The Bible, Torah, Qur’an, Confucius texts and other religious scripture have been the guidelines for human survival for many millennia. Within the scriptures are laws that change our viewing on the world and influence the way we act. They act as representations in our mind on how the world should be. Many people decide that this is the only way to live, and everyone fights over whose God is right. Morality, the way humans should act through ethical means, should have nothing to do with God. Some people desire for God to act as a replacement for their own superego, and in turn defend their actions as moral because it is their holy duty. If morality was to depend on what our ‘God’ says, when is the beginning command? If Zoroaster’s word was the first for monotheism, where did he get the enlightenment? Humans have evolved on an intellectual level for almost ten-thousand years, and religion was not always there to guide us intellectual creatures. Do other intellectual creatures, like dolphins and monkeys have the same beliefs? Divine Command Theory is the idea that God and Godlike figures are the major influencers of our moral frameworks in life. Using religion as a framework for morality would assume that religion is a key part of Ethics, assume ‘God’ has a foothold in all lives, and force us to uphold Divine Command Theory (which is seriously flawed).
Morality, a branch of ethics that explains how we should treat each other and ourselves, is a prescriptive discipline that changes with personhood and experience. Using the Qur’an as an example: When reading this scripture, many could find wondrous ideals about feminism and not fighting unless fought upon. Many would agree that this is a moral ideology, but when applicated to ISIS members, they no longer want any part. Even Muslim peaceful protests are frowned upon by others solely because of their religion, which is extremely against the fundamental principle that exists with democracy. Additionally, the patriarchal views that religion upholds is appalling and diminishing to the true potential for enlightenment. Using religion as a framework does not work for a multitude of reasons, one of them being that religious scripture is up to interpretation, as well as, inconsistent with its’ ideology.
When asked to describe ‘God’, we could assume that the description would vary person to person. Socrates’ Quandary explains in detail of how fallible Divine Command Theory is. In a multitude of ways, such as committing fallacies and plurality of ideals, this theory is not ethically sound. Stating that an act is morally right because of what God says is equivalent to stating that because God says it, it must be morally right. For example, God could command that all babies should be thrown into a volcano. For any moral agent, this is seemingly ludicrous because there is no reasoning or justification behind it. For a person in trust of Divine Command Theory, it would be acceptable because God commands it. How do we know what God is commanding? Circular reasoning falls upon this theory in terms of explanation. The justification behind moral actions is that God commands it, and what God commands is moral, therefore God’s commands must be moral. Why are they moral? Because God commands it. Hitler claimed God commanded him to kill all the non-Aryan persons, therefor the mass genocide that occurred is morally sound because God’s will has commanded it. Did God come down from outer space and whisper in Hitler’s’ ear? If so, what kind of all-good being would assert mass genocide?
Humans make weird constructs and rules, not God. God is a figurehead of guidance, not an all-seeing ruler. Cahn in God and Morality primarily focuses on the fact that we could not know what God commands and continues to interpret God’s commands as devilish. He uses the example of viruses and bacteria, if God commanded that, does he want us to get sick and ultimately die? If so, since death is inevitable can we just kill whoever cuts us off on the highway? The conclusions to these questions are obvious, but they are unacceptable at the very least. Cahn goes on to explain that having belief and spirituality does not have to influence the moral standards that encompass our lives. Being a moral agent has no dependence on whether God is there or not. Divine Command Theory is extremely refutable and inconsistent and is not adequate for people to embrace. God(s) helps guide those who need guidance, and ultimately you, as a human being, should spend time considering and contemplating the moral framework in which you live your life.