Category Archives: Philosophical Theology

Pope Francis’ Opens a Door to Sexual Nihilism

I take the liberty of quoting the entire article by Edward Pentin from the on-line edition of National Catholic Register,September 14, 2019. It is evidence that Pope Francis either endorses what I have called “The moral neutrality of sexuality” or is willing to have inconsistent sexual moral theologies taught as authentically Catholic. However, the moral neutrality of sexuality would be the sexual morality taught at the important the Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences.

I have pointed out that accepting the moral neutrality of sexuality undercuts traditional Catholic sexual morality. Note that accepting the moral neutrality of sexuality is tantamount to accepting that no sexual acts are intrinsically morally disordered.

Let us pray that the Holy Father knows how to preserve Catholic Christianity as a serious religion if it in principle accepts that under certain conditions, with certain intentions and high probability of beneficial consequences any sexual act is morally permissible. The moral neutrality of sexuality undercuts the religious outlook of Catholic Christianity which views human beings as fallen, needing redemption for our sins, and divine help to avoid sin.

There is nothing like the struggle to be chaste, eg., struggling against temptations to masturbation, to convince us that we are strongly tempted to sin, we cannot avoid sin by our own efforts and we need forgiveness for our sins. Performance of the corporeal works of mercy is necessary for salvation. But they are far easier to perform than, say, practicing natural family planning. At least that has been my personal experience

The Catholic Register article follows.

New JPII Institute Professors Question Church Orthodoxy on Homosexuality, Contraception

Father Maurizio Chiodi and Father Pier Davide Guenzi currently teach moral theology at the University of Northern Italy in Milan, and both are well known for their questioning of moral absolutes.

VATICAN CITY — The latest development in what is becoming increasingly viewed as both a purge and a revolution of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute is the hiring of two moral theologians whose views on homosexuality and contraception contradict the magisterium.
The new professors, Father Maurizio Chiodi and Father Pier Davide Guenzi, both moral theologians at the University of Northern Italy in Milan, will begin teaching at the Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences as part of its 2019-2020 curriculum announced this week.
Father Chiodi, whom Archbishop Paglia appointed as a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life in 2017, is to teach “Theological Ethics of Life” at the institute.
Father Guenzi is to lecture on the “Anthropology and Ethics of Birth.” Both professors, whose appointments follow highly contentious removals of long-serving lecturers in July, are well known for their questioning of moral absolutes.
In 2017, Father Chiodi gave a controversial Rome lecture on Humanae Vitae in which he used Chapter 8 of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia, to justify contraceptive use in some cases.
More recently, he gave an interview to the Italian bishops’ newspaper Avvenire in which he asserted that, while each homosexual person is called to chastity, “under certain conditions” and depending on circumstances, homosexual relationships can be “the most fruitful way” for same-sex attracted persons “to enjoy good relations.”
The interview appeared to suggest that Father Chiodi was open to considering homosexual acts as “objectively good,” according to bioethicist Tommaso Scandroglio, writing in the Italian Catholic daily La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana.
Father Guenzi expressed similar views to Father Chiodi in another recent interview with Avvenire. On the subject of whether homosexual acts could ever be licit, Father Guenzi equivocated, saying it depended on the “relationship, between the intention of the individual and the sense of their actions.” In this regard, he added, “they may be deemed ‘imperfect’ as other sexual behaviors are, even within the life of a stable heterosexual couple.”
With respect to homosexual relations generally, he drew on Amoris Laetitia, Chapter 8, to assert that every situation has to be discerned differently. In recent years “we have learned that the natural law must be continually rethought,” he said. “There are deep dynamics inherent to each human person which ask to be respected as inherent to the structure of anthropology.”
Fathers Chiodi and Guenzi are two of eight new lecturers to be hired by the institute this forthcoming academic year, all of them Italian, while other incumbent professors including Polish philosophy Prof. Stanislaw Grygiel, a close friend of Pope St. John Paul II, have been sidelined or given their marching orders.
Grygiel has said he believes the institute is being “destroyed” and that John Paul II’s anthropological teaching replaced by “sociological and psychological meanderings.”
Both Professors Chiodi and Guenzi are understood to be close associates of the institute’s grand chancellor, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, and effectively replace Msgr. Livio Melina, a former president of the institute who held the institute’s now-obsolete chair of fundamental moral theology, and moral theologian, Father José Noriega.
The removals in July of Msgr. Melina and Father Noriega, and the way they were dismissed, led to over 200 scholars worldwide, including well-known U.S. academics such as professor Robert George and professor. Scott Hahn, signing an open letter to Archbishop Paglia, and the institute’s president, Msgr. Pierangelo Sequeri, asking they be reinstated.
The personnel changes come two years after Pope Francis issued a decree refounding the institute and giving it a new name.
The Register asked Archbishop Paglia whether he could give reasons for employing Fathers Chiodi and Guenzi to teach at the institute in light of their views on homosexuality and contraception. He has yet to reply.

