PHILOSOPHY – Religion: God and Morality, Part 1

PHILOSOPHY – Religion: God and Morality, Part 1


(Intro music) My name is Stephen Darwall[br]and I teach philosophy at Yale University in[br]New Haven, Connecticut. And today I want to[br]discuss morality and God. Is God necessary for morality? Would anything be right or wrong if God did not command or prohibit it? In Dostoyevsky’s “Brothers Karamazov,” the character Ivan says, “If God doesn’t exist, then[br]anything is permitted.” This is a version of the[br]view that is sometimes called the “divine command theory.” The divine command theory[br]holds that morality just is God’s commandments[br]and prohibitions. If there were no God who commands us to act in certain ways, then nothing would be morally right or wrong. Actually, strictly speaking, nothing would be permitted either, despite what Ivan says. The categories of moral right, wrong, and permissibility[br]simply wouldn’t apply. This is the view I want to consider. I’ll be trying to illustrate how the truth of two assumptions, (1) that God exists and (2) that it’s morally wrong to[br]violate God’s commands, do not imply (3) that[br]moral right and wrong just consist in God’s[br]commands and prohibitions. And to make this especially vivid, I will show how if one believes (2), that is, that it’s morally wrong to violate God’s commands[br]for certain reasons, then far from that implying the divine command theory, it actually implies that the divine command theory is false, because it implies that[br]there must be truths about moral right and wrong that are independent of God’s commands. First, however, let’s notice some reasons that one might be attracted to holding the divine command theory. One is that it explains[br]the close connection between the idea of morality and that of law or requirement. What is morally wrong to do is not just what there are[br]good reasons not to do. It is what one is morally[br]obligated not to do. That suggests that[br]morality is a kind of law. And the divine command theory can explain why that’s so: God’s commands create the moral law. Secondly, the theory also explains the contrast between any earthly law, or any society’s mores or morality and what we might call “morality itself,” or “morality with a capital ‘M,'” that is, genuinely obligating moral norms or the truths of moral right and wrong. Consider for example Huck Finn’s quandary in Mark Twain’s novel “Huckleberry Finn,” which is set in Missouri[br]before the Civil War. Huck has become close to[br]Jim, who is a runaway slave. Under the Fugitive Slave Act, Huck is legally required to turn Jim in. And Huck believes also that according to the moral convictions[br]of his time and place he’s morally required to do so as well. Indeed, he thinks that[br]God’s commands require him to do so and that, as he says, he’ll go to hell if[br]he doesn’t turn Jim in. But feeling a profound bond with Jim as a fellow human being, Huck simply can’t bring himself to do so. Now obviously Twain is assuming that his readers will agree[br]with Huck’s expression of common humanity and disagree with Huck’s belief that it would actually be morally wrong not to turn Jim in. even if they also agree that this would be contrary to the morality of the Antebellum South and Missouri. What makes the novel so powerful is that despite himself Huck seems to sense that morality[br]doesn’t actually prohibit, in fact that it may actually require, or at least recommend, that someone in his situation violate[br]the Fugitive Slave Law and oppose slavery, since slavery’s a morally evil institution. The divine command theory could explain this distinction between morality and any society’s laws or mores. Although Huck thinks that God commands us to return a runaway slave[br]or always to obey the law, we may think that God does[br]not actually command that. God commands that people oppose slavery. The divine command theory is an attractive view precisely because it can explain our sense that morality transcends any earthly law or social understanding. Still, that doesn’t show that morality is the same thing as God’s commands, in the sense that if there[br]were no divine commands, then nothing would be right or wrong. Subtitles by the Amara.org community

22 Replies to “PHILOSOPHY – Religion: God and Morality, Part 1”

  1. This should be my youtube name. Wen is in contact with me. Let's set up a google doc or some other medium to have a discussion.

  2. How do you address the contention that God is the "ground" of morality? Craig often contends that the being of God is the basis for objective moral values. It isn't simply that the commands of God are the basis for objective moral values. Then God's commands reflect his perfect nature which is the ground for objective moral value.

    It also occurs to me that Divine Command theory still suffers from a "is-ought" issue as the Apologists are fond of telling Atheist they are subject to. Assuming that God's nature is indeed the ground for moral values and that his commands reflect those moral values, does not obviate that there is an obligation, and ought, to obey those commands.

