Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Weird Coin

I am happy with this result to my participation in The Euthyphro Dilemma online thingy, and why shouldn't I be? Well, then again, much depends on the meaning of "tensions":
You claimed that there are moral standards independent of God's will. This claim sits uneasily with the widely held belief that any being that counts as God must have the ability to obligate through its commands: in other words, that it is necessarily morally wrong to disobey a command given by God. This view suggests at the very least that some aspect of morality flows from God. Although there is no logical inconsistency in conceiving of a God whose commands do not obligate (see note, above, about "tensions"), it would nevertheless be a rather strange or unusual conception of God.
Well, many of my views sit uneasily with widely held beliefs, namely, all the widely held beliefs that I find to be wrong. I don't think there is a god to give commands, and I say all the conceptions of god are "strange or unusual" -- their variations lying not in degrees of strangeness but rather in degrees of the sort of familiarity that comes from constant exposure. We here in the USA (for example) see crosses and suffering Jesuses all over the place, and have since we were knee high, so it's easy to forget how grisly the imagery is, and more to the point, to forget how ridiculous the underlying narrative is.

So answering hypothetical questions about what god does, or can do, or obligates, or which way it parts its hair, is a toss of a dull, weird little coin, and tossing coins is bound to produce quirky, nonsensical results. Frankly, it's more interesting to think about what leprechauns would do. They have some personality, and the traditions concerning how they wear their hair are fixed.

Nor do I think there is any clarity to be gained from swapping out "god" and inserting "anything that counts as god." When it comes to "anything that counts as god," the sky is more or less the limit, since fabricated, made-up bullshit has no inherent limits. It has ruts that are historical accidents -- god walked here, god appeared there, god used this human as a bullhorn, god buried these etched plates in this yard in upstate New York. The most cursory survey of world-historical beliefs about god(s) demonstrates that anything goes.


Sheldon said...

whoo hoo! Me too!

Analysis Summary

Your tension quotient is 25%.

You're an atheist.

Your concept of God is non-stringent.

Dale said...

Sheldon, huzzah! We're Theistical Tension Buddies!