End of Register article

I authored a book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism Oklahoma City March 11, 2014. Sexual Nihilism is equivalent to the moral neutrality of sexuality. I argue that sexual nihilism leads to total moral nihilism which is frequently labeled moral relativism. See Book Web Page for more information about the book. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.





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

Identity Politics and Inherited Collective Guilt

There is a Christian theme that proclaims bad news and good news about the human condition.

The bad news is that every human is born guilty of some sin committed by the first humans. Unless some reparation is made for this original sin by someone or some group suffering the pain required as punishment each and every human will suffer a biological death which is total annihilation. (This total annihilation of a living individual is the fate we implicitly attribute to individual mosquitoes whom we swat.) The bad news continues that no individual human or group of humans is capable of making reparation for this sin although some individual human or group of humans are responsible for making the reparation needed to remove this collective guilt.

The good news is that God became incarnate in the human individual Jesus of Nazareth who as both divine and human made this reparation by suffering a horrible crucifixion death in a judicial lynching. As a result each and every human is freed from the punishment of total annihilation at biological death. Instead each and every human individual will live again after biological death as a type of human individual just as Jesus did when he left his tomb shortly after his execution. However, the good news has a downside. Collective guilt has been removed.

As a result of Jesus’ suffering there is only individual responsibility. People have to make reparation for only their own sins and they have a strong tendency to commit sin because although the collective guilt for original sin has been removed the work of Jesus removed only the guilt but not the tendency in human nature which led to their being an original sin. Now with life after biological death humans can be rewarded or punished for the sins they commit in ordinary life.

I hope this synopsis of a fundamental Christian theme does not seem too glib or superficial. Indeed, as a commited Catholic, I take this theme very seriously. My goal here is only to bring out enough of this theme, which is sometimes called the Paschal Mystery, to highlight two concepts which are sometimes cited as showing that the teaching of the Paschal Mystery uses two primitive moral concepts which ought not be used by anyone who hopes to think rationally about moral issues. These are the concepts of a personal guilt which is inherited by virtue of belonging to a type of human and retributive punishment. (The concept of retributive punishment is the thought that reparation requires in addition to repair of any injury the suffering of some pain by the perpetrator of a wrong.)

I submit that these two allegedly primitive moral concepts are used by many of those who are said to practice identity politics or use so-called intersectionality theory to formulate policies on affirmative action.

See: Anthony S. Layne’s “ Social Justice: The Spiritual Dangers of Intersectionality.” For an excellent synopsis of Intersectionality Theory and how its application corrupts a Christian outlook by encouraging anger, resentment and a vengeful attitude.

I will focus only on allusions to white, English speaking males, in the USA who came from a functional two family with an income at least two times above the poverty level and with at least an average IQ. I certainly belong to such a group. Members of such a group are accurately described as privileged. I think that my privileges give me the responsibility to use these privileges for betterment of the human condition. Also I think that society has some weak responsibility to give me the opportunities for social good.

However, identity politicians, as I understand them, think that somehow my privileges were inappropriately acquired because somehow injustices by remote ancestors of my group brought about a society in which I have my privileges. I am guilty for having my privileges because I am the kind of person who did the wrong they did which led to my having the privileges. I not only do not deserve the privileges I have I am also holding them wrongfully. My guilt is holding them wrongfully.

