Eric Massengill's Ethics Class Blog

God and Logic | September 14, 2008

I don’t think rejecting Divine Command Theory would do anything to harm our conception of God, but that’s ultimately because I think our conception of God is limited and wrong. The average person thinks of God as a sort of metaphysical person with super-powers. The self-contradictory theology of most religions is taught to people as what God is, so despite them saying that God makes morality, their conception of God and how God acts is very limited to normal standards of (human) sentience. Some might not like the idea that rejection would allow us to ignore the Bible (or other texts) and discover morality for ourselves. This might make them accept Divine Command out of attachment to their conceptions of Religion’s place in society (which is probably why Divine Command Theory was envisioned: to justify morality – and thus law – being based on Biblical exegesis). Whether or not rejecting Divine Command Theory would affect our conception of God has more to do with how we conceive God, not how God actually is or ought to be. It’s dependent on social factors, nothing more.

In fact, I would say that rejecting Divine Command Theory would help most religious persons reach intellectual consistency with their beliefs. This in no way though, proves that that is thus the way God is. The friendliness of a notion to our conceptions does not make the notion right, just palatable.


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  1. At the end you move ever so slightly in the direction of saying something like “there are some things about God we’ll just never be able to grasp” – that is, there will always be a gap (chasm?) between our conception of God and the truth about him. This step in reasoning is a dangerous one, though. Sometimes we make such statements in science – that a particular piece of information is fundamentally unknowable – but we only draw this conclusion on the basis of good, independently justified reasons (thus the status of a certain point in space might be fundamentally unknowable because its speed relative to us is greater than the speed of light, or whatever). To jump to a similar conclusion about the nature of God without independent reasons (or because it’s hard to figure out things about God) is akin to throwing up one’s hands in frustration and resignation.

    Comment by Boone B. Gorges — September 15, 2008 @ 10:31 am

  2. That’s not what I was saying. I wasn’t saying it would help my conception of God, I’m saying it would help everyone else’s. I never makes a statement saying that. I never even said God is beyond us (though I would, and whether or not God is beyond us is separate from stating that we shouldn’t bother trying to understand God). I think everyone else conceives of God as physical, in a place, though they might not realize it; that somehow God sits outside the universe, watching it.

    Comment by ericmassengill — September 15, 2008 @ 9:01 pm

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I am a person. I am alive. I am capable of mechanical motion. My respiratory system is functional, as is my digestive, and circulatory system. My neurons operate.







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