The Euthyphro Argument Dissected

(Originally Posted June 2016)

The Dilemma [Challenge] Stated Clearly:

“Either something is good (holy) because God commands it or else God commands something because it is good.”

  • If you say something is good because God commands it, this makes right and wrong arbitrary; In other words, God could have commanded that acts of hatred, brutality, cruelty, and so on be good. Making God Himself arbitrary and the commands His followers follow arbitrary as well.
  • If God commands something because it is good, then good is independent of God. Thus, morality can’t claim to be based on God’s commands (and God Himself is bound by something “outside” Himself — nullifying the theists claim of omnipotence and omniscience.

(Here is a good less-than-five-minute telling of the above by a skeptic.)

One of the best short article’s comes from…

FREE THINKING MINISTRIES

At first it seems like we’re stuck. Except, as mentioned earlier, this dilemma has been resolved for centuries: God is good. He is the source of goodness. He is the moral standard. His commands are not arbitrary, nor do they come from some standard external to him. They are good because they flow from his innate goodness. Dilemma averted.

Euthyphro is dead.

Now I know this doesn’t settle the issue of God’s goodness. Since this article is only intended to discuss the Euthyphro dilemma, I’ll just briefly touch on two related objections:

1 – God is not good. This is typically in response to an action or command from God in the Old Testament. And I agree that there are some things that are hard to understand and need to be discussed. But generally speaking, if we question God’s goodness, what are we judging him against? Our own moral standard? Then it’s our opinion against God’s and, if he truly exists, I’m going to trust his judgment over any finite, fallible human’s.

2 – How do we know that God is good? This question completely misses the point of Euthyphro’s resolution: God is the standard of goodness. There is nothing to compare him against or judge him by. But let’s suppose there does exist some higher moral standard. By applying this objection’s logic, we should ask “How do we know that this standard is good?” See the problem? You’re forever asking “How do we know?” to any moral standard. But if there is an objective moral standard, that is the standard by which morality is measured. It simply is good.

The best you can do is try to find some kind of inconsistency in God’s moral character. But then you can still only judge him against himself, which would point you back to objection 1. And even if you feel that one (or both) of these objections has not been resolved, my broader point is that the Euthyphro dilemma fails as a dilemma since there’s a third possible option, whether you like it or not. Thus, it’s an invalid argument.

Euthyphro is dead.

Why do skeptics keep digging him up? You may as well as ask why zombies keeps coming back. Because they do. That’s what makes them zombies. Bad arguments will always come back into fashion. But you need to see Euthyphro for what he is: a dead, defeated argument. Yet unlike zombies from TV shows and movies, he has no bite. He doesn’t even have teeth. His dilemma has been resolved for centuries….

(FREE THINKING MINISTRIES)

C.A.R.M.

For those looking for a quick answer to the issue, here is a short video and explanation from the theistic worldview via CARM (and CARM’S YOUTUBE):

Here is more from CARM’S WEBSITE:

[What is it?]

The Euthyphro dilemma comes from Plato’s Euthyphro dialogue, which has had different forms over the centuries.  Basically, it is “Are moral acts willed by God because they are good, or are they good because they are willed by God?”  Another way of saying it is, does God say that things are moral because they are by nature moral, or do they become moral because God declares them to be?

The dilemma is that if the acts are morally good because they are good by nature, then they are independent of God and morality somehow exists apart from God.  These acts would already be good in themselves, and God would have to appeal to them to “find out” what is good. Of course, This raises questions on how moral absolutes can exist as independent abstract entities apart from a divine being.  On the other hand, if something is good because God commands that it is good, then goodness is arbitrary, and God could have called murder, good, and honesty not good.  The problem here is that it means God could also be a tyrant if he so chose to be.  But, he chooses to be nice.

Responding to the Euthyphro Dilemma

The Euthyphro dilemma is actually a false dichotomy.  That is, it proposes only two options when another is possible.  The third option is that good is based on God’s nature.  God appeals to nothing other than his own character for the standard of what is good and then reveals what is good to us.  It is wrong to lie because God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), not because God had to discover lying was wrong or that he arbitrarily declared it to be wrong. This means that God does not declare something to be good (ignoring his own nature) or say that something is good by nature (recognizing a standard outside of himself).  Both of these situations ignore the biblical option that good is a revelation of God’s nature.  In other words, God is the standard of what is good.  He is good by nature, and he reveals his nature to us. Therefore, for the Christian, there is no dilemma since neither position in Euthyphro’s dilemma represents Christian theology.

In a sense, this is a philosophical statement considering the time and place they were:

TITUS 1:5

  • in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began [Greek: before times eternal] (ESV)
  • in the hope of eternal life that God, who cannot lie, promised before time began. (HCSB)
  • This faith and knowledge make us sure that we have eternal life. God promised that life to us before time began—and God does not lie. (ERV)
  • My aim is to raise hopes by pointing the way to life without end. This is the life God promised long ago—and he doesn’t break promises! (MSG)

(Apologetic Press’s Graphic – link in pic)

WILLIAM LANE CRAIG

Another short dealing with this comes from ONE-MINUTE APOLOGIST’S YouTube interview with William Lane Craig:

(Here is Dr. Craig in a class setting teaching the issue [longer].)

FRANK TUREK

Here, Frank Turek and Hank Hanegraaff discuss the issue in under 4-minutes:

Hank is holding Frank’s Book at a certain page[s]… I will reproduce the sections prior to, as well as the section from his book on the Euthyphro Argument in the APPENDIX.

STAND TO REASON

There are “two horns” to the dilemma presented, but much like Plato does, we will split the horns with a third option and show that the two choices are false because there is a third viable option (the site where I grabbed this originally is gone, therefore, so is the link. STAND TO REASON has a good post that stands in as a supplemental link):

SPLITTING EUTHYPHRO’S HORNS

If a dilemma with limited choices is presented, you should always consider that these choices may not be your only options.  Euthyphro’s case is a prime example.  There is a third alternative and who knows?, there could be others that no one has come up with yet, but Christianity teaches this third alternative for the basis of morality:

God wills something because He is good.

