Jesus agreed, Lk 10:27 that the principles: “Love the Lord your God above all things and your neighbor as yourself” provides a foundation for all the laws of morality and religion. This agreement may suggest to Christians that love alone is sufficient foundation for morality. However, proper love is only a necessary condition for morality. There needs to be knowledge, or awareness, of rules on how we ought to act and how we ought to be. To modify an aphorism of Kant: “Love without rules is blind but rules without love are inoperative.”
Proper love is to choose the good for the beloved. But what is the good for God and for others? The good for God is what God wills. God wills what ought to be. So loving God is to choose what God wills, or what ought to be. Now, because the good is what God wills, loving ourselves and others is to choose what God wills for them and ourselves, or what ought to be for ourselves and others. So the problem of how to love our neighbors as ourselves becomes the problem of finding out what ought to be and developing the will to choose what we have found out what ought to be.
For humans, because we choose particular acts at particular times, what we ought to be is bipartite. We ought to choose those particular acts we ought to choose and become the kind of people who regularly choose the acts we ought to choose. So morality requires knowing the rules for the particular acts in particular circumstances we ought to choose and struggling to become people who keep those rules. If we are making that struggle we are loving. That struggle is building moral character. So, if we are struggling to form our moral character, we are loving God and our neighbor as ourselves. Perhaps grace of God is necessary to motivate us to start and persevere in the struggle to build moral character. By hard thinking throughout the ages humanity has uncovered the basic rules on how we ought to act in regard to controlling our basic passions and inclinations.
I wrote a book on sexual morality using the above notion of character morality.
Read more about character sexual morality in 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 $12.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.
To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $16.70 per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214
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