In “The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoevsky made a famous claim that establishes the link between the existence of God and morality. Apart from the controversy related to the scope of the quotation, the discussion on the proper translation and interpretation of the words of Ivan Karamazov. For instance, in his article “Dostoevsky did not say it” D.Cortesi claims that Dostoevsky did not make such claim (Cortesi 1). However, the research by Russian-speaking authors shows that the original text of “The Brothers Karamazov” contains the statement under study (Volkov 1). Coming to the scope of the claim, one should concentrate on the reasons for making such claim, as well as the relation between the moral beliefs of secular humanists and the beliefs under study.
When one says that the non-existence of God leads to the fact that everything is permitted, one implies that there is a crucial link between the existence of God and morality. In other word, it may be summarized that the statement under study suggests viewing God as the source of morality. This suggestion brings one close to the divine command theory. As one of most well known meta-ethical theories, divine command theory lies in claiming that considering the action morally good is equal to viewing the action as the one, being commanded by God. It is suggested that what is moral is called forth by what God commands, and the only way to be moral is to follow the commands of God.
The statement by Dostoevsky is directly related to the scope of the divine command theory, as it is also based on viewing God as the main source of moral norms, and considering morality impossible without the existence of God. Let us consider the reasons that may have led to both the creation of the divine command theory and the formulation of the statement under study by its author.
The first reason to consider is the close historical link that exists between religion and morality. Many religions have well-developed value frameworks that help adherents distinguish between moral and immoral actions, serving as their guides in all the situations that require choosing the model of behavior. The frameworks that regulate personal behavior, suing the categories of morality and immorality, manifest themselves in the form of holy books, written and oral traditions and the statements of religious leaders.
The second reason lies in the fact that the scope of basic principles of religious and secular morality is the same. For instance, the norms of moral behavior that are contained in the Ten Commandments (e.g., the prohibition of murder, adultery and theft) are shared both by deists and Atheists. Thirdly, religious people tend to think that God had created everything in the world. Therefore, it is quite natural for them to think that God had created morality. Thus they see morality and religion as either two inseparable notions or even the one that finds its roots in the idea of God.
The historically formed link...