The title of this post is taken from p. 269 of my book on sexual morality -actually only male sexuality- where I asked indulgence to speak as a Teutonic philosopher to express the major premise of my case for traditional male sexual morality. That major premise in English runs: If there is no God, then only duty provides us something indestructible to have lived for when at biological death each of us confronts totally vanishing if there has been nothing indestructible in our lives for which we lived. Nihilism is accepting your vanishing.
When asked for a short answer about what I wanted to show in my book claiming in its title that traditional sexual morality is an antidote to nihilism, I begin my answer with a warning that I try to use only assumptions which can be accepted by secular analytic philosophers. (Frequently, fellow Catholics ask me what I was trying to show.)
I address those who sense some anxiety about nihilism when they consider their biological death. I do not address the blessed innocents, even if intellectual geniuses, who sense no such anxiety.
I argue that living to make ourselves people who obey invariant moral laws is something indestructible in ourselves for which to live – that is duty die Pflicht. This is a stoic defiance of nihilism. The temptations of the flesh, the world and from our own minds that objective morality is an illusion make stoicism an unstable defense against nihilism. Only the strong and the easily distracted escape nihilistic despair.
I go on to argue that we must find such laws governing our sexuality. I continue my argument by pointing out that if we do not find them in our sexuality, we are unlikely to admit such laws as governing any other area of our lives.
So, if there is no God in any traditional sense and no traditional sexual morality, then for each of us biological death is eternal total annihilation.
Perhaps, the implicit recognition of the nihilism conveyed by the moral thought of global elites helps explain the terror of COVID-19 infections. The prospect of infection, with even a slight chance of biological death, makes vivid “vanishing into the infinite pit of nothing” -total emptiness.
I worry that finding the meaning of life in conformity to moral laws is very close to nihilism. Most of my philosophic thought is a struggle against nihilism. So since publishing my book in 2014, I have been searching to find more in morality than laws.
I have found much more. The thought which has exploded into a rich picture of morality has been the hypothesis that the harm of violating a moral law is creation of a new moral law that some harm ought to be. This notion of a moral harm has led to personalizing morality as obedience to a moral authority which finally I interpreted as God. That is why in subsequent posts, I defend and develop a divine command morality. I have set aside the hypothesis: Gibt es kein Gott.
Email me your postal mailing address, and I will mail you a free copy of my booK: Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional sexual morality as an antidote to nihilism, Tulsa 2014.