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The Euthyphro Dilemma

Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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7/30/2014 3:49:55 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Just wondering what the theists who advocate for an all-good God who grounds morality would answer to this dilemma:

P1) Either something is good because it's intrinsically good, or it is good because God commands it
P2 If something is Good because it is intrinsically good, then the standard of morality is external to God, and God is unnecessary for morality
P3) If something is Good because God commands it, then things are arbitrarily good based on God

It seems in either case, God cannot play a significant role in morality. In P2 God at best can only teach what is good, and implies there is a more fundamental standard to God himself. In P3, then there is just no good reason to accept God's standard of 'good' if it's arbitary, it's his preference over mine. If I decide x is good and he decides y is good, then so what? There is no right answer as are are working off our own preferences.
Toviyah
Posts: 88
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7/31/2014 7:05:36 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/30/2014 3:49:55 PM, Envisage wrote:
Just wondering what the theists who advocate for an all-good God who grounds morality would answer to this dilemma:

P1) Either something is good because it's intrinsically good, or it is good because God commands it
P2 If something is Good because it is intrinsically good, then the standard of morality is external to God, and God is unnecessary for morality
P3) If something is Good because God commands it, then things are arbitrarily good based on God

It seems in either case, God cannot play a significant role in morality. In P2 God at best can only teach what is good, and implies there is a more fundamental standard to God himself. In P3, then there is just no good reason to accept God's standard of 'good' if it's arbitary, it's his preference over mine. If I decide x is good and he decides y is good, then so what? There is no right answer as are are working off our own preferences.
I'm pretty sure most theists would contest P1). It seems that a third option would be that something is good because the standard of good is complies to God's necessary nature.
Personally, I take a quasi-leibnizian view to the relation between God and abstracta, which I think solves the issue and illustrates the solution quite well. First, take the leibnizian view that God's non-volitional, necessary cognition is the cause of all abstracta, which includes propositions like 'x is good'. Also, take divine simplicity. In which case, any product of God (through his non-volitional cognition) is identical to God himself, so that good is identical to the nature of God.
So, good is necessarily so, through God's necessary nature.
Regardless, both horns of the dilemma are still reconcilable with an omnibenevolent God imo. Take the first, that there is an external source for good. It seems that as long as God complies fully to that perfect, platonicesque standard of good, then he is still all good and as long as he reveals that standard of good to humans, he can still be the source of human morality. It works as long as you don't adhere to perfect being theology.
Now take the second, theological voluntarism. It seems that morality in this sense is only truly arbitrary if one takes a strong voluntarism. Because you can take a weak voluntarism where normative properties have some sort of justification, viz. for the greatest overall utility or happiness, whose justification comes from God's necessary nature (the third horn).
Installgentoo
Posts: 1,420
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7/31/2014 7:21:19 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/30/2014 3:49:55 PM, Envisage wrote:
Just wondering what the theists who advocate for an all-good God who grounds morality would answer to this dilemma:

P1) Either something is good because it's intrinsically good, or it is good because God commands it
P2 If something is Good because it is intrinsically good, then the standard of morality is external to God, and God is unnecessary for morality
P3) If something is Good because God commands it, then things are arbitrarily good based on God

It seems in either case, God cannot play a significant role in morality. In P2 God at best can only teach what is good, and implies there is a more fundamental standard to God himself. In P3, then there is just no good reason to accept God's standard of 'good' if it's arbitary, it's his preference over mine. If I decide x is good and he decides y is good, then so what? There is no right answer as are are working off our own preferences.

If you've admitted God is all-good, then there is no dilemma here, God's nature is the good and therefore his commands are good and they are not arbitrarily good.
bulproof
Posts: 25,197
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7/31/2014 7:50:48 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
If you have no problem blaming anything and everything, other than the creator of everything, with whatever is bad.......................... it's easy.
Religion is just mind control. George Carlin
ethang5
Posts: 4,084
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8/12/2014 8:41:58 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/30/2014 3:49:55 PM, Envisage wrote:
Just wondering what the theists who advocate for an all-good God who grounds morality would answer to this dilemma:

P1) Either something is good because it's intrinsically good, or it is good because God commands it

I agree with Toviyah that most Christians would contest this claim. It contradicts the nature of God proposed in Christian doctrine, and leads to the other false premises in the argument.