What does this mean?  It means that the nature of God is the standard of goodness.  God’s nature is just the way God is.  He doesn’t ‘will’ Himself to be good, and kind, and just, and holy He just is these things.  His commandments to us are an expression of that nature, so our moral duties stem from the commands of a God who IS goodand loving and justnot a God who arbitrarily decides that he will command something on a whim, but gives commandments that stem from His unchanging character.

If God’s character defines what is good.  His commands must reflect His moral nature.

[….]

The Euthyphro dilemma is a false one because there is at least one other choice that splits the horns of the dilemma.  This option, taught as part of the Christian doctrine of who God is, is perfectly consistent with the concept that God must exist for objective morality to exist in our world.

Plato came up with his own third option that moral values simply exist on their own.  No need for God.  Later Christian thinkers equated this to God’s moral nature, like we just discussed.  However, some argue that God is not necessary; that goodness and justice, etc. can exist on their own this idea is often referred to as Atheistic Moral Platonism…. [see STAND TO REASON about “atheistic moral Platonism”]

PETER KREEFT

This is VERY simple to grasp, but here are more dealings with it, Peter Kreeft’s short DEALING WITH THIS supposed dilemma (his entire 20-topics is free online):

There are four possible relations between religion and morality, God and goodness.

Religion and morality may be thought to be independent. Kierkegaard’s sharp contrast between “the ethical” and “the religious,” especially in Fear and Trembling, may lead to such a supposition. But (a) an amoral God, indifferent to morality, would not be a wholly good God, for one of the primary meanings of “good” involves the “moral”—just, loving, wise, righteous, holy, kind. And (b) such a morality, not having any connection with God, the Absolute Being, would not have absolute reality behind it.

God may be thought of as the inventor of morality, as he is the inventor of birds. The moral law is often thought of as simply a product of God’s choice. This is the Divine Command Theory: a thing is good only because God commands it and evil because he forbids it. If that is all, however, we have a serious problem: God and his morality are arbitrary and based on mere power. If God commanded us to kill innocent people, that would become good, since good here means “whatever God commands.” The Divine Command Theory reduces morality to power. Socrates refuted the Divine Command Theory pretty conclusively in Plato’s Euthyphro. He asked Euthyphro, “Is a thing pious because the gods will it, or do the gods will it because it is pious?” He refuted the first alternative, and thought he was left with the second as the only alternative.

But the idea that God commands a thing because it is good is also unacceptable, because it makes God conform to a law higher than himself, a law that overarches God and humanity alike. The God of the Bible is no more separated from moral goodness by being under it than he is by being over it. He no more obeys a higher law that binds him, than he creates the law as an artifact that could change and could well have been different, like a planet.

The only rationally acceptable answer to the question of the relation between God and morality is the biblical one: morality is based on God’s eternal nature. That is why morality is essentially unchangeable. “I am the Lord your God; sanctify yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44). Our obligation to be just, kind, honest, loving and righteous “goes all the way up” to ultimate reality, to the eternal nature of God, to what God is. That is why morality has absolute and unchangeable binding force on our conscience.

The only other possible sources of moral obligation are:

a. My ideals, purposes, aspirations, and desires, something created by my mind or will, like the rules of baseball. This utterly fails to account for why it is always wrong to disobey or change the rules.
b. My moral will itself. Some read Kant this way: I impose morality on myself. But how can the one bound and the one who binds be the same? If the locksmith locks himself in a room, he is not really locked in, for he can also unlock himself.
c. Another human being may be thought to be the one who imposes morality on me—my parents, for example. But this fails to account for its binding character. If your father commands you to deal drugs, your moral obligation is to disobey him. No human being can have absolute authority over another.
d. “Society” is a popular answer to the question of the origin of morality “this or that specific person” is a very unpopular answer. Yet the two are the same. “Society” only means more individuals. What right do they have to legislate morality to me? Quantity cannot yield quality; adding numbers cannot change the rules of a relative game to the rightful absolute demands of conscience.
e. The universe, evolution, natural selection and survival all fare even worse as explanations for morality. You cannot get more out of less. The principle of causality is violated here. How could the primordial slime pools gurgle up the Sermon on the Mount?

Atheists often claim that Christians make a category mistake in using God to explain nature; they say it is like the Greeks using Zeus to explain lightning. In fact, lightning should be explained on its own level, as a material, natural, scientific phenomenon. The same with morality. Why bring in God?

Because morality is more like Zeus than like lightning. Morality exists only on the level of persons, spirits, souls, minds, wills—not mere molecules. You can make correlations between moral obligations and persons (e.g., persons should love other persons), but you cannot make any correlations between morality and molecules. No one has even tried to explain the difference between good and evil in terms, for example, of the difference between heavy and light atoms.

So it is really the atheist who makes the same category mistake as the ancient pagan who explained lightning by the will of Zeus. The atheist uses a merely material thing to explain a spiritual thing. That is a far sillier version of the category mistake than the one the ancients made; for it is possible that the greater (Zeus, spirit) caused the lesser (lightning) and explains it; but it is not possible that the lesser (molecules) adequately caused and explains the greater (morality). A good will might create molecules, but how could molecules create a good will? How can electricity obligate me? Only a good will can demand a good will; only Love can demand love.

(TWENTY ARGUMENTS FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD: THE MORAL ARGUMENT)

MISC.

While Plato was dealing with polytheism and a form of monism, this argument as dealt with herein is response to the challenges presented to theism. However, his use of a third option is what we present here as well… making this dilemma mute. What was Plato’s solution?

