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Kierkegaard's Ethic of LoveDivine Commands and Moral Obligations$
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C. Stephen Evans

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199272174

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199272174.001.0001

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Conclusions: Divine Command Morality in a Pluralistic Society

Conclusions: Divine Command Morality in a Pluralistic Society

Chapter:
(p.299) 13 Conclusions: Divine Command Morality in a Pluralistic Society
Source:
Kierkegaard's Ethic of Love
Author(s):

C. Stephen Evans (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199272174.003.0013

This chapter responds to three objections to divine command theory: that it violates human autonomy, could justify evil actions such as child sacrifice, and would lead to sectarian strife. Divine command theory views human beings as responsible choosers and respects the right kind of autonomy. Looking at the case of Abraham and Issac, this chapter argues that only a good and loving God deserves to be obeyed, and God cannot command what is truly bad, though he can and does issue commands that conflict with accepted moral convictions. Such an ethic is not sectarian in any harmful sense, because it rejects the use of coercion and cannot sanction the privileging of any religious view by use of state power. Such an ethic contributes to a truly humane society by requiring us to recognize that we are all neighbours and that no human society or institution can rightly ask for that unconditional devotion that should be offered to God alone.

Keywords:   Abraham, child sacrifice, Kierkegaard, neighbour-love, pluralism, Works of Love

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