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Rachels Chapter 4 Does Morality Depend on Religion?

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Presentation on theme: "Rachels Chapter 4 Does Morality Depend on Religion?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Rachels Chapter 4 Does Morality Depend on Religion?

2 Does Morality Depend on Religion? On the surface, religion seems connected with morality, and atheism seems to have no place for it.

3 Does Morality Depend on Religion? The Divine Command Theory: God decides what is right or wrong – whatever God commands is right, and whatever God forbids is wrong.

4 Does Morality Depend on Religion? The Divine Command Theory: God decides what is right or wrong – whatever God commands is right, and whatever God forbids is wrong. (If God did not command or forbid, then nothing would be right or wrong.)

5 Does Morality Depend on Religion? The Divine Command Theory: Advantages: 1)Solves the objectivity problem for morality. 2)Solves the motivation problem for morality.

6 Does Morality Depend on Religion? The Divine Command Theory: Problems: The Euthyphro Dilemma Plato BCE

7 Does Morality Depend on Religion? The Euthyphro Dilemma Do the gods love something because it is already good, or is something good only because the gods love it?

8 Does Morality Depend on Religion? The Euthyphro Dilemma Do the gods love something because it is already good, or is something good only because the gods love it? GodMorality God Morality

9 Does Morality Depend on Religion? The Euthyphro Dilemma Do the gods love something because it is already good, or is something good only because the gods love it? GodMorality God Morality This abandons the Divine Command Theory

10 Does Morality Depend on Religion? The Divine Command Theory: Something is right or wrong only because God commands it. Problems: 1) How could anyone do this, including God? It’s mysterious.

11 Does Morality Depend on Religion? The Divine Command Theory: Something is right or wrong only because God commands it. Problems: 2) This makes God’s commands arbitrary (without any moral reason).

12 Does Morality Depend on Religion? The Divine Command Theory: Something is right or wrong only because God commands it. Problems: 3) This theory provides the wrong reasons for moral principles (e.g., “Child abuse is wrong”) – if God did not exist, they would not hold.

13 Does Morality Depend on Religion? The Natural Law Theory: 1)Everything has a nature, which includes a specific purpose. 2)The natures of things determine what is good for them to do. 3)Morality knowledge comes from reason, which helps us to discover the natures of things.

14 Does Morality Depend on Religion? The Natural Law Theory: Objections: 1)What is natural is not always good: self-centeredness and disease, e.g.

15 Does Morality Depend on Religion? The Natural Law Theory: Objections: 1)What is natural is not always good: self-centeredness and disease, e.g.

16 Does Morality Depend on Religion? The Natural Law Theory: Objections: 2) You cannot determine how things ought to be just by learning how they are (Hume on fact vs. value)

17 You cannot derive a statement of the form “X ought to be” from any number of statements of the form “X is the case.” David Hume

18 For instance, consider the following argument: P1. People value their own children more than they value the children of others. C. People ought to value their own children more than they value the children of others. The Explanation Question

19 P1. People value their own children more than they value the children of others. C. People ought to value their own children more than they value the children of others. --Even if this conclusion is true, this is a bad argument for it: it moves from an “is” to an “ought”. The Explanation Question

20 Does Morality Depend on Religion? The Natural Law Theory: Objections: 3) Modern science has shown us that not everything has a purpose: things happen because of cause and effect, not in order to fulfill a natural purpose.

21 Does Morality Depend on Religion? Apart from the Divine Command Theory and Natural Law Theory, is there any connection between morality and religion?

22 Does Morality Depend on Religion? Rachels: Consider a particular question, like the morality of abortion. Does religion tell us how we should think about this?

23 Does Morality Depend on Religion? Obstacles in applying religion: A) The moral advice given in scriptures is old, and does not clearly address contemporary problems (workers’ rights, extinction of species, funding of medical research, etc.).

24 Does Morality Depend on Religion? Obstacles in applying religion: B) The scriptures can be ambiguous (e.g., being rich, abortion).

25 Does Morality Depend on Religion? Obstacles in applying religion: C) Tradition can be ambiguous (e.g., Catholic teaching concerning abortion, slavery, women’s rights, the death penalty, etc.).

26 Does Morality Depend on Religion? Obstacles in applying religion: It looks like people first make up their minds about morality, and then look to scriptures or the tradition to back them up.

27 Does Morality Depend on Religion? Rachels’ conclusion: Morality and religion may be connected in some ways, but at bottom they are independent: morality is a matter of reason and conscience, not faith. *The arguments offered here do not assume that any specific religions are true or false.*


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