| Posted 08/09/12 at 11:19 AM||Reply with quote #1 |
This question has to do with both the moral argument and the ontological argument. Here's my question:
Isn't it circular reasoning to say that fairness and love are good because God is fair and loving, but then in the ontological argument say that God is fair and loving because these are maximally good atributes (i.e. they are great-making properties)? To phrase this another way, why must a Maximally Great Being be omnibenevolent? What makes omnibenevolence a good thing to possess? Well, because God possess it! Do you see the circularity in reasoning when someone says that God is good because goodness is a great-making property, and then say that goodness is a greatmaking property because God is good?
One more way to phrase the question is this: if a Maximally Great Being (God) is to be the source of moralily (the being arrived at by the moral argument), then the only way to justify that an MGB is good and the source of morality is by saying that God is good because goodness is a property that is better to have then to lack because God has it, which is circular.
Unless someone is a polytheist, so that the personal being who is the source of morality is seperate from the MGB, then I don't see how anyone can rationally say that goodness is a great-making property that an MGB possesses, and then argue that this being is the very standard by which we judge what is good.
| Posted 08/10/12 at 10:34 AM||Reply with quote #2 |
|That's a good question! But I think you misunderstand what the theist is trying to say. The theist will not (or at least shouldn't) say that we know that goodness is a great-making property because an MGB has it, for we are trying to figure out what properties an MGB has, and it won't help us to find these properties by saying an MGB has them. This indeed is circular, or at least trivially tautologous; it is in effect saying an MGB has the properties an MGB has.|
Rather, the theist will say that goodness is a great-making property because goodness is, well, good! In other words, we don't use God to find out whether goodness is a great-making property. We know goodness is a great-making property because goodness is, trivially, good. We know this independently of any beliefs about God.
Thus, God isn't being used as a criterion or standard for finding out whether something is good or not. Rather, God is used as an explanation or a metaphysical ground for goodness. In other words, God isn't the criterion of goodness, but the ground of goodness. Being a criterion and being a ground are two different things.
When this is understood, it will be seen that there is no circle here.
| Posted 08/10/12 at 10:54 AM||Reply with quote #3 |
|I think this is a very good question - I asked something similar a while ago on this forum but got very little interaction.|
I'll be lurking on this thread to get more insight :-)
| Posted 08/16/12 at 11:49 AM||Reply with quote #4 |
It's possibly to keep asking "Why?" for each any every response possible...but where will this lead you? No where.
For myself, I've just accepted that there will be ideas and concepts, that are too great for my understanding. How could an finite being comprehend an infinite one? Seems impossible. Perhaps it essentially seems that question is "why is the ground of goodness, good?" Couldn't you run that question through many grounding ideas?
EX: Why is truth, truth?
EX: Why is evil, evil?
EX: Why is light, light?
I'm reading the book "Orthodoxy by G.K Chesteron". In his first chapter he talks about how it is the logicians who go insane trying to understand God's unfathomable omniscience. Heres a quote that is probably insufficient but might help.
"The general fact is simple. Poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea, and so make it finite. THe result is mental exhaustion, like the physical exhaustion of Mr. Holbein. To accept everything is an exercise, to understand everything a strain. The poet only desires exaltation and expansion, a world to stretch himself in. The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits."