Utilitarianism and Divine Command Ethics Response

Reply: After reading your classmates’ threads, choose one to which you will respond, then write a reply that interacts with your classmate’s thread and presents a well-reasoned alternative to his or her approach to the issue. You do not have to defend a position that is diametrically opposed to your classmate’s position, but you do need to either defend a position that is significantly different from his/hers or defend the same position in a very different way. If possible, you must reply to a classmate to whom no one else has yet replied. The goal of this is to help your classmate to improve his or her theory, so make your criticisms constructive. Be charitable – don’t assume that your classmate is making stupid mistakes, but instead where multiple interpretations are possible, assume that you classmate meant whichever interpretation would make more sense. However, don’t hesitate to point out disputable assumptions, faulty arguments, and alternative possibilities if you are convinced that they exist. In short, criticize politely. If possible, you must reply to a classmate to whom no one else has yet replied. Treat your classmate’s opinion with sensitivity and respect. This is a university-level writing assignment. Therefore it must be carefully proofread, free of grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. Do not use slang, emoticons, or abbreviations (as if you are texting or sending an email to a friend). Your reply must be 500–600 words. You will be penalized for falling short or exceeding the word count. Any quotes or information used from sources other than yourself (including your classmate’s thread) must be cited using footnotes in current Turabian format and will not count towards the total word count. Reply to this: A comparison of Utilitarianism and Divine Command ethics The theory of Utilitarianism is centered around the intrinsic belief that morality is based off of actions that will result or should result in a positive outcome (the Good). One of the positive aspects of this ethical theory centers on the belief that if society basis decision making on happiness it removes elements that create division amongst people such as politics, religion and sociological differences. Within this ethical belief system society could in theory move beyond the divisiveness, violence and separatism to focus on the common goals of human happiness. This ethical system claims to leverage the potential advantage of policies such as the good of the many versus the good of the few. The obvious question for many of us is, if sacrificing the few for the many is always an ethical cut and dry choice? Utilitarianism is contrasted by Divine Command ethics which states that choices are morally good if they are in line with the teachings of God. This ethical metatheory is likely the most universally practiced ethical theory around the world. Most societies cultural rights and laws are based upon their beliefs in the teachings or laws of their God or Gods. The key difference in these theories is that the actions of humans in a Utilitarian society would in many cases be based off the primal drive of human nature. These actions sharply contradict the moral teachings in the Christian faith as well as the faiths of many other world religions. Utilitarianism for example would site abortion as an acceptable form of population control in areas that have adversely been impacted by over population. This is of course unacceptable within the Divine Command theory as applied to Christian ethics. In Christian ethics abortion is in direct contradiction to Gods divine teachings. Although the thought of making decisions based on the “Happiness factor” sounds amazing. Who could argue with the thought of doing whatever makes you happy as being the basis of societal actions? The fact of the matter is that Utilitarianism is deeply flawed. I find that the stronger ethical value lies in Divine Command ethics. The above stated argument about abortion can be applied to a multitude of similar situations from stealing to adultery. The act of doing something that makes you happy or to fulfil a want in many circumstances will make others deeply unhappy. If you cheat on your spouse and that makes you happy, does that negate the unhappiness your spouse will experience? I would argue that in Utilitarianism humanity would be in a constant cycle of unhappiness brought on by the actions of others. Divine Command ethics weighs a common set of ethics that can be applied by all of humanity yet still result in a deep satisfaction and feeling of happiness. In this sense I find that Divine Command ethics can be more universally practiced across national bounds, cultures and societies. It is based off of this and the fact that so many people around the world successfully practice Divine Command ethics based off a myriad of different religions and theological interpretations that I believe it to be vastly superior in every way over Utilitarianism.

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