Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Monday, September 26, 2005

A Religious Dilemma

It's been a long time since I last wrote something on religion, but I just started a book titled The Sophists by W. K. C. Guthrie, Cambridge University Press, 1971, which had me looking online for a brief explanation of the Sophists, and I came across a couple of concepts describing something that has been on my mind for the past five years. What started it all five years ago was when I was assigned to read Plato's Euthyphro.
The two concepts that I came across today are:
The Independence Problem
http://www.philosophyofreligion.info/independence.html
and:
The Euthyphro Dilemma
http://www.philosophyofreligion.info/euthyphrodilemma.html
Until now, I had no idea these concepts existed, but from reading Euthyphro I knew there was a serious issue at stake. Socrates posed, seemingly indirectly, a serious challenge regarding the very definition of God in this argument with the pious Euthyphro. The question regarded that which pleases the gods. Basically Socrates asked if there is something which precedes or overrides the gods or if everything good comes from the decrees of the gods. Is it one or is it the other?
The problem is that neither case works. Both are false. Socrates and Euthyphro go full circle with both propositions and find both of them flawed. While an atheist might find this rewarding, I found it challenging and in fact, it became the basis for my conclusion that God must not actually be a being. If God were a being, then either there are things above Him like morality and truth and beauty or else things like morality and truth and beauty are nothing more than the whims of a dictator. Neither one satisfies the call to worship God unless you're into worshipping dictatorships, which I'm not.
So while the atheist would say this proves there is no God, I say that this proves that if there is a God, then God must be these things, these ideals of morality and truth and beauty. God is not their author because they have no author. Instead, God is the existence of these things. God is the fact that these things exist, that morality exists, that goodness exists, that truth exists, that beauty exists, and yes, even that even evil exists. God isn't the all-seeing being who contemplates these higher things and God isn't the all-powerful author who commands these things into existence. God is the concept of all these things, a concept which exists with or without the existence of any thinking beings. God is not a thinking being. He simply can't be.
So it was rewarding to discover that these dilemma concepts exist. Someone else saw in Euthyphro that which caught my eye the most.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right now I think God is laughing at you. I know I am.

4:49 PM, September 26, 2005  
Blogger Bill said...

OMG... What can I say? Well I guess if you are, God must be too, eh?

5:53 PM, September 26, 2005  

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