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Fw: [philosophyfaith] God & Morality

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  • Mark and Bev Tindall
    Shari wrote: ******************************************************* Is the existence of God relevant for moral philosophy?
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 29, 2003
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      Shari wrote:


      *******************************************************
      Is the existence of God relevant for moral philosophy?

      ********************************************************

      Your essay has improved a lot! Well done. :-)

      I have highlighted some of the areas for improvement.


      > Dostoevsky .... Ivan Karamazov in the Brothers Karamazov, �If
      > God is dead, all is permitted.�


      The syllogism (If ... then ..) needs to be explained. Why is all permited if God is dead? Doestovsky's reason does not seem to be explained in your text.



      > Secular ethical theories are in part grounded in religious teachings


      In the West we are living in a postChristian age that steals its nature and form from the past Christian consensus which gave it the freedoms to create itself.



      > They are however, perceived as being absolute commands by the
      > faithful because they do not depend on consequences


      This is more true of fundamentalism than other areas of Christianity (it is certainly not true in Liberal Christianity).



      > God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac (Genesis 22:
      > 1-19). Even to this day, it is perceived to be a command that >requires suspension of beliefs and the intrinsic notion of what is right.
      .........
      > The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard (1813 � 1855) calls it > �a leap of faith,� an act required to achieve authentic being.


      As I stated before, I think you would do well to mention Kierkegard's 'Fear and Trembling' and the various conclusions arrived at by Kierkegaard in the text. Kierkegard is passing moral judgement on God for this command.


      > In essence, the argument posits atheists don�t know that they really > believe.


      I think that needs to be phrased in another way. Rejecting God does not mean that an atheist does not know what they believe. G JK Chesterton says that when people reject God they don't choose something else ... they choose anything else! I think he is wrong. Many choose something they perceive to be better ... though I think it is based on a faulty concept of God.


      > The major challenge in stating good acts are independent of God is > that it conflicts with the concept of His omnipotence.


      I think it is more related to those [Calvinist] theists who believe in predestination (as opposed to free will) rather than it being a problem with God's omnipotence.


      > If the second aspect of the two horned dilemma holds, anything can > be good because God wills it. ... God, in creating right or wrong
      > and good or bad simply by His commands or approval makes all
      > moral acts or values arbitrary.


      Or do you mean ..."makes all arbitrary moral acts or values hold value of either right or wrong' ?


      > how are we to know that is indeed what God wills?


      This is the problem of epistemology. How do we know a transcendent God and any moral commands he / she might give?


      > In Exodus 20:16, God commands us to be truthful. But for this
      > divine command, truth telling is neither good nor bad.


      Moses, as God's representative, tells repeated lies to Pharoah like 'We'll come back! We're going to have a religious ceremony for a couple of days!' ... yet God works through Moses in other ways.


      > The faithful respond to this criticism by saying God would not will
      > or desire such things as cruelty, dishonesty or lying upon us because > He loves us.


      The usual argument is related to the nature or essence of God i.e. God's 'goodness'


      > The truth is within us and this inner ascent requires adequate moral > preparation.


      It also requires both psychic and physical preparation.


      > Noting that Confucianism and Hinduism date back to before the
      > birth of Judaism and Christianity


      Check your dates! Confucious lived (c 550 - 478 BC) which is after the birth of Judaism (usually starting with the arrival of the patriarchs circa 2000 BC). Christianity originally started off as a Jewish sect and is but a continuation of Judaism in an altered form.


      > Even without God or religion, the law of Karma (the Christian
      > concept of �Do unto others as you will have them do unto you�) will > assert itself and all must live with the consequences of one�s actions.


      The Karmic wheel is bit more involved than the Christian Golden Rule (which I would leave out). Your sentence makes more sense without it. Thus: "Even without God or religion, the law of Karma will assert itself and all must live with the consequences of one�s actions."


      > Experience itself teaches us that we have to get in step with moral
      > laws.


      How? Why? Look at the question again.



      > Where does our moral knowledge and moral intuition come from?


      A good question worth pursuing more. Look at the question again.


      > Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) argued that moral knowledge can be > attained by reason alone. .......It does beg the question �Why be
      > moral?� ... For the theist, the answer perhaps is in the promise of
      > divine reward and the threat of divine punishment. For the non-
      > theist, the answer may well be a case of live and let live.


      Is there some benefit for all? Can society punish? Is society always correct?



      > In conclusion, I�d like to suggest that the existence of God is
      > relevant, but not necessary for moral philosophy.


      Have you answered the question? : 'Is the existence of God relevant for moral philosophy?' I think your conclusion is correct. Have you demonstrated your conclusion in your writing above? What evidence have you presented to show the marker that you understand its relevance but not its necessity?

      A good way of making sure you have answered the question and that your conclusion is demonstrated is to mark / colour code a paper copy.

      1. All arguments detailing relevance mark in red (This is part of the question and must be answered!) Are they good arguments? What ae their flaws?

      2. All arguments detailing necessity mark in blue (this is your alternate conclusion) Are they good arguments? What are their flaws?

      3. Anything left over is useless waffle. Delete.

      These sections are how the marker will look at your paper.


      > The burden of proof lie perhaps to a greater extent with the Divine > Command theorists to show that there can be no morality if God
      > does not exist. This remains an enigma.


      It is up to the individual answering the initial question to explore it and posit your own thoughts about it. :-)


      Don't forget to reference your reading in whatever style your university asks.



      Mark

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