Christian Re-enchantment V: Enchanted Realities & Incredibility

This post is a reminder of the tremendous intellectual challenge to taking a realistic stance towards an enchanted reality.

Consider what it is like to believe that there is one enchanted reality which is actually real. You have to believe that the whole of reality has two parts. One part is the natural everyday reality which follows the laws of science. The other part is an enchanted reality which has the structure of an unrealistic fiction. This enchanted part can be as disorganized as a dream.

I follow Wittgenstein who reminded us that reality is everything which is the case. Part of what is the case is what science tells us about while the other part of what is the case consists of what is told of in some religiously significant narrative such as the Iliad, the Norse Sagas or the Bible.

The only constraint on taking a realistic stance towards an enchanted reality is a limited form of the law of non-contradiction. You cannot think of anything really being X while really not being X. Although in the narrative of the enchanted reality you can write that something is X and yet not X. You can say contradictions but you cannot think of them as true.

Typically the enchanted narratives as candidates for telling the truth about reality are not as crazy as dreams. My models are the narratives about Jesus in the Gospels. I am willing to include some of the miracle stories about saints and reports of Marian apparitions. But for present purposes of noting the challenges to belief the Gospel narratives suffice as a model for the problems.

For a rational 21st century Christian the challenge is twofold. One challenge is religious. The other is philosophical You must defend accepting one religiously significant narrative of an enchanted reality from amongst many others as telling the factual truth about the way things are. You must be prepared to explain how the part of reality studied by science is self-contained. The part of reality studied by science is properly studied only by the secular methods of natural science. Nothing accepted as real in the enchanted part of reality will give any natural scientific result which could not have been obtained using the methods of natural science alone.

Basically, you must be prepared to explain how science operates independently of any religious narrative although natural science does not give the whole truth. Science does not tell us everything which is the case. Some religious narrative is needed to supplement science to tell us everything which is the case.

To appreciate the difficulty of the challenge to 21st Christian, try imagining how the multiplication of the loaves and fishes or Jesus walking on water has a place in a full history of the world just as much as a normal event such as the assassination of President Lincoln.

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 IV: Unrealistic Fictions

In private Jesus taught his disciples that homosexual acts are sins or in private Jesus never taught his disciples that homosexual acts are sins. If we are talking about the normal everyday reality which can be studied by natural science we would say that one or the other of the alternatives is true even if we cannot find out what Jesus taught on the subject. However, if we interpret the Gospel narratives as narratives of an enchanted reality, we should say that neither is true. What is not said in a narrative of an enchanted reality is simply not in the enchanted reality being presented in the narrative. Suppose that there were a True/False test on the Gospels which had as an item:

In private Jesus taught his disciples that homosexual acts are sins _______.

Students could rightly complain that they need a third choice besides T or F. They would want to be able to use a value, perhaps U, to indicate unspecified.”

When one thinks about stories, there is nothing surprising about the Law of Excluded Middle not holding for fictions. (The Law of Excluded Middle holds that there is no middle ground between being True or False.) Stories or fictions cannot present a reality in a complete way It would be an extremely boring story if the author even tried to describe in all possible detail a reality he was imagining. This indeterminacy about billions of details does not detract from the story. It does though lead us to conclude that what is told in the story exists only in our thoughts and imaginations. For is it not a fundamental human belief that in reality a thing either is something or is not that something? Nonetheless, many fictions can be labeled “realistic.”

In my posts on Christian Re-Enchantment, I am advocating a stance that all narratives of an enchanted reality have the logical structure of unrealistic fictions. However, there is a small subset of narratives of an enchanted reality which portray how reality is apart from our imaginations. These are narratives of a Christian enchanted reality. Logically or structurally these narratives are unrealistic fictions. But certain orthodox Christian narratives are not fictions!

What is it for a fiction to be “realistic?” In human reason or culture there are representations of some vast system of objects and processes like those we can see, taste, touch, smell, hear and feel. These representations aim to be representations of the whole of reality – all that there is. This system is spread out in space and time. We sense only a tiny bit of this system. In individual people no two people may have exactly the same details in their representations. What we are not there to sense, though, is believed to be like what we do sense. We believe that what we represent existed before we were born and will continue after we die. For billions of people such representations of reality have been and are representations of an enchanted reality. There are miracles, ghosts, gods and goddess, and so on mingled in with the ordinary everyday objects and processes. I label the whole reality representations when it may contain enchanted realities over and above human thoughts and feelings “pre-scientific representations.”

