What Is Pious in Religion Based on Plato’s Euthyphro
This semester, the topic that was discussed that made the greatest impact on me was when we read Plato’s Euthyphro and we examined the dilemma of what is pious pious either because it is loved by the gods or is it loved by the gods because it is pious. It caused me to question my relationship with religion seriously, and it helped “open my eyes” as is a popular phrase. Realizations of why religion is ridiculous became clear, from how deaths are justified just because a god said so to how people can get away with acting like horrible creatures to others just because their religion allows it. Even though it led to me being forced out of my home, it helped me see the world without a religious filter, and led to having a much happier life.
Religion had always been the first priority in my family ever since I had moved in with my guardians. As a child I sat through many religious classes and attended many services without knowing what was being said, but was expected to agree with the sermon. For the longest time, many thought I was a super devoted and religious person, as I went to many classes and volunteered at my church and even taught classes as I got older. I imagined that I would always be going to church and be a religious person, but then my questions grew. I began to realize that what I was hearing didn’t seem morally right, but everyone around me would nod their head in agreement. It seemed impious to me, but pious to everyone else. In philosophy, a realization was given to me with the help of my professor. There is nothing an individual can do to change anything that the god is doing, but the god is seen to have enormous power over the individual, even though the individual is the one praising the god and sharing the “good” things about their religion.
In a political context, this wouldn’t happen. No matter how powerful the political leader is, they can always be taken down, either with enough people against them, or if a scandal is revealed. But with religion, there will always be an opposing party, and the god will (apparently) never be overcome by the other religion’s god. Each religion has the belief that their god reigns supreme, and is everlasting, so they will always have power. Also, in many religious writings, when the god “commands” someone to be killed or tortured inhumanly, the followers see it as “part of god’s plan.” Again, in political context, if a leader ordered someone to be killed or tortured inhumanly, there will be people who rise against them and will try to bring that person down. But in religion, the god is seen as pious in everything they do, whether it is morally right or wrong.
In Euthyphro, is it pointed out that gods do quarrel over what is pious and what isn’t, but this still isn’t a good explanation of the definition of what is pious. In religious writings, there are tales of god “commanding” a father to sacrifice their son, or sell their daughter as a slave. Religious people now see that the father was a devoted follower to their god. But, if that same event happened in the present, that person would be taken to a mental institution, and those same religious people would make Facebook posts saying “Pray for this poor child’s family,” or “That poor child,” or something along those lines. People don’t see it as an issue in religious writings because if their god commanded it, it must be pious and for a specific purpose. Many religious “leaders” are put on top of a pedestal and are looked up upon by the followers, despite the person having done many immoral acts, but the followers see that as devotion towards their god.
People blindly follow and praise this god whom they have no say in what the god does. The god is seen as all powerful and pious in their actions. What is pious is pious because it is loved by their god, in this case. One example compares this relationship to an assistant helping a doctor cure a patient. The assistant may be doing most of the work, but the doctor gets the credit for “curing” the patient. This happens many times in present day in the aspect of religion. For example, if someone is hoping and praying for maybe a new job, or that someone gets better, they give most of the praise to their god when their prayers have been “answered.” Not to the person who was spending hours upon hours to either get that person their job or to heal the person. Most religious praises can be made into ridiculous statements with just a few facts, and many followers seem to forget that.
Religion is a difficult thing to explain logically. Many times if questions are asked about a certain aspect in religion, the “leader” will be very inconclusive and vague in their answer and only leave more questions than answers. The most popular phrase is that everything is in “god’s plan.” It’s in his plan for children to die horribly, for devastating natural disasters to occur, for people to be discriminated against, and for other terrible things to happen in the world. But the religious followers do not question this because to them, these actions are seen as pious because their god allowed, or commanded them. In philosophy, I finalized that church and religion is not for me, and that it is in fact, ridiculous.
How can someone blindly believe everything that is written in a book that was supposedly written almost four thousand years ago? How can all the deaths and wars be approved by almost three billion followers just because some imaginary being said so? After that class, I stopped going to church, which led to me being kicked out of my home, which only further reinforced my point of why religion is ridiculous. Religion is seen as a mask that people wear, a filter, or anything else that inhibits you from the things around you. This topic discussed in particular helped me see this. It showed that piety is independent and cannot be changed, even if a god says that killing is alright (which has been done, many times in religious writings). Many things have happened in my life, more bad than good.
I would ask why it happened many times as a child and my answer would always be that it was a part of the plan. I couldn’t see why a supposedly all loving god would allow bad things to happen and how a righteous god could send people to a fire filled and painful eternity. As someone pointed out to me, religion is a guideline for people who aren’t smart or strong enough to think for themselves. They need someone to tell them what to do and how to live. I decided that I don’t need religion to act like a decent human being towards others. More people need to realize that just because an imaginary being says something is ok to do doesn’t mean that it is pious.
This semester, the topic that was discussed that made the greatest impact on me was when we read Plato’s Euthyphro and we examined the dilemma of what is pious either because it is loved by the gods or is it loved by the gods because it is pious. It helped me see that religion is an imaginary construct that is set up to punish innocent people and discredit hard working individuals such as scientists and doctors who help make people’s lives better. It is a filter that limits followers view on the world and is used as justification for horrible actions towards children, teens and adults. More people need to realize that instead of trying to make the world one religion, it would be better without a religion.