  • “You split the horns” of the dilemma by formulating a third alternative, namely, God is the good. The good is the moral nature of God Himself. That is to say, God is necessarily holy, loving, kind, just, and so on. These attributes of God comprise the good. God’s moral character expresses itself toward us in the form of certain commandments, which became for us our moral duties. Hence, God’s commandments are not arbitrary but necessarily flow from His own nature. (BE THINKING quoting Dr. Craig)

They [“the Good”] are the necessary expression [“commands”] of the way God “is” — RPT.

One of the most important notes to mention is that once there is a third alternative, there is no longer a dilemma.

TRUE FREE THINKER

Mariano Grinbank of True Free Thinker deals with the many aspects of this supposed dilemma. He does an excellent job of doing this. However, zero in on the section from the 2:40 mark to the 3:45 mark (the same idea is brought up in the 6:55 through 9:55 mark of the Craig response — Craig”s audio follows Mario’s). Mariano Grinbank does a bang-up job below (Grinbank’s article being read by someone else):

(Above audio description from YouTube) Mario’s original audio is hereApologetic315 and TrueFreeThinker team up to put to rest the many aspects of what is perceived to be a dilemma by many first year philosophy students in the Euthyphro dialogue between two Grecian thinkers: “Essay: The Euthyphro Dichotomy by Ken Ammi

MORE CRAIG

Here is William Lane Craig responding to some challenges in regards to the Euthyphro argument.

Here is more at CAA’s “CATECHISM”:


APPENDIX


Atheists and Morality: What I Am NOT Saying

The next few paragraphs my editor wanted me to take out. He said it repeats too much from above. He’s right to a certain extent. But it can’t be left out because many atheists I meet think I’m making an argument that I’m not making. (It’s probably my fault.) So let me spell it out as explicitly as I can.

I am not saying that you have to believe in God to be a good person or that atheists like David Silverman are immoral people.

David seems like a very nice man. And some atheists live more moral lives than many Christians.

I am also not saying that atheists don’t know morality or that you need the Bible to know basic right and wrong. Everyone knows basic right and wrong whether they believe in God or have the Bible or not. In fact, that’s exactly what the Bible teaches (see Romans 2:14-15).9

What I am saying is that atheists can’t justify morality. They can act morally and judge some actions as being moral and others immoral (as David Silverman does). But they can provide no objective basis for those judgments. Whether it’s the Holocaust, raping and murdering children, eating children, aborting children, or who adopts children, atheists have no objective standard by which to judge any of it.

Let me go out on a limb and suggest that if your worldview requires you to believe that raping children, murdering children, eating children, and slaughtering six million innocent people is just a matter of opinion, then you have the wrong worldview.

No Book Without an Author—No Morality Without God

Unlike David Silverman, Sam Harris is a new atheist who believes in objective morality. In his book, The Moral Landscape, Harris maintains that objective morality is related to “the well-being of conscious creatures,” and that science can help us determine what brings “well-being” to conscious creatures.

What’s objectionable about that thesis? Well-being is usually associated with moral choices (although not always). And science may help us discover what actually helps bring about well-being. The problem with Harris’s approach is that he is addressing the wrong question.

 The question is not what method should we use to discover what is moral, but what actually makes something moral? Why does a moral law exist at all, and why does it have authority over us?

The Moral Landscape gives us no answer. It’s a nearly three-hundred-page-long example of the most common mistake made by those who think objective morality can exist without God. Harris seems to think that because we can know objective morality (epistemology), that explains why objective morality exists in the first place (ontology).

You may come to know about objective morality in many different ways: from parents, teachers, society, your conscience, etc. (Harris talks about brain states.) And you can know it while denying God exists. But that’s like saying you can know what a book says while denying there’s an author. Of course you can do that, but there would be no book to know unless there was an author! In other words, atheists can know objective morality while denying God exists, but there would be no objective morality unless God exists.

Science might be able to tell you if an action may hurt someone—like if giving a man cyanide will kill him—but science can’t tell you whether or not you ought to hurt someone. Who said it’s wrong to harm people? Sam Harris? Does he have authority over the rest of humanity? Is his nature the standard of Good?

To get his system to work, Sam Harris must smuggle in what he claims is an objective moral standard: “well-being.” As William Lane Craig pointed out in his debate with Harris, that’s not a fail-safe criterion of what’s right. But even if it was, what objective, unchanging, moral authority establishes it as right? It can’t be Sam Harris or any other finite, changing person. Only an unchanging authoritative being, who can prescribe and enforce objective morality here and beyond the grave, is an adequate standard. Only God can ground Justice and ensure that Justice is ultimately done.

Can’t Evolution Explain Morality?

We’ve already seen that an atheistic worldview can’t account for objective morality, as even Richard Dawkins once admitted. He wrote, “It’s pretty hard to get objective morality without religion.” Yet some atheists persist in claiming that evolution somehow gives us objective morality to help us survive—that if we didn’t “cooperate” with one another, we wouldn’t survive. But this argument doesn’t survive for several reasons.

First, trying to explain morality by biology is a massive category mistake. A category mistake is when you treat something in one category as if it belongs in another category. Questions like those posed earlier do that: “‘What is the chemical composition of justice?” or “What does courage taste like?” Justice and courage do not have chemicals or flavor, so the questions commit category mistakes.

The same is true when atheists try to explain moral laws by biological processes. Morality and biology are in different categories. You can’t explain an immaterial moral law by a material biological process. Justice is not made of molecules. Furthermore, moral laws are prescriptive and come from authoritative personal agents. Biological processes are descriptive and have no authority to tell you what to do. How could a mutating genetic code have the moral authority to tell you how you ought to behave?

Second, biological processes can’t make survival a moral right. There is no real “good” or purpose to evolution. Without God, survival is a subjective preference of the creature wanting to survive, but not an objective moral good or right. Biology describes what does survive, not what ought to survive. Why should humans survive as opposed to anything else? And which humans, we or the Nazis?

If one could make the case that survival is somehow a right, then should a person rape to propagate his DNA? Should a person murder if it helps him survive? Should a society murder the weak and undesirables to improve the gene pool and help the desirables survive? Hitler used evolutionary theory to justify just that.

