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The Divine Command Theory

Discussion in 'The Philosopher' started by StocktontoMalone, Jul 9, 2007.

  1. Seditious

    Seditious GodSlayer

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    apart from the command, and our entire design consistent with that command. We would be supposing 'chocolate wouldn't taste good if God had told us chocolate shant taste good, though our tastebuds remain the same.

    and he could have created a world where that was indeed such a good thing (he could have invented a world where you would love to be gangraped by black convicts, that doesn't mean it's arbitrary in context to the world as it is, you as he has made you, that rape is wrong, and sodomy is a sin.

    and no more reason to design the world where murder is a sin than the world where murder isn't a sin, but in the world where murder is bad rather than good, where people are so designed as to not want to be murdered, it isn't arbitrary which way his command goes, for it's merely sticking to logic to follow with a command against murder unto creatures which don't like being murdered.

    what would be nonsense would be god creating life to be good and commanding us to die, his goodness is in giving us an idea of the goo,d and commanding us to do what is good for us as a parent does.

    and if there is no God, what could it mean to say that nature conveys to us what is good? if 'z is good' simply means 'nature makes z seem good', then 'the natural revelation of good' would mean only that 'natural revelation of good is just the good that is revealed by nature. I guess that means what smells like shit to us is arbitrarily bad, it may as well smell like dinner as it does to a worm or a maggot... our perception of good and bad is arbitrary but for our being so composed that unto us it is good or bad.
     
  2. Seditious

    Seditious GodSlayer

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    no, I agree God commands the good which he himself invented, meaning he could have made good otherwise and then commanded it so.

    That good rests on nothing but the powers of God who is it's creator is radically different to saying 'God could either command good or bad, he can't decide what is good or bad, only support it or not.'

    the question isn't whether god could command the bad if he wanted to (which seems to be your attempt at combining the two) but whether he himself decided what that which would be bad to command is or whether it existed before and independent of him.
     
  3. JColtrane

    JColtrane Member

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    Well, going back to the original, I don't see how it is incompatible to say that something is right because God said it was so, and God (out of love for his creation), says stuff because it is right.
    But, if I can at least get a glimpse of what you are saying, that the question really is whether good and evil exist independently of God or not, that I would have to say is not necessarily an aspect of the original question.
     
  4. StocktontoMalone

    StocktontoMalone The Cynical Realist

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    The fact remains that when asked the question I have posed in the first post, that only one of the choices can be picked. If you pick the first, you are bound to it's consequences. If you pick the second, the same follows.

    There are pratfalls with both examples.....

    Either god says something is right because he says so(JUST because he says so, nothing else comes into the decision)

    OR

    He says so because it is right( a standard of right and wrong independent of his will.)


    Think of it this way: Do you need god telling you murder is wrong, or does the act itself lend itself to being bad?

    and secondly, we've all heard, 'Because I said so' from our parents, without an explanation. Didn't sound to good then, and it doesn't now. Nothing is right or wrong JUST because someone SAYS SO. It has intrinsic value. It is either good or bad.
     
  5. OldScratch

    OldScratch Member

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    First of all, I don't recall saying anyone was irrational. Nevertheless, it is indeed the theological presupposition cited that vexes me and your response only re-confirms why! In fact, I was merely trying to point out that such arguments seem to require a rather significant "leap of faith" in terms of accepting theology on some level in and of itself in the first place, in order to work through these particulars about what is truly intended therein. Scripture, if you will, is one gigantic presupposition from which all this endless debate flows. In terms of philosophical discussion, I find that interesting and not a little curious. In other words, one can only really argue these things within the context of theology in order for them to be meaningful - outside those parameters it has no objective meaning at all really.

    My worldview may indeed presuppose this and that, I don't deny this and to the best of my knowledge I am all too human. However, I am just as certain that many here would and do challenge those views for their veracity and substance left and right. Were I to argue that my view is valid or substantial because some ancient text proclaims it so, I suspect more than a few would take issue with why that should be accepted as such and according to what or whom it was so.
     
