Category Archives: Philosophical Theology

Christian re-enchantment VII, Doxastic Aphasia

In the English Standard Version of Paul’s letter to the Romans we can read at Rm 10:9
“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

A significant part of my problem of perceiving reality to be enchanted as a Christian narrative describes it, lies in the fact that I cannot sincerely follow Paul’s instruction. I have a sense of pretending to be someone different from myself, perhaps someone with the faith of a child, if I use “Jesus” as the subject of a fact stating sentence about the person to whom I should refer with “Jesus.” For instance, I cannot sincerely, without what I feel as cringing, state as facts “Jesus rose from the dead” “Jesus fed 5,000 with five loaves and two fish” or “Jesus was crucified for me.”

This problem occurs primarily with use of direct discourse. I am sometimes embarrassed to use indirect discourse to make a claims about myself along the lines of ” I believe that Jesus us Lord” or “I believe that Jesus fed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish.” But most of the time, especially amongst fellow Catholics, I have no hesitation saying that I believe core Christian doctrines. Philosophically technical issues about the difference between direct and indirect discourse are to be discussed in my next post on Christian re-enchantment. To get a hint of this point reflect on the difference between the direct discourse “I love you” and the indirect discourse “I believe that I love you” or even “I know with absolute certainty that I love you.”

The sense of pretending or the inward cringing suppresses such statements as statements of what I belief. I can say the words but I cannot say them as what I belief. The suppression of believing the words is analogous to blockings of speech called aphasia. Doxastic is a term based on the Greek word doxa for belief. So the clinical sounding term “doxastic aphasia” is a suitable label for my inability to use direct discourse to confess with my mouth “Jesus is Lord.” This verbal blockage comes from whatever produces the inward cringing that suppresses me from believing in my heart,i.e., sincerely saying to myself, “Jesus is Lord,” let alone “God raised Jesus from the dead.”

As a practicing Catholic my doxastic aphasia is serious problem. It certainly blocks me from fulfilling the Pauline sufficient condition for salvation quoted at the beginning of this post. It seriously hinders my ability to “go out to all the world and tell the good news.” I do not proclaim the good news directly. This has interfered with my passing on the Catholic faith to my children.

See first post on Christian Re enchantment for how my inability to teach my children effectively arose my concern about need to accept and Christian Enchanted reality.

What might be the cause of my doxastic aphasia? Honestly, it is not fear of being contra-culture. I am not afraid to express Catholic beliefs in indirect discourse amongst fellow Catholics. But I avoid confessing with my mouth in direct discourse Catholic beliefs about Jesus even amongst fellow Catholics because in my heart I feel very uncomfortable saying simply “Jesus rose from the dead.” I find that I never have to use direct discourse to express what I believe as a Catholic. I pray. But praying is not making truth claims

My diagnosis is that I fear to live in the story of any enchanted reality; let alone one in accordance with a Christian narrative. The direct discourse statement “Jesus rose from the dead” makes me one of the participants of the story telling about another participant in the story. With the indirect discourse statement “I believe that Jesus rose from the dead” I stand outside the story as does a reader of a story and assert that I believe what occurs in the story.

I fear letting myself enter into any enchanted reality as if I were an active participant. This holds for the enchanted realities of video games as well as religious world views. I suppose that I feel insecure if I somehow let myself feel an active participant in any reality narrated by more than that of the daily world in principle explained by natural science. To enter an enchanted reality there can easily be conflicts between religion and science. Looking at the religious story from the outside by specifying it is what we believe, logical and conceptual techniques are available for removing any conflicts between religion and science. Avoidance of such conflicts are developed in subsequent posts using what has already been posted about the logic of fiction.

Ideally, one should enter into the enchanted reality, thereby becoming enchanted, to teach and to believe sincerely. Then when called upon to justify believing one should stand back and take the approach of talking about beliefs. Unfortunately, for me I can not do more than say that I believe using indirect discourse. I am limited by doxastic aphasia induced by the pervasive commitment of my culture to scientism.

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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 VI: Living in a Story

What is the purpose of these blog posts about Christian re-enchantment? The purpose is to understand sympathetically how people like me can bring themselves, without self-deception, to use as their description of what happens in reality a Christian narrative. A Christian narrative of what happens in reality includes both the events explicable by natural science along with scientifically inexplicable events such as the miracles described in the Gospels. Such narratives are based on representations of reality which is enchanted in accordance with a Christian narrative. “Enchanted” refers to the religiously significant events amongst those inexplicable by science. I need to show that we have the intellectual and affective ability to rebuild a representation of reality which is enchanted in accordance with a Christian narrative. And, then, of most importance I need to show that we can use these abilities without self-deception

In this post, I specify “people like me,” remind us that we have the affective capacity. I will use what I have written in previous posts about the logic of fiction to show that we have the intellectual capacity to remind us that we can tell the story of an enchanted world in which we are living.

