Weblog of a Christian philosophy student

Weblog of a Christian philosophy student. Please feel free to comment. All of my posts are public domain. Subscribe to posts [Atom]. Email me at countaltair [at] yahoo.com.au. I also run a Chinese to English translation business at www.willfanyi.com.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

What do I mean by 'objective' morality? The Euthyphro dilemma

This picture illustrates the difference between the brain and the soul that I talk about in this article:

[Click to enlarge]

"Does 2 + 2 = 4 because God says so, or does God say that 2 + 2 = 4 because it does?"

"Is the right thing the right thing because God says so, or does God say that the right thing is the right thing because it is right?"

The answer I believe is that 2 + 2 = 4 because it's in the nature of the finite world that 2 + 2 always equals 4. Everything in the finite world expresses this truth; i.e. one rock and another rock will always make two rocks, and so on. In the same way the right thing is the right thing because that's what God's nature expresses in the infinite world. We should look at the second question as being exactly like the first question, with the same answer, following the same 'unconscious grammar'/structure of thought, applying to an infinite domain instead of a finite one.

But one might say, obviously it isn't a logical truth that you should always choose to do the right thing. But we only feel that because our intellect dwells in a realm that is infinitely less than the realm of God and the soul: the finite realm. Our intellect comes from a finite, physical brain. Because of this, our intellect can never grasp the 2 + 2 = 4s of the infinite world. 'You should be good' is such a 2 + 2 = 4. Such infinite knowledge belongs to the soul, God, and God's intellect, but *not* to the finite world.

So why did God make us with an intellect that doesn't tell us to choose The Good all the time? Because only God can be fully infinite, infinite in every respect, as He 'encompasses all possible infinities in His being', and that means our intellect has to be made finite. Our soul is in the infinite world with God, and our soul tells us The Good. But our reason, infinitely divided, monumentally cut-down compared to what God has, can't tell us practical facts like 'just do the right thing' (and will always end up leading us astray - the disconnect that I'm describing relates to original sin).

Morality is objective in theism, I think, because it can find a way to make 'good and evil' into a rather mysterious '2 + 2 = 4'. Any worldview can believe that '2 + 2 = 4' but not every worldview can find a way to look at morality in the same way. This is what I think 'objective' morality must mean.

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Blogger Will G said...

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