You can’t answer those moral questions without smuggling a moral law into the evolutionary worldview. As Sam Harris rightly puts it, “Evolution could never have foreseen the wisdom or necessity of creating stable democracies, mitigating climate change, saving other species from extinction, containing the spread of nuclear weapons, or of doing much else that is now crucial to our happiness in this century.” Indeed, evolution describes a survival-of-the-fittest outcome. It doesn’t prescribe a moral outcome. That’s why Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, to their credit, are anti-Darwinian when it comes to morality. They just don’t realize that they are stealing a moral law from God when they condemn a survival-of-the-fittest ethic.

Third, physical survival isn’t the highest moral virtue. Sacrificing yourself to save someone else, as our military heroes often do, is the highest form of morality and love—far higher than mere survival. That’s exactly what Jesus claimed and then did for us.14

Fourth, since evolution is a process of change, then morals must change. Rape and murder may one day be considered “good.” So if evolution is your guide, it’s impossible for morals to be objective and unchanging.

Fifth, the assertion that evolution gave us morality as a kind of “social contract” to enable civilization isn’t an adequate ground for objective morality. ‘What if someone violates the “contract?” Is he immoral for doing so? To judge him wrong, you would again need to appeal to an objective moral law beyond any “social contract,” like we did in order to condemn the Nazi “social contract.”

Finally, the claim that we wouldn’t survive without cooperation is a pragmatic issue, not a moral issue. And it isn’t even true. Many people survive and even prosper precisely because they don’t cooperate with other people! Criminals often prosper quite nicely. So do dictators. Atheist Joseph Stalin murdered millions more people than he cooperated with. He never got justice in this life. He died comfortably in bed at the age of seventy-four, shaking his fist at God one last time.

Atheists call murderers like Stalin, Mao, and Poi Pot, who were atheists themselves, “madmen”—as if reason alone should have led them to act morally. But those dictators were very reasonably following their atheistic belief that without God, everything is permissible. Reason is a tool by which we discover what the moral law is, but it can’t account for why the moral law exists in the first place. For the moral law to exist, God must exist. If God does not exist, then why shouldn’t Stalin and Mao have murdered to get what they wanted, especially since they knew they could get away with it? That certainly was not “unreasonable.”

From Euthyphro to Elvis

“Not so fast,” say atheists. “Even if evolution doesn’t work as the standard of morality, you can’t ground objective morality in God either. You’re forgetting about the Euthyphro dilemma.”

Euthyphro is a character in one of Plato’s writings who poses a couple of questions that either make God subject to objective morality or an arbitrary source of morality. The supposed dilemma goes like this: Does God do something because it is good (which would imply there is a standard of Good beyond God), or is it Good because God does it (which would imply that God arbitrarily makes up morality)?

But this is not an actual dilemma at all. An actual dilemma has only two opposing alternatives: A or non-A. We don’t have that here. In this situation we have A and B. Well, maybe there is a third alternative: a C. There is.

When it comes to morality, God doesn’t look up to another standard beyond Himself. If He has to look up to another standard, then He wouldn’t be God—the standard beyond Him would be God. Nor is God arbitrary. There is nothing arbitrary about an unchanging standard of Good.

The third alternative is that God’s nature is the standard. God Himself is the unchanging standard of Good. The buck has to stop somewhere, and it stops at God’s unchanging moral nature. In other words, the standard of rightness we know as the Moral Law flows from the nature of God Himself—infinite justice and infinite love.

How can God’s nature account for ultimate value? Before answering that, we need to reiterate that an atheistic worldview can’t account for the objective value of human beings. On an atheistic worldview, we’re nothing but overgrown germs that arrived here accidentally by mindless processes and thus have no ultimate purpose or significance. Life is meaningless. We are each objectively worth zero. And adding a bunch of us up into a society doesn’t create value. If you add up a bunch of zeroes, the total worth is still zero.

But on a Christian worldview, God is the ground and source of ultimate value, and He endows us with His image. Therefore, our lives have objective value, meaning, and purpose. If there is a real purpose to life—a “final cause” as Aristotle put it—then there must be a right way to live it. After all, to get to a specific destination, you can’t just go in any direction. Morality helps inform us of that direction. That means God doesn’t arbitrarily make up moral commands. He’s not an exasperated parent who justifies everything with, “Just do it because I said so!” God’s commands are consistent with His moral nature and point us to the final cause or objective goal of our lives (more on that goal later).

So the source of our lives as human beings is God, not primordial slime. And source is important. You can see the importance of source by considering the most expensive items ever sold at auction:

  • The most expensive lock of hair: Elvis Presley’s, $115,000.
  • The most expensive piece of clothing: Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday Mr. President” dress, $1,267,500.
  • The most expensive piece of sports memorabilia: Mark McGwire’s 70th-home-run ball from 1998, $3,000,000.

People ascribed enormous value to those items not because the raw materials are that valuable—you can get hair, dresses, and baseballs for a lot less—but because of the source of each item. People or events that are deemed special are connected with those items.

The values of those items are extrinsic in that they are ascribed by whatever the buyers want to pay. But if Christianity is true, your value is intrinsic because you are connected to God. Your value is based on the worth infused into you by the source and standard of all value, God Himself.

Marinate in that for a minute: The infinite God has endowed you with immeasurable worth. The majestic heavens aren’t made in His image, but you are! That’s why you have moral rights. As Thomas Jefferson put it, “All men are created equal [and] are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Because of God, you are inherently valuable, and always will be, no matter what you’ve done or what anyone else thinks about you. Your value is far from zero. You are literally sacred.

  • Frank Turek, Stealing from God (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2014), 98-106.

