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The Divine Command Theory And The Euthyphro Dilemma

1010 words - 5 pages

The concept that moral actions are those that conform to God's will is within the context of the Divine Command Theory. This theory explores whether an action is right or wrong by determining whether or not an action conforms to God's will. If an action does conform then it is morally permissible, if it does not then it is impermissible. This theory is shattered, however, when the will of God is scrutinized by Socrates in a dialogue with Euthyphro at the entrance of the law courts.Socrates was prompted to inquire into the spirit of piety and his very moral fiber after a politician named Meletus charged him with corrupting the young with his impiety. Euthyphro's dilemma surrounds Socrates' ...view middle of the document...

Socrates, looking for further clarification, agreed with Euthyphro that the gods must love something for it to be pious. Unfortunately, this argument proved inapplicable since the Greek gods were often at opposition with each other and constantly changed their minds. Also the premise of "that which is loved" indicated piety exists due to a label, not because of an internal structure; however, Socrates still sought to understand the essence of piety - the love of the gods is only an attribute of piety, possibly an indicator of morality, but not a summation of all that is good and honorable.Many theists consider God to be the basis of all morality, but does that mean that God is the source of morality and that what God wills is always good and honorable? Does the knowledge of right and wrong exist outside of God? If it does, then God's commands are not arbitrary but rather are formed on the basis of what is good or bad - meaning there is a moral standard greater than God, or at least one that exists separately from God, to which God's laws or word must conform. Is an act morally good because God wills it or is it good because God agrees that it is good?The theist that believes in the Divine Command Theory trusts in the character of God and believes that God is a morally-perfect being that is all knowing, all loving and is the creator of everything and he does everything for a reason. God is all knowing, all merciful, and omni-benevolent, among other qualities of perfection.The Euthyphro Dilemma is problematic for the theist that believes in the Divine Command Theory. God's goodness and rationality cannot be...

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