My point in this post is to cite use of the moral notions of collective guilt and retributive punishment by contemporary groups of fairly sophisticated people as evidence that it is legitimate to use these notions. People still need these notions to express their moral thoughts and sentiments. My not dismissing them as primitive moral notions helps justify Christians using them in attempts to articulate the Paschal Mystery.

However, I am not defending identity politics and Intersectionality Theory. Indeed I intend to make a quick Christian critique of identity politics on their application of inherited collective guilt and retributive punishment for that guilt. What Jesus accomplished in the events of the Paschal Mystery was to remove inherited collective guilt. From a Christian perspective the retributive punishment for original sin or sins has been suffered. From a Christian perspective the concept of an inherited collective guilt born by each member of that collective will never have application again.

Christ made possible the situation that those who think the notion of inherited collective guilt is logically absurd and thereby never has application. But it is not logical absurdity that prevents inherited collective guilt from having application; it in fact never has application because Christ suffered the punishment for it.

Irrationality of Moral Rationalization

In my post immediately before this post,Pope Francis and Satan I proposed interpreting temptations from the devil as the temptation to practice moral rationalization.

I noted that in general, “rationalization” is an honorific term indicating an effort to make a practice or idea agreeable to reason by removing objections of reason to the practice or idea. For instance, my effort in the previous post to represent Satan in abstract terms is rationalization by avoiding the objections that there is no evidence of any beings corresponding to pictorial images of Satan and devils.

However, “moral rationalization” is a pejorative term. It stands for proposing reasons for not following a moral principle which provides for no exceptions. To be more specific: You engage in moral rationalization in a situation under the following conditions.

1. You accept, or ought to accept, a moral principle that says an act is wrong regardless of the circumstances in which it is to be performed, regardless of the intentions of the agent who performs the act and regardless of the consequences of the act. Such principles are classified as categorical or absolute and such acts as intrinsically wrong.

2. You search for and find in the situation circumstances of performing the action, intentions of the agent, or in the likely consequences of the action reasons for setting aside the absolute moral principle.

As I use the term “moral rationalization,” engaging in moral rationalization is logically inconsistent. The moral rationalizers both hold and reject an absolute moral principle. They cannot really avoid the logical inconsistency by saying that they may not give full consent to the moral principle because they are only committed to it by a social role such as being a church official. In these cases, they ought to accept it to avoid the inconsistency of accepting the principle by accepting the social role and then privately rejecting the principle.

People who do not hold absolute moral principles cannot engage in moral rationalization. In fact, they might hold that always considering the circumstances of the act, intentions of the agents and likely consequences of the act is rational deliberation.

People who do not hold absolute moral principles might do something similar to moral rationalization when they deceive themselves about the circumstances etc. in deliberation. For instance, a man might tell himself that she freely consented although he applied quite a bit of social pressure.

I am logically required, by acceptance of absolute moral principles and my model of Satan, to say that people who accept no absolute moral principles are under the influence of the Satanic temptation never to obey without question a moral principle. Of course,people who hold absolute moral principles but engage in moral rationalization are succumbing to the temptation of Satan as well as being logically inconsistent.

This talk of Satan is not as bizarre as it sounds at first. My model for angels is a model for new thoughts entering human thought. Human thought is that repository of thoughts available to all humans. Angels are beings capable of putting thoughts into human thought prior to any human individual thinking the thought. On my model Satan is the angel who put into human thought the thought of rejecting absolute moral rules.

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. I do not introduce anything like the notion of Satan in my book. I argue that the rejection of absolute moral principles for sexual activity ultimately leads to rejection of absolute moral principles for all activities. I go on to make a case that dismissal of all absolute moral principles leads to a stance that since everything in principle is permissible, nothing matters. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.





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

Pope Francis on the Role of Satan in Sexual Abuse

Let us endorse Pope Francis recognition of the devil’s role in the sexual misconduct of some priests.

In this post I diagnose the action of the devil as insinuating the theory of the moral neutrality of sexual activity into human thought and profess that ultimately prayer in addition to reason is very helpful, if not needed, to combat the morally corrupting theory of the moral neutrality of sexuality.