  6. Seditious

    Seditious GodSlayer

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    the incompatibility would be your use of the word "Because"

    the 'cause' of it's being right either is God's saying so, or not. Either the source of the property of 'wrongness' or 'rightness' is caused by God saying so, or caused before God to which God can only be evil and command bad things like a tyrant, or submit himself to what is good, approving of what is good, but being unable to himself decide what is to be good, where for him to say 'this is what I command you to do, this is what is good' he is merely the messenger limited in power, like a scientist telling us the earth revolves around the sun, but not actually causing the earth to revolve against the sun.

    unless you're suggesting a miraculous jinx occassion where nature made right and god gave his own opinion of what is right simultaneously, and they both happened to say the same thing... yet were it not for god, that right would not have come into existence by nature alone, and were it not for nature gods saying so wouldn't have created it actually being so... lol I think that crosses the borders of ridiculousness (and in any case asserts that your god would be dependent, and his moral word contingent on other things, so that obviously can't be the case)
     
  7. JColtrane

    JColtrane Member

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    I see what you're trying to say, but I think you're making the first sentence more exclusive than it really is. 'God says things because they are right' does not necessarily entail that right and wrong existed before God (as I have been saying, it could mean that He simply loves the creation He has made).
     
  8. Seditious

    Seditious GodSlayer

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    I really can't get my head around that, I don't see how it is not exclusive---if God says what is right because he is loving, either he is conveying that which he invented as right or that which preexisted as right. I don't see how God's intention is supposed to make compatible the two possible origins of right there in question.
     
  9. JColtrane

    JColtrane Member

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    Well, if we're talking about origins of right, there can only be one answer, for sure.
    I was just saying that after right had originated from what God said, it is certainly possible that He could say things because they are right out of his love for creation.
     
  10. Seditious

    Seditious GodSlayer

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  11. StocktontoMalone

    StocktontoMalone The Cynical Realist

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    Now if we pick the second statement as true, we run into another set of pitfalls....

    If we take this option, God's commands turn out to be not arbitrary. They result in him knowing what is best. And the concept of the goodness of God is sustained. To say that his commands are good means that he commands only what, in perfect wisdom, he sees to be the best. And this option leads to accepting that the theological notion of right and wrong must be abandoned. Cause if we say that God comands us to be faithful because faithfulness is right, then we are admitting that there is some standard of right and wrong that is independent of God's will. We are saying that God recognizes or sees that faithfulness is right - this is very different from him making it right. TThe rightness exists prior to and independent of God's command, and it is the reason for the command.

    Many religious people believe that they should accept a theological concept of right and wrong because it would be impious not to do so. They feel like if they believe in God they should think about right and wrong defined in terms of his ultimate will. And this argument suggests otherwise in that it suggests that, on the contrary, the divine command theory of right and wrong itself leads to impious results, so that a pious person should not accept it.

    I guess theologians have their work cut out for them........
     
  12. JColtrane

    JColtrane Member

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    Well, I took the first option (albeit with my own sort of modification), so I guess that's one way of avoiding the pitfalls :)
     
  13. speed

    speed Member

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    Almost all of classical Greek philosophy was a reaction to the central idea of this thread: the Greeks found truth without God, and so has philosophy since.


    This break with the Greeks is important to philosophy and western civ, as God or the divine at that time in ancient history, was generally seen or understood as embodied in the king or tyrant, or God-granted special divine rights on to such rulers as well; thus the law of the tyrant was divine law, just like God's, and thus infallible.
     
  14. JColtrane

    JColtrane Member

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    I think the second half of your statement is more of a Roman than Greek type of thinking.
     
  15. OFTHEBORG

    OFTHEBORG New Metal Member

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    I might have shown up a bit late, and I might seem a bit simple minded in my response. But from what I understand, I believe you're referring to God as He's made Him character known through the Biblical narrative. Am I correct?

    Knowing what I know about God, goodness cannot be seperated like this from His person. God does not only know good, and right from wrong. He is Goodness. Good cannot exist seperate from Him. It was not here before Him, because He is, and He did not Create it, because it is who He is. For him to say that something that is not Good is now Good because He says so betrays His character. He cannot do that, because He is Goodness. It might be hard to grasp, but it really is a simple concept.

    And as far as theology only being tangible within it's own boundaries, I'm interested in knowing why that is?

