Theonomous morality derives values and principles direct from God. It does not involve the intermediate authority of the Church
What ethical theory could be theonomous
Can be argued that Natural Law itself is theonomous since it is based on the idea of a creative source of all things which has imbued the universe with pattern and purpose
What can't be described literally?...
Human impetus for morality & religion have a common source in an awareness of things that can’t be described literally
What have Thinkers as diverse as Iris Murdoch, Schopenhauer and G E Moore have all based their ethical systems on
all based their ethical systems on something that could not be described rationally but could only be intuited or experienced
What is difficult to account for without a God
Without some fundamental religious/mystical experience it is difficult to account for almost universal sense of moral obligation
What can believers argue that theonomy/ autonomy will lead to?
Believers can argue that apparently autonomous ethics is, in fact theonomous: human reason (given by God) applied to the world (created by God) will discover something of God’s will and purpose i.e. a foundation for ethics
Some Evolutionary Biologists (Dawkins, Michael Ruse, E O Wilson) have tried to argue that morality can be derived entirely from the evolutionary story i.e. that moral behaviours have evolved because they have survival value.v
What has Dawkins argued for?
Dawkins has argued for a form of determinism in morality: we do what we are predisposed to do and call that moral.
What almost christian values have people like Dawkin's argued for
Have even spoken of limited/kinship altruism as imprinted survival strategies
What does Dawkins concede to at the end of the selfish gene?
At end of ‘the Selfish Gene’ Dawkins concedes that reason can overcome genetics
What does Keith Ward argue against Dawkins?
Keith Ward (theologian and Scientist) asks Dawkins ‘If we can change what we are predisposed to do, in accordance with WHAT do we change it?’ Nature gives us no ‘oughts’, no concepts of justice and forgiveness
What does Peter Singer argue
Peter Singer has argued that Christian ethics have actually held back our moral understanding and development
What has rigid teaching about sanctity of human life lead to?
Rigid teaching about sanctity of human life has led to undervaluing and abuse of animals
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