Since at least the period of the Enlightenment there has been an effort by cultural elites to educate people to purge their whole reality representations of all enchanted realities. This purging is a necessary preparation for a scientific understanding of the whole of reality. This purged system is what humans study in natural science. Call our representations of the whole of reality which contain nothing beyond what in principle can be explained by natural science naturalistic representations. What we represent with naturalistic representations is what we call nature.The goal of natural science is to enhance the naturalistic representation with a sophisticated representation of how the natural processes operate so that humans can predict and control what occurs in nature as well as to satisfy curiosity about the order observed in what we represent and then to delight in representing this order. At their best, scientific representations are expressed in the abstract language of mathematics.

A realistic fiction tells us only of objects, processes and events which could be in nature.

An unrealistic fiction tells us of objects, processes and events which could not be in nature along with those which could be in nature.

Being realistic does not save the realities portrayed in realistic fictions from the incompleteness indicated by failure of the law of excluded middle.

But the gaps in an enchanted reality are even greater than those natural details the author never mentioned. Enchanted realities need not obey the laws of natural science. Or better: a narrative of an enchanted reality can describe what is in conflict with natural science. This possible conflict with natural science goes even deeper than presenting events which conflict with known laws of science. In unrealistic fictions there is no law of causality. Events can be presented in fiction which have no cause. The lack of a cause could be because the author did not specify that there was one or that the author specified that there was none. The author, or authors, are in charge of what is in the reality they are presenting. At their very worst, unrealistic fictions are as disorganized as our dreams in sleep. These reminders about fictions tempt us to conclude that if all narratives of enchanted realities have the structure of fictions, then no narratives of enchanted realities tells us the truth about what is real. Nothing as incomplete and unlawful as the fragmentary and sometimes chaotic presentations of unrealistic fiction could be real apart from human imagination. That is what I am advocating, though. The Gospel narrative of Jesus’s life and deeds is structurally an unrealistic fiction. But it is not a fiction.

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 II: Enchanted Realitities and Truth

Atheists want to tell the world that religious beliefs are untrue and religious practices are foolish, if not dangerous. They offer atheism as the way to avoid error, superstition and fanaticism. The atheistic strategy is to make their case at a theoretical level to avoid the complicated consideration of indefinitely many beliefs and practices of the numerous actual religions.

For discussion of religious belief there are two questions in answer to which atheists develop theoretical arguments for setting aside religion. The first question asks: Is there an ultimate being? The second question asks: Are any religiously significant narratives of an enchanted reality true?
For both answers atheists hope to establish a negative claim.
There is no ultimate being
No narrative of an enchanted reality is true

Christians, of course, hold that there is an ultimate being and that there is one true narrative of an enchanted reality in which the ultimate being participates.

Disputes about the existence of an ultimate being are the familiar philosophical arguments for and against the existence of God. I am not concerned with those arguments in this post. I think that at least since Kant (1724-1804) there is a growing consensus that although there are no compelling arguments that there is an ultimate being which might be identifiable with the God of some actual religions, it is not unreasonable to accept some of these arguments as giving good reasons for believing that there is an ultimate being.

Really, it is not important for atheists to refute these arguments decisively. Mere belief in an ultimate being does not by itself lead to any of the beliefs and practices atheists find in actual religions. The threatening, to atheists, religious beliefs and practices are based on religious narratives about enchanted realities.
See Christian Re-enchantment for introduction to how I use “enchanted reality.”
Reductionism is the tactic for implementing the atheistic strategy of showing that no narratives about an enchanted reality are true. The program is to show that everything which can be clearly thought and spoken about is located in space/time and subject to laws of natural science. Yes, scientific laws themselves are an embarrassment to these reduction programs. The very mathematical lawfulness of objects studied by natural science has not yet been reduced to entities in space/time. The final solution to reduction tactic would be justification of nominalism.

I think I know what I am talking about when I talk of these reduction programs. All of my philosophical training has been in philosophy departments of secular state universities. I have spent forty years teaching in the philosophy department of secular state universities. In the background, there was an assumption that a significant philosophical achievement would be a reduction of something not clearly located in space/time to something which was. The big success, perhaps worthy of a Noble Prize, would be reduction of mind to matter.

The reduction programs are programs in process. There are many promises of reduction but few clear results. The most highly touted reduction is the claim, we read in the introductory chapter of biology texts that we no longer need to assume that there is life over and above the physiological processes. It is true that assumption of a special force called life is not needed for scientific research.

