It’s flawed, like most analogies, if pressed too far, but I found this to be worth 3 minutes of my time–
I’ve been quite impressed with most of Greg Koukl’s work. I read his piece on Euthyphro’s dilemma today–and it is excellent. I encountered this dilemma back in a college philosophy class and didn’t know how to properly answer it at the time. This is something you may encounter, if you haven’t already. Even if you never encounter it, it is good to think these things through for your own understanding (in my opinion).
Bertrand Russell expressed the problem like this: “If you are quite sure there is a difference between right and wrong, you are then in this situation: Is that difference due to God’s fiat or is it not? If it is due to God’s fiat, then for God Himself there is no difference between right and wrong, and it is no longer a significant statement to say that God is good. If you are going to say, as theologians do, that God is good, you must then say that right and wrong have some meaning which is independent of God’s fiat, because God’s fiats are good and not good independently of the mere fact that He made them. If you are going to say that, you will then have to say that it is not only through God that right and wrong came into being, but that they are in
their essence logically anterior to God.”
Read the full article here:
Here’s another conversational blurb from the Koukl book (“Tactics”) I mentioned recently (pp. 114-115) —
“Men wrote the Bible. People are imperfect. Therefore, the Bible is flawed and not inspired by God.”
“You think the Bible must be flawed because people make mistakes?”
“Yes, that’s the way it seems to me.”
“I’m curious–why do you think you are an exception to that rule?”
“What do you mean?
“Well, you don’t seem to think you’ve made a mistake in your own judgment about the Bible. But you’re a flawed human being, too.”
“Of course I am. But I didn’t mean that people always make mistakes.”
“If people don’t always make mistakes, though, you can’t rule out the Bible just because people wrote it, can you?”
*It doesn’t follow that if people are capable of error, they always will err. Taken at face value, this objection is self-refuting.
Book recommendation: TACTICS by Gregory Koukl
Any of you read this book before? I’m only about half through it but am loving it!
Here’s an excerpt (pp. 78-79) of how he deals with being called intolerant in a conversation:
“Can you tell me what you mean by that? Why would you consider me an intolerant person?”
“Well, it’s clear you think you’re right and everyone who disagrees with you is wrong.”
“I guess I do think my views are correct. It’s always possible I could be mistaken, but in this case I don’t think I am. But what about you? You seem to be disagreeing with me. Do you think your own views are right?”
“Yes, I think I’m right, too. But I’m not intolerant. You are.”
“That’s the part that confuses me. Why is it when I think I’m right, I’m intolerant, but when you think you’re right, you’re just right? What am I missing?”
Of course, you are not missing anything; she is. Her move is simply name-calling. Labeling you as intolerant is no different than calling you ugly. One is an attack on your looks. The other is an attack on your character. Neither is useful in helping you understand the merits of any idea you may be discussing.
The quickest way to deal with a personal attack is to simply point it out with a question. When someone goes after you rather than your argument, ask, “I’m a little confused about your response. Even if you were right about my character, could you explain to me exactly what that has to do with this issue?”