Values Are As Fundamental As Facts

Our goal is to show that basic moral rules of traditional sexual morality are correct rules because they adequately express the structure of nature or reality. There is a widespread assumption, some times called scientism, that nature apart from human thinking and feeling consists only of facts and scientific laws of nature Scientism is an assumption that moral laws and values cannot adequately express the structure of nature.

A question of these blog posts is whether or not moral laws, especially the laws of traditional sexual morality, adequately express the structure of nature. So it is a fallacy of begging-the-question to assume scientism.

There is no reason to assume scientism. Factual thinking and moral thinking are equally fundamental in that part of nature where there is obviously thinking. That part of nature is human thinking. Without special effort to control how we think, our thinking is a complex mixture of thinking what is, what is not along with what ought to be and what ought not to be. Thinking about what is can be called descriptive thinking while thinking about what ought to be is normative thinking. There is no escape from this mixture of descriptive and normative thinking.. If we raise the question of whether or not we ought to control our thinking to get the facts before making any judgments about what ought or ought not be done, we have obviously already thought about what ought or ought not be done.

So, if thinking represents reality or nature, nature contains both what is the case and what ought to be the case. If we use seeing as a model for getting the facts and hearing as a model for responding to the normativity in nature, both looking and listening are crucial for thinking correctly about nature.

This line of thought takes the approach of so-called modern philosophy initiated by Descartes, (1596-1650). This modern approach of philosophy specifies that we start philosophizing by paying attention to our thinking. Of course, assuming that we start critical thinking about reality by paying attention to our thinking about reality is not to assume that reality is nothing but thinking. In a thought there can be that which makes it be something real apart from thinking.

The modern approach leaves room for a skeptical doubt that there is nothing but thinking. In all our philosophical thinking we are thinking about thinking. We do not directly encounter the being which makes our thoughts a reality we encounter. So, it is not logically inconsistent to suggest that our thoughts are not real. But is it not clear that when we encounter thinking we are encounter something real – something which has being? So, we can set aside the suggestion that there is no being except thinking.

I will avoid discussing these fundamental issues about reality in subsequent blog posts. But it must be admitted that my arguments for laws of traditional sexual morality, presuppose that there is a reality which our descriptive and normative thinking can accurately represent.

My book on sexual morality makes this assumption of realism. My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. These blog posts are in effect work towards a 2nd edition. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.





To receive a free book, send check of $3.75 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.

Contempt for Traditional Catholic Moral Theory

I tripped falling hard on my right side in front of finish line for the October 21, 2018 Columbus Nationwide 1/2 marathon.My right femur broke immediately below the hip socket. Dr.Li an OSU orthopedic surgeon provided me with a titanium hip and femur insert. I am facing a long slow recovery.

Am I called to use my recovery to reinvigorate a mission I began a few years ago? This mission is to use whatever philosophical skills I have to show that traditional sexual morality is as well justified as any set of moral rules for sexual activity. A case for traditional, and Catholic, sexuality morality deserves the attention of all who claim to be open minded. Unfortunately, there is widespread contempt, even amongst Catholics, for so-called natural law moral thinking allegedly supporting traditional sexual moral rules.

Amongst “analytic philosophers,” Simon Blackburn has a good solid academic reputation.

Simon Blackburn, in Lust Oxford U. Press New York 2004, laments the damage to sexual morality by the putative philosophic error of finding it given by by nature. He wrote “Yet it is almost impossible to exaggerate the effect of this simple combination of thoughts about lust, restraint, reason and what is natural. The entire Catholic doctrine of birth control depends upon it.”

He then starts his very short seventh chapter criticizing this moral
theory by writing: “We pause to reflect here on the argument that sex is for procreation, and hence that any sexual activity or desire that does not have reproduction as its aim is immoral. Here philosophy can come to the rescue. The dry way of doing it would be through teasing out various different
senses of “natural,” and then worrying quite how the move works from what there is in nature, and what ought to be there, in human activities. The quick way of realizing that something must be wrong is through humor.”

