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A theory is made up of a set of facts which are interlinked to give guidelines on how to approach a particular issue. Despite a theory being made up of indisputable interrelated facts, it has some assumptions that seek to address the weaknesses. Another characteristic of theories is that they have their strengths upon which form their basis of approach. This essay is a discussion on the approaches offered by Kant and utilitarian theories regarding moral decision making.
Question one: Identify the strengths and weaknesses of Kant’s approach to making moral decisions. What can Christians learn from Kant and what shall they reject.
The first strength of the approach proposed by Kant in making moral decisions is a duty (Aune, 2014). Kant’s view was carrying out duties regardless of the emotions. It is impossible to make wrong or wrong choices as a result of love. He proposes that when one does things out of duty, the individual is always on the right side. Besides, Kant suggests that one does not feel worth any praise if he/she thinks like undertaking the right things. The second strength is the aspect of rationality where emotions do not influence Kant. It is thus apparent that the theory hinders us from being irrational or showing any form of favoritism. Kant’s theory on moral decision making is rational.
However, the first weakness of the theory is that the approach of the belief in the existence in the form of God in making sense of molarity. The approach by Kant that to make a moral decision, one must believe in the form of God and believe creates morality sense. There exist doubts if the moral law exists; in fact, so many philosophers ask questions about the existence. The other weakness is the Kant’s believe in the law only other than on God. This belief by Kant contradicts the Bible. In the book of Romans 7:12 (The New King James Version) the Bible talks of the law as holy just as the commandment are, they are also good and righteous.
On the other hand, the argument brought on by Kant is that an individual may adhere to the rules, perform his/her duties accordingly and at the same time be horrible living a morally upright life. It is thus useful for Christians to learn the lesson from Kant that the character of morality originates from God’s existence. To add more to the lesson, Christians should consider rejecting the notion that Kant believes that it is only the law that exists and not God. After Jesus fulfillment of the law, it does not exist alone. The Bible states that we should not owe anyone anything other than the love for them for whoever loves the other fulfills the law (Romans 13:8). In other words, Jesus summarized the commandments and left us with only one, love.
However, Christians should also reject the Kant’s believe in the form of God to make sense of molarity (Broad, 2014). Moreover, good and bad behaviors are defined by theology from the perspective of Christianity. The existence of evil is a bigger argument relative to moral relativism. Since human beings were born in image of God, we know good and evil. The Bible (Romans 12:21) confirms that evil should not overcome us. We should overcome evil with good. Additionally, Christian’s response to wrong should be doing right even to enemies so that God does the punishment on our behalf (Placeholder1).
Question two: Identify the strengths of a utilitarian approach to making moral decisions. What can Christians learn from utilitarianism and what should they reject?
The strength of the utilitarian approach is the view of evolutionary ethics. Evolution has enabled us to survive more so through moral belief advancing something we would ignore due to lack of instincts. Utilitarianism presents a clear approach to our action determination. In other words the theory is good for the making the decision on what is best for people; however, one weakness of the theoretical approach is the idea that biological evolution influences moral understanding (Mill, 2016). In such a case God is not disregarded. None the less, the theoretical approach is that for one to make a moral action, the individual should first predict what will happen as the outcome of the activity undertaken something that is almost impossible to achieve. God says (John 3:15) whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. Through believing in Christ, we get the gift of salvation from God which is an assurance of everlasting life
The other weakness is the belief that is of no need to think that our beliefs are valid despite their contribution to our survival (Cohen, & Ahn, 2016). Utilitarian theory is rational. The first lesson that Christians can learn from the theory is that it is not possible to make sense of molarity without God, We were created in Gods’ image hence we have the sense of good and wrong (Genesis 1:27). In fact, the current laws that define what is right or wrong are all derived from the Ten Commandments given by God. Another thing that Christians should reject from the theory is that human beings hold on to many misconceptions which are very necessary for our survival. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours (Mark 11:24). What we believe is what helps us to survive.
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In conclusion, theories have weaknesses and strengths, Christians should therefore consider reviewing theories to make the decision on which parts to use and which parts to drop. The decision is on the basis that we live in a contemporary world where so many things happen. It is out of these things that theories are developed, a good example being the two discussed in this article. Both theories have good parts that can be of help to the believers. Despite theories being based on facts, they are considered as someone’s’ school of thought that is always subject to verification using the Bible which is the perfect word from God Himself.
- Aune, B. (2014). Kant’s theory of morals (Vol. 264). Princeton University Press.
- Bible, K. J. V., & Version, N. K. J. (1997). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
- Broad, C. D. (2014). Five types of ethical theory. Routledge.
- Cohen, D. J., & Ahn, M. (2016). A subjective utilitarian theory of moral judgment. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145(10), 1359.
- Mill, J. S. (2016). Utilitarianism. In Seven Masterpieces of Philosophy (pp. 337-383). Routledge.