  3. morals existed before the bible. just look at Egypt and ancient meso America. one may argue that morals existed before written language

  4. He's forgetting the fact that Jesus openly supported slavery and discouraged slaves from running away. So yes, Huck WAS defying god's law.

  5. This is like listening to a child reason. You really think substituting man's law for god's in your argument passes for logical? Lol. If this is what one gets for the enormous expense of a Yale education then they're getting shafted.

  6. Just look 150 years. Ask them if killing a black man is okay, and they'll give you a very different answer than if you asked right now

  7. Good is life, evil is death and sin is a desire to do something that leads to death.
    To be moral, one must be harmless by never enriching yourself upon the misery of another.
    In short, be a pacifist, be a vegetarian and never own more wealth then the poor.

  8. This is the Euthyphro dillemma which has been addressed by multiple apologists.

    It's not that Good > God or that God > Good, the answer is that God = Good, and to deviate from His nature would make him an imperfect being.

  9. Is there morality without God, sure but morality does not equal truth. This is the trick that is played on people all the time. Nazis had their morlaity, the segregated south had their morality, and tortue chambers of Abu Ghraib had it's morality. Morality is just a system of right and wrong. One can easily devise one in his sleep. There is no necessary preasure to make true. This so called dilema is just a carefull reshuffling of the deck. WHAT IS GOOD AND EVIL TRUELY?

    This reminds me of people saying they are spiritual. They think spiritual means good. NO IT DOES NOT! Those who worship satan are spiritual. There is such a things a spiritual wickedness. Saying I am spiritual is no indication of virtue anymore than saying I am physical is a an indication of malice. I know the scriptures use this as short hand for good and evil, but this is hyperbole. Spirituality is just a mode or consistency of being. Believe it or not, hell is a spiritual place. It is not physcial, and it is a dimension that hosts purely spiritual personalites(albeit dead ones) and activities. Curses and hexes are spiritual. Divination is spiritual. The black arts are spiritual. Faith in Christ is spiritual. Praying for the infirm is spiritual. loving your enemy is spiritual. The landscape of spiritual has an east and west. It's not all just one thing.

    This is really just a word game. The real question is about absolutism. Are things absolutely right or wrong? Everyone knows that the answer to that question is yes. We like to pretend we are drowning in nuance and ethical fluidity until you get stabbed in a robbery perpetrated against you. THEN you have all the clarity in the world that you were wronged.

    Atheism is only has the power of taste. They have no anchoring, so the most they can say is that they THINK or FEEL like something is wrong relative to their time and cultural milue. If they say they KNOW they are correct in their diagnosis of a matter as being good or evil, then they must produce evidence that goes outside of themselves. They can not do this without destroying relativism. We can create our own morality, that's easy. We can not make something to be good and evil. Either quality has an intrinsic nature of being that is to be discovered not created. One can observe or participate in already determined qualities of good and evil.

  10. You contributed/presented/represented/displayed/proved/shamelessly/and even yet MIRACULOUSLY showed God justice through your hard and devoted work. I have faith in you and always will due to this video. Never let anything nor anyone detour you from this mindset you have formed creating and publishing this video 💜❤💯

  11. the answer is very simple. yes. morality comes from empathy and basic survival instincts. if you need a god to tell you that murder or other crimes are wrong you are a murderous psychopath and by saying you need religion to be moral you are trying to get us on your pathetic level

  12. If you could stop a child being raped tortured…starved….would you? If your answer is yes than you have more morality than your so called God.

  13. to say good morality requires any one particular god is the greatest foolish joke i've ever heard up to date.

    have theists kept their damn heads in the sand since the beginning of human civilization? All you have to do to find where our current good moralities come from, you so easily only have to look and learn about our history, and i mean the history of all human cultures as far back as we have documentations for, and you will find out what our behavior has been over the course of thousands of years, beginning with humans fighting like animals over land, resources, and fighting each other for the sake of cultural superiorority, and the closer we get to modern times you will find a progression of peaceful cultural interactions which is the cause for those with differences in many areas to have coe together, and setting aside prejudices.

    then you have a progression within cultures where minorities of all kinds have been oppressed, those with different ideals, races, and other matters that have caused controversies within societies for sooo long, and it has been both those who have been oppressed, and others standing by their side to fight these ignorances that societies have been realizing little by little the harm that these prejudices causes on those who have done no harm is causing, and we change our moralities accordingly.

    even reading the bible, you can clearly notice a change in the tone of morality from before the time of jesus, in the days of abraham where barbarism was of the norm, 1st borns being sacrificed to yahweh and other cultures practicing human sacrifice at the time, then to the time of moses where the jews where practicing tribalistic behavior slaughtering neighboring cities and cultures, whereas this was of the norm all over the world in those times anyways, up to the days of Jesus where both jesus and socrates proposed the golden rule.

