A Solution to the So-Called Euthyphro Dilemma
by John Shaheen—
*John wrote this as a pre-med senior at UM-Dearborn (Biology) who graduates this weekend. He has also been the student president of Ratio Christi all four years, as well as a co-founder and Vice President of Faith & Reason in his final year.
Despite having been written over two millennia ago, the Euthyphro Dilemma remains one of the most famous and persistent problems in philosophy of religion. It is still being discussed in published literature today and taught in nearly every intro philosophy course. In its original form, Plato writes of a dialogue between Socrates and Euthyphro (Plato et al., 2017). Socrates asks Euthyphro whether moral goodness (piety) was defined by the gods choosing it, or were the gods just cognizant of a standard that existed outside themselves? This question has been reposed over the centuries to apply to a more orthodox, monotheistic conception of God. While many thinkers have merely accepted and defended one of the horns of the dilemma, others have contested that it is a false dilemma and proposed other options. William Alston, Paul Copan, and William Lane Craig are a few names that have defended the coherence of a third option (Alston, 2001, Copan & Meister 2008, Craig & Moreland, 2012.) Furthermore, they defend that an argument for God’s existence can be crafted from the existence of objective moral values and duties. This argument require that their theistic explanation is the best account of morality that is currently available. The Euthyphro Dilemma, if successful, undermines this project. Here I will argue that the Euthyphro dilemma is unsuccessful in this regard, hence the moral argument cannot be criticized from this direction.
Why Darwinism Does Not Compromise Swinburne's Design Argument
*John is a pre-med senior at UM-Dearborn (Biology). He has also been the student President of Ratio Christi all four years, as well as a co-founder and Vice President of Faith & Reason in his final year.
In discussing design arguments, Richard Swinburne differentiates between two different variants in this family of arguments. The first variant he describes as arguments from spatial copresence (Swinburne, 1968). These arguments intend to infer the existence of a deity from some observed physical arrangement in the world (that can be recognized at one moment in time) that would be improbable to have occurred naturally. Darwinian evolution has become a formidable barrier to this form of argumentation, so Swinburne presents an alternate form that avoids this objection altogether. I will argue that his route of argumentation is the best way to avoid the implications of Darwinian evolution.
Why Personalism is a Better View for God than Classical Theism
*John is a pre-med senior at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He has been the student President of Ratio Christi all four years, as well as a co-founder and Vice President of Faith & Reason in his final year.
The discussion of God’s personhood is layered with philosophical, historical, theological, and personal aspects. The philosophical plausibility of this concept will be defended here, first against objections, followed by a discussion of alternatives. A brief examination of the prevailing views of the theistic God (at the most basic level) lead to classical theism and theistic personalism. The former is a view developed and perpetuated by medieval philosophers and purports that God is simple, changeless, timeless, and essentially indescribable by human thought. The latter is a more modern development that embodies the idea that God is more knowable and understandable than classical theists say, and may even change. Essentially, he is a person. Within each of these schools of thought, there are likely subsects of philosophers that adhere to weaker and stronger tenets of the ideologies, but generally, the above beliefs are held in common.
How the Trial of Job Forms a Master Motif Akin to Other Great Life Motifs
So I've been writing a book on the prophet Job lately. I had a good day of writing today, and I feel pretty good about it. Here it is.
The Book of Job has been enormously influential on our culture to this day. Its writing is like historical documentary in parts (1-2, 42) but vastly different in the rest which is poetry (3-41). In my analysis, there is a strong case for its historical veracity, and I believe it. But I don’t think that is its main intent, so I don’t think it matters much. It is non-essential. I think the main intent of Job is to teach us certain theological truths and to give us the “Job motif” which I will develop further in this chapter (12). As I have said, it is both a redeemer motif and a messiah motif. In the Tanakh this is a ‘meta-motif’, and it is one of the main purposes of all Hebrew scripture and the revelation it embodies to progressively develop this motif. In the early chapters of this book we talked a lot about the details of Job's story and his ordeal for which he is forever famous. I have talked extensively about specific ‘micro-motifs’ in the Book of Job. Now I want to talk about the Prophet Job himself and his story as Motif with a capital ‘M’—a ‘macro-motif’. Message me if you're particularly interested.
Why Zeinab got it wrong in her critical post of June 1
*This intro part of the article was posted verbatim in my Facebook page on the same day that this was posted here.
I am a 24-year resident of East Dearborn and have frequented Hemlock Park many times for many reasons. On June 1st a young woman named Zeinab Chami posted in Facebook the following criticisms about our exceptionally civil open-air event at Hemlock Park the night before, Memorial Day. I was present among several dozen Christians from probably 10-12 churches. That event featured a main speaker, Georges Houssney, who spoke for about 30 minutes, followed by Q&A. We also had a book table set up on the lawn stocked with religious books. Both the event and the books were intended for adults, but at the very start four children approached the book table and were observed by Zeinab. One of our partners also observed this and explained to them that there were no items for kids and that the entire event was intended for adults only. The children asked repeatedly but were told no unless they had a parent with them. When Zeinab approached, they left. However, Zeinab either did not observe that exchange or did not believe it because she immediately began making a scene that attracted a sizable crowd. In short, Zeinab accused us of 'preying on children' in the park by attracting them to our event, which was false. The next day she made the following post reiterating her false narrative. Since she and I are not Facebook friends, I only became aware of it because one of her friends tagged me. I would like to have responded in order to provide clarity and perspective, but I was not enabled to make comments, and so I was voiceless. When I became aware of Zeinab’s false and unflattering words, I immediately private-messaged her with these short messages:
You sent June 1 at 12:38 PM
Zeinab, please activate my ability to comment so I can add clarity to this.
Main Point: Contrary to the spin, we do not want children at Hemlock. We have nothing for them. If they come we send them away. We wish they would stay away.
To her credit, Zeinab attempted to allow me to comment, as some of her friends suggested she do, but that never became possible because we did not become FB friends. In one comment she said she was patiently waiting for a comment from me, but I could not. There were many comments from her friends, most were very critical of me, but some were favorable.