As a reminder of Pope Francis’s thoughts on the role of the devil in sexual abuse, consider an excerpt from an April 1, 2019 National Catholic Register translation of of Pope Francis’ March 31, 2019 in flight press conference on his return flight from Rabat Morocco

In a question a Ms. Cristiana Caricato, TV2000. noted: “you often denounce the action of the devil, you did so also at the recent Vatican summit on abuse”.
Pope Francis emphasized his realistic stance about a devil by responding :

“I try to give you all the explanations and also the limits of the explanations. But there is a point that cannot be understood without the mystery of evil. Think of this: virtual child pornography.” . . .”this is not understood without the spirit of evil. It is a concrete problem. We must solve it concretely, but say that it is the spirit of evil.”. . . “to overcome the spirit of evil is not ‘washing one’s hands,’ saying ‘the devil does it,’ no. We too must struggle with the devil, as we must struggle with human things”.

I agree with Pope Francis that we must struggle with the devil. But how?

To resolve the sexual abuse crises we need to be clear about the misdeeds, we need to understand their causes and how to prevent the operation of those causes.. There are two kinds of misdeeds in the abuse crises. On one hand, there are the sexual acts of priests; usually with boys. On the other hand, there are the so called cover-up by clerical officials of the actual sexual misconduct. As a Catholic it is proper to regard the misdeeds as sins and their causes as temptations. Catholic tradition tells us that the world, the flesh and the devil are the sources of temptation to sin.

The sexual misdeeds always involve mortal sins: Always by the seducer and sometimes by the seduced. In this post, the focus is on the sources of the temptation to these mortal sins. In my opinion, many of the cover-ups are at most venial sins. Outright perjury is, of course, a mortal sin. I suspect, however, that many of the cover-ups were simply imprudent acts of mercy and forgiveness. We do not need to invoke the devil to explain imprudent acts of mercy and forgiveness. Any parent with a wayward child understands that temptation all too well as coming from a natural love for their children. Imprudent love for one’s children can be classed as a temptation coming from the flesh – human nature. I concede that it is almost certain that many of the cover-ups were motivated by a concern to protect the reputation of the clerical order. Such a temptation could be interpreted as coming from the world – concern about status in society. And the temptation could be called clericalism. It seems unlikely that concern about clerical rights and privileges are operative in a man lusting for a boy, or girl for that matter. Indeed, if a priest uses his clerical status to seduce a boy, lust explains his succumbing to temptation and “clericalism” only labels a means he has chosen to act out his temptation.

So-called clericalism is relevant for explaining the cover-ups; not the sexual sins. So let us turn to the role of the flesh and the devil in temptations to the actual sexual sins. Strong sexual desire, which I here equate with lust, may be a necessary condition for a sexual misdeed; but it is not sufficient for explaining sexual sins.

I propose that the devil by making available to us moral rationalization* techniques together with lust is almost sufficient for sexual sins. There still needs to be the free choice even after moral rationalization has concocted all sorts of excuses for setting aside moral rules.

In previous posts, I have sketched out how a devil corrupts human thought by providing moral rationalization techniques. One of the main posts is What is Satan?

Here is a brief synopsis of my model for the devil. God created an intelligence almost as great as his own. The function of this intelligence is to convey God’s thoughts to humans by placing God’s thoughts in human thought. (Angels are beings for conveying God’s thoughts.) Human thought comprises those thoughts which are somehow common to all human beings. Whoever thinks can think what is in human thought. God gave this supreme messenger free will. It could convey to human thought what God willed or it could choose to will something else. This supreme messenger rebelled by chosing to reserve to itself whether or not it would convey what God willed. Before conveying what God willed, it would consider whether or not it had reasons for passing on what God willed. This supreme messenger was the first moral rationalizer and it passed on to human thought this thought of rationalization-seeking reasons for setting aside the moral law.

Hesitating to obey an command known to come from God is illogical and immoral. By logic about the concept of God what comes from God is right and ought to be. So this moral rationalization of this supreme messenger is irrational and immoral.

In brief, the work of the devil is making available to human thought rationalizing thoughts for following the temptations of the world and flesh. In regard to sexual temptations the basic rationalizing technique is the thought of the moral neutrality of all sexual activity. According to this moral rationalizing thought there are always considerations which can justify any sexual activity. When under the pressure of lust simply thinking that there might be justifying considerations can lead one into succumbing to sexual desire.

