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Euthyphros Dilemma

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by CaramelChocolate, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. CaramelChocolate

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    Jul 13, 2004
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    Plato’s Euthyphros Dilemma

    Plato came up with two ways in which morality and religion can be linked, but there are problems with these.

    a) Anything God wills is good

    Problem) God could will murder and acts that man is against and they could still be considered good since God has allowed/willed them to happen.

    b) God only wills good things

    Problem) Where does evil come from? Also, if God only wills good then he would be limited has good, he cannot be endless if he is only good, this would mean that he is anthropomorphic [limited] as he is not endless and does not have all the possible attributes.

    How would you as a Sikh respond to this?
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  3. Jogindar Singh Kaur

    Jogindar Singh Kaur
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    May 26, 2005
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    I don't think I'm the best person to answer this, being new to gurbani, but still I mulled the questions over this week because they're interesting to me. I've found in my discussions of Sikhi that I tend to over-rely on my background in mathematics and logic far more than the revelations of the Gurus. I'd like it to eventually become a dialectic between what is knowable by us (science) and what is unknowable by us (Hukam).

    So with that disclaimer, here goes:

    The problem with the question is posed in the nature of "goodness." Is there such thing as "absolute" good outside of Waheguruji? Does our human understanding of what constitutes "good" different from the concept of "good" in the divine sense? Are acts that are considered good/evil so intertwined that even the greatest acts of good have a small amount of evil in them and therefore pure good cannot be obtained except by Waheguruji? Yet if Waheguruji is contained in all, does not Waheguruji have some "evil" in itself?

    I'm asking all these questions to point out one thing-- that what we consider "good" or "evil" may change over time. In days past it was good to hunt whales, given our knowledge of ecology these days it is now considered evil. If we take other examples, I think we can assert that certain aspects of what we consider "good" and what we consider "evil" are categories that evolve and change with experience.

    However, we can assert this as part of Sikhi: humans have a choice between being manmukh or gurmukh. Categories that we consider extremely evil-- ie murder, rape, genocide, forced starvation-- are very much rooted in manmukh (the egocentric, self-serving human) whereas categories that are considered extremely good-- acts of compassion, helping the poor, lovingly raising children, rescuing those threatened by the above evils-- are certainly centered in a gurmukh individual, the god-centered (or good-centered if athiest) person.

    To become gurmukh through Sikhism means surrendering to Waheguruji's will, and therefore surrendering to the only truly absolute good in the universe. We then become a tool of hukam, an action of hukam, an evolutionary step in the cosmos as opposed to the devolution of manmukh-centered humans.

    There is something called "Process-centered theology" that posits that the Ik Onkar created the universe as part of his/her experiential "growth" as it is our evolutionary growth as conscious material beings. In other words, the universe is a grand experiment that unleashes chaos, free will and probability as intrinsic to Waheguruji's hukam. In this case good vs. evil becomes part of the chaos and it us up to our free wills to unite with the ultimate good of Waheguruji in order to keep the creation growing (as oppoosed to, say, destroying ourselves which is sometimes seemingly what we are going to end up doing). So in that sense God cannot "control" acts of good or evil because it would violate the very laws Guruji set up as part of hukam. Odd to think of it that way, but I don't think we can really comprehend the whats or whys of the system as it is set up-- ie, the unknowability of Hukam, when then goes back to the fact that "good" and "evil" cannot be absolutely defined.

    This has been an interesting question to contemplate. Thanks, CC!
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