Blackburn uses humor. It is easy to sketch out scenarios of how ridiculous it is to take interfering with what a system typically produces as immoral. After all engineering is interfering with some functions of some natural systems.

We are entitled to resent Blackburn’s recourse to mockery rather than argument. However, we must respect the serious problem in justifying moral rules by specifying functions of a few natural systems which it is morally wrong to frustrate. This selection problem is really hard to solve. What are the principles which specify that it is morally permissible frustrate the face warming function of facial hair by shaving while it is morally forbidden to frustrate the reproductive function of a sexual climax by masturbation?

This selection problem is one of the major issues I tackle in my book defending traditional sexual morality. The solution cannot be sketched in a blog post. However, the main tactic is bipartite. First make a case that moral laws are just as fundamental in nature as are factual laws. Second make a case that some of the basic natural moral laws specify that the reproductive function of sexual activity ought never be intentionally frustrated.

My book on sexual morality makes a philosophical case for traditional sexual morality. My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. These blog posts are in effect work towards a 2nd edition. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.





To receive a free book, send check of $3.75 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.

October 2018: What Catholic Men Need to be Taught About Sex

It is urgent that our bishops, under explicit instruction from Pope Francis, bring it about that all Catholic boys and men be taught that the sexual morality outlined in the 1975 VATICAN DECLARATION ON CERTAIN QUESTIONS CONCERNING SEXUAL ETHICS gives the sexual morality they are morally and religiously obliged to follow. This Vatican document repeats the traditional condemnations of masturbation, homosexual acts, premarital sex and adultery. The condemnations need to be repeated at this time because there is doubt about and outright denial of the immorality of these kinds of behaviors. The reaffirmation of the traditional sexual morality needs to come from Pope Francis to alleviate anxieties, and perhaps for some hope, that the Holy Father intends to remove some of the condemnations of traditional sexual morality.

I have such anxieties.

Far more important than devising elaborate schemes for not covering up abuses is specifying clearly what must not be done sexually. Rules about covering up may be covering up our recalling what is right and wrong.

My book on sexual morality makes a philosophical case for traditional sexual morality. My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.





To receive a free book, send check of $3.75 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.

Sexual Satisfaction is Not a Good To Be Distributed Fairly

The purpose of this post is to sketch out why some might erroneously think that, for the sake of justice, we should revise traditional sexual morality. In his 1986 Letter to Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in Section 9 “One tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people, their activity and lifestyle, are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination.” It is thought that supporting traditional sexual morality treats homosexuals unfairly. Hence, to avoid supporting the allegedly unfair social practice of accepting the moral rules of traditional sexual morality we should work to revise the practice. However, the reasoning for revision is question-begging.

Many practicing homosexuals are, aside from performance of their homosexual acts, rather decent people; no better, no worse than many heterosexuals. For simplicity’s think only of consensual acts where the consent is informed. However, according to the traditional sexual morality still upheld by the Catholic Church, and this blogger, the sexual satisfaction of homosexuals are attained immorally.

The moral condemnation of the means for attaining the satisfaction (pleasure) degrades the satisfaction of the homosexual acts. The satisfactions are thought of ,and felt, as dirty in the sense of “dirt” as something out of place. This dirtiness is felt amongst other negative feelings as being shameful. The homosexual satisfactions are designated as out of place by being judged as attained immorally. Pleasures are not separable from thoughts involved with having them. Thoughts involve what a community thinks. So if a community thinks negatively of a pleasure because of its moral rules, the sensation as something good is diminished for the one having it as well as in the eyes of the community. Human sexual satisfaction is social; not purely personal.

I hope that I have made somewhat clear how it seems that endorsement of traditional sexual morality is endorsement of a system which distributes something good to heterosexuals which is denied to homosexuals.

There is, then, a temptation to think the traditional rules call for an unfair distribution of the good of sexual satisfaction. Two men who are very similar except one desires heterosexual satisfactions while the other desires homosexual satisfactions are treated differently. The heterosexual is allowed having his sexual satisfactions classed as legitimate or natural. The homosexual is denied having his satisfactions classed as legitimate or natural and thereby denied enjoying his sexual satisfactions as genuinely good.

