Why the World is Immersed in Arbitrary Moral Dissonance: Part II

Part II – What is the Spiritual Impact of these Positions?

Absolute Skepticism can lead to a wide array of problems:  despair or anxiety as well as presumption or apathy.  When one does not “know” reasonably what reality is made of, and how it works, he finds himself at a disconcerting place.  There are people who struggle with the absence of absolute certainty, and therefore are wrecked with panic, as they spend 98% of their time focusing on something that is only doubtful by a measure of 1-2 percent.  That is to say, the person is unreasonably looking for certainty, and thereby unreasonably doubting reality as it truly is.  I was once told by a psychologist that there was a man who had acted unchastely (masturbation) in the ocean, and then proceeded to panic because he was uncertain as to whether that act of unchastity  could have accidentally led to a woman being impregnated.   This man, due to his own psychological anxiety disorder, spent time torturing himself inordinately, on something that was virtually impossible to have actually occurred.  He spent years and hours on end wondering if he was a father of a child he knew nothing about, all because of a sliver of “doubt.”  We see today the fruit of a nation that promotes skepticism and doubt beyond what is reasonable, and if it is imitated by parents or the social structures around such children, it can then be socialized into the psychology of children who might be sensitive to such a mental-disorder.    Likewise, some people go in the complete opposite direction when dealing with doubt, and turn into apathetic, indifferent individuals, who are never tethered to any truth about reality, unless of course, in the moment it suites their passions.  This apathy of indecisiveness is their coping mechanism and it often leads to a lack of committed relationships, distrust of individuals, and a total self-isolation as a result.  This can lead to social and sexual relationships that are flippant, uncommitted and not about sacrificial love.

Existentialism – in its traditional format of “going beyond good and evil” as Nietzsche suggests, man is somehow liberated by the perverse social-constructions that limit mankind from having the ability to make his own self-determined decisions:  Who I am, and what I therefore should do.  The whole nature of this thought ultimately is about freeing oneself to do as he pleases or judges, and so man can rationalize his own nature, and thereby call himself whatever he pleases to therefore justify acting accordingly.  We see this today vividly with Transgender issues – as people are no longer defined by actual physical reality, but their passions and desires lead to a self-determination, which thereby justifies behaviour as such.  This type of existentialism is similar to an early Christian Heresy called “Gnosticism” whereby mankind asserts his “will” over his matter/body.  This is why “sex-changes” are being promoted today, but changing one’s orientation is considered heresy.  The will and the dysphoric desires which enslave the will are infallible, but the body is unimportant and malleable.  The spiritual problem with this view is ironically “pride.”  Pride is the deadliest sin, but pride should not be equivocally understood (in this context) to be the same as self-esteem.  Pride in the context of sin, pertains to an exaggerated sense-of-self, in particular, one’s own will-power and judgment.  Man no longer is on a quest of self-discovery, but he evades the difficult work by creating for himself a fantasy according to his own fallible discernment of his desires.

Moral Positivism – existentialism typically exists as a reaction against some type of artificial, socially contrived moral law that emphasizes a type of repression of one’s own willfulness, and moral-positivism best describes that moral-frame-work.  Moral Positivism assumes that the nature of mankind either does not exist or it is not altogether good.  The “state of nature is war” and as a result, nature needs to be controlled, not liberated.  Moral Positivists are typically reacting to lawlessness, and seeing what takes place when individuals self-determine their own moral order, dissolving civilization and bringing the human race back into chaos (which is the fruit of existentialism).  However, the spiritual danger of Moral-positivism as such is that it has a negative view of mankind, and thus fosters inordinate and unhealthy shame.  Positive law is by itself not natural to the individual, and therefore will naturally bind up man’s impulses and desires, implying that who we are or what we are is something to be hated.  Most psychologists claim that one of the contributing factors to repressed deviancies, either sexual or other addictive habits comes from a sense of shame or self-hatred.  If one does not have a healthy self-love, he or she will likely treat themselves according to who they perceive themselves to be.  As a result, if I am evil, I will do evil things.  This shame is harmful to the human race because it only creates the façade of order, but does nothing to internalize it.  Almost as if good behaviour is simply something we cover over our evil nature.

Deistic Moral Positivism – When God asserts a moral law under this purview, he is essentially dictating to his fundamentalist followers a false spirituality that can best be described as the unsanctified white-washed tomb.  Jesus used the term “white-washed tombs” to describe the Pharisees because while they practiced the moral law, their interior spiritual life was left unsanctified (unchanged).  Inside was spiritual death, but the façade of beauty or righteousness was nonetheless present.  This therefore takes on the view that grace is “imputed” but not infused into the very nature of mankind to heal his nature interiorly, but to repress it or “cover it over.”  As a result, one develops into a Puritan, who violently seeks to be obedient, lest they be shunned or a sola-infused-grace advocate, who claims that they need not change the interior man, but merely be a passive recipient of forgiveness.  The problem in both cases, is that the individual remains “in chains” and there has been no interior transformation.    The consequences of the shame are well-known amongst all religions who adhere to this type of moral doctrine.  For some Calvinists, God actually hates the reprobate, because they are “in their nature” evil.  As a result, there is a horrible servile fear that is promoted, that does not view God as trying to heal, but destroy who they are, and replace them with a zombie who is formed by some imputed form of irresistible grace, for which they have no ability or freedom to deny.  In other words, God can only save them by kidnapping and manipulating them.   Puritans act as if “works” will save them, even if their desires are never changed through grace and virtue, and the more lawless, can continue to sin so long as they hold onto the sentiment of imputed grace.

Christian Natural Moral Law – When Jesus gave the sermon on the Mount He did not change the moral law, but deepened it.  In other words, God was concerned about both our behaviour and our self-understanding of the moral law, and our identity.  When Jesus taught that it wasn’t sufficient to merely avoid murdering our brother, but that we had to also avoid hating our brother, He began to teach us that grace is interiorly transforming us.  None of this, under the natural moral law, ought to be interpreted as a criticism from God to our own nature.  Rather, God is simply trying to redirect our hatred towards what is right to hate, and our love towards what is right to love.  The impulse to hate when we see sin is reasonable, as is the impulse to love, when we encounter the good.  But confusion ensues when a good-person (in nature) does something evil.  Sometimes people then label the sinner to be the nature of the sin (evil) rather than differentiating the two.  We must hate the behaviour, but not the person, created in the image and likeness of God.  We are loving what is good in them, and by hating the sin, we can actually make that an act of love as well for God and the other.  So God seeks to sanctify the human person by “infusing” grace into our very nature, thereby transforming the inner-man.  Mankind, who is being sanctified, has his natural desires to hate evil and love the good realigned according to faith and reason.  His nature is being healed, not thrown out.  In other words, the very act of hating sinful inclinations is univocal to loving the healing process and embrace of our objective nature.  In this quest, man is no longer seeking define himself or hate himself, but to allow himself to be loved by God for who he/she truly is.  This true-self is something we discover and surrender to, rather than allow our fallen desires/affect to determine.  If Catholics truly drank this doctrine in, they would not have inordinate shame towards their own nature, but rather would be able to interpret God’s moral law as not only an acceptance of God, but also an acceptance of oneself.

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