P2 If something is Good because it is intrinsically good, then the standard of morality is external to God, and God is unnecessary for morality

It doesn't follow. Why would it be external to God if it is intrinsically good? Are you using a private definition of intrinsic?

P3) If something is Good because God commands it, then things are arbitrarily good based on God

If they are based only on God, and always on God, how is it arbitrary? Again, in what sense are you using the word arbitrary here?

It seems in either case, God cannot play a significant role in morality. In P2 God at best can only teach what is good, and implies there is a more fundamental standard to God himself. In P3, then there is just no good reason to accept God's standard of 'good' if it's arbitary, it's his preference over mine. If I decide x is good and he decides y is good, then so what?

Do you personally agree with this argument? If so I have some questions for you.

There is no right answer as are are working off our own preferences.

Sure, if you dispense of all context like relationship, authority, and intent. This is what Christians try to tell atheists all the time, if you think morality is subjective, there is no right or wrong in any moral sense because we are all working off our own preferences.

YET... they will not see the intrinsic contradiction to their belief that that some things (like rape and genocide) are "immoral" and ought not be done. The two beliefs are contradictory.
Arasa
Posts: 380
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8/12/2014 9:26:27 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/30/2014 3:49:55 PM, Envisage wrote:
Just wondering what the theists who advocate for an all-good God who grounds morality would answer to this dilemma:

P1) Either something is good because it's intrinsically good, or it is good because God commands it
P2 If something is Good because it is intrinsically good, then the standard of morality is external to God, and God is unnecessary for morality
P3) If something is Good because God commands it, then things are arbitrarily good based on God

It seems in either case, God cannot play a significant role in morality. In P2 God at best can only teach what is good, and implies there is a more fundamental standard to God himself. In P3, then there is just no good reason to accept God's standard of 'good' if it's arbitary, it's his preference over mine. If I decide x is good and he decides y is good, then so what? There is no right answer as are are working off our own preferences.

The way I have always explained it is in a time-based thing... If we say that good and evil existed before God, then God is subject to good and evil, same as men, leaving Him unnecessary. If we say that morals existed after God, then God is not good, but he created good and evil. This makes God a neutral force, apathetic to the difference, because He created them both. His nature would have to be beyond the two.

This part gets complicated, so keep in mind that it's all in reference to morals...

What we see is that at the same time that God "Was/Is" (I use quotations because I don't know how time works, or if there is, beyond our universe) at the same time as good. Before anything was created, there was no evil. It's easy to say "Then God created evil, by that line of thought" but if we say that God IS good- that is, the literal sense of the word "Good", meaning He and Good are the same thing, then Evil is simply anything that God is "Not." So how do we have the capacity for good and evil, if God did not create evil?

What we arrive at is Free Will, which is the ability in each of us to disagree with, deny, and reject God.

I know I got a bit off-topic there at the end, so a simple answer for your question is:
"God and Goodness are the same thing."

August Rasa, a 4:53 mind
SubterFugitive
Posts: 255
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8/13/2014 3:13:42 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/30/2014 3:49:55 PM, Envisage wrote:
Just wondering what the theists who advocate for an all-good God who grounds morality would answer to this dilemma:

P1) Either something is good because it's intrinsically good, or it is good because God commands it

P2 If something is Good because it is intrinsically good, then the standard of morality is external to God, and God is unnecessary for morality

P3) If something is Good because God commands it, then things are arbitrarily good based on God

It seems in either case, God cannot play a significant role in morality. In P2 God at best can only teach what is good, and implies there is a more fundamental standard to God himself. In P3, then there is just no good reason to accept God's standard of 'good' if it's arbitrary, it's his preference over mine. If I decide x is good and he decides y is good, then so what? There is no right answer as are are working off our own preferences.