I should add that a model for reducing one area to another is the representation of all of mathematics as set theory. All mathematical objects, numbers, functions, figures etc., are allegedly reduced to sets.

Elimination of the mental: thoughts, sensations and feelings would show that there are no enchanted realities. Yes,our thoughts, sensations and feelings enchant the “colorless” abstractions talked of in natural science. But elimination of the mental seems impossible. We would have to think to realize that we had accomplished this intellectual feat.

Trying to eliminate the mental is called the mind-body problem. Actually it is not a problem unless you hold that there needs to be a reduction of the mental to the material

In any event, the unresolved mind-body problem has stalled the reduction tactic for showing that no narratives of an enchanted reality can be true. I use the weak can be true because I am not prepared to say that the mind-body problem cannot be solved. “Can” is good enough to stall the project.

It is a real possibility that some narrative about an enchanted reality is true.

My book on sexual morality requires no narrative about enchanted realities other than the everyday one about our thoughts and feeling.

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 I

This post was supposed to be philosophical. I intended to rationalize introducing angels in a conceptual model of the paschal mystery. Why, though, am I constructing a conceptual modal of the paschal mystery and more broadly: the good news in the Gospels? I want to strengthen my conviction that the factual claims in the Gospels tell the truth. With such a conviction I can boldly proclaim them to others as literally true. A model for how the truth claims of the Gospels can be true presupposes receiving them as truth claims. What is it like to received the truth claims of the Gospels as true truth claims.

The Gospels make truth claims about angels. In Luke 2, 28 ff. we can read:

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High;

Do you hold with conviction that this passage tells the truth about events involving an angel, a young virgin, in the province of Galilee sometime in the reign of Ceasar Augustus? A resulting event is the pregnancy of Mary without sexual intercourse and she is carrying God incarnate.

I never had the courage to tell my children the Christian gospel, such as the above passage, as a truth just as much as some other factual claim about the Roman Empire. Indeed, I have never had the courage to tell it to anyone. I have not been able to profess with conviction the good news of Christianity. Somehow secularism had disenchanted reality. I cannot be a good Christian unless I am willing to go out to all the world to tell the good news.

What is this good news which I am ashamed to proclaim as true; not only as morally useful? The Christian gospel is not the partial truth of my beloved catechism answer: God made us to know love and serve Him on this earth so that we can be happy with Him forever in heaven. There is the crucifix. The cross commands us to tell the whole truth. The whole truth describes a harsh magical reality. Of course, it is not all harsh as the above Lucan passage shows.

I characterize this magical reality from my Catholic perspective. Accepting the Gospels as making truth claims about a magical reality is a presupposition of developing a rationalizing conceptual model for them. Of course, I cannot speak for the Catholic Church.

Reality is a unit containing ordinary natural events and enchanted events. The ordinary natural events are the observable events explained by natural science. The enchanted events are observable effects of supernatural beings. The supernatural beings are not observable. They are the invisible beings we acknowledge in the Nicene Creed when we profess belief in God the Father Almighty creator of all things visible and invisible.

Much that we can observe is taken as enchanted. There are ordinary objects taken as sacred or holy. Trees, brooks, mountains and indeed the whole earth have been taken as holy or set apart for the supernatural. Ordinary events such as dreams or eclipses have been heeded as messages from the supernatural. Miracles, although observable, are not ordinary because they have no natural explanation. Not all enchanted events are located in any definite place or time although enchanted events are always at least partially describable in terms we use to describe the observable. Hence, events such as the fall of Adam and Eve cannot be located in the spatial temporal framework we use for ordinary events, sacred objects, signs and miracles.

Reality as enchanted is very familiar. We are familiar with enchanted events mixed with the ordinary events from the Greek, Roman and Nordic legends. The world of the Iliad and Odyssey is an enchanted world. The Harry Potter novels have familiarized a whole generation with an enchanted reality. I should not forget about Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. The fiction genre of magical realism mixes ordinary events with enchanted events. The Gospels are at least magical realism. Current interest in zombies shows that many people delight in considering an enchanted reality. Most likely every generation will discover new enchanted worlds to delight, to terrify and to edify or to corrupt.

What is unfamiliar nowadays is to hold that there is one narrative mixing enchanted events with ordinary events which tells the truth, in addition natural acience, about the way things are.