Concepts: Proposition 8 [NOH8] ~ Non-Sequiturs (EDITED)

(Originally posted 4-6-2013) Just a quick note on when John says (see below) that he doubts “the origin of homosexuality will be discussed,” he does not discuss it either (if there is even an “origin” to be discussed). And while I admit to not following John’s every contribution to mankind, I doubt John has ever talked about it either, or, if he has, he proffered internally contradictory points. Okay, diving right in… some points I will be working on throughout the post found in the article:

1) Classification by the leading psychiatric group in America (jump);

2) Native American “gays” (jump);

3) Socrates (jump);

4) Some final thoughts on the immutability of marriage and our culture (jump).

Okay, while trying to be understanding to John Van Huizum’s allotted space given to write within, he shows a lack of depth in his looking into the matter with anything other than his “prejudicial” view. While he tried to be non-prejudicial, he just cannot. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we are all prejudicial in our views.

That is why knowing about  worldviews is soo emphasized in Christian apologetics. A clear understanding of the prejudice in origins, for instance, can open up many avenues to learn about reality and you place in the universe. So while John may say he is trying to be more neutral, I doubt he has done the serious work to examine his own life outside of his prejudicial outlook.

Proverbs 21:2

“You may believe you are doing right [ Every person’s path seems right/straight in their own eyes], but the Lord judges your reasons [weighs your heart].”

But I ingress. Moving on.

POINT #1

Mental Disorder

This is taken from a large response to the Reverend Mel White, a gay man who tries to justify the practice of homosexuality via Christianity. (This distinction is important, the “person” is made in the image of God, as fallen as they are [we were/are], they deserve the same respect and love shown us from our Savior.) He uses the same tact that it is — homosexuality — is not considered a “malady” as well. Here is my response:


Jeffrey Satinover in his book, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth,[20] deals with this current position and how the APA got there:

A Change of Status

The APA vote to normalize homosexuality was driven by pol­itics, not science. Even sympathizers acknowledged this. Ronald Bayer was then a Fellow at the Hastings Institute in New York. He reported how in 1970 the leadership of a homosexual faction within the APA planned a “systematic effort to disrupt the annual meetings of the American Psychiatric Association” [R. Bayer, Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagno­sis (New York: Basic Books, 1981), p. 102.]They de­fended this method of “influence” on the grounds that the APA represented “psychiatry as a social institution” rather than a sci­entific body or professional guild.

At the 1970 meetings, Irving Bieber, an eminent psychoana­lyst and psychiatrist, was presenting a paper on “homosexuality and transsexualism.” He was abruptly challenged:

[Bieber’s] efforts to explain his position … were met with derisive laughter. . . . [One] protester to call him a . “I’ve read your book, Dr. Bieber, and if that book talked about black people the way it talks about homosexuals, you’d be drawn and quartered and you’d deserve it.” [102-103]

The tactics worked. Acceding to pressure, the organizers of the following APA conference in 1971 agreed to sponsor a special panel—not on homosexuality, but by homosexuals. If the panel was not approved, the program chairman had been warned, “They’re [the homosexual activists] not going to break up just one section” [104].

But the panel was not enough. Bayer continues:

Despite the agreement to allow homosexuals to conduct their own panel discussion at the 1971 convention, gay activists in Wash­ington felt that they had to provide yet another jolt to the psychi­atric profession. . . . Too smooth a transition . . . would have deprived the movement of its most important weapon—the threat of disorder…. [They] turned to a Gay Liberation Front collective in Washington to plan the May 1971 demonstration. Together with the collective [they] developed a detailed strategy for disruption, paying attention to the most intricate logistical details.[104-105]

On May 3, 1971, the protesting psychiatrists broke into a meet­ing of distinguished members of the profession. They grabbed the microphone and turned it over to an outside activist, who declared:

Psychiatry is the enemy incarnate. Psychiatry has waged a relentless war of extermination against us. You may take this as a declaration of war against you. . . . We’re rejecting you all as our owners.[105-106]

No one raised an objection. The activists then secured an appearance before the APA’s Committee on Nomenclature. Its chairman allowed that perhaps homosexual behavior was not a sign of psychiatric disorder, and that the Diagnostic and Statis­tical Manual (DSM) should probably therefore reflect this new understanding.

When the committee met formally to consider the issue in 1973 the outcome had already been arranged behind closed doors. No new data was introduced, and objectors were given only fifteen minutes to present a rebuttal that summarized seventy years of psychiatric and psychoanalytic opinion. When the committee voted as planned, a few voices formally appealed to the mem­bership at large, which can overrule committee decisions even on “scientific” matters.

The activists responded swiftly and effectively. They drafted a letter and sent it to the over thirty thousand members of the APA, urging them “to vote to retain the nomenclature change” [145]. How could the activists afford such a mailing? They purchased the APA membership mailing list after the National Gay Task Force (NGTF) sent out a fund-raising appeal to their membership.

Bayer comments:

Though the NGTF played a central role in this effort, a decision was made not to indicate on the letter that it was written, at least in part, by the Gay Task Force, nor to reveal that its distribution was funded by contributions the Task Force had raised. Indeed, the letter gave every indication of having been conceived and mailed by those [psychiatrists] who [originally] signed it. . . . Though each signer publicly denied any role in the dissimulation, at least one signer had warned privately that to acknowledge the organizational role of the gay community would have been the “kiss of death.”

There is no question however about the extent to which the offi­cers of the APA were aware of both the letter’s origins and the mechanics of its distribution. They, as well as the National Gay Task Force, understood the letter as performing a vital role in the effort to turn back the challenge.[146]

Because a majority of the APA members who responded voted to support the change in the classification of homosexuality, the decision of the Board of Trustees was allowed to stand. But in fact only one-third of the membership did respond. (Four years later the journal Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality reported on a survey it conducted. The survey showed that 69 percent of psy­chiatrists disagreed with the vote and still considered homosex­uality a disorder.) Bayer remarks:

The result was not a conclusion based upon an approximation of the scientific truth as dictated by reason, but was instead an action demanded by the ideological temper of the times. [3-4]

Two years later the American Psychological Association—the professional psychology guild that is three times larger than the APA—voted to follow suit.