Who are people like me? I am not boasting or apologizing. I am simply describing myself by admitting that I am an emeritus professor of philosophy from the secular Ohio State University. For over fifty years I have lived and studied in an intellectual culture which regards any representation of reality recognizing anything beyond what can be explained by natural science as misrepresenting what there is. As a result, I feel a burden of proof when I depart from this stance. If “scientism” means fully endorsing this reductive stance that natural science alone represents what there is, then many people, I am confident, share my sense of needing to defend departures from scientism. I have been working in one of the educational institutions which, quite often, explicitly teach scientism to thousands of young people every year. Scientism is a program for disenchanting our representation of reality – what there is. I am writing for those who recognize scientism is a serious challenge to sincere expression of religious believing as well as religious believing.

Once we have been tempted by scientism can we ever look at reality as enchanted?

Recently on the web I read an intriguing announcement of a college course on video game development. The opening lines were:
“We love to play them. We love to dive into a world of sword and sorcery, of alien invasions, of car chases and gangsters on the run. Video games do not just show you a world, they allow a player to become part of that world; part of the story. ”

This human ability to become part of a story is the affective capacity which can be used to accept the Christian narrative as telling all that really happens. Of course, to become a participant of what goes on in the video game as reality we need to play the game; probably quite a lot. Similarly, to “get into the Christian story” we need to read the bible and be around people who use a Christian narrative as the narrative of reality.

The most vivid example of living a story comes from imagining a description of what you think and do in everyday life. That narrative about you is an example of you living a story. You’re living that narrative of what you do!

There are two “take-a-ways” from this post. One:we can live a story different from one in which there is nothing beyond the scientifically explicable. Two: We have to engage in some practices different from scientific activity to do so. These practices can be called “faith heuristics.” Subsequent posts on Christian re-enchantment will focus on how to use faith heuristics without self-deception.

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.

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

Can God Love Humanity After Original Sin?

The gist of the post on the inheritance of original sin was that it is a part of the universal human culture. It is a thought in the human conceptual scheme that on occasion one may choose contrary to the moral law or God’s will. In the human conceptual scheme, there is a fundamental option to put human will over God’s will.

There are several ways to formulate the principle setting human judgment over morality or God. A profound way of expressing this corrupting principle in our universal human thinking is with Protagoras’s “Man is the measure of all things.” If we set human reasoning as the judge of all we assume the right for ourselves to be judges of whether or not we are bound by morality. If we allow ourselves to be judges of whether or not we are bound by morality, we set aside morality. So, because I am using terminology of moral thinking to build my conceptual model for Satan, original sin and later the core conceptions of Christian salvation theory -the Paschal Mystery-, I write of the original sin we have as rejecting morality. I do not want to go on-and-on trying to express maxim of original sin “just right.”

HOW BAD IS ORIGINAL SIN?
Humans willed not to have morality.
Morality is the means God gave humans to reach the good of being as they ought to be.
So humans have rejected the means for the good God has willed for them.
To reject the means is to reject the end.
Hence, humans have rejected the good God has willed for them.
Beings who have a way they ought to be choose not to be by choosing not to be as they ought to be.
(See Moral Harm and Non-Being)
Hence, by rejecting the good God willed for them, humans willed not to be.
By willing not to be, humans willed that they be a biological life form which comes into being and passes away. (We willed to be creatures with no normative end – no way we ought to be as we assume it to be with mosquitoes et al.)

Did God have to let the human condition stay as our fundamental principle for choosing entails?

DID GOD HAVE TO STOP LOVING HUMANS AFTER ORIGINAL SIN?
If God can still love humanity after original sin, then God has to will that humans have the possibility of being as they ought to be after original sin.
If humans have the possibility of being as they ought to be after original sin, then humans have to have morality after original sin.
But after original sin, humans have rejected morality.
So, God cannot love humans after original sin unless God wills that humans have morality after original sin.

Now we have a big issue with two problems: How can God will that humans have morality after humans have rejected morality? There is an easy problem about God’s end in so willing and a hard problem about God’s means in His choice.
Now God can will whatever God chooses within the constraints of logical consistency.
Can God consistently will that humans have morality after rejecting morality?

The easy problem is Can God have a reason for willing that humans have morality after rejecting morality? Willing that humans have morality and hence the great good of having a way they ought to be, is to will a great good. No reason beyond this being a good is needed for God to have a reason to will that humans have morality after rejecting morality. (Similarly, God can will that Satan have his good after Satan’s rebellion.)

The hard problem concerns what God must do to bring it about that humans have morality after rejecting morality.

The barrier, logical barrier, comes from human morality. Humans have rejected it but it is still there with its demands. The demands of human morality have to be satisfied before humans can have it after having rejected it. For God to will the good of humanity God has to will that humans who have rejected morality still have it. The thesis is that humans both accept and reject morality.
The human empirical condition in human history supports a thesis that humans have morality and reject it at all times throughout history.

There is a warfare in humanity between our having morality and rejecting it. The on-going warfare on battlefields is only a manifestation of this more fundamental warfare which rages within each individual and community.

Subsequent posts in this series will confront the had problem of how God can consistently will that humans have morality while rejecting morality?

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