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What Makes An Action Morally Good (or Bad) ? - Divine Command Theory

"Is an action morally good because God commands it, or does God command it because it is morally good?"

Reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_command_theory

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The beauty of my own personal position is, i do not need to know - "for certain" -  how it came about. It is not that relevant to my own evolution in this reality that i am in. So, what is the relevance of that question you posed? A religion claiming to know how the universe came about has never won anybody with an iota of discernment in their souls over. It gives no religion any validity whatsoever because the christian view about how the universe and everything in it came about is nothing more than just another version amongst a multitude of versions of the creation myths all over the planet. My God did it! Or our God(s) did it! That's what you all are saying, basically.

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If what you believe in cannot explain how you came to be don't you think the probability of it being true is extremely remote?

If you do not have 100% knowledge of the history of the universe, life and mankind then you are in no position to say any theory of creation is a myth except (as I mentioned before) the theory has internal inconsistencies.

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We are not talking about different things at all, you seem to want to make it look as if we are but we aren't. . .Again you are not stating the truth when you declare that the mother of the twins didn't want her babies to die. . .We know very well about mothers that VERY gladly hand over their witch children to be killed because the society frowns at witch craft. . . . .The mothers back then gladly gave their twins to be killed because according to the moral values at that time the children were evil and of no good to the family and the society as a whole, mothers gladly gave off their twins to be killed so that evil will not befall them. . . . .

This is a LIE. . . .A documentary I watched some years ago on national geographic showed how a local Aboriginal tribe used to kill their neighbors and eat their flesh because they believed it will make them better hunters. . . .Lets take the endearment to sharia law for example, a lot of muslims believe that a person deserves to be stoned to death for adultery, they see nothing wrong with that and believe its morally acceptable and also the best form of justice. . . .

A lot of people feel no remorse for killing others. . . . .

Children have little or no sense of morality at all. . .If a child is brought up in a society that accepts and believes that eating its neighbors will make them better hunters then that child will grow to accept that culture and will not find anything wrong in that. . . . .If a child grows in a society that accepts killing of infidels as a divine injunction that child will have no regrets when he kills infidels. . . . .Children have NO sense of morality that is why parents and the society spend a lot of time and resources teaching them the difference between right and wrong and acceptable societal values. . . . .

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Do you know for certain how the universe came into being, how life was formed and how human beings came to be?

If you do not know all the above then you do not have enough information to be able to conclude that creation as described by the bible is a myth except if creation as described by the bible contains irreconcilable contradictions such that it is rendered untrue by the law of non-contradiction.

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Logic1, that Christianity "is the only way" does absolutely nothing to explain how the universe came into being, how life was formed and how human beings came to being. Christianity is based on a creation myth just like all the other religions and there are many of those creation myths flying around. Take your pick. I just want to point that out.

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@mazaje

You have said that Christianity is not the right way.

Please for the benefit of everyone please post what you think is the explanation of how the universe came into being, how life was first formed and finally how human beings came into existence.

Of course for your theory to be considered correct it must explain every phenomena we observe today.

I accept a certain level of credulity in accepting that God exists because I have not been able to explain many observable phenomena outside of the existence of God.

For you to prove that I am really credulous you must explain all the phenomena that I will post.

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That God allows something does not mean it is His Law

Jesus said that even though God allowed divorce for the jews, it was not His perfect will (note that proceedings for divorce were in the code as the proceedings for war were)

If divorce was not God's perfect will then maybe war is not God's perfect will.

I believe God was constrained in His dealings with humans because humans were incapable of adhering to His laws.

God did not bend His perfect Laws to accommodate humans, He simply created a way for them to atone for breaking the laws. One would notice that irrespective of whether anyone transgressed (broke a law) or not the High priest was supposed to offer up a special sacrifice once a year for everyone. Since this special sacrifice did not absolve a transgressor from atoning for is transgressions separately, I would imagine that this sacrifice is the atonement for using a justice code that was not God's perfect law.

