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The Source Of Morality: Euthyphro's Dilemma

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posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 08:52 AM
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Great topic, but obviously people aren't even bothering to read Euthyphro, or perhaps they are missing the point.

As I recall Christians took up this issue again centuries later. The early thinkers did indeed see the problem, and had to propose "something" else, which they called the tertium quid, or "third thing".

C.S. Lewis appealed to this third thing too. It is basically the very same thing Plato presented thousands of years ago. In the discussion between Euthyphro and Socrates, they wonder how they might resolve a dispute about measurements, and of course, they agree that they would consult a measuring stick or ruler.

This is the third thing, a standard of measure that is appealed to, and all are in agreement that it is the final word.

Theists take the "easy" way out, and simply would like to leave the matter in God's hands, saying that He made that ruler.

Clearly, a closer look implies a "standard" even beyond a "law giver", since even the law giver is to be held to that same standard.

OR NOT. And this is where I suppose it can get interesting, with people finding excellent material in the Bible that seems to indicate "that god" as being rather a nasty fellow. But if the presumption is that He can't be a nasty fellow, then logically the only appeal left is that Divine Fiat is indeed enough to be "moral", regardless of appearances. Which seems a bit absurd of course.

Well, I'm sure it could be said better, but I wasn't seeing even the beginnings of the OP point getting across, so perhaps this helps.

S & F. Looking forward to the discussion. (I personally love the great Greek philosophers, who already had things figured out so long ago.)

JR




posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 08:56 AM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


I think that the idea of "god's rules" is also absurd. Reminds me of some old dude, writing stuff on some stone tablets. It doesn't work that way. Maybe "sin" could be considered as an error of judgement.



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 08:57 AM
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Originally posted by scratchmane

Originally posted by 547000
reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


God makes His own standard, and what He says is the law; God doesn't need a standard to follow--but we need to follow His standards, since He's the final judge of whether you are good or evil, and what He says goes.


Hm, as we know God has changed God's mind before, so if what he says is law, and God appears on earth, and says the Law is "Killing and raping and assorted other delightful things is what is good now, turning the cheek is for wimps" would you change your behaviour?

It's a slippery slope with a God who, by God's own words "“...form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”

Edit: LoL traditional...two minds one thought

edit on 12-1-2011 by scratchmane because: (no reason given)


I have to echo that myself, the God of the Bible is a mighty cruel being from day one, and I wish these die hard Bible believers would actually read the thing. Here are just a few of god's "deeds," that to me label him a cruel and jealous being not worthy of anyone's devotion or worship:

God made false prophecies (Jonah 3:4. Gen. 5:10)
God killed (Num. 16:35, 21:6, Deut. 32:39, 1 Sam. 2:26, Psalm 135:10)
God ordered killing (Lev. 26:7-8, Num. 25:4-5)
God had a temper (Deut. 13:17, Judges 3
God was often jealous (Deut. 5:9, 6:15)

God wasn't omnipresent (Gen4:16, 11:5, 1 Kings 19:11-12)
God practiced injustice (Ex. 4:22-23, Joshua 22:20, Rom. 5:12)
God sanctioned slavery (Ex. 21:20-21, Deut. 15:17)
God degraded deformed people (Lev. 21:16-23)
God ordered cannibalism (Lev. 26: 29, Jer. 19:9)
God excused a murderer and promised his protection (Gen. 4:8-15)
God killed a man who refused to impregnate his widowed sister-in-law (Gen.
38:9-10)
Did you look these up in your Book, dear Christian? What kind of being is this that demands blind devotion, makes up rules as he goes along, damns everyone to Hell anyway, and acts like a spoiled child!



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 08:58 AM
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Originally posted by adjensen
That's the handy thing about a reasoned faith. God would not come round and say that, so I would know that I'm going goofy.


That plays into the dilemma. For a bible follower, one must recognize that several times in the bible God does indeed make commandments to kill. And if morality is simply what God says to do, by fiat he could command to kill, or rape, or do other things that run contrary to our reasoning.

If you claim God would not do such a thing, by what standards are you making such a judgment? If you use your own sense of morality, this negates the possibility that morals could derive from God. God could not instill morality in you that which would run contrary to his command.



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 09:02 AM
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So are we talking about the "god" in the Bible, or God? Seems to me that the one in the bible is somehow... old and boring.
I think that we must forget about the Bible if we really want to understand divinity.

In fact, maybe it would be better to forget religions and dogmas in general. They simply cannot grasp the essence of what divinity is all about. Maybe we should look into things like biology, quantum physics, psychology, cosmology and mathematics instead.


edit on 12/1/2011 by Tryptych because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 09:11 AM
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Originally posted by JR MacBeth
As I recall Christians took up this issue again centuries later. The early thinkers did indeed see the problem, and had to propose "something" else, which they called the tertium quid, or "third thing".


