Self-Morality, Moral Relativism, and Divine Command Theory

Self-Morality, Moral Relativism, and Divine Command Theory Lisa Salazar Essay 1 Part One: Introduction and Statement of Thesis What is morally right or wrong doesn’t depend on what ideology you believe in, Moral Relativism or Divine Command Theory, but your own individual self-morality. Believing in Divine Command Theory can become a problem when there is doubt of motivation and Moral Relativism can result in morality becoming inconsistent.

The standard of consistency requires that “a moral theory should be consistent in the sense that its principles, together with relevant factual information, yield consistent moral verdicts about the morality of actions, persons, and other objects of moral evaluation” (Timmons 271). In this essay I will argue that both Moral Relativism and Divine Command Theory have their flaws and the only way to ‘do the right thing’ is to rely on your own sense of morality. Part Two: Argument for Thesis What is crucial for understanding the Divine Command Theory is the idea that what makes an action right or wrong, good or bad, is nothing but brute facts about God’s commands. The fact that he commands that we not kill, rape, torture, and so forth is what makes such actions wrong; their wrongness consists entirely in the fact that he commands that we not do such actions (Timmons 24-25). ” What is wrong with Divine Command Theory is that what if people did not believe in God and an afterlife guided by God’s commands, they would lack the motivation to act morally in this world.

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For example, if God did not say that killing is wrong then people would kill others. This is completely inane. Death brought upon by another human being has nothing to do with motivation to act morally in this world, but has everything to do with your own self- morality. Whether you believe in God or not, you have a sense of what is right and what is wrong. “What makes something good or bad… is the basic norms of goodness and badness are part of the moral code of the individual’s culture (Timmons 40). Moral Relativism is flawed because people nowadays belong to multiple cultures. What is a gay catholic supposed to think is right or wrong? In this particular example there is a strong sense of inconsistency. He/she may live in a gay community where homosexuality is not only acceptable but also encouraged, but then he/she may also attend church where you are taught that a relationship is between a man and a woman and anything else is wrong. This is where self-morality comes into play.

Although he/she may be ridiculed by the church for his/her decision, it is in his/her best interest to do what he/she thinks is morally right or wrong. I am considered a ‘church person’ but when it comes to love, you can’t help who catches your eye. Part Three: Objections to Thesis I argued above that Moral Relativism can produce inconsistent verdicts when a person is a member of more than one cultural group, and where those two groups have conflicting moral codes. Which culture, of many that a person might belong to, does a person actually belong to?

Without a definite answer there is no definite answer to whether, for some person, an action is right or wrong. The Moral Relativist might respond by insisting that everyone is only a member of one cultural group. If everyone was a member of only one cultural group, then there would be no reason to suspect that a single person would be subjected to consider an action morally right and morally wrong. This objection is insufficient. With respect to Moral Relativism, there is no reason to think that every person is only a member of one cultural group.

Moreover, even if it was the case that each and every person belonged to exactly one cultural group, there are plain disagreements within cultures about what actions are right and wrong. So there would still be inconsistent verdicts on Moral Relativism even if we accepted that each person belonged only to one cultural group. The only option is to go by your gut feeling, self-morality. Do what is right in your own mind. I also argued above that Divine Command Theory can only be performed if people have the motivation to follow God’s commands.

Only a fear of God’s unstoppable justice is capable of motivating people to do what is right when they might otherwise get away with it. Many find this view of moral motivation unsavory. Fear of punishment does not strike many as a mature motivation for acting well. Kant holds that we must act from duty, not from any fear or hope about our own self-interest. The ancients thought that virtuous activity comes from a well-balanced psychology which seeks what is best for itself, not for fear of punishment.

If a person is atheist, does that mean they don’t know what is morally right or wrong? No. If an individual doesn’t believe in God, they still have a sense of morality but are dependent of no other moral values but their own. Part Four: Summary I have argued that Moral Relativism violates the standard of consistency, which requires that moral theories should produce verdicts in particular cases that are not contradictory, and Divine Command Theory has a need for motivation.

Moral Relativism often violates this standard when one same person is a member of different cultural groups with different norms. Divine Command Theory is proven wrong when people who don’t believe in God, still act morally. In these flawed theories, the best option to go with is the third option of relying on your own individual self-morality. Bibliography Timmons, Mark (2002). Moral Theory: An Introduction. http://www. ryanjwitt. com/2011/03/03/ethics-discussion/ Essay Example PHI 105 Fall 2012 Morality’s Dependence on God Worksheet Evaluating Moral Relativism Worksheet

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