The genuine believing Christian holds that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John present the crucial part of this narrative. The Gospels are not tales of the magical realism genre. The Gospels are realistic narratives reporting to us, amongst other things, the real magical events! That narrative has been extended and presented throughout the centuries in thousands of pictures now in museums and in the windows of thousands of churches. Throughout the centuries billions have accepted the Christian enchanted reality as reality. Of course, if the enchanted reality of the Gospels is reality then all of the other narratives of an enchanted reality are false; or better simply stories.

Adopting a frame of mind in which to view reality as the Christian magical reality as REALITY is the serious challenge to Christian faith. Believing in an abstract God on whom all reality depends is not intellectually as challenging as atheism. So this is the first of a series of posts by someone who has been disenchanted struggling to re-enchant the world.

My book making a case for traditional Christian sexual morality does not require viewing the world as enchanted. Indeed, because it accepts the secular view of reality it can be offered as the morality for all people.
*** 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.

Human Reason, Gender Identity et al.

In posts constructing a conceptual model of the Paschal Mystery, I have written about human reasoning and especially human moral reasoning as containing certain thoughts such as “violation of moral laws ought to result in undesirable consequence.” As a philosopher, I acknowledge assumptions I make about what there is. “Ontology” is the title for the topic of making assumptions or offering definite claims about what there is. In the ontology for these blog posts I assume that there is human thinking above and beyond the thinking occurring in the minds of individual people.

Most people make this assumption at several levels. I assume, for instance, that there is a collection of thoughts which could be called the public opinion of residents of Columbus, Ohio in August 2017. I assume there is a system of thought which could be labelled “what Catholics think.” Many more examples come to mind: What climate scientists think, What liberals think, What mathematicians hold, etc..

Of course, I go much further to assume that there is a vast collection of thoughts composed of what humans have thought, presently think and will think. I call this “human reason.” It is the reasons and reasoning available to aborigines and scientists at MIT. This universal human reason is the location of the thought of setting aside morality. This thought reserving a right to override morality once in awhile is the original sin which we all inherit* just by virtue of being the kind of animal which can think some of the thoughts in universal human reason.

There is so much to say about this human reason that I could easily fill a book with my views as well as theories of philosophers such as Hegel and Kant. I develop no theory of what human reason is. Here I make a few remarks with especial attention to how we can get truth since this universal human reason is so comprehensive that it seems we cannot get beyond it to determine whether or not our thoughts represent reality apart from thoughts. Can we put thinking in the back of our minds to simply look and listen at what makes our thinking correct?

This universal human reason is not the actual thinking of some mind above and beyond the minds of individual human beings. Human reason itself is not aiming at any goal although there are many thoughts about goals in human reason.

As a collection of thoughts, human reason is logically inconsistent. A problem for individuals who think the thoughts contained in universal human reason is coping with inconsistencies in our thinking. Inconsistencies, when identified, can be set aside so that complete logical chaos is avoided in an individual’s thinking. Hidden inconsistencies give us trouble.

Much of what we make truth claims about in daily life have been constructed by human reason. Without human thinking there would not be any social facts such as those about economics, politics, wars, revolutions, etc.,. Indeed this human reason being discussed in this post is constructed by human reason. However, I am not a philosophical idealist who holds that there is not reality beyond thought which provides justification for what we think. I am a realist who holds that there are things in themselves apart from human thinking which make thoughts in human reason correct or appropriate. However I concede that realism could be wrong**

Current disputes about gender identity provide a way of illustrating my stance on truth. Both biological sex and gender are social constructs in so far as the conceptual schemes used to talk about them are both components of universal human reason. Universal human reason is, as noted above, a social construct. Now however, consider two claims:

1.Henry’s biological sex is male
2.Henry’s gender is female.

If we turn to realty to find which claim is true, we find that if (1) is true (2) is false. If (2) is false, then Henry, and those who agree with his female impersonation are, if not lying, at least misrepresenting the way things are. To be sure, I have assumed that gender depends upon biological sex. This claim about the gender depending upon biological sex must also be verified by recourse to reality. I think reality verifies it. Unfortunately, others do not. That is why there is dispute. However, dispute does not show that there is no reality which shows that one side or the other is wrong.

In Chapter X*** of my book Confronting Sexual Nihilism, I develop more fully my thoughts on confronting reality to discover truth.

I do not think that only factual claims fit or do not fit thought independent reality. Value judgments can be correct or incorrect because of what is in reality. This is very significant because it goes against the widespread assumption of a fact/value discrimination. It is popularly assumed that factual claims might be true but that judgments of right/wrong, good/evil are inevitability opinions. Opinions get ranked as warranted or unwarranted only by other thoughts; never by conditions outside thought. So, in my ontology, I accept conditions in reality which make value judgments correct or incorrect as well as radically**** different kinds of conditions which make factual claims true. That is why I use “look” and “listen” when talking of turning to the way things are.