If P1 were true, then either the Good is transcendent or concrete but not both. But why can't we say that the Good is both transcendent AND concrete? I think this option is ruled out in an ad hoc way, yet this third option is the very idea of the Judeo-Christian God! For the proper context of the dilemma, Plato's Republic, deals with a mythology of many gods, which is something very different from the dilemma presented here. A plurality of gods with different moral opinions is no doubt a hard problem for Euthyphro, but would Socrates have posed the same kind of questions about a maximally great moral being? Modern Christians do not believe in a multiplicity of gods with differing opinions; they're simply so utterly unlike the Christian God.

So this problem isn't a problem for the Christian or Jew since its inception in ancient Greece because the dilemma originally applied to the Greek pantheon of many gods each with differing opinions not a monotheistic conception of a supreme ground of reality.

Second, the hypothesis for which the Euthyphro Dilemma is designed to argue for, atheistic moral Platonism (AMP) is more arbitrary and less plausible than Christianity or Judaism. AMP attempts to anchor morals in a non-theistic transcendent ground by essentially saying they "just exist." But what does it mean to say 'justice' just exists? A person can be just, but with the absence of people, how can justice "just exist?" Since an abstract 'justice' itself isn"t just, then without people justice can"t exist! But that idea seems to contradict the AMP hypothesis. At best, AMP leaves moral truths floating in an unintelligible way, lacking any adequate foundation. Furthermore, moral obligation is incompatible with AMP: for suppose duty indeed "just exists" Platonically, how then does that result in obligation? An obligation towards wrong may exist too; why not commit wrong actions? Theism, however, provides a more plausible basis for the moral realist under Divine Command Theory, which is the third option that the Euthyphro dilemma ignores. But not only is AMP a highly arbitrary basis for morals, it"s implausible as well. For it seems absurd to think that creatures would blindly evolve to correspond to abstract moral realms! (It"s almost as though the moral realm knew we were coming). It's more plausible that the moral and natural realm would coincide under a Creator Law-giver hegemony then to think these two realms "just meshed."

Therefore, the Judeo-Christian rejects P1. For this premise isn't exhaustive, it forgets a third option: God neither conforms to the Good nor arbitrarily decides it, rather he IS the Good; thus he also commands and acts only out of his nature of goodness. So his very nature is the standard for value.

Plato's transcendent Good, therefore, is grounded concretely in God, that's all we need for moral value (what's good / bad). What about moral duty (what's right / wrong)?

It would seem that objective moral duties are grounded in God's divine commands which are themselves proper reflections of an all good God. So morals aren"t independent, nor are God"s commands arbitrary since they are necessary reflections of his nature.

God"s nature is definitive of the Good since God, by definition, is the greatest conceivable being, and a being who is the paradigm of goodness is greater than one who just exemplifies it.

Hence moral duties, then are grounded in Divine Commands to beings created in God"s image with intrinsic dignity and value, and moral values are grounded in a maximally great God, who if he is good, then he is maximally good, a standard of moral value in himself.
DPMartin
Posts: 1,096
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8/14/2014 10:33:08 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/30/2014 3:49:55 PM, Envisage wrote:
Just wondering what the theists who advocate for an all-good God who grounds morality would answer to this dilemma:

P1) Either something is good because it's intrinsically good, or it is good because God commands it
P2 If something is Good because it is intrinsically good, then the standard of morality is external to God, and God is unnecessary for morality
P3) If something is Good because God commands it, then things are arbitrarily good based on God

It seems in either case, God cannot play a significant role in morality. In P2 God at best can only teach what is good, and implies there is a more fundamental standard to God himself. In P3, then there is just no good reason to accept God's standard of 'good' if it's arbitary, it's his preference over mine. If I decide x is good and he decides y is good, then so what? There is no right answer as are are working off our own preferences.

Yea, but what seems to be missing here is, what is good for. Take the simplicity of food. What is good for one, may kill another. Also, In the case of food, doesn"t one judge for themselves what is good?

There is always the desire to mix morality to God, but what many don"t realize is what is good for God"s creation God is the Judge of. And mankind, or maybe better said human nature is the only thing in the universe that has a problem with that. They want to be the judge of what is good for whatever they see and do, including themselves. And what agreed standard shall that be if men are to cooperate with one another?

