Category Archives: Philosophical Theology

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

Inheritance of Original Sin Compatible With The Immaculate Conception

This post is actually a footnote to the previous post on the inheritance of original sin. The gist of that post was that the original sin of the couple, Adam and Eve, who chose to act on the maxim of occasionally setting aside God’s will to satisfy their inclinations was inherited as a principle in the universal human conceptual scheme which forms the core of human reasoning. This core is comprised of principals such as basic arithmetic operations, axioms such as equals added to equals gives equals and some moral principles such as treat equal cases equally. So the position being proposed in these posts is that the principle “On occasion we may set aside the morality to satisfy our inclinations” is as deep in our reasoning as basic arithmetic. This core of human reasoning is the inheritance of each human individual.

Recall that I am identifying the requirements of morality with what God wills. I am also using freely the names of characters in the biblical stories of original sin and the Annunciation.

Observe that this maxim is a way of expressing the principal that the end justifies the means. We are allegedly justified in setting aside the demands of morality to attain the end of the greatest satisfaction of human inclinations. Put this way it is not hard to accept that it is a universal principle of reasoning.

Now the first human couple committed the sin of adopting this maxim. Their sin of commission was a creative conceptual act of introducing this principle into human reason. They committed the original sin. Other human beings have the original sin by virtue of having the new conceptual scheme enriched, or rather fouled, by the principle which the original couple chose.

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception teaches that Mary was conceived without original sin. That means that God expunged the principle of setting aside His will from the conceptual scheme which she inherited.

On the surface, this does not seem to be a blessing. It is like being born without a basic component of reasoning. Indeed for those who believe that a fundamental principle for moral reasoning is that there are no moral absolutes, Mary lacked a fundamental capacity for moral reasoning.

However, Mary still had free will. There is no reason to fear that Mary could do nothing but accept God’s offer to accept the virginal conception of Jesus. Her moral reasoning capabilities were those of Eve before she chose the twofold sin of both satisfying an inclination against God’s will and thereby also choosing the maxim of setting aside God’s when so inclined. Mary could have chosen just as Eve chose. Mary had the choice to decline God’s offer in order to satisfy her inclinations for a normal woman’s life. If she had done so, she would also have chosen the principle she hitherto lacked of occasionally putting inclinations over God’s will.

However, Mary chose to do God’s will and let it be done unto her according to His will.

Having Original Sin vs. Committing the Original Sin:How Original Sin Is Inherited

In a series of posts on how Satan and God are in a warfare over whether or not humans go to hell, this post follows, Humankind’s Original Sin & the Emergence of the Human Soul in Evolution.

In that post, we started with a man and a woman who could distinguish right acts from wrong acts but, as was the case with all members of their species had no concept of becoming the kind of person who always chose the right act regardless of any inclination to do otherwise. The moral concept they lacked has a variety of descriptions. We could say that they had no concept of the moral good of always choosing the right act. They had no concept of a good will. We could say that they had the “local” moral concepts of the right acts to do but lacked the “global” moral concept of becoming the kind of moral person they ought to be, namely a person who always chooses the right act because it is right. We could say that they had concerned for doing right acts but not being a righteous person.*

God brought it about that this man and woman acquired this concept of becoming a morally proper person by having as their maxim for making choices to choose what is morally right,i.e. choosing what they have an inclination for only if it is in accordance with what is right. On a momentous occasion when they were tempted to satisfy an inclination to violate a moral law or command of God, Satan provided them with a second temptation. The second temptation was to adopt as a maxim the policy of occasionally setting aside the moral law in order to satisfy an inclination. The temptation was to set aside the goal of being a morally proper person or one in obedience to God’s will. The original sin is the choice of this maxim. For the line of thought that I am pursuing here, it must be emphasized that the original sin of the original parents was the choice of a maxim or policy of occasionally setting aside the moral law. The original parents committed the original sin. Having original sin is having this maxim or policy. I now argue that we can accuse a person of having original sin independently of accusing the person of committing the original sin.

In this post I speculate how this original sin is inherited. Suppose the man and woman were selected by God from all the homo sapiens at certain time to introduce a new moral concept which would be a cultural universal for all humans. They, “Adam and Eve,” were selected to be the creative geniuses who brought a fundamental concept to humanity along with a host of associated concepts. Whatever God let evolution give them so that they could have this thought will be passed on in their biological reproduction. Also whatever God allowed evolutionary processes to give them so that they could have the thought of setting aside a command of God will also be passed on in their biological reproduction.
Recall that concomitant with the concept of obedience to all the moral laws was the associated concept of occasionally setting aside the moral. Here, though, we are primarily concerned with sociological inheritance; not biological inheritance.

