Divine Command Theory

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Philosophers both past and present have sought a solid bases for morality. A strong influence on peoples perceived morality is religion. Divine Command theory is the belief that somehow your morals are dependent upon God. This theory has come under immense scrutiny due to a deeper understanding of natural selection, one sentence in Plato’s dialogue ‘Euthyphro’ and a study showing the polar opposite of what the theory would have you believe. Several books, including Robert Hinde’s Why Good is Good, have argued that our sense of right and wrong is derived from a Darwinian origin. This idea could seem unsuitable when we think of emotions such as empathy, pity and decency. Especially when you wonder how generosity to another member of your species could increase your chances of a mate, Natural Selection appears to have its limits. The advantages of compassion, for example, can be explained when we consider individual identity in bats. Vampire bats learn which other individuals can be trusted to repay their debt (in regurgitated blood) and which they should avoid. In this instance, it would be disadvantageous for a bat to ‘cheat’ by instinct, as this would leave it with no partners to trade with. Natural Selection favours genes that foster a good reputation for generosity but also punish cheats harshly. Many religious people find it hard to imagine how, without religion, one can be good, or would even want to be good. It is a common sight for authors such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens or Sam Harris to be threatened and insulted by readers of their book’s. One would think that with all the Bible’s wisdom and love, it would be rare for a devoted Christian to insult the writer of a book that they had the choice to read. Unfortunately for the Divine Command Theory, this is not the case. The opposite is true. In a response to the film The God Who Wasn’t There,

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