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I'm sorry, we are clearly talking about different things.

In your twin babies illustration, the current practice (code of justice) was to kill twin babies but the mother of the twin babies knew that she didn't want her babies to die that would be the sense of morality I'm talking about.

Our sense of morality dictates that killing a human being is bad unless possibly in self defense (situation of war).

Even during a war rookie soliders still feel a sense of guilt after their first kill and they keep thinking "should I have killed that person?", "did the person I killed pose an immediate threat to me?", "could I have done without killing the person I just killed?"

I'm sorry, Maybe I'm the one that introduced the different meaning.

Children have a sense of morality similar to the way a primary one student knows the basics of science 1+1 = 2. That is not enough for survival and were the child to be left to himself the myraid of influences to make wrong choices (regardless of whether the child knows they are wrong or not) would most certainly overwhelm the child.

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But in a situation where the laws are Imperfect and wrong, it isn't consistent with a Perfect God,

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You just keep regurgitating this blind statement without demonstrating how. . . . .You claim your God is perfect, How is he perfect and how does he love humans?. . . .

In the bible we have good leading his chosen men to go and do evil acts, no?. . . . .

Again you keep repeating very blind statements. . . . . .I really don't have time for any theological brouhaha, but why should any body accept the Christian hypothesis?. . . .

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You just seem to be shooting your self in the foot and going around in a meaningless circle. . . .You aforementioned that morality does not evolve, which is a very FALSE statement. . . . .Right and wrong differs from culture to culture and from society to society. . . .Right and wrong also evolves. . . .What might be right today might be wrong tomorrow and what might be wrong today might be right tomorrow. . . .Morality is NOT intrinsic it has to be learned through experimentation and by experience. . . .Let me give u and example, long ago some tribes in Nigeria used to kill their twin babies and they saw nothing wrong with that, they never saw anything wrong with that action, they had to be thought to stop it. . . . If morality were intrinsic  as you erroneously claim then why do parents spend a lot of time, effort and resources teaching their children the difference between right and wrong? I would expect all children to know  the difference between right and wrong automatically if morality were intrinsic. . . .

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God is not only Perfect. God Loves us.

If God didn't love us He'd exterminate us in a whim because we deserve to be exterminated if you consider how evil mankind has become.

God loves us so even though He is perfect He created ways for the jews to atone for their imperfect actions temporarily before Jesus came to atone for all of mankind once and for all.

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They where captured for petes sake and forrced into marriages and sexual intercourse against their will. That is despoil.

no wrong and what I have committed is not murder?

yes. We are discussing if the justice code of the jews where flawed or not and from what we see, It was GREATLY FLAWED. The singular fact that it failed to recognise forceful marriage and s.ex as r.ap.e shows how flawed it was.

1. Situation 1 reminds me of colonialists in Nigeria and some other states. Nigerians didnt go around comitting genocide because the whites consider us inferior slaves did they?

2. Even before the advent of the world court, Nations still had dialogue and resolved squabbles peacefully! It wasn't unheard of.

There is NO EXCUSE. Even right there thousands of years ago, notions had dialogues by sending emissaries with gifts, tributes etc !!

If you apply it to the idea therez a supreme law giver then This is untrue and inconsistent. Ultimate Laws of God cant be enacted based on what is conveinient.

What is right is right and what is just is just in the eyes of GOD; not so?. Ae you saying God changes his mind as to what is right and what is wrong?

A perfect law should not care if people are perfect or not. It stands irrespective of anything. It bends for no one. A perfect being like God shouldn't be able to lower his standards. If it can, then its inconsistent.

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NO! morality is not evolving.

It is Human Justice codes that are evolving.

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Yes God is leading the charge in sanitizing the world. He sent Jesus to die in our place so that we may be able to live right.

What most people do not realise is that making people live right is not simply a case of establishing the right laws.

Humans have to be (born-again) to be able to live perfectly.