This is enough, if not too much, on universal human reason. In the next post, I plan to elaborate on the construct of angels and their role in my construction of a Christian conceptual model of our salvation

*How Original Sin is InheritedConfession of a Truth Sceptic
*** 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.
****I am speculating that this reality in itself which justifies, or refutes, our thoughts is personal in so far as it gives commands: You ought to assert P as a statement of fact, You ought to deny that Q states a fact, You ought to do act A, You ought not do act B.

Jesus Has Saved Us From Nihilism Being a True Account of the Human Condition

In this post I begin my case that we need not understand the torture and death of Jesus as a human sacrifice God demands in retribution for humanity having original sin so that He will forgive us for having original sin. Instead I will be arguing that our morality, to which God in his mercy allows us to be bound while having original sin, demanded the execution of Jesus in retribution for our having original sin so that we can be forgiven for having original sin.

Here, I give the broad outline of my argument and elaborate on details in subsequent posts. *s refer to notes at the end of this post linking to earlier posts on the topics marked.

A crucial question answered in this post is “From what does Jesus’ suffering and execution free us?” I am struggling to express clearly an insight that Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection brought it about in “the fullness of time” that the human condition is not as nihilists describe it.

Despite our having the original sin of repudiating God and morality, God still gives us morality as the means for attaining our good.* Our good is being as we ought to be. But we have morality while still repudiating it. Our reasoning is in conflict.** Satan exploits this conflict

Satan, who has the power of adding thoughts to human thinking*** adds thoughts which push human moral thinking to an extreme which would destroy the very moral thinking it exploits.

Moral thought goes to the extreme by leading us to think that there ought to be elimination of humanity for having original sin and acting on the original sin we have. Put another way: The original sin we have is a choice to be amoral animals. Moral thinking rightly requires that there be unpleasant consequences of wrong acts which are somehow in proportion to the wrong done.**** The extreme moral thinking alleges that our repudiation of morality requires that we suffer the consequences of choosing to be amoral beings. A consequence of choosing to be amoral beings is exactly that, viz., being amoral beings. In addition the horror story dimension of human history is brought up to make a case that humans are such a vile species that we should be eliminated. “Killer Angels,” the title of Michael Shaara’s 1974 novel of the Battle of Gettysburg seems an apt description of human beings.

But what would it be to eliminate the human species whose members are animals with a moral destiny, a morality to attain that moral destiny but yet are animals who repudiate that morality?

Simply having the human species be eliminated by a catastrophe or becoming slowly extinct would not be the elimination of humanity as moral beings. Such an extinction is likely to happen well before the end of the ages. But the human species with a moral end would not be actually eliminated The physically extinct species would still be a species which had the moral destiny God set for it. And some members may be enjoying this moral destiny after the extinction of all human beings in the natural universe.

The way to eliminate the human species, as we know it now, would have been to reduce the human animal to an amoral animal with no moral destiny. If so reduced the human condition would be accurately described by nihilism. Nihilism holds that everything is permitted for humans if they can get away with it. There is no way, according to nihilism, that humans collectively or individually ought to be. With no goal of the way we ought to be there is no purpose for which we should live. We are simply an animal which has evolved with an extremely clever intelligence but there is nothing which this intelligence ought to accomplish since evolution alone has no purpose or purposes. Nihilism describes the human species as one amongst millions of species which come into existence and pass into extinction for no purpose whatsoever.

How can humanity be annihilated as it ought to be but yet undergo this annihilation so that it still has the good God originally set for humanity?

A solution is that one human being pass through the pain and annihilation required by morality. What would such a human be like? I have argued that the logic of moral thinking does not preclude the permissibility of a person, or persons, who have not done the wrong undergoing punishment to atone for the wrong.****

A human who was truly human and truly divine could pass through pain and annihilation required by morality and still have the end set by God if that being reincarnated Itself entitled to have the end God sets for humanity. Jesus of Nazareth who I accept as true God and true man is such a person.

In his death on the cross the man Jesus underwent for all humanity the annihilation of humanity. He vanished as nothing as nihilists posit as the fate for all of us. Non-being is total evil. So vanishing is a “descent into hell.” Jesus’ dual nature allows for the radical discontinuity of vanishing but yet continuing. As a human he vanished as God he remained so that at the resurrection the risen Jesus was the same dual nature being but with the human nature which justifiably has a moral destiny.