Admittedly there is a discrimination here in distribution of a good. However, the distribution is unfair only if there is no valid moral rule authorizing the discrimination. The traditional moral rules authorize the discrimination. Concluding that the traditional moral rules are invalid because they authorize the discrimination is to conclude that they are invalid because they authorize a discrimination which is unfair. But adding which is unfair it is assumed that the traditional moral rules are not valid. But in this discussion the question at issue is whether or not the traditional moral rules are valid. So in discussion of their fairness it is logically inappropriate to assume that the traditional moral rules are not valid.

My book on sexual morality makes a philosophical case for traditional sexual morality. My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.





To receive a free book, send check of $3.75 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.

It is not abuse; it is Sexual Immorality

This summer of 2018 has made it clear to Catholics that we are immersed in sexual sinfulness. The revelations about the homosexual practices of former Cardinal T. McCarrick has made this clear to us. Unfortunately, we are still not talking clearly enough about the problem. We are still talking of sexual abuse. We need to be accusing ourselves of sexual sinfulness heterosexual, homosexual and solitary (masturbation). Until we admit that it is these sins we are committing, we do not have a chance of pursuing holiness. Chastity is not sufficient for holiness; but the struggle to be chaste is.

What is misleading about talking of abuse? Talking of abuse tends toward identifying our Catholic sexual morality with the popular progressive sexual morality that any sexual activity is permissible as long as it is consensual. When an activity is classed as abusive it is classed as coercive and thereby non-consensual

I Am Anti-abortion; Not Pro-life

Over 40 years ago when the public debate in the USA started to “heat up” those opposed to abortion seemed to reach a consensus that the term “pro-life” was a better label for their position than “anti-abortion.” “Pro-life is positive and matches the positive term “pro-choice” chosen by those supporting a women’s right to abortion.

I disagree with the selection of “pro-life” to label the stance of Christians who oppose abortion. Christians should oppose abortion because it is directly taking the life of an innocent human being. That is murder. Thou shall not commit murder.

There is no doubt that abortion solves some very nasty personal and social problems. Also abortion prevents the living of a life which no reasonable person would choose. Utilitarian morality justifies many abortions, Nonetheless abortion is murder even if for the greatest good for the greatest number.

Opposing abortion from a perspective of being pro-life tempts us to be dishonest by overstating the value of natural life. Natural (biological) simply is not a good condition worthy of being chosen under all natural circumstances. However, we never have a right to take a life, our own or another’s, for the sake of any good – even the good of natural death to relieve suffering. Life is a duty; not a good.

Not only does use of “pro-life” mislead us to the dishonesty of overstating the natural value of being alive in this world it also misleads Christians away from the life which is indeed intrinsically good. The life which is genuinely good is life with God for those who have led a proper natural life.

In effect, the term “pro-life” has misled Catholics into being too worldly. We cannot evangelize the secular world by giving life in this world an extremely high value if not the highest value. Secularists already value life in this world while it is, to reasonable people without religious faith, worth living.

My book on sexual morality makes a philosophical case for traditional sexual morality. It does not focus on abortion because abortion is a crime against justice. My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.





To receive a free book, send check of $3.75 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.

