Tuesday, March 12, 2019

My own Euthephro Dialogue

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Jason Thibodeau




Jason Thibodeau writes  an essay on Secular Outpost in which he makes some interesting comments about the Eutheprho dilemma.I consider Jason to be a friend and I admire his philosophizing,and he really has interesting things to say about the ED that I not following here,  but I followup with an argument that the ED does not apply to the Christian God.[1]My original comment:

I have always contended that the ED doesn't apply to the Christian concept of God. There may be other concepts of God to which it does not apply as well such as Vedanta. Essentially the nature of God in post medieval Christian parlance is so radically from any Greek conception of a God that it makes the whole issue non applicable. In Modern Christian theology God is good unambiguously beaus God is love and love is identified with the good.(Augustine, Fletcher) The standard that God uses to determine good is himself not some external standard which would put God in a subordinate position.


Jason:
Two points: First, the claim that God is love is obscure.
JLH:  Yes that 3% of the American public who are atheists might find it so but not the 86% who are Christians. in Christian or even other faith communities God as love is standard parlance. [2]

Jason:
"Love is a feeling that exists as an aspect of a relationship between two beings. If God is love, then God is a feeling that is an aspect of a relationship between two beings. It is unclear how such a feeling can create the universe, be omniscient, or be a person."

JLH: I think that's a dogmatic imposition of a party line,. It is easily countered with non dogmatic figures from outside my faith tradition such as Gandhi and Joan Baez who have a much more expansive role for love. in human society, (outside my faith tradition but not outside my musical tastes) For Gandhi's satyagraha h was his philosophy of political action with non violence (the term means "love force." Cearly for him love was much more than just a relationship between two people.

Jason:
Second, the point of the arguments that are based on the Euthyphro dilemma is that moral properties are independent of God. What matters, then, is not whether love is independent of God, but whether the goodness of love is independent of God.
JLH: I think you are totally wrong about this point, you can;t separate the effects of love from the source of love. If the ED has a sting against belief in the modern context then it has be that it makes God subject to something beyond himself. But if what he is subject to is his own character then it doesn't fit; he's not subject to anything beyond himself, God is not subject to the goodness of love he's subject the demands of love. If love is the product of his own character and he's the font of all love he's not subject to anything beyond himself







 Your comments about love did not answer my questions. Specifically, you did not explain how love can be a person and how love can create a universe.

JLH: The statement "God is love" is obviously a metaphor. If you saw a film trailer that said "Bruce Lee is Kung Fu action" would you then question how can a man be Kng fu action? I think you would understand what it's getting at. God is more directly love than Bruce Lee is Kung fu action, since God is the original inventor and source of all love,
You say, "I think you are totally wrong about this point, you can;t separate the effects of love from the source of love."

Jason:
I don't know why you think that I said anything to this effect. I only pointed out that the goodness of love is independent of God. The goodness of love is not an effect of love.

JLH: certainly it is, The good that results from loving and being loved is part of the value of love. You reduced love to a transaction between two people and there is a lot more to it than that,

Jason:
My point involves a distinction between things that are good and the property of goodness. So, for example, pleasure is good, but pleasure is not the property of goodness. Pleasure has goodness as a property, but pleasure does not cause goodness. When someone brings about pleasure, that person is bringing about something that is good, but she is not thereby bringing it about that it is good. That is, she is not bringing it about that pleasure is good.
So, the good things that result from loving and being loved are part of what make love valuable. These good things are part of what make love instrumentally good. But these good things that result from love are not the same as the property of being good. Love can have effects and some of these effects are good, but their being good is not an effect of love.
JLH: My perspective in answering the ED is a bit different. I understand love as the nature of God's character his framing motivation, Thus love is not merely a side effect of goodness;it is the motive for of God's goodness and as such is at the center of the meaning of what it is to be good,

I resolve the dilemma by saying it is neither that  God commands X because X is good,(if by that we mean a good separate and apart from God to which God is compelled to give assent) or that X is good because God commands X and that makes it good. I say X (love) is the standard God works by because it is the essence of his character; God is the origin   and fount of all good. The basic notion of good is based upon Gods charter especially moral good. Conversely the moral good reduces to love. For this see Jospeh Fletcher. [3]




[1]Jason Thibodeau,"The Euthyphro Dilemma, Part 1: The Question and the Options." The Secular outpost blog, commemts (MARCH 6, 2019 BY )
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2019/03/06/the-euthyphro-dilemma-part-1-the-question-and-the-options/#disqus_thread (access 3/12/19)

[2] (1 John 4:8) 


[3] Jospeh Fletcher, Situation Ethics: The new Morality:Louisville, Kentucky Westminster; John Knox Pessr (June 1966),5




4 comments:

Ryan M said...

I wouldn't take popular belief that a sentence is meaningful to necessarily be evidence that the sentence is meaningful. In consideration of what Christians often believe, many Christians would say "God is energy". Is the sentence "God is energy" meaningful? I don't think so because I don't think the people asserting such things really have a concrete idea in mind when they utter such things. I would think the same of "God is love". Perhaps some small proper subset of Christians have a coherent thought when they utter "God is love", but I doubt most Christians would be in the same situation. Most Christians really are not reflective about their religious beliefs (they really suffer from what you often claim atheists suffer from - surface level reflection of theology), hence there being millions of Christians who believe in ghosts, astrology, reiki, astral projection, remote viewing, among other bullshit.

Joe Hinman said...

The problem here Ryan is that you are basing your assumption on the popular level. But apparently you are unaware of the rich theological tradition that surrounds this phrase. It's at the heart of christian mysticism, it's a favorite of most thinkers of the eastern church, it motivated Martian Luther King.

It has been a major premise of Joseph Fletcher. I know you don't respect hi as a philosopher but he was respected in his day he was serous philosopher, author of Situation Ethics. Also that phase was an important premise for Tillich.

More importantly I have a clear idea of what the phrase means I have thought about it a great deal.

In fact I think I'll write about that on Monday.

Ryan M said...

The problem here Ryan is that you are basing your assumption on the popular level. But apparently you are unaware of the rich theological tradition that surrounds this phrase.

Ironically my point was the exact opposite. You said the 86% of the US populace who are Christian would not find the sentence "God is love" to be obscure. My point is exactly that they probably would find it obscure, and if the sentence is meaningful, then it's only meaningful to some small proper subset of Christians (such as professional theologians).

Joe Hinman said...

Ryan M said...
The problem here Ryan is that you are basing your assumption on the popular level. But apparently you are unaware of the rich theological tradition that surrounds this phrase.

Ironically my point was the exact opposite. You said the 86% of the US populace who are Christian would not find the sentence "God is love" to be obscure. My point is exactly that they probably would find it obscure, and if the sentence is meaningful, then it's only meaningful to some small proper subset of Christians (such as professional theologians).

8:22 PM

o that;s a well used Bible verse and I think most Christians are used to haring it os it would not be obscure to them.


""God is love" (1 John 4:8) is a favorite Bible verse about love. 1 John 4:16 is a similar verse also containing the words "God is love."Mar 6, 2019

"https://www.thoughtco.com/god-is-love-bible-verse-701340


______
quote: “God is love” is a direct quote from two different verses in the Bible—1 John 4:8 and 1 John 4:16. However, this truth, which is a description of the fundamental nature of God, is expressed many times in other scriptures.

Another often-quoted verse is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world.” In John 16:27 we read, “For the Father Himself loves you.” The apostle John, again, speaks of God’s love in 1 John 3:1 when he says, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us.”
close_____________https://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/who-is-god/god-is-love/

gooole the passage it;s well used