Uncommon Sense

September 6, 2021

Without God Everything is Permitted . . . Nope

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steve Ruis @ 10:00 am

“Is something holy because the gods love it, or do they love it because it is holy?” Socrates’s asked this question in Plato’s Euthyphro (well Plato implied he did anyway). Basically it asks if something moral just because God says so, or does he say so because it is moral? The argument, of course, is that if God declares something to be moral because it just is, then God is not the source of morals, something else is. So, believers have to believe that whatever God says, goes and they cannot believe that morals stem from outside forces, outside of their god anyway.

Defenders of the Old Testament (aka Hebrew Bible—they are not the same by close enough) are often reduced to the opinion that if God did it, it must have been okay for this same reason. But recall the old canard against atheism: “Without God everything is permitted.” (Dostoyevsky) Actually it seems instead that with God everything is permitted.

But it’s worse than that. Not just that God’s every deed is permitted, but therefore in principle everything can be permitted. That destroys any idea that there are universal moral absolutes. This destroys the very moral certainty which believers imagine religion supplies.

Cleavon Little with Gun

If god did this, would it still be funny?

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