Plato's famous question concerning the nature of goodness asks whether a thing is good because God says it is good, or does God say it's good because it is good. This is known as Euthyphro Dilemma (Rachels 51). The dilemma makes clear the way in which we as humans are confused and circular about our uses of the concept of authority, trying to pin one type of authority onto another, until we have gone full circle without ever having to explain it. It shows that religion and morality are both as human as ever, for it is the humans that are trying to work out where authority is, whether it is in the divine, or elsewhere, and our judgments are always going to be limited and human, and ultimately depend upon humanity for the source of authority of our ...view middle of the document...
Basically it is the theory that there would be no Moral standards if God did not demand them from us. The consequences of endorsing the first of Socrates option, we will be stuck with the most religious people would find unacceptable (Rachels 52). In other words, we lead ourselves to trouble, for it represents God’s commands as arbitrary. Then the second of Socrates option, we may say that God commands us to do certain things because they are right (Rachels 52). To put it differently, God’s commands are not arbitrary; they are the result of his wisdom in knowing what is best.
The way we have been informed about moral values is connected to the history of the development of moral values in history, and this has been a process that is closely connected to religious culture, as well as class and other social phenomenon. However, this history and learning is arguably arbitrary and contingent too - we believe that something is moral because a system of values has been handed to us by our contemporary cultural and religious situation.
In conclusion, value is always judged by beings with reasons for making particular judgments or commands (for anything else would reasonably be ignored by them, and would lack authority). I do not say that it is created by such beings. Morality depends upon religion insofar as religion can show itself to be reasonable in its views that command x or y or z is a command of a God that knows better than us. The thing is good to the degree that it fulfills its purposes. Because God is the creator of all things, according to His own good nature, He is therefore both the standard and declarer of goodness.
Rachels, James. The Elements of Moral Philosophy. 4th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2003. Print.