Only God can be the source of moral awareness. Discuss. (10)
Moral awareness is sometimes referred to as the human conscience, it supposedly separates us from other animals and allows us to function as a society. A moral is a value that we live our lives by and each one contributes to a moral code of conduct which then becomes a country’s laws. This essay focuses on the ideas of Kant and Newman, who believed the source of moral awareness could potentially be God, and Freud and Russell whose views oppose religious ones. Some key ideas used are the Moral Argument, Psychoanalytic theory of personality, and the Euthyphro Dilemma.
Kant’s understanding of moral awareness was that it consisted of universal moral laws that everyone knows of and are obligated to follow; these laws do not vary between cultures or throughout time. An example of an objective moral law would be that we shouldn’t commit murder. A moral action might be to help an elderly person across a busy road. We would perform this moral action- or others- out of duty, obligation and reasoning. To discover the correct action to perform in a situation we apply moral reasoning- otherwise known as the categorical imperative. This is like a test that enables us to identify our moral duty. When deciding whether to lie or tell the truth, for instance, we consult the categorical imperative. These ideas helped Kant to formulate his Moral Argument for the existence of God. Humans, he said, have a sense of innate moral awareness that burdens us with the obligation to be virtuous. True virtue is logically rewarded with happiness, but we’re incapable of rewarding ourselves. He called the state in which virtue and happiness coincide the ‘summum bonum’, and the only way to ensure this state is reached is by the existence of a God. Summum Bonum can then be reached in a form of afterlife, explaining why we feel the constant pressure from our conscience to do the right thing, even when it won’t...
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