I am currently explaining in the process of explaining why Christianity is the right way on another thread (which will include a proof of the above statement) and so I won't want to repeat myself.

http://www.nairaland.com/nigeria/topic-552049.99999.html

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And what does that tell you?. . . Doesn't this tell you that morality is not set in stone but keeps evolving?. . . . .People set and enforce their own moral values all the time, and its always changing. . . .Moral values and set by humans not by imaginary Gods. . . .

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Yes dialogue was not invented today.

What I think you may have overlooked is that there can only be dialogue if both parties recognize each other.

When you have a situation where one of the parties views the other as (just a group of slaves) then where do you start from?

When the situation is such that only one person can own a set of resources and there is no higher arbitrating power like what we have in the World court today, on what basis do you have dialogue?

Dialogue in ancient times was very different from what we refer to as dialogue these days.

All I am trying to say is that the justice code the jews followed during the time of moses was the most appropriate for their peculiar situation even though it may not have been perfect. The reason it would not be perfect in every sense is that because of the fallen state of mankind they would not be able to keep the laws.

A perfect law is only practical for "perfect" people and a in a perfect world!

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I always want to be logical in my arguments but I'm not perfect. If you notice any illogicality please point it out to me.

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Another thing to note is that if God had given them a "perfect" justice code to live by, it would have been incompatible with their present living conditions.

Jesus (refering to one of the laws of moses) said that that part of their code was given to them because of the hardness of their hearts. In other words, they just couldn't meet up to God's real expectations.

If God were to call everyone to question using a perfect code no one living today would probably escape judgement.

One other thing which most people do not realise when reading the bible is that the laws of moses were not perfect, they were given as a stop gap before the coming of Jesus.

Note that Jesus had to die for humans to regain the ability to live according to God's will.

The funny thing is that the same way we can condemn practices done thousands of years ago is the same way that people who lived thousands of years would condemn us for many of the things that our modern justice codes permit.

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The important word here is UNLAWFUL.

It was not unlawful for the men to marry women from the cities they conquered.

If it was not Unlawful then it is not rap.e

I believe the discussion is centered on whether the Justice code of the Jews was flawed or not.

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The girls in the nations conquered would not have liked the entire situation. No body likes it when another country invades their country regardless of who was at fault.

Not liking a situation is what is responsible for them acquiescing to marriage rather than doing it joyfully. And quite unlike women nowadays, it was extremely rare (if it ever happened at all) for women that lived thousands of years ago to stand up to their husbands.

Even today we have arranged marriages (of women to complete strangers) in many cultures of the world so it's not as unthinkable as you think it is.

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One thing I have been reiterating is this.

Justice codes morph to accommodate the peculiar circumstances that are prevalent.

You cannot fully comprehend the circumstances faced by humanity thousands of years ago therefore you cannot use a justice code developed for modern life to judge an action carried out thousands of years ago.

Note that we are talking about THOUSANDS of years ago.

In a previous post, I listed some of the differences.

It should be noted that before 9/11 many of the laws that permit law enforcement agents to "harass" citizens of a country would have been unthinkable and considered unjust.

One other thing to note is that we had various cultures in the world at that time.

Do you have any documented justice code in any culture that existed at that time that was more humane (in your eyes) than the ones the jews were following.

If there are none then except all humans were monsters then you must be missing something.

It is usually considered hypocritical to judge a situation you have no experience about and about which you have very little information.

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I knew within reading the first couple of post from the man that sooner or later his name would be called into question. I wonder what prompts people like this to use names like Logic, or Noetic . . . .

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Why where the males absent in the foreign races? Oh, I remember now, The JEWS MURDERED THEM ALL!

Do you want me to paste the Nigerian criminal code so you can know what constitutes ra.p.e?