    It is so appearent that ideals in cultures that when put into practice tend to work like this, rub off on the rest of the world that they reach when other societies notice that these ideals improve both the quality of life for the entire population, and allows the society/culture yhrive much better when more people have more equal rights and respect. Morality is a progression of good thoughts and intentions over time, and at no point did a god ever propose a good set of standards, that assertions is soo full of errors because us humans have had to corrct and improve upon every revelation given by a religious baffoon when they claim a god gave them a set of standards for the rest of humanity to abide by.

    It clearly shows in the revelations proposed by every prophet in the bible who gave a new set of standards, that there is clear evidence that these lunatics did not get their ethics and morality instructions from any god, but it is obvious that when in the mood, these ignorant people were siply instructing their tribe of jews to behave exactly like what they see the rest of the world behaving in their days. barbarism, child sacrifice, and genocide was of the norm in the days of abraham so that was the mindset of the jews in those days, Laws to preserve the people within the cultures like laws to govern the people, hence the laws of moses was of the norm everywhere in the times of moses , and aboloishment of human sacrifice, but genocide to neighboring was permissible, nothing special about that as the rest of the world was progressing in this mannor anyways,

    Then as cultures intermingled after that up to the time of jesus produced morals like the golden rule as proposed by socrates, which predated jesus so this idea would have easily made it's way within the roman empire and jewish community. so nowhere do we find a god making up a set of perfect standards of morality,

    And now look at the good moralities that have been produced by the western world since. While Jesus found slavery to be of the norm in his days, we now realized how oppressive it is from the perspective of those who are the enslaved, and it took civil war in the US to abolish that idea, and watching our success in giving all humans of every race and even gender the same rights, the rest of the world notices how well our country has done and it rubbed off and thus we seen a widespread abolishment of slavery.

    Much of the world has till yet to follow after oyur example, biut most of it has and look at the good it has done sooo many countries. Morality does not come from gods at all, it has always been us humans talking things out and developing good moralities to make life much better for all.

  14. My understanding of the classical theist view is that God simply is goodness itself. There is no distinction. This is how the euphryo delimima is solved, bc it's really a false choice. I think it still holds that without God all morals come down to just subjective or cultural preferences. I like chocolate ice cream you like vanilla, to each their own . I don't like torturing babies for fun, you do, to each their own? I can't hold to each your own in the 2nd case.

  15. Morality is a schematic or blueprint of the structure and function of the universe: how it works and how it doesn't, how it should and should not be used.

    As in: White-Westinghousre makes a toaster, and includes a pamphlet that says "Hey Dumbass: This is a toaster. You put bread in it, toast it, then eat it. That's what it's for . Don't take it into the tub and use it as a bath toy, don't stick a fork in it, and don't put a pair of your wife's crotchless panties on it then fuck it, you pervert. ITS. A. TOASTER! IIIIIIT MAAAAKES TOOOAAAAST. We warned you, don't blame us for the consequences when you don't listen."

    If that pamphlet wasn't in there, you would still get electrocuted when you fucked the toaster in the bathtub, because its a motherfuckin' toaster. The pamphlet, like The Ten Commandments or the Golden Rule, merely describe function and purpose and define proper use . White Westinghouse isn't "punishing" you for disobeying it's arbitrary pamphlet commands when you get fried. They are trying to help you not fry yourself, but instead enjoy yummy toast, dipshit.

    This doesn't mean the toaster came to be from a tornado in a scrapyard rather than being a product of intelligent design.

  16. One atheist wrote and said that he's a good person because he usually opens doors for others and will often help when asked. He obviously sets the bar just low enough that he can step over. That's what will always happen when we get to decide.

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