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« The Nature of Moral Obligations: Moral Incumbency | Main | The Nature of Moral Obligations: Sociability »

July 09, 2015


“The West’s liberal ideals in a secular/atheist framework are practically mysticism. This idea of a “fundamental human right” in an evolutionary context is, as Bentham stated, “nonsense on stilts.” This is going beyond the otherwise-humble claims of the skeptic that morality is just a thing we have built into us, and is good for our evolutionary benefit. That’s fine, I can handle that and say “Ok well, good luck!” But then they go on to appeal to some concept of equality among individuals, which is utterly and perfectly contradictory to the fitness paradigm of the evolutionary future which we are bound to. The question to the skeptic is, how can you assert equality into a future that you anticipate will involve conditions requiring unfitness of certain types of individuals in the species? How can you begin to guess that our current, or ANY, pursuit of happiness is the scientifically verified insurance of survival and fitness for the species in the context of fundamental human rights and equality?


I certainly don’t advocate judging the truth of a claim based on its consequences. However, for all the times that I am accused of cognitive dissonance, which I may be guilty of, I cannot imagine living under the volume of cognitive dissonance in saying incidental meat robots called humans have “fundamental human rights” while KNOWING those human rights could cause conditions that would be evolutionarily disastrous.” (GM)

It is necessarily the case that Moral Facts must exist necessarily. That is to say, IF we claim that a Person/Being is to necessarily *be*, factually, morally wrong, THEN Moral Facts must exist Necessarily.

The Necessary emerges as that which must be, factually, BOTH that which is, as they say, Being Itself, AND that which is, as they say, Person/Relational.

The ontological landscape of the Triune God comes into focus.

Indeed it's true that "moral obligations that have no survival value would be absurd." If you think this is an argument against evolutionary consequentialist morality, then you need to expand your understanding of survival value. For example:

a) It's not just short-term, individual survival, but long-term group survival.

b) It's not just raw physical strength, but there are various types of strengths that different people have. Diversity of strengths is essential for group survival.

c) The greatest strength of all is cooperation. Most ethical rules are designed to placate individualistic interests in order to ensure cooperation.



Group survival. Flourishing. Sam Harris. Moral Landscape.

We get it.

Old news.

"a) It's not just short-term, individual survival, but long-term group survival."

OH, hey I have an idea to promote long-term group survival...lets make it morally reprehensible to discourage same sex relationships...this will surely ensure long term group survival!

The issue of homosexuality is interesting, of course. How can gay people contribute to the survival of the species? How can homosexuality even exist if evolution is true?

Certainly there are answers, if you want to look for them. Maybe gay people have a "different type of strength" that somehow helps their nieces and nephews to thrive. Maybe gay people are more creative in certain ways.

On the other hand, it's possible that homosexuality is just a recurrent aberration without any survival benefit.

Either way, though, I don't see any point in punishing people for being homosexual. Homosexuality would be its own punishment, if indeed it isn't an actual benefit.

Hey John Moore, who is arguing for the punishing of homosexuals?

Punishment of Homosexuality?

Sure. Whatever.

Good luck with that.

Scripture tells us that those guilty of this or that sin or of some sins in particular that they will not be found - finally - in God. There is even a list of things, many of which, of course, I participate in on all sorts of subtle (sometimes not subtle) levels. And, also, there is another annoying problem. By “problem” we do *not* mean God's perfect and complete provisions in Christ, that is to say, we do not mean “All Sufficiency’s” provisions of, well, “All Sufficiency”. No. We don’t mean that, for, obviously, such is wonderfully true for all of us in our frailties, but, rather, we mean the painfully annoying problem for the Accuser of Christ's all sufficiency as he (the Accuser) presents the straw man of this or that sin (finally) banishing someone from His, God’s, Presence.

The Accuser loves his list, his straw man – and he forgets far too much.