    I'm also intrigued to know that Greek philosophy is deferred to when it was responsible for quite a bit of the dark aged philosophies of the stifling midieval society, when the biblical accounts actually point to a much more scientifically enlightened antiquity.Quite often being challenged by quite a few of the noted fathers of modern science, that just happened to also be Christian themselves. Granted there were miracles throughout history, but miracles are miracles, and neither detract nor support the scientific and historical validity of the Text as the most reliable document in existance. Even now it's still continually being validated by new archeological discoveries world wide.

    I'm not entirely sure if I'll be back here. I just saw an interesting dialog and figured something wasn't being said. Most of the time I've discovered the age old saying about arguing online to be true. Think about what I said if you want, or glaze over it if you want. EIther way, enjoy. =)
     
  16. Seditious

    Seditious GodSlayer

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    to say "he is good" may mean little more than "he is so pure as to never do what is not good, like even the most good of men do". I don't see why it would need to mean 'he is built of goodness atoms to the core and thus he is good as we are flesh'
     
  17. Norsemaiden

    Norsemaiden barbarian

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    Many people never get beyond level one, stage one on Kohlberg's theory of moral reasoning. It would be illuminating to consider how such a person would think in regard to this question - assuming that they are a Christian.

    Yes, something is right because God says so. Utter confusion regarding the second part, which they can't properly understand, namely "does God say so because it is right?". They would say the answer there is "yes" as well, but wouldn't be able to distinguish a difference in their minds between the two questions.
    To someone of this mentality, things are wrong because they have been declared so by someone in high authority - and should this authority subsequently either declare the act no longer forbidden, or if the Christian is informed by the priest that God does not forbid it, then the act immediately goes from being immoral to being acceptable.
    Morality is defined by punishment.

    Conventional Christianity contains a code of morality in which transgression will result in the punishment of going to Hell, and that is WHY transgression is wrong, while obdedience results in going to Heaven and that's WHY obedience is right.

    The individual may recieve forgiveness when they do something they know is not allowed and show sufficient remorse (or undergo a punishment).

    It is the stage of morality that every child passes through at an early age whereby an act is wrong BECAUSE the parent will punish them for it.

    There would be no point in the religion if individuals felt that deciding moral righteousness was something they could or should do for themselves. The religion requires that only God can make such a distinction.
     
  18. Scourge of God

    Scourge of God New Metal Member

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    This has always seemed to me to be the primary error of most failed moral systems. The guilt culture of Judaism/Christianity/Islam - despite its focus on the inner conscience of the individual (rather than collective public perception) - is in this sense fundamentally akin to the shame cultures of Confucianism/Buddhism/Shintoism: in both 'East' and 'West', the focus of morality is negative, that is, 'moral' behavior is concerned not with larger principles, but with avoiding the violation of taboos. In this view, the passive, useless peasant who contributes nothing to the world, but never trangresses the arbitrary boundaries of 'evil' is seen as a saint, and the heroic leader who liquidates human parasites to better the whole is seen as monstrous.

    This, of course, is insanity in action. In healthy societies (for instance, Indo-European cultures prior to the imposition of Semitic patterns of behavior in the early centuries of the Common Era), this is reversed. Such societies instead favor a positive morality in which the 'good' man is the man who makes the world better for the whole of society, rather than a negative morality tied up in the minutiae of means. This is real morality. A holistic morality. A morality based upon the tangible and the functional. This is a morality that looks at actions not in isolation, but in the totality of their context and their results. Anything else is self-delusion and borders on mass psychosis.
     
  19. kmik

    kmik Member

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    Reminds me of Raskolnikov. It is very interesting but I think that it ultimately leads down a dangerous road. First of all, how do we know who is allowed to commit crimes in the name of higher ideals? Both the Nazi party and the Khmer Rouge committed crimes in the name of ideology. How do we know who to punish? How can we make sure noble people are not victims of this? Also, 'passive' morality does not mean excellence is not rewarded. It only defines rules which you cannot break, but Beethoven and Einstein didn't have to kill anyone to achieve what they did.

    I think the solution is a combination of the two systems. To maintain order, and since ideals could be used as a justification for any crime, there must be some rules. However, achieving positive results without having to violate those is true greatness.
     
  20. Scourge of God

    Scourge of God New Metal Member

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    It doesn't seem to me to be a question of 'no rules' or honor-based morality. It's just that in healthy value systems, the rules are interpreted in the context of actions, not actions in the context of rules.

    You might meditate for a while on the story of Odysseus in this context...
     

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