THE CHALLENGES AGAINST DIVINE COMMAND THEORY
Keywords:Divine command theory, religious ethics, Qur'an, religious fundamentalism, moral realism
In 1980, George F. Hourani and, more recently in 2010, Mariam al-Attar argued that Islam is not compatible with divine command theory. They rehearsed some standard objections (namely the objectivity of morality, divine goodness, moral knowledge) targeted against meta-ethical divine command theory taking the Qur’an into consideration, and argued that it should be discarded from an Islamic point of view. In addition, they criticized divine command theory since it involves obedience to God and, therefore, does not allow moral reasoning but rather is the source of religious fundamentalism and violence. Although these objections are powerful when applied to the early Ashʿarite version of divine command theory, they are not powerful against recent formulations of it presented by Christian philosophers. For example, a divine command theory like that of Robert Merrihew Adams is well suited to respond to these objections. Thus, divine command theory, in its recent formulations, is a genuine option for Muslims and should be given due consideration.