See, morals only come into play, if men agree to an agreement of a standard. The ethical or "faithful" meet the agreement and the unethical don"t, whether it be openly, or secretly. Even something like marriage is a agreement, and is judged by the ruling gov should someone brake it, when no renewal of the agreement can"t be met by those who had agreed.

When God completed His work He declared it good in His view (which in this case is the only one that counts) therefore it is relative to God what is good that He sees as good or declares as good. Hence not only Creator but also Judge. Those who agree that what God sees as good for them walk in agreement with God, knowing that what is good for them is of God. Those who don"t agree with God"s Judgement, walk in their own judgement of what is good for them, also known as human nature, which results in death to the Life of what God sees as good for them which is of God.

Note when an artist creates a painting he is the judge of what is good because its his work. Doesn"t matter what anyone else thinks. In the case of creation and it"s Creator, it"s the same.
Double_R
Posts: 4,886
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8/16/2014 6:42:42 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 8/12/2014 8:41:58 AM, ethang5 wrote:
At 7/30/2014 3:49:55 PM, Envisage wrote:
It seems in either case, God cannot play a significant role in morality. In P2 God at best can only teach what is good, and implies there is a more fundamental standard to God himself. In P3, then there is just no good reason to accept God's standard of 'good' if it's arbitary, it's his preference over mine. If I decide x is good and he decides y is good, then so what?

Do you personally agree with this argument? If so I have some questions for you.

If you're looking for someone to ask, I most certainly do.
ethang5
Posts: 4,084
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8/18/2014 10:41:23 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 8/16/2014 6:42:42 PM, Double_R wrote:
At 8/12/2014 8:41:58 AM, ethang5 wrote:
At 7/30/2014 3:49:55 PM, Envisage wrote:

It seems in either case, God cannot play a significant role in morality. In P2 God at best can only teach what is good, and implies there is a more fundamental standard to God himself. In P3, then there is just no good reason to accept God's standard of 'good' if it's arbitary, it's his preference over mine. If I decide x is good and he decides y is good, then so what?

Do you personally agree with this argument? If so I have some questions for you.

If you're looking for someone to ask, I most certainly do.

1. If the standard is only God and always God, how can that be arbitrary?

2. Do you believe objective morality exists? Allow me to expand my question for clarity. Do you believe there is anything which is morally wrong and always morally wrong?

3. What do you understand by the word "God"? Yes, I know you don't believe God exists, I don't believe unicorns exist but I can define them and have a rational idea of what the idea represents.

I'll start with those.
neutral
Posts: 4,478
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8/18/2014 10:54:19 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/30/2014 3:49:55 PM, Envisage wrote:
Just wondering what the theists who advocate for an all-good God who grounds morality would answer to this dilemma:

P1) Either something is good because it's intrinsically good, or it is good because God commands it
P2 If something is Good because it is intrinsically good, then the standard of morality is external to God, and God is unnecessary for morality
P3) If something is Good because God commands it, then things are arbitrarily good based on God

It seems in either case, God cannot play a significant role in morality. In P2 God at best can only teach what is good, and implies there is a more fundamental standard to God himself. In P3, then there is just no good reason to accept God's standard of 'good' if it's arbitary, it's his preference over mine. If I decide x is good and he decides y is good, then so what? There is no right answer as are are working off our own preferences.

This is equating good with being good all the time, its just the POE restated. For the record Envy, no one is stating that being murdered is 'good'. What the religious position is, is that free will (as opposed to even cushy slavery) is paramount - that good and bad consequences resulting from free will is sacrosanct. That means BAD things will happen ... and indeed, Jesus states this.

So again, I have to ask, who is this argument made toward?
Double_R
Posts: 4,886
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8/18/2014 8:09:16 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 8/18/2014 10:41:23 AM, ethang5 wrote:
At 8/16/2014 6:42:42 PM, Double_R wrote:
At 8/12/2014 8:41:58 AM, ethang5 wrote:
At 7/30/2014 3:49:55 PM, Envisage wrote:

It seems in either case, God cannot play a significant role in morality. In P2 God at best can only teach what is good, and implies there is a more fundamental standard to God himself. In P3, then there is just no good reason to accept God's standard of 'good' if it's arbitary, it's his preference over mine. If I decide x is good and he decides y is good, then so what?