Here it is, section 357 of the Nigerian criminal code;

"Any person who has unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman or girl, [b]without her consent, or with her consent, if the consent is obtained by force or by means of threats or intimidation of any kind, or by fear of harm, [/b]or by means of false and fraudulent representation as to the nature of the act, or in the case of a married woman, by personating her husband, is guilty of an offence which is called molest."

In a majority of those cases R.apes would have accured! The women might come to accept the situation as their fate later but that doesn't ameliorate the fact they where captured/kidnapped, forced into marriage and s.exual relations with men against their will!

Your bible contains acts against humanity that are despicable and that in no way mirrors your God as a good entity.

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I said MAY because there may be some situations that warrant it and War and Crime may be necessary but not sufficient conditions.

The condition in the time of the jews was war coupled with the need for racial integration (in the absence of males in the foreign race)

And Forceful marriage is not always equal to forceful s.ex

A woman or man can be forced into marriage after which they can accept the marriage as a present fact and acquiesce to s.ex within the marriage. S.ex in such cases is not equal to rap.e

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In other words, Forceful marriage in war and when a crime is committed is very moral and christian in the eyes of God?

Wow, the American Army really are missing free brides in Afghanistan.

Forceful marriage = forceful s.ex = rap.e, hope you know? Does your God know what is Human rights?

I indeed learn new things everyday.lol

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Forceful marriage when all is fair and square (no war and no crime committed) may not be moral.

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I wanted to contribute but I can see that BaboonYansh has done justice to the vacuous and illogical arguments of logic1(I still wonder why he uses that name). . . .

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Dialouge wasnt invented today , even in ancient times they had dialouge even by sending emissaries which is akin to foreign ministers today.

Even If one surrenders is that not an indication to avoid war and embrace peace?

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peace there is synonymous for asking them to surrender.

It's not the same as dialogue today.

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You stated before (in another thread i think) the jews where right to kill all the males and male children so as to "vanquish the threat completely", not so?.

Why can't the US do the same to al-qaeda members, their male relations and male children? Why is that immoral?

Why did the jews have to Kill all the males ? Where they ALL soldiers?

Even right there in those same ancient times the romans, assyrians and babylonians invaded some cities vanquished armies and spared the people. So claiming there was no choice is dishonest. There is always a choice!

Here is chapter 10-11 (deut 20)

10.When you march up to attack a city, "make its people an offer of peace".

11.If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you

Did you see where it said "make an offer of peace"? I thought you claimed there was no room for dialogue in ancient times? They had no choice?

By the way, what is Your God's idea of peace and dialogue; If they accept peace, forcefully enslave them anyway. That is indeed moral.

Either way you look at it, your bible isnt exactly a beacon of morality.

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It would be immoral because Muslim afganistanis are not a threat to Americans. The Taliban is. At any rate the Nuke will affect more than just Afganistan.

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No it's not the Christian thing to do according to the bible.

Even with Al-Qaeda, we still do not have a replica of the situation that the jews faced in those times even though it is closer than normal warfare.

These days there are many ways to avoid warfare unlike in ancient times when dialogue was not an option most times.

I believe the scripture you quoted earlier said they should take the women as their wives not enslave them.

At any rate God did not encourage the jews to maltreat their slaves.

By marrying the women from the cities they conquered they inadvertently incorporated the women into their culture and system.

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No it would have been immoral because they didn't have to do it.

The war against terrorism is another matter altogether where you have to kill every member of al-Qaeda until they stop terrorizing Americans.

If members of al-Qaeda were killing Americans and wouldn't stop until they wiped out every American or were wiped out by Americans then it is just to wipe them out.

It would have become a matter of survival

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If you had an unrepentant group of people who are bent on exterminating you and the only way out of the quagmire was to kill them or be killed yourself then you have a justification for killing the males (which would be mostly soliders)

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1. We now have globally accepted boundaries of nations everywhere as opposed to a situation where majority of the available land space was contestible and we only had small groups of people typically living in autonomous cities with the exception of the then known world powers.

