Is the word of God sufficient to determine right and wrong?
According to the Divine Command Theory of ethics, morality comes directly from the word of God- in other words, all that God commands is moral and all that He prohibits is immoral. Although upon first glance this is a conveniently absolute code to adhere to, a number of flaws and fundamental logical fallacies in the argument for DCT render God’s word insufficient as a means to determine right and wrong. Firstly, the very nature of God’s word itself is problematic. That the same God- that of Christianity, Islam and Judaism- teaches different tenets to the followers of each religion incites doubt on the absolute morality of each command and on which set of commands is correct. Furthermore, one cannot realistically assume that the human scribes who duplicated scriptures such as the Bible by hand were immune from copyist errors. The ambiguity of certain doctrines promotes additional confusion- as Christopher Hitchens notes, the equivocality of commandments such as Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain, as well as a number of probable inaccuracies in translation, make such sets of rules- supposedly the word of God- a decidedly shaky foundation upon which to build an understanding of morality. The logical pitfalls of the theory that morality comes directly from God’s word can be explained through Plato’s Euthyphro dilemma. If the first answer to the dilemma is chosen- that God commands something because it is good- moral codes must, logically, be independent to God’s will. If morally correct acts are chosen by God for the reason that they are so, they must have been so prior to His choosing to command them. This means, therefore, that the fact that an act is willed by God is not the soul premise for it being right or wrong. Further compounding this issue is the following problem: since if a believer’s interpretation of God’s word were to be anything but fundamentalist it...
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