How much the 1973 APA decision was motivated by politics is only becoming clear even now While attending a conference in England in 1994, I met a man who told me an account that he had told no one else. He had been in the gay life for years but had left the lifestyle. He recounted how after the 1973 APA deci­sion he and his lover, along with a certain very highly placed officer of the APA Board of Trustees and his lover, all sat around the officer’s apartment celebrating their victory. For among the gay activists placed high in the APA who maneuvered to ensure a victory was this man—suborning from the top what was pre­sented to both the membership and the public as a disinter­ested search for truth.

So this graphic by the Reverend White means nothing. Most women I know who are lesbians who have intimated family members of mine their past have all said they were abused by a man in the family. Likewise, the two homosexual men I know well enough to ask, both had a sexual encounter with an older man when they were 14 years old and younger. Lesbian author Tammy Bruce intimates this story in her book:

… and now all manner of sexual perversion enjoys the protection and support of once what was a legitimate civil-rights effort for decent people. The real slippery slope has been the one leading into the Left’s moral vacuum. It is a singular attitude that prohibits any judgment about obvious moral decay because of the paranoid belief that judgment of any sort would destroy the gay lifestyle, whatever that is…. Here come[s] the elephant again: Almost without exception, the gay men I know (and that’s too many to count) have a story of some kind of sexual trauma or abuse in their childhood — molestation by a parent or an authority figure, or seduction as an adolescent at the hands of an adult. The gay community must face the truth and see sexual molestation* of an adolescent for the abuse it is, instead of the ‘coming-of-age’ experience many [gays] regard it as being. Until then, the Gay Elite will continue to promote a culture of alcohol and drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, and suicide by AIDS.[21]

* By the age of 18 or 19 years, three quarters of American youth, regardless of their sexual orientation, have had sexual relations with another person. Gay males are more likely than heterosexual males to become sexually active at a younger age (12.7 vs. 15.7 years) and to have had multiple sexual partners. The ages at the time of the first sexual experience with another person are closer for lesbians and heterosexual females (15.4 vs. 16.2 years).

(New England Journal of Medicine)

Do you think… I am asking you… do you think this is psychological in nature? I mean, raping of boys and these boys growing into men confused, hurt, traumatized (often by a close family confidant) and expressing this confusion in unhealthy lifestyle choices? These men and women are hurting and need counseling, compassion, care, and understanding. But the best way to get this to them is not to normalize the actions done to them and they do to themselves. One author mentions the timing this “reclassification came about:

…it may be just a coincidence that just about at the height of the “sexual revolution” (or devolution) the “evidence from science” changed. Keep in mind that psychiatry and psychology are soft sciences and that secular counseling and education is largely based on the societal trends de jour.[22]

Which brings me to a point I left off with in premise four. Homosexuals make up one to three percent of the population, yet, almost 70% of serial killers are homosexuals… this non-diagnosis in lieu of political correctness and the sexual revolution seems a bit quick and non-scientific, considering the abuse that leads to this lifestyle and crime stemming from this lifestyle.

[20] (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996), 32-35.

[21] Tammy Bruce, The Death of Right and Wrong: Exposing the Left’s Assault on Our Culture and Values (Roseville: Prima, 2003), 90,99.

[22] Rev. Dr. Mel White on Christian Homosexuality, part 3 of 21 Mariano Grinbank,


I have shared in the past the story of Walt Haeyer, a man who through an operation “became a woman,” lived as such for 8-years, while getting a counseling degree dealt with his tragic childhood (as well as becoming a Christian), now lives as a man and is married with kids. Another touching story is by this young man that touched Ravi Zacharias during a Q&A portion of one of his talks:

Now, to be clear, my point is NOT TO POINT fingers at my gay friends and tell them to change. I cannot do that, nor, outside of loving advice, have the authority to do so. That is between them and their God. My point is that the “malady” may not be as immutable as some would have us think. Which then, in my minds eye, translates into harming more the gay man or woman if this reaction to trauma is accepted as completely normalized (given a rubber stamp of approval) by society. I deal with the loving ways to come at this in my official “Cumulative Case” on the topic. But the “bible” of psychiatry is defining new “illnesses” with each publication, and for homosexuality to be stricken from any analysis is harmful when the internet, grief, even thinking about anxiety are all being classified as an illness… but these often times traumatic experiences many face as children and the twisting of their sexual expression since this experience is not a malady. Something is up… and its called politics. I will let Tammy Bruce (a gay woman) take us out:

…these problems don’t remain personal and private. The drive, especially since this issue is associated with the word “gay rights,” is to make sure your worldview reflects theirs. To counter this effort, we must demand that the medical and psychiatric community take off their PC blinders and treat these people responsibly.  If we don’t, the next thing you know, your child will be taking a “tolerance” class explaining how “transexuality” is just another “lifestyle choice”…. After all, it is the only way malignant narcissists will ever feel normal, healthy, and acceptable: by remaking society – children – in their image.

(Tammy Bruce, The Death of Right and Wrong: Exposing the Left’s Assault on Our Culture and Values [Roseville: Prima, 2003], 92, 206.)

POINT #2

Some acquaintances I have followed for a couple of years [their work], and have a meal or two with, make a great point about the Native-American dealing with homosexuality that is quite different than many in today’s culture care to admit into the dialogue, and that is: gender differences. The fine gentlemen at Gay Patriot, the afore mentioned acquaintances, mentioned his own research into the Native-American (NA) “two-spirits” designation, and I found this very enlightening:

In my grad school paper for my Native American class, I researched the legends of the berdache, or two-spirit.  Many cite the berdacge tradition as an example of cultures which accept and embrace homosexuality and same-sex relationships.  And while many American Indian tribes recognized same-sex marriages, they all required one partner in such a union to live in the guise of the other sex.  Thus, if one man married another man, one would wear men’s clothes and go hunting with the “braves” while the other would have to wear women’s clothes and live as a “squaw.”  The one who lived as a woman could not go hunting with his same-sex peers nor could he participate in activities, rituals etc reserved for his biological sex.


