Friday, July 16, 2004

Couldn't Have Said It Better Department

Roderick Long has an excellent post on the philosophical contradictions of religious conservatives.  It’s like shooting fish in a barrel, of course, but Rod’s a mighty fine shot.  For instance, Rod observes that religious conservatives love to rail against the evils of moral relativism, and then points out:
[The religious conservatives] tend, for example, to accept "divine command theory," which holds that what makes something right (or wrong) is the fact that God commands (or forbids) it. The upshot of such a view, of course, is that God's commands must be viewed as completely arbitrary and random. After all, if God had reasons for commanding and prohibiting as he does, then those reasons, rather than God's will, would be the basis of the action's rightness or wrongness -- an intolerable restriction on God's "freedom." Hence such conservatives are as hostile as any relativist to the notion of a rationally intelligible moral order. They too regard morality as being a matter of groundless whim; they just think the whim is God's rather than ours.
Well put.  I am not a believer myself, but even if I were, I’d still have to wonder what authority other than argumentum ad baculum lies behind God’s commands.  For that reason, I’m inclined to think too much emphasis is put on the question, “Is there a God?” and too little on the question, “Why does it matter?”

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