If there is a God who is liable to command anything, and if our highest loyalty must be to this God, there is no act - save disobedience to God - that we can safely say is out of bounds, no act of a kind that simply must not be done, not even genocide, to use a crime I think most of us would shrink from committing, even if we believed God had commanded it. If this God exists and we must obey him unconditionally, then anything whatever might turn out to be permissible. This view is destructive of morality.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
With God, anything is permissible
I'm busy working through Philosophers Without Gods, a collection of essays by academic philosophers who happen to be atheists, who reflect on their lives and struggles as non-believers. I found the following point in one of the essays quite interesting, written by Edwin Curley, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan. It revolves around the age old question of whether something is right because God commands it, or because it is right for its own sake. He critiques divine command theory on page 88:
Posted: 4:54 pm