All humans contemporaneous with the “original sinners” can be said to have this defective moral character. For the couple with the concept of moral good but who yet succumbed to the temptation to set aside its pursuit belonged to the community of homo sapiens. Once a concept is introduced by some individuals it becomes a concept of the human community. For instance, when someone introduced the concept of zero, we had the concept of zero. That’s how creativity works. So every one has these concepts of moral good and setting it aside once “Adam and Eve and Satan introduced them.”

Which should we assume to be dominant?. Having the maxim of always obeying the moral law requires a lifetime to exhibit. Setting aside the moral law to satisfy an inclination is readily exhibited from earliest childhood. So the presumption is that every child inherits as its operative maxim the policy of occasionally setting aside a command of God. Thus it is a presumption that every child has the original sin of those original parents. This is not a judgment that every child has chosen to do a wrong act. It is a judgment that every child has a moral character that it ought not have. Discussion of restoration of moral character is for subsequent posts. Satan claims that because of the defective moral character of all human beings, they are all on his side and deserve his fate.

*If we say that being a person who has as a maxim always choosing what is right, is a righteous person, , we can say that a fundamental assumption about human beings is that none of us are righteous.

Subsequent posts in this series will focus on why God did not abandon us although none of us are righteous.

Readers my be interested in my book on sexual morality. The central thesis of my book can be interpreted as a temptation from Satan to believe that in principle any pursuit of sexual satisfaction is morally permissible.

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
Include your shipping address.

Why Does Satan Want Us to Go to Hell?

This post follows a post What is Satan’s Sin? proposing that there is a Satan with the capability to convey messages to human beings contrary to messages that God would convey to humans. Here we consider what kind of messages Satan would convey to human beings and for what end.

I will refer to Satan with the neutered masculine pronoun “He.” Consider the following line of thought.

Satan has chosen, on occasion, to convey to humans what he wants rather than what God wills.
By choosing to convey what he wills rather than what God wills, Satan has chosen not to be as he ought to be. Satan ought to be a reliable messenger of God’s will.
By choosing not to be as he ought to be, Satan has chosen not to be.

(This crucial identification of not-being with not-being-as-it-ought-to-be has been defended in Moral Harm and non-Being .)

I am afraid that the line of thought I am developing requires at some stage I confront the fundamental question of philosophy: What is Being? I am afraid of this confrontation because I doubt that I can say anything worthwhile that has not already been said. Plato et al. have left the question -die Seinfrage- open.
What Satan has chosen can be defined as Satan’s goal or good.
Satan’s good can be considered as negative and positive but the negative is ultimately more accurate. Negatively considered Satan’s good is simply not-being
Positively considered Satan’s good is some way of being but which is not-being as it ought to be.

For instance, Satan conveys to humans the false message that the end justifies the means. Now being a bearer of that false message is not the way Satan ought to be. Nonetheless Satan is actually something as bearer of that false message. However, at the end of the ages when all that is exists as it ought to be Satan’s accumulation of states of what he ought not have been vanish. Satan is nothing – truly dead.

This total death is hell.

Satan wills his’ good for human beings. Satan’s good, as we have just noted, is that human beings receive and act on messages contrary to what God would tell human beings such as “The end justifies the means.” So Satan wills that humans not be as they ought to be and at the end of the ages be truly dead. Satan’s good for human beings is truly evil for human beings. So when we regard love as willing the good of a being we can regard willing evil for another as hatred for that other being. Thus Satan truly hates human beings just as he hates himself by willing his total death or hell..

We have now answered why Satan hates us and wills that we go to hell. The next post in this series on Satan confronts the issue of how Satan enters into a contest with God to bring all humans into hell with himself.

Readers my be interested in my book on sexual morality. It could be said that I confront the false message of Satan, sent through our culture, that there is no objectively right way to exercise our sexuality; rather in sexual matters the end justifies the means.

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
Include your shipping address.

What Is Satan’s Sin?

This post continues building a conceptual model of a demonic being who struggles to bring eternal punishment to human beings. It continues reflections from There is a Satan in Opposition to Good. This post answers: What evil did Satan choose?