2. We no longer have legalized cannibalism or sacrifice of human beings to deities in any country.

3. We now have embassies of foreign nations in most nations of the earth as opposed to a state of almost total anarchy.

4. We now have worldwide communication and a basic understanding of all the major cultures of the world if not all the cultures of the world.

5. International trade is not controlled by military might but by balance of trade and what each person can bring to the table.

In general, We have a much more sane world

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Can you tell us these unique situations that we no longer experience today?

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It is as moral as killing is moral in a war situation.

In other words, there are some situations (which we do not experience today) where it is moral and acceptable as international law.

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We do not have situations similar to that faced by the jews so those laws would not be fit for international law today.

On the other hand if we had circumstances similar to that faced by the jews then it would be acceptable as international law.

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Please I will appreciate it if you can answer the below questions straightforwardly then we can move on from there.

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This I think is the best way to assimilate ALL the peoples of a foreign culture into your culture.

This is markedly different from a situation involving only a few foreigners.

Imagine if America colonizes a small African country and they intend to stay in that country as opposed to just plundering the country and returning to America. The only logical way to maintain dominance in that African country is to force the citizens to work for them.

If the small african country is also full of people with proven genocidal and inhuman traits then the decision can be justified.

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If the nations that were being refered to here had proven track records of inhuman behaviour and sparing any of them would result in a backlash so great that it would invalidate the victory won by the israelis then it might be argued that they should be killed.

Women and children generally pose no harm as opposed to men who can make an organized come-back.

Generally, we should do unto others what we expect them to do to us.

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Please do you find the injuction below immoral and will you consider it immoral if this exact same passage verbatim is written into our international law guiding warfare.

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No sir, I don't think it is moral.

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Is it moral for an an army in war to enter a city which has raised a white flag in surrender and FORCEFULLY enslave its citizens?

Is it moral for an army to attack and kill innocent unarmed civillians including women and children/infants?

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Slavery - buying and selling of people in itself may not be entirely bad if you consider that football clubs buy and sell players (human beings) to each other. I was asking a friend yesterday why Ronaldo da lima agreed to go to Inter Milan where he was eventually severly injured and he replied that Barcelona SOLD him. Is this wrong?

What I consider to be wrong is the way slaves were treated during the American Slave trade.

If a slave is given rights that enable them to work themselves out of slavery then slavery in itself will be reduced to what we have in the corporate world where some employees sign bonds to work for a certain employer for a certain number of years.

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@ Hux

Be it as it may, slaves back then were "indebted" to their "masters" in one way or the other. They were also "bought" like you would buy a property & had value which appreciated or depreciated by some means of yard-stick. Owning slaves showed "class & wealth" quite unfortunate though & alot of people had slaves Abraham et al inclusive. It was "morally good" if I'm to go by your own words

Today, these yard-sticks have changed and those laws don't apply "directly as quoted by you" that is not to say they should be disregarded. I forsee in the future that most of what we take today as normal or not morally wrong would be seen as "bad or morally wrong" by those of that time.

New forms of "bad" spring up everyday. Talk you your grandparents, they'll tell you they couldn't get away with things you are getting away with today & that's because the environmental conditions are gradually changing.

Life isn't static. . . good/bad/morals/laws are all relative to time & space

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Where did you get the notion that slavery in the bible was principally a way to settle a debt? There would have been some form of indentured servitude but the wholesale buying & selling into slavery was also a part of the slavery landscape.

Any form of transaction on humans where oneself freedom is limited against their will is immoral. Even worse is when one is considered as property and can be handed down to descendants as objects. This is clearly what the bible orders. Such slaves could not even inherit the masters wealth.

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Check out the following. Which of these would be unacceptable behaviour today and why?

However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.

(Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.' If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever. (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)

When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. (1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT)

The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. "But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given." (Luke 12:47-48 NLT)

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@Huxley,

* Do not muzzle the oxen that threshes the corn

* A laborer is worthy of his hire

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