In Christ I discover that such lists - though applicable to me on several fronts - simply fail to grant intellectual / ontological satisfaction to the Accuser's straw man when faced with the rest of Christ's paradigmatic actualities. Speaking of my own items which are on that list, there is, say, “Liars” in that list somewhere (the Accuser loves that list), and yet I discover that though I lie both to myself, to God, and to others in all sorts of (subtle) ways, daily, sometimes I'm not at all subtle, and though my eye may here or there gaze at this or that woman, or some other something, for that moment that is just a bit too long (and that *is* adultery per Christ), I discover that I am yet found in God, that I am, even still, found in God – actually, right now, even finally, even still, even ultimately. Such is Man in Christ – and we find that such is the state of affairs with whatever slice of our nature the Accuser of Christ's Sacrifice happens to throw at any of us. The Accuser’s thought is (it seems) that a-n-y given slice of our humanity will out-power or out-reach Christ’s All Sufficient Sacrifice and therein the Accuser just fails to account for the whole-show that just is the meta-narrative of the God paradigm (setting aside the errors of coerced robotic universalism). Philosophical naturalists (PN) make the very same mistake as the Accuser. Why? Because both attempt to define our means and ends not by “the whole of reality”, as it were but instead by this or that single and isolated ontological slice of me or you or us or of man’s nature. This or that part of our biological frame or our mental composition or our emotional disposition is the Accuser’s only shot and that is the case for the same reasons it is the PN’s only shot. As if color qualifies as a factual hard stop to reality as the factual and ultimate meaning maker of the man. What nonsense. The Accuser and the PN both seek to blind us from the whole show that is the meta-narrative of God. That incoherence fails for our Accuser, literally, for all the same reasons that it fails, literally, for the PN. It is ontologically incoherent. Given the Naturalist’s own eliminative materialism he finds no actual stopping point in himself – as Man there just fails to be reality’s, actuality’s, ultimate meaning maker. In the same way, that is also nonsense for the Christian because God outdistances Man in the same sense that Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. referenced as he himself appealed to the wider, broader paradigm of final causes there inside of those beautiful contours of ceaseless reciprocity within Trinity, there in the immutable love of the Necessary Being. What defines us ultimately, per Pastor MLK Jr., is not, indeed cannot be, any particular slice or feature of our own mutable and contingent body or mind or inclination or nature, but, rather, our Hard Stop that is the love of God. That is to say, Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. got it right as he taught us to avoid defining reality by this or that single and isolated ontological slice of one's own self or of me or of you or of us or of man’s nature. Both that fateful Accuser of Christ’s All Sufficiency with whatever slice of our nature he happens to throw at any of us and the Philosophical Naturalist fail to apprehend the actual state of affairs as they, both, hopelessly omit those sobering and momentous sightlines which Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. sacrificed so much to deliver to our world. Is lying on the list? I don’t care. To the Accuser I say this, “My X? My Sin? My Slice? Yes. Absolutely. You’re correct. So what? What about it?”, to which the reply is utter, complete, silence. Because Christ. William Lane Craig comments, “We need to remember that being homosexual is as such no sin. Most homosexuals did not choose such an orientation and would like to change it if they could. We need to accept and lovingly support brothers and sisters who are struggling with this problem. And in general, we need to extend God's love to homosexual people. Vulgar words or jokes about homosexuals should never pass the lips of a Christian. If you find yourself feeling glad when some affliction befalls a homosexual person or you find feelings of hatred welling up in your heart toward homosexual people, then you need to reflect long and hard on the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew: “It will be more tolerable on the Day of Judgment for Sodom and Gomorrah than for you”. (Mt. 10.15; 11.24).”

The word "Culpability" if taken to mean the factual contradiction of moral facts is unintelligible within the branches of Naturalism's paradigmatic indifference.

Clearly both Mind and all that it does are, in said paradigm, solely the product of one, singular tree. The entire field of the Philosophy of Mind cannot find even one event that allows the Naturalist to declare freedom from those means and ends as such “freedom” from Nature’s indifferent tentacles is illusory at best, material’s final elimination ending all sentences.

No matter how “high” the Naturalist goes in his paradigmatically singular “Tree”, he's nowhere to go to other than yet higher, ever finer, ever more subtle branches of that tree.

The Christian factually has several Trees. The Naturalist factually doesn't.

And yet the evolutionary moralist seems oblivious to that fact. He carries on and begs the question about violence in animals – a case he cannot win – all the while the mountain of layers, the large canopy of leafy branches ebbing and flowing in the wind, up there above those lower levels – there up higher – in the Philosophy of Mind – are themselves forever his final, factual, contradiction.

So then:

Feser comments, “In particular, we might say that since the natural end or final cause of reason is to know the causes of things, and the ultimate cause of things is God, the ultimate end of reason is to know God.”