So to struggle against the devil when sexual temptations arise is to block oneself from any rationalizing thoughts, which all depend upon the thought of the moral neutrality of sexual activity. Prayer and religious activity may not be necessary conditions for blocking rationalizing thoughts from becoming active in your thought. But I, and presumably those who have recommended prayer, have found that prayer and religious activity are sufficient for filling the mind with thoughts and sentiments which keep out rationalizing thoughts.

* I modify “rationalization” with “moral” because in general “rationalization” is an honorific term suggesting the removal of objections raised by reason. However, I intend “moral rationalization” to be a pejorative term. In moral rationalization, objections – reasons against- are raised which logically and morally ought not be raised. Indeed, my model of Satan is type of rationalization.

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. In my book, I argue that the assumption of the moral neutrality of sexual activity ultimately undercuts all objective morality. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.





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

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

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

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

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

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 IX: Hiding Behind “We believe”

This post continues exploration of my fear of letting myself speak honestly as a person living in a reality described by a Christian narrative. Such fear is a serious impediment to evangelizing; let alone passing on our Christian faith to our children. I submit that a fear similar to mine is the major cause of the decline of Christianity in the West. Two posts back I called this fear of speaking as immersed in a Christian reality doxastic aphasia. In the previous post I pointed out how this fear of directly stating Christian beliefs could reveal itself by weakening our faith statements by indirectly stating them with I believe.

Of course, in our secular culture it requires courage to express Christian faith with first person singular claims such as:
“I believe that Jesus changed water into wine at Cana”
“I believe that Jesus fed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish”
and
“I believe that Jesus rose from the dead.”
However, always professing your faith by prefixing it with “I believe” may, as argued in the previous post, be a way of holding oneself back from having a sense of actually living in a Christian reality. The Christian reality is accepted, so to speak, only intellectually. The fear is letting oneself have a sense of being in reality as a Christian narrative describes it.

As of Jan. 22,2018, I am beginning to question whether or not letting oneself have a sense 24/7 of living in a Christian enchanted reality is appropriate for all Christians. Although I grant that speaking as living in a Christian enchanted reality might be necessary for effective evangelization and convincing our children that we genuinely believe the gospel. You do not really convey the joy of the gospel by saying only that you believe it. You have to say it.

In this post my main point is to remind us explicitly, or implicitly, prefixing all statements of Christian belief with the first person plural “We believe that” may express cowardly fear of social disdain for Christian belief as opposed to the philosophical fear of getting confused about reality. Also use of “We believe that” may mask lack of a personal belief while exposing that lack to others.

Note that “I believe that P” does not follow logically from “We believe that P” even when I identify myself as a member of the group to which “we” refers, viz., as a member of the extension of “we.”

Consider the following argument in which the premises are true but the conclusion false.
1. Americans believe that same sex marriages are acceptable.
2. I am an American
Therefore
3. I believe that same sex marriages are acceptable.

This is a so-called fallacy of division. What is true of the whole may not be true of the parts. I can say that, to my dismay, we, Americans, now believe that same sex marriages are acceptable. But personally I strongly disagree with that belief.

In a Sunday school class, I could say “We believe that Jesus turned water into wine at Cana” A student could ask me: “Do you believe that?” Without logically inconsistency, I could reply “I’m not really sure but that is what the Church teaches.

That’s why “We believe” is ineffective for evangelization and allows one to hide one’s genuine beliefs. It does not imply that you have genuine belief.

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 VIII, Hiding behind “I believe”

My exploration of how to re-enchant the world so that the Christian narrative accurately describes reality is progressively exposing to me weakness in my faith. There is a building resistance to letting myself be a participant in reality so described. I fear that being a participant in a Christian reality with its miracles and entities beyond the scope of natural science is a much stronger faith than mine. I am convinced that a Christian description of reality is consistent with natural science and that there are good reasons for accepting that such a description tells the truth about reality. Nonetheless, my Christian faith is holding a theory about reality rather than living in a Christian reality.

This post touches on some topics much discussed by professional philosophers. I do not cite the professional literature because what I write is rather elementary and contributes nothing to the professional literature. I am always glad, though, to discover how useful the apparently verbal issues of professional academic philosophy are to clarifying, to me at least, fundamental issues of existential concern.