Do you personally agree with this argument? If so I have some questions for you.

If you're looking for someone to ask, I most certainly do.

1. If the standard is only God and always God, how can that be arbitrary?

If you are going to start off with that as an "if" then it is not. The question is, why is God the standard? Why can there be no other?

2. Do you believe objective morality exists? Allow me to expand my question for clarity. Do you believe there is anything which is morally wrong and always morally wrong?

No, there is no such thing as objective morality. Something can only be right or wrong in accordance with a standard. The standard is always the subjective part. Even if God is real then he is simply choosing the standard so it is still by any reasonable definition, subjective.

3. What do you understand by the word "God"? Yes, I know you don't believe God exists, I don't believe unicorns exist but I can define them and have a rational idea of what the idea represents.

The all mighty creator of the universe and all that exists.
ethang5
Posts: 4,084
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8/19/2014 8:53:45 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 8/18/2014 8:09:16 PM, Double_R wrote:
At 8/18/2014 10:41:23 AM, ethang5 wrote:

It seems in either case, God cannot play a significant role in morality. In P2 God at best can only teach what is good, and implies there is a more fundamental standard to God himself. In P3, then there is just no good reason to accept God's standard of 'good' if it's arbitary, it's his preference over mine. If I decide x is good and he decides y is good, then so what?

Do you personally agree with this argument? If so I have some questions for you.

If you're looking for someone to ask, I most certainly do.

1. If the standard is only God and always God, how can that be arbitrary?

If you are going to start off with that as an "if" then it is not. The question is, why is God the standard? Why can there be no other?

I made no argument. I only asked you about something you claim you believe. You believe, and I quote,

P3) If something is Good because God commands it, then things are arbitrarily good based on God

I asked, if the standard is only God and always God, how can that be arbitrary? You came up with the word arbitrary, you came up with the idea that it would be arbitrary even if based on only God. If you can't answer, say so. My question is based on what YOU claim to believe.

2. Do you believe objective morality exists? Allow me to expand my question for clarity. Do you believe there is anything which is morally wrong and always morally wrong?

No, there is no such thing as objective morality. Something can only be right or wrong in accordance with a standard. The standard is always the subjective part. Even if God is real then he is simply choosing the standard so it is still by any reasonable definition, subjective.

Ok. So for you there is no "right" or "wrong" as far as morals are concerned. there is no "good" or "evil" either, but only, "agrees with this standard", or "does not agree with this standard". Would that be a fair assessment of your position as stated in your answer above?

3. What do you understand by the word "God"? Yes, I know you don't believe God exists, I don't believe unicorns exist but I can define them and have a rational idea of what the idea represents.

The all mighty creator of the universe and all that exists.

Thank you. So creation is all that differentiates "God" for other living things?

The question is, why is God the standard? Why can there be no other?

Who has said there can be no other standard? There can be multiple standards. The point of the Christian is that not all standards are equally authoritative, useful, or reasonable. It goes to the meaning of "Standard". Why are standard needed at all? What purpose do standards serve?

Consider a wooden ruler. It can be the standard of measurement for one foot. As we use the ruler, it wears and becomes less than one foot. So someone proposes a metal ruler. It stands wear and tear 300 times better than a wooden ruler. Well, a metal ruler is obviously a better standard than a wooden one. We quickly see that one of the qualities of a good standard is immutability. The more immutable, the better.

God is immutable.

Three farmers get together to barter. A cotton farmer, a grape farmer, and a rice farmer. The grape farmer proposes they use weight as the standard. The cotton farmer objects. He proposes they use volume as the standard, the rice farmer objects and suggests they use product durability as the standard, but the grape farmer objects. There is commotion. They quickly realize they need a standard which is objective. We quickly see that one of the qualities of a good standard is objectivity. The more objective, the more fair.