We arrive, speaking of Good and of Evil, of Ought and or the Moral Paradigm, then, at the (necessarily) ultimate end of all moral lines: that ceaseless reciprocity housed within love.

The ultimate cause (in the Necessary) of all moral lines (in the Contingent) emerges, and such cannot be (on pain of incoherence) some lesser something other than what sums to non-contingent, immutable love. We find then that the ultimate end of all moral reasoning just does then carry us to that which must immutably constitute not only the necessary essence of “Being Itself”, but, such Being Itself as that which carries us, inescapably, to an immutable composition which satisfies the necessary essence of “Love Itself”, that is to say, the necessary constitution of “Relation’s Reciprocity”.

The very content of all such semantics reduce, in whatever permutation or combination we attempt, to the fundamental shape of those express contours amid Personhood/Being as reason chases down the factual nature of our experience of the inescapable facts saturating the totality of possibility that is our perceptual field. Such carries us to the undeniable experience of “existing”, that is to say, to our experience of being such that (it just is the case) that one cannot even begin to talk of “me” or of “self” or of “in here” but for the referent that is the “you” or the “other” or the “out there”, and so on in all directions. It is, on point of fact, that all such lines arrive upon us as a singularity there in what just is our singular experience of being constituted of, on point of fact, the singularity that is the “I/You” or the “In/Out” or the “Self/Other”, that is to say, the singular “Us”.

Should reason deny those three (undeniable) vertices of “Personhood/Being” constituted of the totality of (three) vertices in the singularity which (factually) sums within “Self / Other / Us”, should reason deny that triune experience of existing, then reason shall therein deny the undeniable.

The fundamental shape that is being’s three vertices grounds The-Real such that we are ushered forward, outward, to an uncanny fact that such an ontological singularity is expressly constituted of nothing less than all feasible fusions within the triune geography of “Personhood/Being” as the factual vertices of “Self / Other / Us” emerge both within all possible moral incantations and also within all possible notions within the experience of existing, that is to say, within the experience of being. In all cases, such topography sums to the metaphysically necessary at the end of the line. Else the pains of incoherence.

Recall that we are speaking here of the metaphysical necessities of an actuality, of a concrete and objective reality, of an ontology of moral facts.

All moral ontology thus far, short of non-contingent, immutable love, fails to end (full stop) in “Person / Being” as all such lines are ipso facto (void of love’s immutable paradigm) entirely arbitrary and mutable and contingent – and thus all moral ontology ends equally arbitrary and mutable and contingent, such that all “Moral Reasoning” is then, factually speaking, intuiting no real thing at all.

The Moral Ontology of love’s categorical reciprocity in the triune God solves this.

It’s uncanny.

None of us, not the Christian or Sam Harris or anyone at all in all our moral incantations, can evade the ontology of Personhood/Being that is that rather peculiar sort which finds there in Being Itself the very fabric and fullness of love’s ceaseless reciprocity amid the metaphysical singularity of “Self / Other / Us”. All three such “vertices of being” are found in every moral statement we make – by necessity. An ominous fact presents itself to us in that none of us can evade the ontology of “Self / Other / Us” in the Christian God nor can any of us evade all such vertices in any possible moral semantics as all such intonations are never found, not even once, void of those three necessary, inescapable, vertices of “Personhood/Being”.

That God, that The Necessary, should be love does, then, if all of Man’s “in part right” and all of Man’s “in part wrong” motions within Mankind’s brutally repeatable moral experience are to any degree factual, emerge as the only possible End to the Story. To paraphrase Feser: “In particular, we might say that since the natural end or final cause of reason is to know the causes of things, and in this case the cause of all moral facts, it is factually the case then that the ultimate cause of things is God, and in this case the ultimate cause of all moral facts is the immutable love of the Necessary Being such that we cannot escape then the fact that the ultimate end of reason is to know the God Who is love, that ceaseless reciprocity within the triune topography of immutable love of the Necessary Being.

Trinity becomes, as reason makes her demands, unavoidable.

