"And is, then, all which is just pious? or, is that which is pious all just,
but that which is just, only in part and not all, pious?"
Socrates - Euthyphro
It is obvious in the responses by Socrates in the Euthyphro that some form of universal piety supersedes the plurality of gods and human opinion.
This is the point of the search for understanding Piety in the dialogue. Many responses to these types of questions in philosophy result in a neutral position. In other words, the cyclical nature of the Euthyphro dilemma causes too many to respond with a neutral response.
But Plato does not accept a neutral answer to the question of God in philosophy. What is obvious in the history of philosophical thought is that questions surrounding God matter. Does God exist? What is the role of God in morality? What is the role of God in social issues?, etc.
Questions involving God cannot be avoided. Thus in philosophy we must explore these questions with honesty and humility. To blatantly stop all dialogue about God and philosophy results in no philosophy at all. Socrates would have never accepted avoidance of the questions surrounding God.
Whereas Euthyphro stopped all discussions about the role of the gods in defining piety by declaring that all that the gods demand must be obeyed, blindly if necessary; Socrates pushed for a logical understanding of all things pertaining to the gods, or even God. If the plurality of gods resulted in conflicting application of morality, then Socrates concludes that there must be a greater Form of piety that transcends all mimicked, or copied attempts of pious action.
For Socrates, the true definition of piety involved the true form of piety that transcended all discussions of religious dogma. To avoid these discussions out of a position of agnosticism would also be a violation of true philosophical exploration.
So what is Piety?
For Socrates, piety is the honest and pure action which is right despite what gods might insist. This is not because the gods have no role in defining piety, but rather that human attempts to impose pious action in the name of the gods were too often flawed copies of the purest piety. Thus, piety must be in its purest form an idea that is beyond human efforts to make. This answer does not grant permission to dismiss attempts to be pious. But rather inspires all pious action to be greater than any human effort. Perhaps a God that transcends all gods is what Socrates searched for. Perhaps true Piety exists beyond all religious dogma. Regardless, Socrates observed through philosophy that genuine piety involves God since true piety is misinterpreted by pious religious people like Euthyphro.
This is the text from the prayer I was privileged to pray at the public gathering for prayer in Cookeville, TN.
I was tasked to pray for Media and the Economy. Below is the prayer from my heart on these matters that face our culture and nation.
National Day of Prayer
Putnam County, TN courthouse
Dear Father in Heaven:
We gather together today before your throne imploring your holiness to cover us with your mercy.
You are Creator.
As such we are created.
You have granted us the ability to create art, culture, language, economy, and technology. It is through technology that our culture now conducts business and consumes entertainment. While advances in technology and communication have changed our world in dramatic ways, we fail to use your gift of creativity to glorify your name.
Entertainment is now our culture more so than pure artistic expression focused on your glory. This status causes us to worship celebrity rather than you.
We allow the idolatry of celebrity worship to shape the functions of YOUR church. Our gatherings for worship are too often venues for spectator entertainment. Our church leaders are chosen not by your directives in scripture but by levels of charisma or superstar potential. Our worship music rarely glorifies your grace for us but inspires our comfort. Expository preaching of your scripture is replaced by entertaining stories and prosperity gospel distortion. The emphasis on the salvation offered in Christ is now shifted to prosperity gospel and lifestyle coaching.
Oh, dear Lord. Forgive us.
Please cause the churches in Putnam County to return to authentic worship and preaching of your Word. Cause the churches to return to a focus of prayer and evangelism. All things work together for Your good, oh Lord, and that is our good. (Romans 8:28)
We have substituted your design for relationship and communication with self serving and mind numbing media. This too is idolatry.
This shift in focus now controls the worship rightly due your Holy Name.
Because we focus so much on our personal pleasure we produce and consume media opposed to your glory. The power of film and digital media consumes us with an ungodly attraction. The Beata Visio is lost among the idolatrous allure of false beauty. The media produced is that which we consume. The economics of entertainment follow our viewing habits. We are to blame for the ungodly filth rampant in the entertainment industry.
Dear Lord... forgive us.
Media is the means to a place of ideas and our over saturated information economy is full of short sound bytes and gossip driven news stories. We are drawn to these false narratives as if we were members of a brainwashed cult.
Please dear God... Forgive us.
Please grant us wisdom to discern valuable media from gossip shaped truth twisting. Cause us to refrain from time wasted in consuming media and entertainment. Cause us to focus on prayer and the study of scripture.
Media causes us to now blend our work with leisure weakening productivity. Our human connections between each other are now filtered through digital environments. We fail to bond with each other and substitute meaningful relationships with likes and posts and sharing of media links
Please cause us to reconnect relationships through face to face means. As you God are relational in your Trinitarian nature, please draw us back to relationship with you through Jesus Christ.
Our economy emphasizes self serving consumerism rather than promoting strong community of interdependence.
We worship our purchases and blend entertainment with media shopping. To spend money requires seconds of electronic transaction. This is an addiction for too many of us. Rather than budgeting the resources you provide for the needs of living we waste finances on our own pleasure. Rather than sacrificing a portion of your resources for your church and for the gospel message through missions Evangelism we waste dollars on credit card debt.
Please, dear God... provide for us as you promise to do. But cause us to manage your provision well. Convict us Lord when we fail you. Forgive us always.
“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, But to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness.”
“Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!”
Thank you for hearing our cry.
We pray today for our county, our state, our country, and our world.
In the name of your precious only Son, Jesus Christ.