Indeed there is a third option proposed and Euthyphro's Dilemma is often accused of being a false dilemma. The third option is also relatively easy to argue against also, though I haven't seen it yet. I'll wait



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 09:15 AM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by adjensen
That's the handy thing about a reasoned faith. God would not come round and say that, so I would know that I'm going goofy.


That plays into the dilemma. For a bible follower, one must recognize that several times in the bible God does indeed make commandments to kill.


As you may recall, I am not a fundamentalist, so where the Bible is in conflict with what Christ teaches us, I set that aside as being invalid. That doesn't earn me many fans in the fundamentalist or ardent atheist communities, but that's the way that non-literalists see it.


And if morality is simply what God says to do, by fiat he could command to kill, or rape, or do other things that run contrary to our reasoning.


You are completely missing the point of my post. God would not command you to commit an act that is not good. There is no "what would you do if he did", because it is a nonsense question. Your view (and Plato's, of course,) is predicated on a god who is not the Christian God.



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 09:19 AM
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Originally posted by adjensen
You are completely missing the point of my post. God would not command you to commit an act that is not good.


Again, by what standard are you using to judge what is good and what is not? If "good" is determined simply by whatever God says to do you could not make a judgment about whether it is good or not on your own.



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 09:26 AM
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Ah, TD, back again.

So, since it's Plato, we can begin by agreeing that we aren't discussing the Abrahamic God(s), to the exclusion of all other god-concepts.

Rather than a conception that God and the Good are one and the same, we might, as you propose, begin with a notion that the Godhead and the Good are distinct. There is no necessary reason why the Good would be distinct from the Godhead, but let's see where that takes us.

The distinct-from-the-Good Godhead would have a role relative to the Good. A case can be made that those roles might be "author" or else "reporter." And, of course, if he's the author, then he can be "editor," and you don't like that. Fine.

If he's the reporter, then... what's the problem with that again? In observing the principle, he would limit himself?

Offhand, since any god who can be discussed in words is already and necessarily subject to the principle of non-contradiction, there doesn't seem to be any reason to suppose that a god might not be subject to other constraining principles as well. Plato's gods were subject to determinism, superintended by the Fates, for instance. The Abrahamic God can constrain hmself by resolution ("I will not flood the entire world at once." or "I will return.").

So, as dilemmas go, this one seems leaky. I can start out from a Good that is distinct from the Godhead, and choose the horn that a god may be subject to global principles, which a variety of gods are anyway.

Or, I can save a step, and simply posit a God who is the Good.

Note that in the Abrahamic framework, God did not create himself, so if he were the Good, it would not be the case that he had created the Good. Like him, it would be be what it is. He would be "bound" by it in the sense that he is "bound" to be who he is.

There may be practical problems in ascertaining what the will of such a God might be, but that would have nothing to do with Plato. It would just be the excuse for yet another "evil Bible" fest. Since Plato wasn't Jewish, he really can't be expected to help us with that.

-

edit on 12-1-2011 by eight bits because: smited errant keystroke



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 09:33 AM
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Originally posted by eight bits
If he's the reporter, then... what's the problem with that again? In observing the principle, he would limit himself?


Then morality exists independently of god(s) and therefore cannot be sourced to the divine. The god(s) would additionally be subjected to these qualities, calling into question the concepts of the omnipotence of the god(s). .
---



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 09:39 AM
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intellectualism deletes god and philosophy is intellectualism in infancy.
if god is deleted then gods commands as known are the "true north" for what is morally correct.
but; if god exists and is the source of a persons morality their morality will differ pending their relationship with god.

which is why this "dilemma" is a dilemma; because if the intellect deletes god then who is to say the person practicing intellectualism is not communing with god and enacting his moral edicts. yet, because a person receives an edict from god the impression of their actions is not perceived as equal to "gods people": as the morality god has wished to be expressed.

a person can receive gods edict and choose to reinvent his own source of morality after having had a revelation?

morals are different than rites/actions that are performed to appease god; this is dogma.

a dogmatic society is not a moral one; nazi germany is a prime example.
and a moral society is not a dogmatic one; ancient egypt and the remaining curses on its people and history are a prime example.


the source of my cultivation of morality is me accepting actions committed against myself or other persons as an act that was done out of user ignorance and or negligence; that defied what i accepted as im/personally acceptable and has been done without knowledge of my own states of accepted morality/dogma: thus setting the bar for what is an acceptable act to do or commit to being able to do as morally possible regardless of how another person views that act.
edit on 12-1-2011 by Ausar because: incomplete first post



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 09:47 AM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by adjensen
You are completely missing the point of my post. God would not command you to commit an act that is not good.


Again, by what standard are you using to judge what is good and what is not? If "good" is determined simply by whatever God says to do you could not make a judgment about whether it is good or not on your own.


I'm not judging what is good and what is not in that statement (if I needed to, I would use the "Love everyone else" to determine that raping my neighbour's daughter is not following God's commands.)

