Morality Without God Summary

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Summary of Morality Without God by John Arthur

Nirvair Chahal
Dr. Ronald de Sousa
PHLA11 S
T.A. Chad Horne
996811650
January 24, 2012

John Arthur argues that morality exists without the influence of religion in his passage Morality Without God. Arthur claims that morality is independent of religion both logically and psychologically. He first distinguishes what he is referring to when he speaks of morality and religion.

Arthur explains that morality is having the tendency to evaluate behaviour of oneself or others. Religion involves believing in the supernatural as the controller of nature as well as paying homage to these supernatural beings. Arthur distinguishes morality and religion as two very different things and asks, where is the connection between the two? Many people suspect that religion is necessary for people to act in the correct manner. People often think this way because they fear or want to benefit from the consequences. Such consequences include Heaven for those that follow the demands of God, and Hell for those that choose to disobey his requests. If people live their lives harmoniously with God’s commands, they will be living a moral life.

Arthur disputes the Divine Command Theory by saying that it is part of human nature to worry about simple consequences such as “will I get caught” or “what will someone think if they see me”. He points out that we often do not think about religion when making moral decisions, we just seem to know our duties. An argument in favour of religion being necessary for morality to exists challenges whether people would know how to do the right thing without the guidance of religion. It is only God who can be objective to what is right and what is wrong. Arthur refutes this argument by stating that there are far too many questions to answer in order for us to know that religion provides moral guidance. First we would have to find out whether there is a God or not. The next step would be to...
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