God is objective.

A country decided to use rule of law as their standard. But every time a technical case appeared before the judges, it was a mess as the judges did not have sufficient knowledge about the technical issues. They quickly realized they needed judges with lots of knowledge of lots of things. We quickly see that one of the qualities of a good standard is knowledge. The more the judge knew, the better.

God is omniscient.

I could go on but you get the picture. There can be many standards, but God is the best standard because He is the most reasonable and logical one.

He is the most authoritative. That is, more people will accept Him as a standard.

Finally, since He was once the only being in existence, back then, He was the only standard as there was nothing else. Now that there are others, should we change the standard? The only logical reason to change a standard is because a better standard has been found.

Communists, atheists, humanists and anarchists have all proposed other standards than God. How does history say they've done? Has anyone proposed a standard with qualities better than those of God? No. And they know they never will. So.....

....they came up with, "God doesn't exist." And that freed them to set up another standard. And who do they all propose? Why, themselves of course.
slo1
Posts: 4,314
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8/19/2014 9:33:02 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/30/2014 3:49:55 PM, Envisage wrote:
Just wondering what the theists who advocate for an all-good God who grounds morality would answer to this dilemma:

P1) Either something is good because it's intrinsically good, or it is good because God commands it
P2 If something is Good because it is intrinsically good, then the standard of morality is external to God, and God is unnecessary for morality
P3) If something is Good because God commands it, then things are arbitrarily good based on God

It seems in either case, God cannot play a significant role in morality. In P2 God at best can only teach what is good, and implies there is a more fundamental standard to God himself. In P3, then there is just no good reason to accept God's standard of 'good' if it's arbitary, it's his preference over mine. If I decide x is good and he decides y is good, then so what? There is no right answer as are are working off our own preferences.

You framed this up very nicely.

I know this is in the context of a philosophical discussion, but I would add that the bible is the only way to know God's morality as each individuals experience with the holy spirit (the other Christian mechanism of obtaining knowledge from God) results in different knowledge between individuals so it is not dependable.

The morality in the bible had changed over time. IE: God once condoned adultery and murdering individuals based upon their beliefs and or actions. It is also evident once the edict of not killing others came down, there were many justifiable instances where killing another could be defined outside the law because there was good reason to do so.

It is rather evident based upon examples in the bible that God has not delivered objective morality, or at the very least no way for mankind to be able to decipher what is truly objective. It is also evident in the way we perceive and inact justice versus Gods justice. IE: Christians typically don't punish for incorrect beliefs, God does.

Interestingly, Christians are very diverse. The more fundamental sects would tend to agree with P3. God is the Father and you obey him no mater what because he has full authoritarian power over us. The more moderate sects would tend to spin the discussion around P2, surmising that there is a gold standard and it is perfect. One tends to hear justifications such as God can allow no imperfection in heaven thus why some people have to go to hell. It is a justification almost like it is out of his hands and ability to formulate what can and can not be in heaven.
Double_R
Posts: 4,886
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8/19/2014 9:23:42 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 8/19/2014 8:53:45 AM, ethang5 wrote:
At 8/18/2014 8:09:16 PM, Double_R wrote:
At 8/18/2014 10:41:23 AM, ethang5 wrote:
1. If the standard is only God and always God, how can that be arbitrary?

If you are going to start off with that as an "if" then it is not. The question is, why is God the standard? Why can there be no other?

I made no argument. I only asked you about something you claim you believe. You believe, and I quote,

P3) If something is Good because God commands it, then things are arbitrarily good based on God

I asked, if the standard is only God and always God, how can that be arbitrary?

Do yourself a favor and read my response again. Note that when someone objects to the "if" part of your question, the rest of the question is irrelevant.

2. Do you believe objective morality exists? Allow me to expand my question for clarity. Do you believe there is anything which is morally wrong and always morally wrong?

No, there is no such thing as objective morality. Something can only be right or wrong in accordance with a standard. The standard is always the subjective part. Even if God is real then he is simply choosing the standard so it is still by any reasonable definition, subjective.

