The Doctrine Of The Divine Command Theory

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The Divine Command Theory dictates that “An act is morally required just because it is commanded by God, and immoral just because God forbids it (Shafer-Landau 65).” This view is often accepted by religious people as the basis for morality; the morality of an action is determined by whether or not it is commanded by God. However, there are multiple problems presented by this line of thinking. One of the most common arguments against this theory is known as the Euthyphro Dilemma, derived from Plato’s account of Socrates questioning Euthyphro about the determinant of piety, albeit in relation to the polytheistic Greek system of belief. In this account, Socrates asks if “…the gods love actions because they are pious, or are actions pious because the gods love them?” This inquiry can also obviously be applied to the modern, monotheistic interpretation of the Divine Command Theory. As Euthyphro struggles to answer the question, Socrates details the premises that lead to the conclusion that the gods love actions because of their piety, and not the other way around. This refutes the Divine Command Theory, and lays out a rather logical argument that explains the flaws in accepting it. While the argument of the Euthyphro Dilemma is apparently logically sound, one potential objection is that it limits the nature of morality to two distinct options, and excludes the possibility that moral goodness is what corresponds to God’s nature: God did not arbitrarily designate morality to
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