A psychological constraint on obedience to God's commands: The reasonableness of obeying the abhorrently evil
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Religious Studies 38 (2):125-146 (2002)
Robert Adams, in Finite and Infinite Goods: A Framework for Ethics, suggests a moral constraint on our obedience to God's commands: if a purportedly divine command seems abhorrently evil, then we should infer that it is not really God so commanding. I suggest that in light of his commitments to God as the standard of goodness, to the transcendence of God, and to a critical stance towards ethics, Adams should be willing to consider the possibility of a good God commanding us to do something that seems abhorrently evil to us, but really is good according to His transcendent goodness. I suggest that the ought-to-is moral constraint that Adams advocates is only appropriate when we are not certain that it is God giving the command, and that an is-to-ought constraint based on psychological certainty should be the ultimate constraint on our obedience to purportedly divine commands. This constraint advocates that if one is certain upon reflection that a command is from God, then one should obey that command, regardless of how evil it seems. After responding to several objections to this psychological constraint, I offer my own qualification, according to which it is appropriate to disobey a command that one is certain is from God if one cannot conceive that the command is good. Finally, I offer some reason to think that, contrary to Adams's assertions, the project of considering how to react to a purportedly divine command that also seems abhorrently evil is worth both philosophic and spiritual energy.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
James Kellenberger (2005). God's Goodness and God's Evil. Religious Studies 41 (1):23-37.
Simin Rahimi (2008). Divine Command and Ethical Duty: A Critique of the Scriptural Argument. Journal of Islamic Philosophy 4:77-108.
Joseph Shaw (2002). The Virtue of Obedience. Religious Studies 38 (1):63-75.
Paul Rooney (1995). Divine Commands and Arbitrariness. Religious Studies 31 (2):149 - 165.
Philip L. Quinn (1978). Divine Commands and Moral Requirements. Clarendon Press.
Wes Morriston (2009). The Moral Obligations of Reasonable Non-Believers. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 65 (1):1 - 10.
Thomas M. Osborne (2005). Ockham as a Divine-Command Theorist. Religious Studies 41 (1):1-22.
Susan Peppers-Bates (2008). Divine Simplicity and Divine Command Ethics. International Philosophical Quarterly 48 (3):361-369.
Thomas M. Osborne Jr (2005). Ockham as a Divine-Command Theorist. Religious Studies 41 (1):1 - 22.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads27 ( #67,749 of 1,099,913 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #190,037 of 1,099,913 )
How can I increase my downloads?