Don’t Worry About the Crimes. Stop the Sins

At this time, August 2018, I am articulating what is quickly becoming conventional wisdom amongst Catholics distressed by the allegations that Cdl. T. McCarrick et al. carried on homosexual activities while serving as a Catholic priests and bishops. This new received wisdom holds that when the clergy sex abuse scandal first broke in the early 2000s, we should have focused on stopping the sexual sins as opposed to focusing on sexual misconduct which was also illegal. We should have emphasized stopping sexual sins instead of emphasizing illegal sexual misconduct. Since sexual sins are a necessary condition for illegal sexual misconduct a focus on sin prevention would also have addressed preventing illegal sexual activity. Adherence to traditional sexual morality is necessary and sufficient for avoiding illegal sexual activity.
The focus on avoiding what is illegal has misled us into thinking that our problems were conforming to civil law rather than the moral law which expresses the unchanging will of God for human behavior. As a result, the bishops missed the opportunity of leading us in a much needed revival of traditional Catholic sexual morality.
There are a variety of explanations why the emphasis was on preventing and remedying illegal sexual conduct. They range from the neutral theory that the illegal sexual abuse of minors was the immediate and salient problem to be solved to the hostile and uncharitable theory that there was a goal of distracting from homosexual conduct amongst adult priests and even bishops. The explanations are issues for sociology. As a philosopher who has no intention of doing the empirical research necessary to test sociological explanations, I will not take a stand on explanations. I have to rely on others for sociology. But I will demand strong evidence for theories which attribute malice to priests and bishops. I fear that such evidence may be forthcoming.
However, I have no hesitation criticizing the bishops policy they should have required preaching of basic traditional sexual morality with a great emphasis on how to avoid occasions of sin.
My book on sexual morality makes a philosophical case for traditional sexual morality. My case does not assume any religious doctrines. I belong to a long Catholic tradition which holds that Catholic morality is simply morality which binds all people regardless of their religion.
My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.





To receive a free book, send check of $3.75 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.

Theology of the Body Presupposes Rules for Sexual Morality

As I read Theology of the Body*, it proposes that sexual love is a nearly perfect model of God’s love for humans. Of course, not any expression of sexual love provides such a model. It needs to be proper sexual love. To identify proper sexual love we need moral rules specifying what is morally proper sexual expressions of love. So theology of the body does not provide a sexual morality; rather it presupposes a sexual morality. This presupposed sexual morality is traditional Catholic sexual morality. What do we learn from Theology of the Body?

It shows the beauty of proper sexual expression of love. Thereby, theology of the body provides what is actually most important for sexual morality: Motivation to follow it. It is not hard to understand: Do not commit adultery. It is difficult to obey in deed and thought.

*Theology of the Body is the topic of a series of 129 lectures given by Pope John Paul II during his Wednesday audiences in St. Peter’s Square and the Paul VI Audience Hall between September 5, 1979 and November 28, 1984. It constitutes an analysis on human sexuality, and is considered as the first major teaching of his pontificate. The complete addresses were later compiled and expanded upon in many of John Paul’s encyclicals,

My book on sexual morality does not refer to theology of the body. I only try to make a case for the rules of proper sexual morality. Both justiciation of rules and motivation are essential for a full sexual morality.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.

Christian Re-enchanment XI, Evil Necessary for a Relgiously Enchanted Reality

Philosophical efforts to solve the problem of evil by having a rationally compelling explanation of why there is evil in the creation of an all good, all knowing and all powerful God, are, in effect, efforts to remove a religious view of reality. Explanations of why there is evil in the creation of an all-powerful etc., creator are called “theodicies.” Religious thought and sentiment requires recognition of the mystery – the enchantment- that reality is not as it ought to be.

1. If you think religiously, then you recognize the enormous evil in the world, CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHY IT OCCURS.
Think of how much of religious practice is focused on getting God’s protection from evil. Would humans ever care about God if they had no problems/
2. If you develop an adequate theodicy, then you recognize the enormous evil in the world and CAN UNDERSTAND WHY IT OCCURS.
Logically (1) &(2) entail (3)
3. If you think religiously and develop an adequate theodicy, then you CAN AND CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHY THE ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF EVIL OCCURS in the world.
Claim (3) proposes a logically impossible state. Hence, we can conclude :
4. Either you do not think religiously or you do not develop an adequate theodicy.
You do not have to accept either alternative in (4) You can become a secularist who refrains from thinking religiously and develops no adequate theodicy .

However you can still be religious and have the mystery of evil. The traditional problem of evil shows that there will be no adequate theology. So we do not have to worry about a theologian developing a theodicy disenchanting reality by explaining evil.

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My book on sexual morality requires no narrative about enchanted realities other than the everyday one about our thoughts and feeling. But the traditional sexual morality I justify on purely secular grounds receives more motivation if placed in a Judeo-Christian framework.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.

