Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The utilitarian argument for religious persecution

Some people think that getting religion wrong will result in more people going to hell. We want to save people from hell, and killing their body is not as bad as letting them teach religious beliefs that will get people damned. So, in the interest of the greatest good for the greatest number, religious killing is justified.

What is the best rebuttal to this argument?

6 comments:

Joe Hinman said...

Read John Rawls

SteveK said...

Any utilitarian argument detached from the divine nature of God and his will for human beings, cannot be said to be morally good. So no, the greatest good is not achieved by committing the greatest evil (Shall we continue in sin so that grace may increase? Romans 6).

John Moore said...

A lot of these counter-utilitarian thought experiments fall apart if we simply ask, "How do you know?" In this case, how do you know the teachings will get people damned? Maybe everyone will shrug off those teachings and ignore them.

A good rule of thumb might be as follows: Strong certainty is required for drastic action. Killing people is drastic, so you need to meet a very high burden of proof to justify it.

IlĂ­on said...

^ You don't really pay attention to yourself, do you? You're appealing to the very transcendent morality your God-denial necessarily denies, and which "utilitarian morality" is claimed to render superfluous.

Jo F said...

I would add that, if we did go about killing people then the word would get out eventually, so we would face violent resistance and likely be defeated. Thus, less people would get the chance to hear the word of God anyway. A greater good would then not be achieved, as far less people would have the chance to be saved.

Besides that, it is immoral to commit murder given Christianity. Stick with God's will and things will work out;)

Jo F said...

I would add that, if we did go about killing people then the word would get out eventually, so we would face violent resistance and likely be defeated. Thus, less people would get the chance to hear the word of God anyway. A greater good would then not be achieved, as far less people would have the chance to be saved.

Besides that, it is immoral to commit murder given Christianity. Stick with God's will and things will work out;)