Essay about The Euthyphro Dilemma

2669 Words Sep 10th, 2008 11 Pages
Religion and morality have been seen as inseparable since the advent of Western thought (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/religion-morality/) - religion's fundamental characters being frequently ethical in nature, and morality often viewed as a derivative of religion. However, the relationship is not as clear cut as many people would like you to believe. A very old and important dilemma facing this relationship is the Euthyphro dilemma, discussed in Plato’s Euthyphro. In it, Socrates and Euthyphro argue about the nature of morality outside of a court. Socrates is being prosecuted for impiety, while Euthyphro is charging his father with murder. Although charging your father, even for murder, is frowned upon in Ancient Greek culture, …show more content…
E. Moore in Principa Ethica, influenced by David Hume’s is-ought problem. Moore says “that the eternal reality is good, will by no means justify us in aiming at its manifestation, unless that manifestation itself be also good.” Just because God commands you to do something, doesn’t make the command itself good, since you cannot use non moral terms to give terms like “good” meaning. The commands end up feeling more like laws than morals.
The other half of the dilemma, (1), is that God says things are good because they adhere to a standard of morality outside of God. Because God in this context is an all-knowing being, he knows exactly what is right and what is wrong. So if you believe that morality is independent of God, when God says ‘thou shalt not kill’, the command reflects morality, not determines it. This side of the dilemma answers many of the troubling problems of divine command theory. Morality is no longer arbitrary, because God derives his values from an independent source. It is now possible to call God good, and because God is good, abhorrent commands are very unlikely. But as you’d expect in a dilemma, this side also proves problematic, and to some, lands a fatal blow to the religion-morality relationship. If morality is independent of God, then it means that God has no part to play in morality, other than a relayer of information. God becomes similar to a wise man who one goes to for advice or knowledge – the wise man’s utterance

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