An assumption is that God created beings to convey His will to the material universe which he intended to create. These messengers of God’s will can properly be called angels. As part of this assumption we can postulate that these messengers are organized into an hierarchical society according to the type of messages to be conveyed. Whimsically let us suppose the highest one – the archangel- is called Lucifer or the bearer of light to humans who are to be created. For angels i.e., divine messengers, to be as they ought to be is choose as their policy, as their maxim, to convey what God wills. For an angel to not be as it ought to be is to choose as its maxim to ,on occasion,convey its own will rather than God’s will to whoever, or whatever, is to receive the message. In effect, a “bad” angel assumes a right to place its will between God and creatures. Thus, the sin of a bad angel is pride

Let us postulate that Lucifer chooses to be a bad angel who chooses as his operating policy to on occasion convey its messages for human beings rather than what God would convey to human beings. God has no place for a messenger such as Lucifer nor any other messengers who chose as Lucifer. Yet God cannot destroy these beings since as was argued in God Cannot Destroy Satan God cannot destroy beings who have been created with a way they ought to be. Yet they will be separated from God. Where God is, all is as it ought to be; that’s heaven. This condition of separation from God is Hell.

God allows Lucifer to go to Hell. To replace Lucifer as His bearer of messages to humans, God creates the second archangel Michael. Michael chooses the maxim he ought to choose, namely, always to convey to humans the message that God wants humans to receive.

However, because of its indestructibility even in hell, Lucifer, or Satan, still has the function of conveying messages to humans. What messages does Satan want to convey to humans and for what purpose? They won’t be the messages that Michael will convey since Michael has chosen as his maxim to convey a message to humans if and only if God wills it to be conveyed. Thus there is a warfare between Michael and Lucifer in the form of putting conflicting messages into human culture. The next post in this series on Satan answers this question about what type of messages Satan sends us. That post is titled ” Why Does Satan Want us to Hell?

Readers my be interested in my book on sexual morality provoked by although in that book I do not consider sexual sins as provoked by anthing beyond sexual desire..

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
Include your shipping address.

There is a Satan In Opposition To God!

This post continues the series of reflections on the core Christian teaching that God had to become a human being who suffered died and rose from his grave to a new way of life. God had to do this in order to restore human beings to the regain the capacity to be as they ought to be. The series began Moral Harm and Non-being. It must be emphasized that no originality is claimed for what I propose and no claim that I am proposing teachings of the Catholic Church.

One crucial notion,previously introduced is that moral evil is non-being in so far as it is a condition of an agent differing from what it ought to be. The notion proposed in this posting is that God is in a struggle- a warfare against intelligent forces in opposition to there being what ought to be. The intelligence of these forces is Satan!

Who is Satan?

Assume for this posting, God created an intelligence with a will free to choose as God wills it to act and to be or choose not to act and to be as God wills. Suppose this being is almost equal to God in intelligence and creative power. Suppose further that this being chooses not to act and be as God wills. Such a being could plausibly be described as Satan.

I argued in an earlier posting God cannot destroy Satan when Satan is described as in the previous paragraph.

Subsequent posting will develop the notion of Satan to make it plausible that this Satan opposes God and tries to corrupt the human race. Here I want to close by citing two reasons why I am introducing the notion of Satan in opposition to God. One is that the Christian tradition portrays God as in a struggle against evil forces. C.S. Lewis emphasizes this in his Mere Christianity. Secondly, and of most importance to me is that I want to understand Jesus’ suffering and death as something God had to do is save us from the Satanic forces trying to keep humanity permanently as one of his forces. I want to avoid interpreting Jesus’ suffering and death as punishment He required for humans not acting and being as they ought to be.

I hope eventually to show how Satan exacerbates our sexual temptations. Readers my be interested in my book on 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
Include your shipping address.

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Pope Francis’ Nominalistic Defense of Reception of the Eucharist by Catholics Not in a State of Grace

How can Pope Francis’ suggest that some divorced Catholics who have remarried outside the Church might receive the Eucharist? Interpreting Pope Francis as a nominalist explains how he can offer his suggestion. For the interested reader, a brief discussion of the problem of universals is at the end of the post

Cardinals Burke et al. have challenged Pope Francis’ position in his recent Amoris laetita. The controversy focuses on reception of the Eucharist by Catholics legally divorced from a spouse in a valid Catholic marriage, legally married to a spouse in a subsequent marriage without a Catholic annulment of the former marriage. A footnote 351 in §305 suggests that under certain conditions in consultation with a priest a person in such a marriage may find it helpful for his or her spiritual life and salvation to receive the Eucharist.
Pope Francis has claimed that his stance in Amoris laetita proposes no change in Catholic moral theology. The cardinals challenge Pope Francis to explain how his suggestion about reception of the Eucharist can be consistent with Catholic moral theology because such a couple are living in a habitual grave sin according to Catholic moral theology and cannot receive sacramental absolution. The challenge confronts Pope Francis with a dilemma: Change Catholic moral theology or teach that on occasion reception of the Eucharist by people in a situation of grave habitual may work for the salvation of their souls. Pope Francis grasps the dilemma by the horn to admit that reception of the Eucharist by people not in a state of grace can work for their salvation.
How can Pope Francis consistently make such a suggestion? If he offers guidelines for the conditions under which it would be spiritually profitable to receive the Eucharist, these guidelines would be new rules in conflict with present Church rules. Francis has claimed that no rule changes are proposed. The resolution is to give no rules or guidelines. Take a nominalistic stance Rules or guidelines use general terms and combine several individuals into a group as if they formed a class. However, general terms mislead us about reality. In reality there are only separate individuals and there are no similarities combining them into groups. The best language for talking of reality is to use only names; utter no sentence and give no rules. So, when prompted by the Spirit a person just recognizes that the Eucharist is to be received but the recognition cannot be put into words since words always distort reality. Just receive the Eucharist. Talking about it will only distort what is being done.

