The Euthyphro Problem
Many controversial problems in society still remain unanswered today. One such problem in philosophy is where goodness originates from. In Plato’s dialogue, Euthyphro, the question is asked as to whether “Piety is good because the gods love it, or do the gods love piety because it is good?” Changing the question around a little yields the question as to whether something is good because God wills it to be good or if God calls it good because it is already good. For most religious believers, especially Christians, this question becomes tricky to answer. Arguing from the Judeo-Christian standpoint, one can see why the former part of the question is true.
Considering the latter half of the question, one can see problems that arise with stating that God merely recognizes something as intrinsically good. God’s sovereignty is immediately brought into question. After all, if He is omnipotent, He would be able to make something good or not good. If something is out of God’s power to change, then He can no longer be considered omnipotent. In this sense, a theist couldn’t submit to the latter half as the truth. In addition, the atheistic view of the autonomy thesis has flaws as well. The atheistic model of autonomy maintains that self-interest allows us to arrive at the moral law. However, this morality would be subjective to different cultures and views. One might avoid the consequences of the law by resolving not to murder. It could then be implied that murdering is morally wrong. Hypothetically speaking though, if an individual was born to a family of cannibals, it would be imperative for them to murder innocent people to receive their food. It would actually result in the happiness of a cannibal to fulfill their appetite. Would that make murder all right for some and wrong for others? This atheistic view doesn’t present an objective law for moral nature. The traditional Judeo-Christian theist will argue that something is solely good because...
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