In this post I draw implications about the weakness of my faith from my preference for expressing my faith with indirect discourse statements of the form of [I believe that P,] where P is some direct discourse statement about a religiously significant reality such as “Jesus rose from the dead” or “Jesus died on the cross for our sins.”

In the previous post, I alluded to how an indirect discourse statement such as “I know that I love you” is emotionally weaker than the direct discourse statement “I love you.” What makes indirect discourse weaker? With indirect discourse you talk directly about what you think and indirectly about that to which your thought refers. So, with “I know that I love you” you talk about your thought of loving and the person referred to with the pronoun “you”. With the direct discourse “I love you” you talk of yourself in relation to the person you love. Talking directly of your thought of love instead of the beloved weakens the declaration of love. Why say that indirect discourse is about thoughts?

Let me use some terminology which would need more precise definition if this were a professional philosophical discussion. What our words stand for are their extensions Thus me and to whomever I declared my love are the extensions of “I” and “you” respectively. The meaning of our terms, what we think when using them, especially full sentences are the intension of terms. Thus the thought of my loving that person to whom I declare my love is the intension of “I love you.”

The object of an indirect discourse statement is an intension in which terms stand for extensions. So intensions are different from the extensions which usually are our primary concern.

There are a wide variety of indirect discourse statements using terms such as “know,” “believe,” “hope,” “wonder,” etc.,. I focus on “believe.” These terms are often called “propositional attitudes” because they say how someone thinks about a proposition which I have here called intensions

Why say that the indirect discourse statement “I believe that Jesus rose from the dead” is about the intension of the sentence “Jesus rose from the dead” instead of Jesus and his rising from the dead?

Here’s where we touch on a topic much discussed by professional philosophers. I adopt an argument style frequently used by professional philosophers.

Assume that it is a fact that Jesus is a man whose maternal grandfather is Joachim.

Consider the following argument where the conclusion validly follows from the two premises.

1] “Jesus rose from the dead” is true..
2] Jesus = the man whose maternal grandfather is Joachim.
Therefore:
3] “The man whose maternal grandfather is Joachim rose from the dead” is true..

The conclusion follows because, when we are referring to extensions, equals may be substituted for one another without changing the truth value of claims into which they are substituted. This is because when we are talking about the extra mental facts the terms used to pick out the components of those facts don’t change the facts.

Now consider this next argument where substitution of equals fails. The argument is invalid.

(1) “I believe that Jesus rose from the dead” is true
(2) Jesus = the man whose maternal grandfather is Joachim.
Therefore:
(3) “I believe that the man whose maternal grandfather is Joachim rose from the dead” is true.

It may be a fact that I believe that Jesus rose from the dead while I do not believe that the man whose maternal grandfather is Joachim rose from the dead. I may not believe anything about a man whose maternal grandfather is Joachim because I may never have thought about who Jesus’ maternal grandparents were.

Substitution of coreferential terms fails when we substitute such terms in the propositions or intensions in indirect discourse statements; or, in the sentences after propositional attitudes. This is because what is thought about in indirect discourse claims are something which depends upon how we think about it. Something which depends upon how we think about it, certainly is not something which exists independently of our thinking. It is reasonable to classify such things as mental.

A reason professional philosophers find propositional attitudes so problematic is that it seems that science, let alone ordinary thinking cannot be carried on without use of some propositional attitudes. We need to think critically. Critical thinking requires attention to what we believe. So the careful thought of science requires attention to something mental, viz. our beliefs. Yet the mental is not subject to full treatment by natural science. So those who hold the ideology of scientism would like somehow to avoid any use of indirect discourse. (Scientism is an ideology which holds that there is nothing but what can be explained by natural science.)

I am not upset that use of indirect discourse leads me to accept a realm of mental events not fully explained by natural science. I do not hold scientism. I am only disturbed by the fact that use of indirect discourse, in particular by use of the propositional attitude [I believe that P], enables me to express completely my Catholic faith without directly encountering the beings, events and processes about which I have beliefs. I do not speak directly of them. I fear that I am afraid to speak directly of them. Do I unconsciously accept scientism?
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 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.
.