This resurrected human is a human as humans ought to be. By the action of this resurrected human the thought that we are justified in holding that we have a goal set by God is in our common reasoning. The Paschal Mystery justifies us in believing that we are justified – have a right to salvation, viz. attaining what we ought to be..

This is more than enough for a single post. As promised subsequent posts will elaborate on this conceptual mode of the Paschal Mystery which I am trying to construct.

But one last question. What about human sacrifice in the Paschal Mystery?

God sacrifices Himself by incarnating Himself so that He can be the representative human executed in accordance with the demands of human morality.

In my book on sexual morality I show how if it is true that all sexual acts are in principle permissible then nihilism is a correct philosophy of the human condition.

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.

* Can God Love Humanity After Original Sin?
**Human Reasoning is Inconsistent: Thank God
***There is a Satan in Opposition to God
Retributive Punishment is Consistent with the Logic of Moral Thinking
For those who might like a biblical passage suggesting my thought of Satan using morality to condemn us consider.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.” Rev. 12:10 New American Standard

We Cannot Know Whether We Respect the Moral Law or Love God.

The previous post in this seriesThe Impossibility of Being Moral by Normal Human Reasoning and Choosing argued that after original sin normal human methods and motivations for choosing were insufficient for us to become the kind of person who chooses what is right because it is right, viz., a person with a good will. So for us to still have the good God wills for us even after original sin, God has to give us special thoughts and feelings to choose to be people who do what is right because it is right.

The phrase “God has to give” must not be misunderstood. There is no suggestion that God has to give us these special thoughts and feelings because we have done, or can do, anything to deserve them. Logic requires us to say “God has to give.” By assuming that God still wills the good for us after original sin, logic requires that we assume God also wills the means of attaining that good. Part of the means is that we be given the non-normal thoughts and feelings of choosing as our dominant moral stance choosing what is right because it is right.

Let us call these special thoughts and feelings “respect for the moral law.”

Previous posts have brought out that nothing we do entitles us to this gift. God gives it to us because God still loves us after original sin.

In this post, I shall try to give some indication of what respect for the moral law is like. I offer only indications because I am not certain that I have accepted this gift or am alert enough to recognize it if I ever accept it. Indeed the main point of this post is that no one can recognize that they have respect for the moral law. Use of normal human reasoning is not likely to bring us to trustworthy recognition that we are using properly something which is beyond reason. The theory being developed in these posts teaches that God provides the gift of respect for the moral law. But reflections of this post bring out that we cannot recognize whether or not we ever accept the gift.

Is it not preposterous that anyone could seriously think that they had reached a stage of moral perfection? Resolving to break off a bad habit or immoral practice is analogous to respecting the moral law. Consider a man who needs to stop drinking alcohol completely. First he has to conclude that alcohol is unconditionally bad for him. It is not enough simply to think that drinking has bad consequences for him. Things change with time. So bad consequences may not result from drinking in the future. Such thinking about the future undercuts the resolve needed to stop drinking completely. Secondly, he has to have confidence that he will not abandon his resolution. People realize that they need on going support to stick with a resolution to avoid a single vice. So certainly no realistic person would be confident that they could keep to a resolution of avoiding all vices.

Consider a personal example. I know that suicide is wrong without exception. Nonetheless as I age and physician assisted suicide is becoming legal in more and more communities, I can think of several situations in which suicide is highly desirable. All the way to death, I will have that temptation. I am resolved not to succumb to the temptation. However, by the time I can never succumb to the temptation, I cannot know of my success by natural means.

Denying the existence of morality by developing some theory that the thoughts of universal binding rules is an illusion and there are no rules that are more binding than the local rules of law and custom might be an indication of not responding to the gift of respect for the moral law. The theoretical position of denying the reality of moral laws is called “amoralism.” However, a better indication than amoralism of not having respect for the moral law is leading an immoral life.

Respect for the moral law differs from a fear of disobeying a moral rule. Leading a very moral life and frequently rejecting temptations with the thought that the action to which we are tempted is a violation of the moral law is not sufficient to show that we have respect for the moral law. In our efforts to lead a moral life we can become conditioned to feeling very uncomfortable by violating a moral rule. So we develop inclinations, which can be very strong, to obey moral rules. Such people, and I class myself among them, must admit we obey the moral rules because we are strongly disinclined to break them; not necessarily because they are the right rules.

