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Ronniede Sousa

MORALITY WITHOUT GOD By John ArthurFrom Morality and Moral Controversies 2nd edition John Arthur ed PrenticeHall Inc 1986 pp 1015John Arthur is associate professor of philosophy and director of the Program in Law and Society at State University of New York Binghampton Arthur considers the commonly held belief that morality somehow depends on religion Against this he first argues that religion is unnecessary in order either to act morally or to attain moral understandingAfter rejecting the idea that God is necessary in order to make sense of moralitys being objective Arthur considers the divine command theory according to which morality depends on Gods will As Arthur points out this theory implies that morality is arbitraryit just so happens that God forbids cruelty He has no reason for doing so Furthermore if we accept the divine command theory we cannot make sense of the idea that God is good But if morality is independent of Gods will so that God discovers rather than creates morality then Gods powers are limited So either waywhether morality is dependent on or independent of Godthere are difficulties We find expression of this dilemma in Platos dialogue Euthyphro Having examined the various claims about the connection between morality and religion Arthur concludes by suggesting how theists and atheists might agree on which moral rules should be adopted by societyThe issue which I address in this paper is the nature of the connection if any between morality and religion I will argue that although there are a variety of ways the two could be connected in fact morality is in dependent of religion both logically and psychologically First howeverit will be necessary to say something about the subjects just what are we referring to when we speak of morality and of religionA useful way to approach the first questionthe nature of moralityis to ask what it would mean for a society to exist without a moral code What would such a society look like How would people think And behave The most obvious thing to say is that its members would never feel any moral responsibilities or any guilt Words like duty rights fairness and justice would never be used except in the legal sense Feelings such as that I ought to remember my parents anniversary that he has a moral responsibility to help care for his children after the divorce that she has a right to equal pay for equal work and that discrimination on the basis of race is unfair would be absent in such a society In short people would have no tendency to evaluate or criticize the behavior of others nor to feel remorse about their own behavior Children would not be taught to be ashamed when they steal or hurt others nor would they be allowed to complain when others treat them badly
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