California, Massachusetts, and other liberal states are not only pushing for same-sex marriage as a societal equal to hetero marriage, but in the process doing away with gender distinctions. This is a travesty, and in agreement with me are many gay men and women.

I have a larger point though, that will tie into Socrates a bit, and it is this: just because NA’s had gay persons in their society does not answer the very real possibility of abuse of young persons in that society that may be the bedrock of this behavior. In other words, we know today that many people who consider themselves gay had “coming out” experiences when they were young. In fact, one person I know posted in a gay group this question based on one of my posts (see the discussion that ensued here) and ended up proving my point. This will lead into and combine with…

POINT #3

Very bluntly and plainly, Socrates was not “gay,” per se. He was a pedophile, most pedophiles in Grecian days slept with young boys, a homosexual act. Pedophilia became common practice for the well-ta-do, and it took the Judeo-Christian worldview to shake this “habit” from the world in outlawing such actions. “Many men in Ancient Greece had relations with young teens,” however, “being outright gay and having an equal relationship with a same-sex partner was not something that was socially approved of at all.” Plato speaks to the “mean state” that creates the best “by far the safest and most moderate” a society should promote to enhance its quality of life. One should take note that even Plato’s detractor in the end agrees:

Now, what lives are they, and how many in which, having searched out and beheld the objects of will and desire and their opposites, and making of them a law, choosing, I say, the dear and the pleasant and the best and noblest, a man may live in the happiest way possible

[….]

Speaking generally, our glory is to follow the better and improve the inferior, which is susceptible of improvement, as far as this is possible. And of all human possessions, the soul is by nature most inclined to avoid the evil, and track out and find the chief good; which when a man has found, he should take up his abode with it during the remainder of his life…. every one will perceive, comes the honour of the body in natural order. Having determined this, we have next to consider that there is a natural honour of the body, and that of honours some are true and some are counterfeit…. but the mean states of all these habits are by far the safest and most moderate;

[….]

…but they will not wholly extirpate [root out]the unnatural loves which have been the destruction of states; and against this evil what remedy can be devised?…

[….]

Either men may learn to abstain wholly from any loves, natural or unnatural, except of their wedded wives; or, at least, they may give up unnatural loves; or, if detected, they shall be punished with loss of citizenship, as aliens from the state in their morals. ‘I entirely agree with you,’ said Megillus,…

This is excerpted from The Dialogues of Plato, in 5 vols (Jowett ed.) [387 BC]

Another piece to the puzzle comes from an excellent apologetic about this very subject. In it we find this:

Aeschines (390-314? BC), in his work Against Timarchus, acknowledged that there were laws on the books that prohibited sexual harassment or assault of young boys.5

1. He further records that Greek law prohibited male prostitutes from holding office in civic affairs, or participating in religious observances.

2. He recognized that laws that regulate moral conduct are the best means of establishing and maintaining an orderly society.

3. This work indicates that there were laws prohibiting these things, and that the punishment was fine or death, depending on the severity of the offense.

So, even in Greece, you had a behavior that was rejected as unnatural, and never accepted in a moral category as “the norm.”  So nothing John cites or references would support Prop 8 or the peoples will in California to keep marriage what it has been, a relation between a man and woman (specifically, one man and one woman).

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Per John’s usual modus operandi, he has connected ideas that have no relation or equal to the current issue, and are by themselves arguments against his position. But I wanted to end with a recent response to a friend that deals with this “mean” that Plato references, the “good” that any society should strive towards. And while I am a Christian and think that theism gives the most powerful “mean” to the “best and noblest, a man may live in the happiest way possible,” one should keep in mind that one can do the same even as an atheist. Here is my response:

(Nature Uncaring) True. Dawkins for instance says rape being morally wrong in our current culture is as inconsequential as us evolving 5 rather than 4 fingers. So morally speaking nature is cruel, without — that is — a matrix placed on it that is above nature. Something only the theistic worldview can offer. That being said, we can access the “book of nature,” if you will, to codify things that exist, like: the “law of gravity,” the “law of conservation,” the “law of thermodynamics,” the “law of motion.” These have always existed, but at some point were “discovered,” or codified. Similarly the “laws of thought” (logic) have always existed, but Aristotle codified many of them.

Nature (if that is all you believe in) has created a “way,” an “institution” that mankind has always accessed, and was codified in the cultural sense throughout mankind’s history. So much like Calvin Coolidge saying the “men do not make laws – they do but discover them,” making laws an “ought” should be grounded in something larger than man (like the judges did in the Nuremberg Trials). But you can also merely describe, which I did in a series of questions from you many years ago (from one of my earliest posts: Marriage: Is It Hetero?):

However, there is a “created order,” or, even a natural order (if you do not believe in God). My argument for heterosexual (between a man and a woman) unions is usable both by the atheist (non believer in God) and the theist (a believer in God – in the Judeo-Christian sense). Here is the crux of the matter in regards to “nature’s order:”

✤ “…take gold as an example, it has inherent in its nature intrinsic qualities that make it expensive: good conductor of electricity, rare, never tarnishes, and the like. The male and female have the potential to become a single biological organism, or single organic unit, or principle. Two essentially becoming one. The male and female, then, have inherent to their nature intrinsic qualities that two mated males or two mated females never actualize in their courtship… nor can they ever. The potential stays just that, potential, never being realized…..

✤ “….Think of a being that reproduces, not by mating, but by some act performed by individuals. Imagine that for these same beings, movement and digestion is performed not by individuals, but only by the complementary pairs that unite for this purpose. Would anyone acquainted with such beings have difficulty understanding that in respect to movement and digestion, the organism is a united pair, or an organic unity?”

