Euthyphro Dilemma: Key Points
Last week we studied the Euthyphro Dilemma. If you missed it, click here. The goal was to arm us with the ability to counter an argument atheists use to refute theism (the belief in God). Some of the key points:
No philosophy can disprove God. It is a futile exercise to attempt to disprove God!
God's commands are neither arbitrary nor superfluous.
God's nature itself is the standard of goodness. D. A. Carson put it well: "The dimensions of evil are thus established by the dimensions of God; the ugliness of evil is established by the beauty of God; the filth of evil is established by the purity of God; the selfishness of evil is established by the love of God" (How Long, O Lord?: Reflections on Suffering and Evil (IVP 1990), 44).
God is Dead?
"God is dead and we have killed him," the famous dictum of Nietzsche (1844-1900), doesn't mean that God once existed but does no more. "God is dead" refers to the functional significance of God for morality and ethics. Without a God, there is no way to speak of true morality.
I'm not just regurgitating something I read about this philosopher. Last year I read his Beyond Good and Evil -- pretty amazing. I found such bold assertions as "There is no such thing as moral phenomena, but only a moral interpretation of phenomena," and also "The whole of morality is a long, audacious falsification" (Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, IV, 108 and 291). No wonder he was Hitler's favorite philosopher.
What Nietzsche meant was that the old world (God, absolutes, morality) is gone. We have undone it. If there's no God, then it's pointless to talk about right and wrong. There is no morality in a godless world. With this the thinking Christian should agree!
Nietzsche's predictions for the 20th century (he died in the last year of the 19th) were spot on. He foresaw that the world, morally unhinged, would go crazy, ending up awash in blood. Indeed, a pall of insanity descended on our planet, and the levels of violence reached -- often justified by godless or atheistic ideologies -- dwarfed all previous centuries (with 100-150 million deaths).
In short: No God, no morality. Nothing is right or wrong; it just is what it is.
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