Loving God is Loving What God Loves

The purpose of this post is to sketch out how there might be genuine human feelings of sorrow over the violation of a moral law, viz., moral harm. This would be sorrow over and above any sorrow felt about the consequences of the act violating the moral law. It presupposes the command moral theory which I have been developing over the past few years. Links to crucial posts are provided.

What might it be like to have sorrow over offending God or the source of basic moral rules?

The hypothesis of this post says: To love God is to love what God loves.

This hypothesis is not essentially theological. I am developing a divine command morality; so here it is theological. If I planned to characterize the source of our morality as The Moral Law, my hypothesis might be formulated as: To respect the moral law is to respect what the moral law respects. If I planned to take Rationality as the source of morality, my hypothesis might formulated as: To respect Rationality is to reason in accordance with Rationality. The various hypotheses are attempts to characterize how we can have a relation to the source of morality and, thereby, have contrition for the harm of offending it. I prefer to write of God and love because “love” connotes most clearly that the thinking of the source of morality is a combination of thought and feeling; not from pure theoretical thought.

People can love as God loves without thinking of themselves as loving God. However, as we will see, once one violates a moral law and still loves God, that person in some way recognizes that God has been wronged. This is because of the transparency of morality to the source of morality.

What God loves are the basic human goods aimed at by fundamental moral rules, the virtues or character traits people develop to attain these basic goods, and the freedom of will to accept and apply these basic rules.

For a list of the basic human goods in the New Natural Law Theory, see the end of Duty vs. Love. My moral theory is a revision of the New Natural Law theory.

So, loving what is good for humans and gives them moral dignity is loving God. Our dignity is the freedom to accept and apply the fundamental moral rules.

This can be expanded to say: Loving God is loving the basic human goods aimed at by fundamental moral rules, the virtues or character traits people develop to attain these basic goods, and the freedom of will to accept and apply these basic rules.

Sorrow over violation of a moral law, then, is tripartite
1. Sorrow over the basic human good set aside by the violation
2. Sorrow over the impediment to virtue produced by the violation
3. Sorrow over the requirement that harm be done

For background on the following paragraph see Normative theory of moral harm.

The sorrow over the requirement that harm be done is based on the good of our freedom of will. Our freedom of will brings with it the authority to create many ad hoc norms with moral force. These ad hoc norms come from applying moral rules. The ad hoc norms are eliminated from morality when they are fulfilled. For instance, a promise creates and ad hoc moral rule to keep the promise. When the promise is kept the norm to keep it is eliminated. When they correspond with moral rules they are good. But when they come from violation of a moral law they aim at destruction of good. God has given us the freedom to create these norms and consequently God has given us the freedom to create retributive punishment.

The norms for retributive punishment come solely from humans But God has given us the authority to create them.

These sorrows are exacerbated by shame that those conditions for which we feel sorrow are known by the author of morality who wills only good for us. This shame brings one who had loved God before violation of the moral law to recognition that God has been wronged.

Contrition is a having this tripartite sorrow and its associated shame.

I choose the following illustration because I regularly attend sessions of That Man Is You, (TMIY) which consists of videos and discussion to help Catholic men become better husbands and fathers. One video by Steve Bullman, founder of TMIY highlighted how masturbation with internet porn is corrupting men and dissrupting marriages.

Connsider a married man who has just finished masturbating after viewing internet porn. He feels foolish for choosing this trivial satisfaction over the good of the fundamental moral law for men,viz., the paternal principle . This good is the procreative and unitive conjugal coitus. He is anxious because now he is even further behind in the struggle we men have in controlling sexual desires. He is vaguely fearful that he might seek ever more stimulating porn and ultimately illegal porn. He judges that he deserves some bad things because such as the disgust his wife and children would feel about him if they knew of his behavior. And, although he hides it from his wife and children, he is ashamed because what he has done is there in morality to be known.

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Loving God is Loving What God Loves

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