Is objective morality even possible if it is God’s will?

I’m always fascinated by people who know about Euthyphro’s dilemma, but still think that God can somehow choose what is moral without it being completely subjective. It’s very simple, if God needs to think about anything while creating a moral, then whatever he had to think about is an outside source. Let’s forgive the fact that he wouldn’t be omniscient if he had to think of anything. If it’s an outside source, then there’s something outside of God that God used to reason and decide, which means that there’s objectivity, but it’s not God’s choice that the moral was good. If it’s not something outside of God, meaning there was no outside reasoning or evidence, then morals are subjective and mere preferences by any definition. When there is a standard that we can judge God with, then objectivity can exist.

There have been a few criticisms that people have run across, but none of them fundamentally change the issue. If God is ingrained with goodness (and again, did God ingrain himself with this, or was this goodness external), then everything God does must be good. Otherwise, there would be no point of God being fused with goodness, if he can just ignore it. “We can’t know God’s reasoning because he is such a superior being”, is what many people say, but this is nothing more than an attempt to deflect further thought. Remember, if God is ingrained with goodness, then everything God does must be good. Any action that God takes is the most good. So when God punishes people for eternity for disobeying his rules, then this is a good thing.

Many people have a hard time with this, because the instant conclusion that most people jump to is that if it’s good to torture people when they disobey your rules, then why does it not apply to humans? Goodness becomes subjective. The common counter to overcome this issue, is that God trying to teach us morality, is like us trying to teach morality to an ant. Again, thinking about this with a few brain cells for more than a few seconds will help us spot a few important differences. We aren’t holding ants morally responsible for their actions, while God is holding us responsible. This is key, because there are only two possibilities. Either we as human beings are morally responsible, or we are not. If we are going to be accountable to morality, then we should have the capacity to learn morality. Otherwise, God is seen as nothing more than a person who punishes ants that have no comprehension of the criteria that they are being judged by. Do we think it’s just to jail and torture an emotionally and mentally retarded person for killing someone, even when we’ve given them the knife and didn’t bother to make sure they knew the consequences of their actions? Of course not, but then again, we’re not as smart as God, so what we consider morality in this situation may not be the case.

One further objection is that God gives us moral rules that are attainable as humans, but that runs into issues as well. Either we’ll be accountable to the morality that God applies to himself, or we’ll be accountable for a version of morality he thinks that we’re capable of handling. The first option doesn’t speak very highly of the goodness that’s fused with God, as mentioned above. But, if God is judging us by an alternate version of morality than ethics that is not universal, we have a few issues, the most important is that the rules are just made up and arbitrary, and again, subjective.



It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you…

… without a dope blog to vent through. Okay, so anyone of the 6 people who read my blog will be pleased to learn that I’m writing in this anonymous space again.I can’t promise I’ll keep doing it, but who knows.

I find myself having more and more discussions about religion for some reason. I mean, it’s always been an interest of mine, but lately it’s at the forefront of many of my cyber-interactions. One of the topics that I’m commonly seeing is about either objective morality, or that without God, there can be no morality. Now, I’m sure this has been touched upon by more eloquent speakers (or typists, in this case) than myself,. Generally I come up with my reasonings when presented with arguments, and then later learn about the originator of the arguments that I use. That is to say, I’m not looking at other people’s reasons for not being a theist. If it were so, then I don’t think I’d be better off than someone who blindly believes.

In any case, I was reading a blog, and read the first comment was about objective morality. The argument is basically that without a God telling us about which things are moral and immoral, morals are subjective, and therefore differ from person to person. The argument, however, pretty much defeats itself. The argument states that we as humans, either on our own or through society, are incapable of knowing the difference between right or wrong. Our ideas of right and wrong come down to either personal preference, or societal preference at best.

But, if this is the case, then how are we able to discern whether or not God is good? I often hear a rebuttal saying that God is the ultimate good, or God is the measuring stick for goodness, but I contend that these reasonings are hog-wash. The only two options we have for determining God’s goodness would be:

  1. To trust God’s word that He is good
  2. To use some sort of reasoning to determine whether he is good.

If a, then what reasoning do we use to trust one being over another. If b, then we find that we in fact must determine morality without God.

This slightly resembles the Euthyphro dilemma in a way, as both arguments have the possible conclusion of bypassing God to get to morality, but the arguments themselves are for different purposes. If anyone can tell me the name of the argument I’ve brought up, please let me know via a comment.