Divine Command: Useful or Useless
According to divine command ethics, God’s will alone decides what is right and what is wrong, human reasoning can play no part in legitimising moral rules. God has absolute authority.
Whilst for many this is a very attractive proposition since all they have to do is stick to a list of rules and they are promised an eternal afterlife. Furthermore on a deeper level they would not have to have a minority view or an opinion that could be belittled since they can always use their religion as a back up. The first Surah of the Qur’an expresses this lack of desire for their own unique thoughts: ‘Guide us along the straight path’. The Amish community believe in following the bible very strictly and overall they lead very peaceful lives, so this shows that strict following of religion can work very well.
God is often the most reliable source for moral guidance and this causes problems since most of the teachings in holy books leave a lot open for discussion and interpretation, for example the parables in the Christian New testament are often ambiguous and have multiple deeper meanings. Interpretation is crucial to divine command since how can someone live by another person’s rules if he/she cannot understand them. Islam is an example of this, nearly all Muslims believe that their religion does not preach violence and murder, but a very small minority interpret the Qur'an differently and believe in jihad and killing for the so-called ‘greater good’. These people back up their horrific murder of innocents by saying that they had no choice since it was what their religion decreed. This example shows how divine command can be dangerous and can lead to awful acts.
However many would say that the alternative, where God no longer sets morals, would lead to chaos where everything is permissible and therefore the consequences of that would be far worse. On the other hand a secular ethicist would say that people would be morally...