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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:03 am
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Euthyphro's Dilemma

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Am I missing something here? Why would any atheist ever thing that Euthyphro's Dilemma is a real argument to be reckoned with? Is this an improper representation or something?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:32 am
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I'll bite...

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Believer’s response: “Neither, you have set up a false-dilemma giving me only two options when in reality there is a third option that so happens to be the harmonizing solution! Goodness is not arbitrary nor independent of God! The answer is that goodness is a reflection of God’s very Nature! Goodness permeates from God’s very Being! The very character of God is the measure, the standard and the substance of goodness! Anything contrary to His perfect Nature is wrong.”


The believer's response claims to know the nature of God and that goodness is part of that nature or character. (of course this cannot in any way shape or form be shown to be true... )

If goodness is not able to be separated from the character of God then God indeed is calling an act good because he said so. He is the alleged creator correct? Goodness and him are one in the same according to this argument? If something is good it comes from him... because it is him where goodness comes from...

And the circular argument go round and round...

The Euthyphro's dilemma may very well be a false dilemma but the link provided does a very poor job of attacking it.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:11 am
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Board wrote:

The Euthyphro's dilemma may very well be a false dilemma


Not so sure it is a false dilemma. What is the difference between

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“If an act is good just because God says so, then goodness deteriorates to nothing more than a random ‘say so’ or command. It would all be arbitrary commands and one could imagine an alternative universe in which God decrees charitable acts to be evil and bearing false witness to be good!”


and

Quote:
Believer’s response: “Neither, you have set up a false-dilemma giving me only two options when in reality there is a third option that so happens to be the harmonizing solution! Goodness is not arbitrary nor independent of God! The answer is that goodness is a reflection of God’s very Nature! Goodness permeates from God’s very Being! The very character of God is the measure, the standard and the substance of goodness! Anything contrary to His perfect Nature is wrong.”


Aren't those just two ways of saying the same thing?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:17 am
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Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?

So, in terms of a specific act, murder, gay sex or eating shellfish, we can ask a theist why those acts are considered bad. Or why prayer, idleness on a certain day or long hair for women are considered good.

If the answer is merely "because God says so" then morals are arbitrary. God decides what is good and what is not. There is no intrinsic goodness or evil. God is merely a despotic dictator. God would no longer be considered to be a wise and rational being, one who always acts on good reasons only. He acts however he wants and what he wants is, by fiat, good. Anything conceivably could be good or evil. Ethics becomes merely an exercise in hermeneutics. God's goodness becomes tautologically meaningless.

If the answer is that these things are good or evil, and God is informing us, for our own good then the goodness or evil of the acts are independent of God's will. God is bound by the laws of morality instead of being their establisher. It may seem that this is setting up something distinct from God, which is independent of him, and equally eternal and necessary.

Some theists try to escape the difficulties of the dilemma by defining God's nature as being good. Is then God's nature something that God decided (subject to his will) or is it something that was determined independent of God. The dilemma remains.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:51 am
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Question Everything wrote:


Aren't those just two ways of saying the same thing?


I think so... but I was commenting more on the failed attack on the dilemma than on the merits of the dilemma itself.

McCulloch puts the facts surrounding the dilemma very clearly. The proposed third third option of goodness being one with God does not hold water. Until a third option can be presented that is logical, it would not be a false dilemma.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:08 am
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Board wrote:

McCulloch puts the facts surrounding the dilemma very clearly. The proposed third third option of goodness being one with God does not hold water. Until a third option can be presented that is logical, it would not be a false dilemma.


Yes. What he said is exactly what I was thinking. Christopher Hitchens, Dan Barker and Daniel Dennett also explain it very well. Morality is either arbitrary or it is not. There can be no third option.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 7: Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:19 pm
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McCulloch wrote:
Some theists try to escape the difficulties of the dilemma by defining God's nature as being good.

It's not an escape tactic. It's called relying upon Scripture.

You rely upon Scripture as soon as you even entertain the idea that the god of the bible exists.

The real escape from difficulties is the skeptic who--even just for the sake of argument--accepts handpicked verses from the bible and arbitrarily rejects others.

The skeptic says, "Ok I'll accept that the bible is correct insofar as it claims God exists and that God did the following things. But I reject the bible's claim that God does things for ultimate good and our limited scope prevents us from recognizing it."