Logic’s demand for lucidity carries us, all of us, all of mankind, into morality’s factual contours, and, where that leaves off we come then to the stuff of the “Self-Revealing God” (J. Pemberton) as Trinity/Christianity carries us into those three inescapable vertices of Personhood/Being. This objective and verifiable – and singularly triune – Archetype comes into view as the undeniable Exemplar casually and undeniably emerges pan-history and pan-world in all moral codes and objectively delineates – subsumes – justifies – all moral contours. “What purport to be new systems or ……ideologies…… all consist of fragments from the [whole] itself, arbitrarily wrenched from their context in the whole and then swollen to madness in their isolation, yet still owing to the [whole] and to it alone such validity as they possess……… the human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than of planting a new sun in the sky or a new primary color in the spectrum..” (C.S. Lewis) Indeed, when “Parts” are taken from “Being’s Whole”, that is to say, from the three vertices of being, that is to say, from the triune topography “Self / Other / Us” and, by that privation, that isolation, are swollen to madness, we discover that, in fact, Mankind never has invented a new moral value in the history of the world. When the “Whole” just is “Reality”, that is to say, when the “Whole” of Being Itself just is the three undeniable vertices of “Self / Other / Us” then all “Parts” thusly wrenched from said “Whole” just do sum to “Self / I” to the extreme, or to “You / Other” to the extreme, or to “We / Us” to the extreme such that any one contour or claim upon reality just does to some degree sacrifice some portion of the other – neither ever able to attain seamless reciprocity with all the others. Indeed, without the “Whole Itself”, that is to say, without the “Necessary” (God), the Contingent (Man) finds that it is (literally, factually) impossible to find said seamlessness, as said seamlessness just is not the contingent. As Lewis alluded to, contours of our reality which are thusly swollen to madness by that Privation, that Isolation, still depend on the Whole for all possible meaning-making as, again, no moral incantation, in any permutation or combination, houses any meaning-making in itself as it just is the case that no one can even begin to talk of “me” or of “self” or of “in here” but for the referent that is the “you” or the “other” or the “out there”, and so on in all directions. It is, on point of fact, that all such lines arrive upon us as a singularity there in what just is our singular experience of being constituted of, on point of fact, the singularity that is the “I/You” or the “In/Out” or the “Self/Other”, that is to say, the singular “Us”.

The Triune God actualizes within the created order as that peculiarly objective Exemplar of Being Itself, and, of Personhood Itself, and, of all Moral Contours whatsoever and we find there love's ceaseless reciprocity within the immutable contours of “Self / Other / Us”. It is an even more auspicious fact that we do not find the Christian’s Triune God, say, “….visiting the created order….”. Not at all. Rather we find the necessary seamlessness amid Necessity/Contingency so painfully lacking in all other moral paradigms, that is to say, we find the Triune God filling all in all. That is to say, the very something which every last moral statement reasons towards is in fact transposed into the created order as in Christianity, and in no other genre, it is expressly the peculiar business of transposition in and through Logos which actualizes within the contingent order as the enigmatic semantics of nothing less than amalgamation / incarnation fatefully unfold within the ontology of God-In-Man and of Man-In-God. Objective Morality finds – thereby – love's inescapable landscape as the categorical paradigm there at the end of all things.

We find in all these things that the unalterable description of the experience of being then, when we shift to this other, separate, topic of morality again repeats itself over in all that just is the Moral Landscape. Love’s ceaseless reciprocity within the vertices of Trinity just is the very Exemplar of “Personhood/Being” there in the Moral Landscape of, once again repeating itself, the undeniable “Self / Other / Us”.

Reason chases down all vectors of Being and of Person and of love’s Ought and discovers but a single paradigm as all facts converge in the fundamental shape of Reality.

Reason is now free to chase after her proper ends and we now find truth to the observation that, pan-history, all the other “parts” never quite summed to “put it all together”. The Self-Revealing God, however, offends us with His Singular-Us in that providential Protoevangelium as Trinity, love’s fateful Exemplar, being’s enigmatic Archetype, relentlessly fills Time and Physicality – to their bitter ends. Christ reveals the Triune God such that we can declare that reason alone amid logic’s lucidity carries us, unavoidably, to the fundamental shape of Reality. Else we must deny the undeniable on two distinct fronts, that of our undeniable experience of being and, also, that of our undeniable moral landscape.

Reason chases after truth, after the factual, fundamental shape of reality and finds….. Christ.