Christian Re-enchantment X: Review

I am returning to writing blog posts after a delay from January 22, 2018 until today June 19, 2018. I felt no desire to carry on the careful philosophical analysis of my religious belief. I was not accomplishing anthing. I intended it to be analysis of religious belief in general. But honesty requires admitting I wrote only of my religious belief.

I had become involved with subtle distinctions between statements such as:
A. Jesus changed water into wine at Cana.
B. I believe that Jesus changed water into wine at Cana.
C. We believe that Jesus changed water into wine at Cana.

These subtle distinctions are intriguing to this retired philosophy professor. They are, I’m sure, boring and obscure to almost anyone else. So my efforts at philosophical sophistication undercuts the purpose of these blog posts on Christianity. I am putting these blog posts on the internet to evangelize. I “labelled my efforts at evangelization “Christian Re-enchantment” because I wanted to show that there can be a single narrative of nature and the human condition whose components are,

1. reality as science would have it,
2. Gospel miracles – especially the resurrection of Jesus
3. doctrines of Christian theology.

A Christian view of reality accepts truth claims from all three components. These discussions exposed my reluctance to accept that we are living in a Christian reality. I constantly slipped back into belief scientism which holds that there is nothing but reality as science would have it. My analysis was not helping my Christian faith; let alone that of anyone else. So I will stop this analysis of my belief in a Christian reality. I will simply write on a variety of topics about the human condition and morality as if there are truth claims from all components of Christian reality. I hope that I am not mistaken in assuming that some of the Gospel miracles really occurred and Christian doctrines about post mortem rewards and punishments are true. In any event, I intend to die under this assumption.

My confidence in this assumption waxes and wans. How I feel and events I experience are causal factors in my degree of confidence. But I do not let my confidence, or lack thereof, change my stance that truth claims from all three components can be true. This does not mean that if an occasion arises for supporting a Christian truth claim, I will not try to make a case that it is a correct claim to make. Indeed the assumption that there can be correct Christian truth claims provides the rationale for giving reasons for them. Absent an assumption that the Christian claims could be true, there would be no motivation for trying to show that they are true.

With care a Christian stance on reality can be held consistently. There need be no logical contradictions between claims a Christian accepts as true. In particular there need be no logical contradiction between biblical and theological claims on one hand and claims of natural science on the other. I am simply repeating the oft made claim that there need be no logical contradictions between religious beliefs and claims of natural science. However,I must recognize the “logical price” I pay for reconciling science and my Catholic faith. And I think all who struggle to reconcile religions and science will have to pay this price. The price of having a logically consistent Christian stance toward reality is having an incoherent stance towards reality. By “incoherent stance” I mean that the law of excluded middle does not hold in the logic we use for describing all of reality. Excluded middle is not a law of logic

( In this connection, please see my previous postUnrealistic Fictions.)

Let me illustrate. Consider “Jesus changed water into wine at Cana or Jesus did not change water into wine at Cana.” A Christian should not say that this disjunction is necessarily true even if he goes on to claim that exactly on of the disjuncts is true. Talking biblically I would assert that Jesus did change water into wine. talking scientifically I concede that there is strong evidence that Jesus did not change water into wine. Nonetheless, I assert as true that Jesus did change water into wine at Cana.

Excluded middle not being a principle of logic means that I think reality has gaps because sometimes neither a claim P nor its denial not-P is true. For instance, consider “Jesus cured Peter of a stammer or Jesus did not cure Peter of a stammer.” In my stance towards reality there is no answer to whether or not Jesus cured a speech defect in Peter. It is not merely that it is unknown about whether Jesus cured Peter. It is that there is no fact one way or the other; that is a “gap” in reality.

I will not labor this point about excluded middle further. It is enough that I admit that with respect to logic the language I use to talk about fictions is the same as the language I use when I intend to how reality is.

Advertisement:
My book on sexual morality requires no narrative about enchanted realities other than the everyday one about our thoughts and feeling. But the traditional sexual morality I justify on purely secular grounds receives more motivation if placed in a Judeo-Christian framework.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.