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God's Commands (and Ethics)

  What makes murder wrong? Some consider that murder is wrong because God has forbidden it, because He has commanded us not to murder and will punish us if we do. But as Plato pointed out, this seems to get things the wrong way around. Surely God commanded us not to murder, and will punish murderers, because murder is wrong—wrong before God forbade us to murder. If God had commanded us to murder, and punished those who did not, this would surely not make murder right. Further, it is difficult to see why, if God commanded us not to murder, and promised to send murderers to Hell, this would make murder wrong, rather than merely imprudent. AJ

Further reading Plato, Euthyphro; P. Quinn, Divine Commands and Moral Requirements.



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