Ok. So for you there is no "right" or "wrong" as far as morals are concerned. there is no "good" or "evil" either, but only, "agrees with this standard", or "does not agree with this standard". Would that be a fair assessment of your position as stated in your answer above?

For the most part, yes. Although where you misrepresent it is by saying that there is no right or wrong. I specifically stated there is right and wrong, but that it is determined by the standard that it is being judged against.

3. What do you understand by the word "God"? Yes, I know you don't believe God exists, I don't believe unicorns exist but I can define them and have a rational idea of what the idea represents.

The all mighty creator of the universe and all that exists.

Thank you. So creation is all that differentiates "God" for other living things?

All? Not as far as I am aware, but that all depends on who is being asked. Everyone has their own definition. The one I listed is the most basic which satisfies what I understand to be the largest majority of believers.

The question is, why is God the standard? Why can there be no other?

Who has said there can be no other standard? There can be multiple standards. The point of the Christian is that not all standards are equally authoritative, useful, or reasonable. It goes to the meaning of "Standard". Why are standard needed at all? What purpose do standards serve?

What purpose? Without a standard you have no morality.

Considering authority in a standard of morality is as unreasonable and useless as it gets. If you act in accordance with the moral standard of some authority because you believe that authority dictates what is right or wrong then you are not acting morally. You are just doing what you are told, the same way your computer turns on when you push the power button.

Because of that the only useful standard is your own.

And as far as being reasonable, well that is a whole new conversation.

Consider a wooden ruler. It can be the standard of measurement for one foot. As we use the ruler, it wears and becomes less than one foot. So someone proposes a metal ruler. It stands wear and tear 300 times better than a wooden ruler. Well, a metal ruler is obviously a better standard than a wooden one. We quickly see that one of the qualities of a good standard is immutability. The more immutable, the better.

God is immutable.

No. No. And No. Immutability is not how we determine what standard of morality is better. That is just asinine, and I can't believe you just typed that. Measuring things with a ruler and determining right from wrong are two entirely different things. Please note that we no longer have slaves in this country. Even you must agree that this is a good thing, yet according to your argument it is not. I don't even know what else to say to that. Please clarify what you are talking about.

And BTW, if God's morality is immutable then why do we have an old testament and a new one?

Three farmers get together to barter. A cotton farmer, a grape farmer, and a rice farmer. The grape farmer proposes they use weight as the standard. The cotton farmer objects. He proposes they use volume as the standard, the rice farmer objects and suggests they use product durability as the standard, but the grape farmer objects. There is commotion. They quickly realize they need a standard which is objective. We quickly see that one of the qualities of a good standard is objectivity. The more objective, the more fair.

God is objective.

Objective in the sense that your example uses, just like morality, requires a standard. The standard itself will always be subjectively chosen.

A country decided to use rule of law as their standard. But every time a technical case appeared before the judges, it was a mess as the judges did not have sufficient knowledge about the technical issues. They quickly realized they needed judges with lots of knowledge of lots of things. We quickly see that one of the qualities of a good standard is knowledge. The more the judge knew, the better.

God is omniscient.

Not sure what your point is. BTW, I would argue that God's omniscience is a logical impossibility.

I could go on but you get the picture. There can be many standards, but God is the best standard because He is the most reasonable and logical one.

And I would summarize by stating that you are not only the only reasonable standard of morality you have, but the only logically possible standard.
ethang5
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9/1/2014 7:25:11 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 8/19/2014 9:23:42 PM, Double_R wrote:
At 8/19/2014 8:53:45 AM, ethang5 wrote:

Do yourself a favor and read my response again. Note that when someone objects to the "if" part of your question, the rest of the question is irrelevant.

Ok. As I suspected, you have to dodge the question. Not to worry, this has been my experience with atheists for years.

2. Do you believe objective morality exists? Allow me to expand my question for clarity. Do you believe there is anything which is morally wrong and always morally wrong?

No, there is no such thing as objective morality. Something can only be right or wrong in accordance with a standard. The standard is always the subjective part. Even if God is real then he is simply choosing the standard so it is still by any reasonable definition, subjective.

