Tuesday, July 05, 2016

After God

Peter Singer frankly distinguishes Christian ethics from secular ethics:

Any discussion of the ethics of voluntary euthanasia must begin by considering whether it can ever be right to kill an innocent human being. The view that this can never be right gains its strongest support from religious doctrines that claim that only humans are made in the image of God, or that only humans have an immortal soul, or that God gave us dominion over the animals-meaning that we can kill them if we wish-but reserved to himself dominion over human beings. Reject these ideas, and it is difficult to think of any morally relevant properties that separate human beings with severe brain damage or other major intellectual disabilities from nonhuman animals at a similar mental level. For why should the fact that a being is a member of our species make it worse to kill that being than it is to kill a member of another species, if the two individuals have similar intellectual abilities or if the nonhuman has superior intellectual abilities? 

1 comment:

  1. 1) Singer is a master at taking subjective ethics to its logical conclusion... using objective logic, of course.

    2) Singer makes the mistake that many Christians make that being made in the image of God is primarily an intellectual or volitional category rather than being a moral one. I submit that we are made in the image of God primarily because we are moral agents regardless of individual intellectual capacity. Interestingly, while many secularists want to deny moral laws so that they can break them, they also desire to claim to be moral agents. Interestingly, they wish to extend some freedom from moral agency to the animal world ("He's just following his instinct.") while anthropomorphically imagining that some animals behave as though they are moral creatures. (i.e. pets, and "Those are 'good' snakes because they benefit us by eating the rats." - are there any 'good' rats?)