That is to say:

Unless and until reality confronts reason with an immutable *grain* – with a fundamental *shape*, then reason stands justified in and by her own essence such that her searching out any particular grain, shape, or crevice which she deems worthy sums to morally reasonable motion. Indifference alone confronts reason inside of Naturalism’s immutable grain, inside its fundamental shape, and thus we find her – reason – as a voice unto herself with no voice to counter, no voice to confront her such that reality cannot find the morally un-reasonable. Feser alludes to such isolation, such ontological silence in the pains of such a chain of metaphysical IOU’s, “If a series of hypothetical imperatives is to have rationally binding force, it has to trace ultimately to some imperative at the head of the line that has categorical force.”

Unless and until the relentless contours of immutable love confront reason as the unavoidable fact, as the immutable grain, as the fundamental shape of the categorical paradigm there at the end of all things, unless and until that, it is the case that reason hears only herself, as reality finds only the voicelessness of Indifference confronting Reason. Therein, it is factually the case that Reason hears only herself, such that the definition of the morally un-reasonable becomes un-intelligible.

We find, then, our focus not on substance per se, but, rather, on paradigmatic start/stop points per se. Should (natural) Reason find love’s categorical paradigm at the end of the line, then indeed God fashions one paradigm (Dust, Contingent, Mutable) such that (natural) Reason perceives quite another paradigm in the Immutable Love of the Necessary Being. Whereas, if (natural) Reason hears only the sound of her own voice (on the one hand) and the voicelessness of Indifference (on the other hand), then Hume is correct:

Tis not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger. ‘Tis not contrary to reason for me to chuse my total ruin, to prevent the least uneasiness of an Indian or person wholly unknown to me. ‘Tis as little contrary to reason to prefer even my own acknowledg'd lesser good to my greater, and have a more ardent affection for the former than for the latter.” (Treatise of Human Nature

The fundamental shape of reality finds nothing which confronts Reason, leaving Reason justified of her own Self, her own essence. Hume's intellectual honesty on that interface of (natural) Reason "in-here" with the factual shape of reality "out-there" is refreshing.

However, once love confronts reason as that fateful paradigm – the fundamental shape of reality – the unavoidable fact, then, and only then, Reason is (factually) found free to chase after some other shape elsewhere though she shall be, then, the factual contradiction of Reality.

Short of the immutable love of the Triune it is factually the case that the fundamental shape of reality begins and ends with Indifference and that fact fatally chips away all of philosophical naturalism’s (PN’s) paradigmatic claims to the ontological real estate of objective morality. Reason remains confronted by Indifference and Indifference alone there as the factual and fundamental shape of PN’s metaphysical start/stop points and thus we find her – reason – therein as a voice unto herself – the fundamental shape of Fact, of Reality, wholly unable to confront her. It is only when the Paradigm streaming from the immutable love of the Necessary Being confronts reason with Himself as the inescapable grain of actuality – the fundamental shape of reality – that reason is (factually) found (factually) free to (factually) chase after some other shape elsewhere though she shall be, then, the (factual) contradiction of Reality.

However, the fundamental, factual shape of reality sums to the contours of love’s ceaseless reciprocity amid the three unavoidable vertices of being which themselves constitute the landscape of “Self / Other / Us”, and, on point of fact that presents the singular paradigm which has the ontological wherewithal to factually confront reason.

The Self-Revealing God actualizes within Time and Physicality as reason seamlessly discovers Personhood’s and Being’s and Love’s three undeniable vertices in Actuality’s Archetype Who is Himself the end of the line, the factual, fundamental shape of Actuality. In and by Christ we are transposed to the express epicenter that is the fundamental shape of The-Real as Truth and Grace thereby confront Reason such that Reason is now (factually) free to chase after her true and final felicity, and, also, Reason is (factually) found (factually) free to (factually) chase after some other shape elsewhere though she shall be, then, the (factual) contradiction of Reality.

Both Reason and our undeniable human experience – our undeniable experience of being – seamlessly carry us to Christ. Or, perhaps, it is more precise to put it the other way around such that, on point of fact, Christ seamlessly carries us vis-à-vis the eyes both of Reason and of our undeniable human experience – our undeniable experience of being – to the factual shape of Actuality – to the factual shape of the Necessary.

Either way it is the case that if one wanted to know what reality “looks like” then one would “see” all such vectors both in and by Christ.

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