Then one wonders what your definition of "subjective" is. It certainly isn't the one in the dictionary. Can you tell us what definition you're using?

Ok. So for you there is no "right" or "wrong" as far as morals are concerned. there is no "good" or "evil" either, but only, "agrees with this standard", or "does not agree with this standard". Would that be a fair assessment of your position as stated in your answer above?

For the most part, yes. Although where you misrepresent it is by saying that there is no right or wrong. I specifically stated there is right and wrong, but that it is determined by the standard that it is being judged against.

Ok, I understand that. But in that case, "right and wrong" have no moral value when you use the terms. Perhaps you should alert your listeners that you are using traditional words in a non-traditional way so that they aren't misled. My experience has been that people advancing your argument intend to mislead. I am giving you the benefit of the doubt.

3. What do you understand by the word "God"? Yes, I know you don't believe God exists, I don't believe unicorns exist but I can define them and have a rational idea of what the idea represents.

The all mighty creator of the universe and all that exists.

Thank you. So creation is all that differentiates "God" for other living things?

All? Not as far as I am aware, but that all depends on who is being asked. Everyone has their own definition.

I asked only you.

The one I listed is the most basic which satisfies what I understand to be the largest majority of believers.

I wish you would have listed the one you personally believe instead. I was asking what YOU believe, not what is believed by the majority of believers.

The question is, why is God the standard? Why can there be no other?

Who has said there can be no other standard? There can be multiple standards. The point of the Christian is that not all standards are equally authoritative, useful, or reasonable. It goes to the meaning of "Standard". Why are standard needed at all? What purpose do standards serve?

What purpose? Without a standard you have no morality.

Untrue. Morality has to do with more than simple adherence to a standard. Morality has to to with what ought to be done. Morality also deals with a justification for why a particular code ought to be followed. Your standard for example, has nothing to do with morality. It's simply a standard. It has no authoritative "ought". It doesn't even claim moral right and wrong.

Considering authority in a standard of morality is as unreasonable and useless as it gets. If you act in accordance with the moral standard of some authority because you believe that authority dictates what is right or wrong then you are not acting morally. You are just doing what you are told, the same way your computer turns on when you push the power button.

You undercut you own argument. All you've done is substitute yourself for God as the one who tells you what good is. But unlike a computer, we have the ability to not turn on when our button is pushed. Morality isn't "dictated" any more than a ruler "dictates" what 12 inches is than when God "dictates" what good is. You use the word "dictate" to cloudy the argument. Morality is never "dictated". It cannot be.

We use God to "measure" what good is just as we use a ruler to "measure" what 12 inches is. The thing we use to "measure" must be objective, and it must be consistent, and it must have authority. Otherwise the entire thing makes no sense. A person coming in and using something other than a ruler and then insisting that what he has measured is 12 inches is an idiot. That is exactly what you are proposing.

Because of that the only useful standard is your own.

The technical word for that is anarchy. And your comment is untrue. The world has operated on a standard that has proven useful for hundreds of years. The only snags have been when someone has tried to substitute his own standard.

And as far as being reasonable, well that is a whole new conversation.

If morality is to be used to find out what "ought" to be done, then your "morality" is profoundly unreasonable. Your "morality" can only tell us what you'd like to be done.

Not sure what your point is. BTW, I would argue that God's omniscience is a logical impossibility.

It doesn't matter to the convo as of now. if you told me that you would sit on a unicorn's forehead if you were to ride one, and I said that was silly as the horn would hurt your behind, telling me that unicorns are imaginary does not save the silliness of your statement. We are talking about principles here, they work or fail independently of the practicals.

I could go on but you get the picture. There can be many standards, but God is the best standard because He is the most reasonable and logical one.

And I would summarize by stating that you are not only the only reasonable standard of morality you have, but the only logically possible standard.

I stated the reasons for a standard. I listed the qualities needed by a useful standard, and why those qualities are needed. All you've done is say, "Nuh Uh.

A standard needs to be immutable. Do you agree or disagree? If you agree, do you think you are immutable?

A standard needs to be authoritative. Do you agree? If you agree, do you carry any authority?