From the very beginning of the Euthyphro, it is clear that Socrates has one goal in mind: to question those around him and provoke them to question aspects of their own lives. The question he poses to Euthyphro, “Is the pious being loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is being loved by the gods?” (pg. 12) is a question which at first glance seems confusing and roundabout. Questions such as this one are the basis of what philosophy is really about. There is no clear answer to this question, but it does raise more questions as to what is considered holy and why.
This argument states that the idea of morality is determined solely by the Gods or some kind of divine authority. Is something “good” because the Gods think it is good, or do the Gods approve of something only because it is “good”? These are almost like contradicting statements and there is really no way to find out which is true or if the two are even equivalent. They are two different trains of thought. One the one hand, we can accept that something is holy simply because it is approved, or we can believe that something is approved because it is holy.
I believe that Socrates was instilling a greater sense of awareness of morality and piety amongst people by asking these kinds of questions. He encouraged people to become inquisitive and take a deeper look into their own lives. Personally, if I had to answer the question Socrates posed, I would say that pious is being loved by the Gods because it is pious. The Gods cannot create piety but instead just embrace it and consider that which is pious to be important to them. Arguments such as this one, which involves divine authority, have encouraged modern-day ethical theories to be based on our own autonomy rather than in God, because through the latter no resolution can be produced. No matter which way you think about it, piety is just something that exists, be it through God’s doing or not.