Discussion of problems of free will would lead us away into long discussions not directly relevant to building a conceptual model of the Paschal Mystery. However, problems of free will are extremely relevant to explaining why we cannot be certain that we have freely committed ourselves to being moral or loving God. To be sure we are not here considering choices to perform particular acts such as a choice to spread a rumor. We are considering choices to have a policy such as never breaking a moral rule again or to obey God unconditionally. However, if natural factors could explain our having thoughts such as “I’ll never violate a moral law,” then we can doubt whether it is we ourselves who have accepted the gift of God to form such resolutions.

The devil plays a part in darkening our minds so that we think becoming morally good is an illusion. One of my motivations for writing this series of posts on Satan, original sin, build a conceptual model for there being a warfare of God with powers of darkness over whether or not humans can attain the good God wills for us. See Why Does Satan Want Us to Go to Hell?. Satan who was originally created to convey God’s messages to humanity conveys messages to humans by introducing thoughts into that interpersonal body of thoughts and sentiments we call human reason. After Lucifer’s choice to convey his own thoughts to human reason rather than God’s, Lucifer, who is now Satan, introduces thoughts which undercut human ability to receive God’s gift of respect for law. One such thought is a theory that it is irrational to ever commit ourselves to a policy of avoiding a certain type of act regardless of the consequences. Such a theory is in direct contradiction to respect for the moral law. This theory rejecting moral categorical imperatives is pervasive in human thought. It is promoted in classes in moral theory which use counterexamples to weakened commitment to principles which categorically prohibit actions, such as intentionally taking innocent human life. This principle of rejecting all moral categorical imperatives is, I submit, an example of a temptation from the devil.

People who pass on thoughts originally introduced into human thinking by Satan are not acting as agents of Satan. In inconsistent human thinking almost all of us who reach maturity pass on such thoughts. Consider that people who teach Newtonian physics are not agents of Newton.

Fortunately, the fact that we cannot use our normal reasoning to recognize that we are at least on the way to moral perfection, does not mean that we must abandon hope that we can have the gift of respecting the moral law or growing in respect for the moral law. The hope however is grounded in a faith that God, or the moral order, provides us the undeserved gift of respecting the moral law.

I want to close this post by shifting to a religious instead of moral perspective. I can make the shift readily because I am identifying moral laws as God’s commands.* Respect for the moral law can be interpreted as willing what God wills simply because God wills it. For humans to will what God wills is to love God. Why? Generally to love is to will the good of the other. Of course, there is no alternative to God having what is good. So to will the good of God is to will what is truly good and that is what God commands. So for humans to love God is to will what God commands simply because God commands it. Just as it is uncertain whether we have respect for the moral law, so it is undertain whether or not we accept the gift of loving God.

* In my book on sexual morality I show how one can identify moral laws as commands of God and avoid those problems brought out long ago by Plato in his Euthyphro dialogue by a naïve identification of moral laws with divine commands.

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.
Columbus, Ohio 43214

The Impossibility of Being Moral by Normal Human Reasoning and Choosing

The previous post in this series Human Reason is Inconsistent: Thanks be to God! argued that for humans to still have the destiny God willed for us before our original sin after our original sin, God had to allow us to have morality while rejecting it. At the deepest level where we focus on the purpose of human life, God’s allowing us to live with this inconsistency is a great gift from God. At the level of daily life, human history is a bloody tragedy of moral depravity tempered by moral nobility. This is how it is with humanity as a whole and each individual.

Much can be written about the agony of human life due to our rejection of morality while also acknowledging it. I will not write much about the actual human condition except in some subsequent posts bring out how this tension between morality and its rejection makes human sexuality a book of horror stories with a few chapters telling the most inspiring romances of love, fidelity and the nurturing of children. My emphasis is on the “logical” issues in building a conceptual model of the core Christian teaching that the incarnation of God as Jesus, Jesus’ suffering death and resurrection made it possible that human beings could attain the condition of being the way they ought to be even after original sin.

The conceptual question for this post asks: How is it possible for human beings to have the principle of being moral as the dominant principle while we hold a principle permitting us to override the demands of morality on occasion. Let me use the Kantian term “Good will” as standing for having the principle of choosing to do what is right because it is right regardless of any inclination to do otherwise. In religious terms a person has a good will if that person chooses to do what God wills simply because God wills. In other words, how is a good will possible.

