliefs, it must be false (in the critic’s view). Continue reading “Why a Christian should accept a Divine Command Theory, part 1”

Divine commands, double standards and the objection from abhorrent commands

Occasionally, when somebody first hears about divine command ethics (the view that what is right or wrong is what God commands or forbids), the response is one of incredulity: “What? You believe THAT?! So if God commanded you to kill that person over there, you would do it? Really?” And right there, whether the critic realises it or not, there is almost certainly a double standard at work. Read on to see why.

Continue reading “Divine commands, double standards and the objection from abhorrent commands”

Episode 041: The Epistemological Objection to Divine Command Ethics

In Episode 41, I address a common objection to divine command ethics: Does the fact that non-believers can still know moral truths and live moral lives somehow show that morality is not in any way grounded in God’s will or commands? Here I survey some crude versions of this argument and then offer some comments on a more recent presentation of the objection by Wes Morriston.

 

 

Episode 040: God and the Social Nature of Morality

We’ve reached a milestone – 40 Episodes!

Episode 40 is an explanation of Robert Adams’ argument that the social nature of moral obligation supports the claim that morality is ultimately grounded in God.

 

 

Episode 039: Divine Command Ethics

NOTE: In this episode I call it episode 40. It’s not. It’s episode 39.

The podcast is back. Actually, episode 39 was going to be on another topic, but then someone suggested this one to me, so as I already had a document called “episode 039” I called this “document 040.” And then when I started recording it I thought – “Hey, this is the 40th episode. Cool!” and I made a big deal of it in the recording. And then after I uploaded it I realised that since I skipped over the episode 39 that I’m writing, this isn’t really 40 at all, it’s episode 39! So that was an epic fail.

So no sooner do I release another podcast episode, I am making excuses for it! This episode is based on a lecture on divine command ethics that I gave a few years ago at the University of Otago. Enjoy!

 

Episode 004: Parodying Plato

platoEpisode 4 already. One more episode and I’m halfway to 10!

The main feature of this show is an audio dialogue, “A New Euthyphro.” This dialogue is a re-make of part of Plato’s Euthyphro dialogue, with a twist: This time Socrates’ is armed with a little more philosophical acuity than the bumbling Euthyphro that Socrates gave us. This time, the so-called “Euthyphro Dilemma” fails abysmally as an attack on divine command ethics.