Monday, April 4, 2011

The So-Called Euthyphro's Dilemma

The so-called Euthyphro’s dilemma...You will encounter it again and again.
 
I say so-called because it is not really a true dilemma at all. In reality it turns out to be a false dilemma. That is to say, a logical fallacy in which two options are presented as though they are the only two available, when in fact there are more alternatives. A good example of a false dilemma would be to say: “Either the traffic light is red or it is green!” This is a false dilemma because in reality those are not really the only two options to draw from as the traffic light could also turn out to be yellow!
 
Now that we understand what a false-dilemma is, lets take a look at the so-called Euthyphro’s dilemma that most commonly enjoys application under the command of unbelievers.
 
“Does God call an act good because it is good? Or is it good because He calls it good?”
 
Here comes the unpacking of such trickery.
 
The unbeliever will then say: “If God calls an act good because it is good then goodness is independent and unaffiliated with God. God would then not be the measure of good but rather just a spectator along the way acknowledging that which is good.”
 
Or,
 
“If an act is good just because God says so, then goodness deteriorates to nothing more than a random ‘say so’ or command. It would all be arbitrary commands and one could imagine an alternative universe in which God decrees charitable acts to be evil and bearing false witness to be good!”
 
The detractor thinks they really have you caught on the horns of a true dilemma when in reality the rug is about to be pulled right out from underneath them.
 
Believer’s response: “Neither, you have set up a false-dilemma giving me only two options when in reality there is a third option that so happens to be the harmonizing solution! Goodness is not arbitrary nor independent of God! The answer is that goodness is a reflection of God’s very Nature! Goodness permeates from God’s very Being! The very character of God is the measure, the standard and the substance of goodness! Anything contrary to His perfect Nature is wrong.” 

Titus 2:7-8 

Posted By: Chad Williams "Street Apologetics"