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 8: Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:30 pm
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Hobbes wrote:
McCulloch wrote:
Some theists try to escape the difficulties of the dilemma by defining God's nature as being good.

It's not an escape tactic. It's called relying upon Scripture.

You rely upon Scripture as soon as you even entertain the idea that the god of the bible exists.

The real escape from difficulties is the skeptic who--even just for the sake of argument--accepts handpicked verses from the bible and arbitrarily rejects others.

The skeptic says, "Ok I'll accept that the bible is correct insofar as it claims God exists and that God did the following things. But I reject the bible's claim that God does things for ultimate good and our limited scope prevents us from recognizing it."


How about. .I reject the bibles claims for anything without objective external evidence that the bible is correct.

Not arbitrary, but only accepting those claims there is external objective evidence for.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 9: Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:42 pm
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I seem to have missed the place in the Scriptures where these philosophical ideas about God's nature are discussed. Please present the passages you are referring to. If any of the Biblical writers clearly dealt with Plato's Euthyphro's dilemma we would not be having this debate.

I did explain why this dodge, whether supported by Scripture or not, is invalid. Please address the objections raised.

The idea that a god existed was quite popular long before any of the Christian scriptures were written, so the idea of a god is not dependent on Christian scriptures.

Hobbes wrote:

The skeptic says, "Ok I'll accept that the bible is correct insofar as it claims God exists and that God did the following things. But I reject the bible's claim that God does things for ultimate good and our limited scope prevents us from recognizing it."


I am a skeptic, but not apparently the skeptic referred to by Hobbes. In citing the straw man argument of the skeptic, you show that you really do not fully understand Plato. If the God described in the Bible exists, does the god do things for the ultimate good, which can be defined independently of the god thus rendering the god to be subservient to this principle of good OR does the god define and decide what is good, thus rendering good to be arbitrary?

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MPG Recipient Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 10: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:26 pm
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As a Christian I don’t find Euthyphro’s Dilemma particularly troublesome. The answer to the Dilemma is unknowable – there is no way to really know if something is good because God says it is good or if God says something is good because it is good. But I find that neither option provides a particular difficulty for Christians.

First option:
If an act (loving your neighbor, honoring your parents, etc.) is good because God says it is good then in a way goodness is arbitrary – but it is only arbitrary in the way that everything is arbitrary. It is arbitrary that grass is green, space is curved, bits of matter attract other bits of matter, diamonds are sparkly and pretty, and a beautiful face is symmetrical without being too symmetrical.

To make an analogy, is it arbitrary that in chess a king can only move one space per turn? It is sort of arbitrary, but it makes sense within the rules of the game. That is how the game of chess was designed to work.

In a similar way God has designed a world in which love and kindness and self-control are morally good. That is how this reality works. Because God has designed the world to work this way kindness could not be evil any more than I could move a king five spaces in a game of chess.

I suppose that I could move a king five spaces, but I would no longer playing chess – I would have to be playing some other game. Similarly, to change the nature of ethics we would have to change the fundamental nature of our reality. We have as much ability to change the nature of our reality as a pawn on a chess board has the ability to change the rules of chess.


Second Options:
God calls something good because it is good. This is the option I favor, though as I said it is impossible to prove.

If this is the case then we are saying that good is not a thing in a similar way to the fact that logic is not a thing. Is logic eternal or spate from God? Well, God is logical, but essentially “logic” is a human term for describing what is.

Similarly, “good” is a human description. God is good and must be good. “Good” is not something that exists separate from God, but it is an abstract term (similar to the term “logic.”) If this is true then we are saying that there is no possible reality in which “good” and “evil” can be exchanged. Just as it is impossible for a circle to be square, it is equally impossible for hatred to be good.

This does not make “good” something outside of God. “Good” is just a description for the way reality is and the only way reality could be.



There is a thread over in the science forum entitled “God cannot change the value of Pi.” The debate there is similar to this one. Could God have created a reality that is fundamentally different than the one we know, or are certain abstract concepts (logic, mathematics, goodness) the only possible reality that could exist? I find now possible way of answering the question, and at the end of the day for a Christian it doesn’t really matter.

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