So you see, the two heterosexual organisms that join in a sexual union cease being two separate organisms for a short time and become one organism capable of reproduction. This is what the state and the church are sealing in a marriage, this intrinsic union. The homosexual couple can never achieve this union, so “natures order” has endowed the heterosexual union with an intrinsic quality that other relationships do not have or could never attain. Both the atheist and theist can argue from this point, because either we were created this way or we evolved this way. Either way, nature has imposed on the sexual union being discussed.

I will make the point as well, that as society moves away from the matrix our Founding documents are overlay’ed with, the human (the gay man/women specifically) will have his humanity threatened. You see, in the Judeo-Christian matrix, the homosexual has intrinsic worth. (The authors of the book “Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air” make this point in deeper philosophical argument than I.) And as people move further away from nature’s order, a form of “worth” anarchy will break out. Two people that saw this first hand comment well on the matter. The first is the author of “The Gulag Archipelago,” by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn. He says this in his Templeton Address:

More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.

Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.

What is more, the events of the Russian Revolution can only be understood now, at the end of the century, against the background of what has since occurred in the rest of the world. What emerges here is a process of universal significance. And if I were called upon to identify briefly the principal trait of the entire twentieth century, here too, I would be unable to find anything more precise and pithy than to repeat once again: Men have forgotten God.

The failings of human consciousness, deprived of its divine dimension, have been a determining factor in all the major crimes of this century. The first of these was World War I, and much of our present predicament can be traced back to it. It was a war (the memory of which seems to be fading) when Europe, bursting with health and abundance, fell into a rage of self-mutilation which could not but sap its strength for a century or more, and perhaps forever. The only possible explanation for this war is a mental eclipse among the leaders of Europe due to their lost awareness of a Supreme Power above them….

Men have forgotten God.

Tammy Bruce, a lesbian, notes our current culture:

Even if one does not necessarily accept the institutional structure of “organized religion,” the “Judeo-Christian ethic and the personal standards it encourages do not impinge on the quality of life, but enhance it. They also give one a basic moral template that is not relative,” which is why the legal positivists of the Left are so threatened by the Natural Law aspect of the Judeo-Christian ethic.”

[….]

The moral vacuum did rear its ugly head during the 1960s with the blurring of the lines of right and wrong (remember “situational ethics”?), the sexual revolution, and the consequent emergence of the feminist and gay civil-rights movements. It’s not the original ideas of these movements, mind you, that caused and have perpetuated the problems we’re discussing. It was and remains the few in power who project their destructive sense of themselves onto the innocent landscape, all the while influencing and conditioning others. Today, not only is the blight not being faced, but in our Looking-Glass world, AIDS is romanticized and sought after…

Tammy Bruce, The Death of Right and Wrong: Exposing the Left’s Assault on Our Culture and Values (Roseville: Prima, 2003), 35, 97.

CHANGE OF DIRECTION AND QUESTION:

SO, LET US MOVE to what “matrix” you see as being the most beneficial to human worth [especially to the gay man/woman] out of the only available to mankind. The seven world views. But out of the biggies (pantheism, theism, and atheism), which do you see the one lifting mankind up to the pinnacle of an ontological worth not found in nature?

And this is key, which direction will afford the American experiment the maximum liberty COUPLED WITH what Nature and Nature’s Laws/Author has wrought for the happiest “mean” we can attain? This is the battle and question before mankind right now… however, as Gay Patriot pointed out in the post entitled, silencing and slurring those with politically incorrect views, much of the voting population are “low-info” (non-thinking) people who have lost the art to do anything other than “resort to name-calling and ostracism of individuals who oppose their cause.”

A liberal professor takes umbrage with this new wave of non-thinking, and even says it harms the intellectual “mean,” if you will, of the liberal person this thinking infects. And as you can see in two discussions I was in recently (here, and here — same person) any semblance of maturity in dialogue and learning and admitting, maybe, just maybe, the positions taken are in fact not a tenable position. but in our society where people elevate opinion as truth, and pride in Narcissism  is the prevailing guide… you will never get much beyond being called sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, bigoted (S.I.X.H.I.R.B.). Or as Doug Mainwaring says in his article that Gay Patriot linked to, “anti-science, homophobic, misogynist, racist, xenophobic, Neanderthal.”

Political correctness seeks to silence all opposition to the advancement of progressive ideology. Those who manipulate the power of political correctness appear on the surface to be the good-hearted, the vulnerable, and the victimized. Whether as individuals, as organizations, or as cultural groups, they present a picture of innocence and goodness, of unparalleled magnanimity and empathy. Yet like Anthony, their appearance is deceiving. They demand total fealty. And if you don’t think the “happy thoughts” they want you to, their outward appearance gives way to vindictiveness and the same swift, disproportionate punishments that little Anthony meted out.

They want to be constantly affirmed, never challenged, never questioned, never judged. If they sense you don’t agree with them, you are immediately judged to be a “bad person, with bad thoughts.” They intimidate you into silence, until outwardly you only express happy thoughts, i.e., expressions of vigorous agreement with and the moral goodness of their will. For individuals and organizations who do not bend to their will, like Anthony, they wish their detractors out to the cornfield. Their version of the cornfield is the constant threat of social isolation, of being unloved and disrespected.

Pick any issue currently being advanced by progressives — same-sex marriage, state-mandated free contraception, abortion, man-made global warming and strict gun control, to name a few. Publicly question or resist any of these and be prepared to be judged as an anti-science, homophobic, misogynist, racist, xenophobic, Neanderthal.

(Read more at American Thinker)

Until people begin to inform themselves on how to think, we will never have good legislation in most states. States that have the “perfect storm” of rational thinking and dialogue (like New Hampshire) come up with the greatest liberty and “good” for their citizens in this experiment we call the States… however, John is far from this experiment’s stated goals by the authors of supporting the New Government and the Constitution:

“…we have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” ~ John Adams

Indeed