[This series is part of Section Four, Ethics and the Third Person. An index with links to all parts of the work as they are posted can be found [url=https://forum.evangelicaluniversalist.com/t/sword-to-the-heart-ethics-and-the-third-person/1335/1]here.]
[This series constitutes Chapter 35, “The Terminal Problem with Theistic Ethics”.]
I have been considering the third general category of ethical theories: that ethics are something discovered and rational, instead of rational and invented, or irrational and discovered. I covered some weaknesses in those other two general theory types, in order to show how the third category is not only distinct from them but has a unique superiority: the third category, unlike the other two, involves a ground for what we call ‘ethical’ behavior that is in itself inherently ethical in quality. The explanation for ethics, in this category, is really ethical, not really non-ethical, in principle.
I will emphasize in principle: if I look more closely at proposed versions of this category and discover that the explanation turns out to be one of the other two categories after all, then at best I can’t say I have identified an actual example of the third category yet! Which wouldn’t be very useful for practical purposes, or even ‘merely’ for incorporating this class of ethical theory into a set of doctrines for a metaphysic or worldview.
I also noted toward the end of the previous chapter, that if a (or rather the) objectively ethical standard exists, it must be something personal and also something at the ground of reality so that it depends upon nothing but itself (so it cannot be reductively explained away as really being something else, something really non-ethical.) And those two requirements, of personal existence as the ultimate ground of reality, are simply another description of God.
So, is that the end of the matter? God solves the problem? And is this a valid argument that God exists?
No. And yes but no. And no.