RE: "you can't escape a discussion of The Good with that dodge"
"dodge," Unseen? Really??
You make it sound as though I have an obligation to explain myself, which is certainly not the case. Why I choose to avoid doing harm is, in all likelihood different from why you might make the same choice, if in fact you would. Unless I'm mistaken (and with all of those philosophy classes on your transcript, I would expect you to know), that's one of the definitions of the word, "subjective."
If ethics is all relative to one's subjectivity (one's wants, desires, and inclinations), then of course there's no need to explain yourself because there's no WAY to explain yourself. However, by that standard (or more precisely by the lack thereof) the behavior of the man sexually abusing the child is no better or worse than the one saving the child from drowning. Each has his own subjective standard of behavior according to which whatever we do is right because it's what we are inclined to do.
RE: "the behavior of the man sexually abusing the child is no better or worse than the one saving the child from drowning"
In their minds, or mine?
All of us live in two spheres: our own consciousness and in an outside world shared with others. We need some way to determine what is good because, as I pointed out with the child abuse example, if we don't then whatever someone does is ipso facto ethically correct simply because it's what they wanted to do.
RE: "whatever someone does is ipso facto ethically correct simply because it's what they wanted to do."
Which brings us back to the question I asked earlier that appears to have gone unanswered. in who's mind? Mine or theirs?
And you mentioned, "ethically correct" - do you see no difference between ethics and morals? If so, please elaborate.
"Good" is what God says is "good."
This justifies everything from the genocide of the Amalekites, the crusades, and the inquisition and so on. God's 'goodness' is nothing but sanctimonious certainty.
And yet, if God does exist, HE is the decider of what is good and what is not.
Bill Clinton instituted "mandatory volunteering" and we all know how "good" he was.
How's this for "one brief answer"? People ARE greater than God.
But that's no answer at all for if good is only good insofar as god says it is then his wrath at anyone's having failed to be good is arbitrary and capricious too.
True, but that is your prerogative if you are God, right? If you are God, you exist in a moral vacuum. If God exists, it is not man's place to judge Him.
If you make a sand painting and dislike it and lay it waste, as its creator that is your prerogative. Were God to exist, and if everything that exists were to be His creation, it is his to do with as he wishes. We would exist at His pleasure.