A principle I assume holds: You cannot remove an inconsistency in thinking with inconsistent thinking.

To become a person with a good will we would have to eliminate the policy of setting aside morality to satisfy inclinations. We cannot set aside a policy of satisfying inclination over morality while still having such a policy. So, individually we cannot become consistently moral because the universal human reason we use is inherently inconsistent. Now we have to ask: If we cannot with our efforts become consistently moral which principle dominates: The principle of setting aside morality for inclinations or the principle of setting aside inclination satisfaction for the sake of morality. Given that we cannot eliminate the principle of setting aside morality to satisfy inclinations that means that in principle, in the principles of our thinking, there is a price , measured in terms of inclination satisfaction. If there is a price at which we will set aside any requirement of morality, the principle of setting aside morality is dominant in us.

Very, very good strong willed people can train themselves to place duty over inclination in almost every case we can think. Yet, despite all of their effort they still have a principle in the “back of their minds” that morality can be set aside. By our own efforts we cannot eliminate the fact that we have a price on our morality or fidelity to God. By our own reason and will power we cannot become people of good will and thereby the kind of people we ought to be.

For those interested, note that we have avoided the heresy of Pelagianism

Now we confront the following question. If humans cannot become beings who can choose with normal human reasoning their moral good, how can humans still have this moral good God wills for us? We have argued in the previous post that God still wills that we ought to become as we ought to be. “Ought” implies “can.” The answer has to be that in addition to allowing us to have morality after original sin, God also grants individuals power to choose to be morally good using more than normal human reasoning and willing. This capacity to choose what is right simply because it is right or in religious terms: To obey God simply because God wills it, is a gift from God which we do not earn or acquire by our moral efforts.

For those interested, I am proposing that what Kant calls respect for the moral law is a gift of God which takes us beyond normal moral thinking and choosing.

In the next post, I will illustrate how we use this gift, or grace, of being motivated to choose what is right because it is right in daily life. Then in other posts we will address questions about how God can give us the gifts of a moral destiny and a supernatural capacity of attaining it.

Readers my be interested in my book on sexual morality. My book illustrates how humans are unable to make their sexuality as it ought to be with normal human reasoning and willing.

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.
Columbus, Ohio 43214

Human Reason is Inconsistent; Thanks be to God!

In the previous post in this series on building a conceptual model of the temptations of Satan and the original sin of humanity, we concluded that the hard problem connected with understanding how God could love human beings after original sin was understand how humans could have morality while rejecting morality. The argument went that for God to love humanity, God had to will the good for humanity. The good for humanity was to be as a human being ought to be. But a necessary condition for God to will this good for humanity is that human beings have morality which is the means to being how we ought to be. Unfortunately, by having original sin in our universal ways of thinking we reject morality and the end God wills for us.

The question for this post is whether or not God can consistently will that we have morality while rejecting morality.

If God cannot consistently will that we have morality while rejecting it, then God cannot will that we have it because God cannot will what is logically inconsistent. If God cannot consistently will that we have morality while rejecting it, the God cannot love use when he have original sin. If God cannot love us when we have original sin, then God cannot redeem us because God would not love us with original sin.

To get a sense of the logical contradiction think of other ways of formulating a rejection of morality as a fundamental principle coupled with having morality. Man is the measure of all things yet there is a objective standard by which we can evaluate the correctness of all human opinions. All moral judgments are relative yet there are absolute moral rules.

Now God cannot think that any of these contradictions are correct. God’s reason in so far as we can even talk of God’s reasoning is consistent. However, it is not inconsistent to allow there to be rational or thinking beings who think and reason inconsistently. (I am here using “reason” and “rational” in their descriptive sense; not there evaluative sense as good thinking and reasoning.)

So, we have answered the question of this post by noting that God can consistently will that we have morality while rejecting it by allowing humans, both collectively and individually, to have a logically inconsistent way of thinking about morality.

God’s allowing us to have inconsistent moral thinking is a blessing of God because it allows us still to have the moral good God wills for us. If we had only consistent thinking about moral issues, we would, in effect, have no morality. With no moral end our fate would be that of any other being who comes into existence and passes away to non-being – nothingness.

So, thank God that we can have moral standards even if we inconsistently reject them.

However, there are costs to having inconsistent moral thinking. Subsequent posts will explore these costs and how we can attain the moral good God wills for us with our inconsistent moral thinking.

Readers my be interested in my book on sexual morality. My book illustrates how humans suffer from having and yet rejecting 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.
Columbus, Ohio 43214