Monday, October 24, 2011

William Lane Craig in why murder is morally obligatory

William Lane Craig, channelling the late Osama bin Laden, has gone public with a claim that murder is morally obligatory if his god commands it, and it is not even murder if the killing is because a god commands it.

Rather, since our moral duties are determined by God’s commands, it is commanding someone to do something which, in the absence of a divine command, would have been murder.

The act was morally obligatory for the Israeli soldiers in virtue of God’s command, even though, had they undertaken it on their on initiative, it would have been wrong.

On divine command theory, then, God has the right to command an act, which, in the absence of a divine command, would have been sin, but which is now morally obligatory in virtue of that command.


Blogger JSA said...

The way you phrase your title, someone might think that you consider murder to *never* be morally obligatory. In fact, murder is morally obligatory when the state commands it.

I assume that your *real* problem is with people claiming commands from an invisible deity or voices that they hear in their heads.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

Really? You think it was morally obligatory for the SS to murder Jews, because the state had commanded it?

10:07 AM  
Blogger JSA said...

Doh! By "state", I was thinking of, "the consensus of human society". I think of morals as a human social construct.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

Murder is defined as unlawful killing.

So, by definition, the consensus of society is always that murder is unlawful.

2:43 PM  
Blogger JSA said...

I assumed that we're dealing with "morally permissible" sense of "murder" rather than "legally permissible", since you're the one who brought up the SS killing of Jews.

Presumably you're doing more than just playing word games, and you're actually interested in the moral obligations related to killing people. All societies everywhere have considered killing people to be morally obligatory in some cases.

It's not that complicated. If we're going to say it was immoral for the SS to kill certain people, despite it being legal, we need to ground the moral law in something other than the judicial law under which the SS operated.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Samphire said...

God may command but who on earth can possibly "hear" such a commandment?

For christians, how can they possibly know whether their delusion is caused by God or the Devil? If WLC stated that God had commanded him to kill Dawkins who would believe him? Not the courts, that's for sure.

And I doubt that the witness of the Holy Spirit would make for a good defence.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

No it was JSA who claimed outright that if the state commanded killing, such killing was morally obligatory, leading to the conclusion that it was morally obligatory for the SS to kill Jews.

Name one politician who has claimed that murder is morally obligatory.

Name one theologian who has claimed that murder is morally obligatory - Osama bin Laden? William Lane Craig?

11:54 PM  
Blogger JSA said...

I brought up your claim about the SS "murdering" Jews simply to note that you're using the word "murder" inconsistently. You claimed that the state commanded murder, and then you contradicted yourself by claiming that murder, by definition, can never be ordered by the state. Clearly, you meant "killing", and not murder. If you truly meant "illegal killing", then your post doesn't make much sense.

As for your other questions, pretty much every non-Quaker politician and theologian admits that killing is morally obligatory at times.

7:25 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

Craig says murder is morally obligatory, that such killings are wrong except that his god has ordered them to be carried out.

It is Craig who means 'illegal killing' as his words clearly show 'Rather, since our moral duties are determined by God’s commands, it is commanding someone to do something which, in the absence of a divine command, would have been murder.'

Are you really claiming it is morally obligatory for you to kill somebody if a politician orders you to do so?

7:35 AM  
Blogger JSA said...

That doesn't seem right. Since Craig believes that morals come from divine decree, he can only mean that the killings would have been immoral per God's prior decree, and that God overrode his own decree in that circumstance.

I don't think Craig believes in some other source of morals which is in place during normal times.

To your other question, I don't think it's morally obligatory to kill if a politician orders it. However, I believe it is morally obligatory to kill in many cases where the consensus of human society says so. I reserve the right to consider human society wrong about killing in some cases, such as the death penalty.

8:02 AM  

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