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Is morality relative? Show more Show less
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Morality informs countless aspects of our lives, from the way we interact with others to the way we think about ourselves. But does our concept of morality objectively reflect absolute ideals of good and evil, or is it a shifting, arbitrary rulebook that varies from culture to culture?

No, morality is absolute Show more Show less

Though humanity's definitions of good and evil may change, objective morality exists outside of time, place, and culture.
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God's will determines morality

The divine command theory argues that an action is good or bad according to whether or not it follows God's will.

Context

Christian doctrine states that the Bible is the word of God, the all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving creator of the universe. While humans are flawed, God is perfect, so only he can truly understand morality.

The Argument

Needless to say, morality is a convoluted topic. Countless theories, from consequentialism to utilitarianism to deontology, try to define “good” and “bad,” but each theory has its own logical shortcomings. For this reason, some people, especially Christian fundamentalists, have realized that our human attempts to grasp and define morality will always fall short. Because of this, we must turn to one whose mind is far more powerful than our own: God. According to Divine Command Theory, also referred to as theological voluntarism, an action is good if it follows God’s will, and bad if it doesn’t. In this view, intentions and consequences don’t matter; as long as we follow God’s will, our way forward in any moral dilemma will become clear. After all, the answers to difficult moral questions are clearly written in the Bible-not just guessed at by flawed human beings. In this way, the Divine Command Theory makes individuals’ moral lives easier by giving them absolute, eternal guidelines, as scripted in the Bible.

Counter arguments

This argument implies that morality is no more than God arbitrarily assigning values to actions. After all, an action is not good because God believes it to be good; it is merely good because he wills it, a seemingly arbitrary determination. According to this view, even if the Bible encouraged murder, Christians would be expected to blindly follow "God's will." Moreover, this argument implies that the Bible explicitly defines right and wrong in every situation, making moral decisions clear-cut and contradiction-free. This is patently untrue. Even if a person attempts to follow the God's word to the letter, moral inconsistencies will abound. For example, two of the most well-known commandments are "thou shalt not lie" and "thou shalt not kill;" but would it be acceptable to lie to save a life? If so, is there a hierarchy of sins? How do we define "lie" and "kill" in the first place? For such questions, the Bible suggests no answer. Finally, if God is not all-knowing or all-loving, we cannot trust his will to reflect true morality. If God does not exist at all, the entire argument is irrelevant.

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Premises

Rejecting the premises

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    This page was last edited on Saturday, 1 Aug 2020 at 19:11 UTC

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