My book on sexual morality takes a conceptualist position to defend a traditional sexual morality.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. 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
Include your shipping address.

Here is my naïve synopsis of the problem of universals. Universals are whatever it is we are talking about when we use common terms. Common terms can be applied to different locations in space and time. They are as simple as the color term “yellow” and as complex as the sophisticated term “justice.” The problem of universals is what if anything outside the mind corresponds to these universal terms? Realists hold that our universal terms when well defined correspond to a universal feature of extramental reality.
For instance, a realist hold that a proper definition of “justice “ presents to us what justice is in and by itself. Realist hold a correspondence theory of truth for definitions of universal terms. Conceptualists hold that we use universal terms as a result of our capacity to think as if something exactly the same is located in different regions of space and time. There is no need to believe that there is anything corresponding to our best definitions of terms which makes them the true definitions. All that is needed is to assume that reality is such that it allows our use of terms to have successful science and daily life. For instance, a conceptualist holds that a “true” definition of “justice” is one which helps construct flourishing communities. Conceptualist hold a pragmatic theory of truth for definitions of universal terms. Nominalists hold that our use of universal terms is fundamentally misleading about the way reality is in itself. In reality, there are only individuals. There are no features which they share with other individuals as realists hold. There are no vague similarities which make it useful to think as if there were shared features as conceptualists hold. Mere names are all that can be said without distorting what is. For nominalists there are no true sentences about extra mental reality – not even a statement of nominalism.

God cannot destroy Satan

This is an exercise is philosophical theology. Using concepts from logic including the logical concepts of moral language arguments are constructed to show, at a very abstract level, that there must be some kind of being of religious interest that some being of religious interest must have certain features. The most well-know, or notorious, is the so-called ontological argument of St. Anselm. This is apriori conceptual play. However, if the order thought is the order of reality, this conceptual play uncovers fundamental features of religiously reality apart from thought.

I present the argument in a brief syllogism and then argue in support of only the second premise since I think apriori considerations about God’s goodness would easily support premise (1)
1. God cannot do what God ought not do.
2.God ought not destroy Satan
So
(3) God cannot destroy Satan

Why accept premise (2)?
Suppose God created an intelligence with a will free to choose as God wills it to act and to be or choose not to act and to be as God wills. Suppose this being is almost equal to God in intelligence and creative power. Suppose further that this being chooses not to act and be as God wills. Such a being could plausibly be described as Satan.

Even if Satan is not as he ought to be there is still a way he ought to be out there to be realized if Satan so chooses. If God were to destroy Satan, God would bring it about that Satan ceases to be. However, if Satan ceases to be, he cannot be as he ought to be. No being ought to stop the possibility of what ought to be from coming about. So, not even God ought to stop the possibility of Satan becoming as he ought to be.
Some corollaries which I think can be established are as follows.
A. God cannot bring it about that there is no time. For Satan is a moral being and a moral being needs a temporal framework to choose. Destruction of time would bring it about that Satan does not exist.
B. God cannot allow Satan to bring it about that he, Satan, does not exist. (Satanic suicide ). If Satan were to choose not to be, without revoking his choice contrary to God’s will, he would be irrevocably ruling out the possibility of being as he ought to be. An all good being cannot allow a being to irrevocably block the possibility of being as it ought to be.

I have written a book in which defending traditional sexual morality using as a crucial premise that we have a moral obligation to be morally correct people. Of course, the case for traditional sexual morality cannot be at the highly abstract level of the above conceptual play. However, I find that there is a phase of any serious philosophical argument where we confront the challenge starkly facing these apriori arguments. The challenge is what justifies us in assuming that the order of our thinking uncovers the order of reality apart from our thinking. I confront that high level challenge in my ” down to earth” book on sexual morality.

My book arguing that sexual neutrality leads to nihilism is 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 $12.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.





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