God would not issue such a command, because God is good, God is righteous. Those aren't things he decided he liked, they are aspects of his identify. Saying that God is good doesn't mean that I know what good is, or that I approve of his actions, but that the quality that we think of as "good" isn't some abstract thing drifting around, it is God. He didn't create it, or declare it, he just is it.

Meh, that's not very eloquently put, sorry. But the bottom line is that the Christian God would not command such a thing because he effectively could not command such a thing. Which is not an "omnipotence" thing, but a characteristic of an eternal and unchanging God (see Hebrews 6:13-20)



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 09:48 AM
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Originally posted by Ausar
if god is deleted then gods commands as known are the "true north" for what is morally correct.


If god is "deleted" then how could his commands remain? How do we know that god's commands are morally correct? If god commands to kill or rape does that make such actions automatically morally correct?



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 09:58 AM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


What about the part where God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son? That command does not sound like a loving thing to ask for, and yet if we accept the book as true then God did ask for something like that, even if it was just a test of faith and the boy wasn't killed.



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 10:01 AM
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Originally posted by adjensen
I'm not judging what is good and what is not in that statement (if I needed to, I would use the "Love everyone else" to determine that raping my neighbour's daughter is not following God's commands.)

God would not issue such a command, because God is good, God is righteous. Those aren't things he decided he liked, they are aspects of his identify. Saying that God is good doesn't mean that I know what good is, or that I approve of his actions, but that the quality that we think of as "good" isn't some abstract thing drifting around, it is God. He didn't create it, or declare it, he just is it.

Meh, that's not very eloquently put, sorry. But the bottom line is that the Christian God would not command such a thing because he effectively could not command such a thing. Which is not an "omnipotence" thing, but a characteristic of an eternal and unchanging God (see Hebrews 6:13-20)


I think you may have presented a contradiction.

You claim god would not command that which is not good, and that which is good is god. In other words, whatever god commands must be good. Though at the same time you use a standard by which to mitigate what is good (that involving love) to discern whether or not a commandment is of god.

At the same time, you imply that god is inherently bound by that which is considered good and cannot command otherwise. This could imply that "good" is a standard existing independently of god and calls into question the alleged omnipotence of god.

You're actually touching on the apologetic's third argument in the dilemma, though it is rather difficult to escape the original two arguments.



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 10:02 AM
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as i said in my prior reply; dogma is not morality.

if god spoke to all of his children at the same time or choose a people after disregarding his children and said: "they are your enemies you are to maim them if they try to look you in the eye"; this edict would not be a moral implication for gods children or his chosen people but an enaction of dogmatic principles. the enaction of the prior example of an edict from god can be viewed as a moral implication only for one of gods children or his chosen people; and the act of doing what god has commanded would be the act of doing the dogmatic things necessary to keep god pleased.

the dilemma you present is that of a person who is not of god speaking of godly things.
edit on 12-1-2011 by Ausar because: mispelled



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 10:02 AM
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reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


I find this extremely funny: so, what, God comes down from heaven to command you? Maybe he uses some kind of heavenly elevator simply to teach you a lesson.



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 10:03 AM
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Originally posted by 547000
reply to post by adjensen
 


What about the part where God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son? That command does not sound like a loving thing to ask for, and yet if we accept the book as true then God did ask for something like that, even if it was just a test of faith and the boy wasn't killed.


I think adjensen has addressed this already. Not to speak for him but I believe he dismisses it on the claim that he's not a fundamentalist and he believes it contrary to the message of Christ.



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 10:07 AM
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Originally posted by Ausar
as i said in my prior reply; dogma is not morality.

if god spoke to all of his children at the same time or choose a people after disregarding his children and said: "they are your enemies you are to maim them if they try to look you in they eye"; this edict would not be a moral implication for gods children or his chosen people but an enaction of dogmatic principles.


Therefore, you would have to argue that morals exist independently of god and his commandments, and that morality could not be traced to a divine source.



posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 10:19 AM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer
You claim god would not command that which is not good, and that which is good is god. In other words, whatever god commands must be good. Though at the same time you use a standard by which to mitigate what is good (that involving love) to discern whether or not a commandment is of god.


Well, as I said, those are two different things. I don't need a judgement for your question, because it is a nonsensical one, like "can God make a burrito so hot that even he cannot eat it?" I just said that my personal criteria for determining whether something is good or not is whether it conforms to what Christ said.


At the same time, you imply that god is inherently bound by that which is considered good and cannot command otherwise. This could imply that "good" is a standard existing independently of god and calls into question the alleged omnipotence of god.


Yeah, like I said, I'm not explaining well, sorry. But God and "good" are not separate things, and the nature of "good" isn't a declaration of his, it is who he is. You may not have read the bit in Hebrews, but, in it, the author states that God cannot lie, and this is an accepted notion of the Christian God. Not that he simply chooses not to lie, but that he cannot. It isn't related to omnipotence, it's due to the nature of God, and I'm getting that across, sorry.




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