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A Thoroughly Trinitarian Metaphysic:

Beginning with reason, logic, and reality, we start far from home. Then, along the way, we follow reason as truth-finder as she [1] avoids reductions to absurdity and [2] satisfies her own relentless demands for lucidity. Then, by the end, we find ourselves within a thoroughly Trinitarian metaphysic. The syntax is going to be – at times – intentionally repetitive with respect to just why and how it is that the metaphysic in question is in fact Trinitarian. The occasionally repetitive syntax is used so that at *each* step through our progression we are forced to recall – and include – each claim along the way vis-à-vis one’s proverbial [A] Reductio Ad Deum as opposed to one’s proverbial [B] Reductio Ad Absurdum. So, with that disclaimer – with that forewarning – we can start.

Far from closure – far from home:

Whether it is QM or Atheism or Christianity or X or Y or Z, the issue is not uncertainty/certainty unless one wants to assume the unfortunate posture of defending what can only be a radical, opaque skepticism. Of course, the Christian is quite satisfied in these discussions when Non-Theists assume that unfortunate posture. The Christian there only needs to simply coach the Non-Theist further and further down the Non-Theist’s own wish-list of premises in that path and, when the Non-Theist finally embraces the manifestly absurd, it is a sort of intellectually satisfying “QED” for the Christian.

If uncertainty/certainty do not necessarily compel reason (…in her role as truth-finder…) then what will rationally (…and necessarily…) compel her? That’s obvious: the proverbial “Y” in the road is when and if one is forced to embrace this or that reductio ad absurdum – this or that reduction to absurdity.

The goal of reason as truth-finder is [1] avoiding reductions to absurdity and [2] satisfying reason’s demands for lucidity. On occasion our Non-Theist friends are confronted with that and they argue-by-emote with something akin to, “Sophistry! Pure sophistry!” but of course that’s not surprising given the Non-Theist’s (…somewhat common…) decision at that proverbial “Y” in the road.

As for the disagreements internal to Christianity, the entire array of peripheral topics which our Non-Theist friends point to are irrelevant to what defines Christianity’s metaphysical wellspring of all ontological possibility – or Christianity’s epicenter – (…as all vectors converge in Christ). That is a substratum which our Non-Theist friends have not managed to negate – as too often all they’ve done in each attempt to negate that fountainhead is point to things outside of Christianity’s epicenter – which in a sense merely begs the question.

What everyone is left with is uncertainty in several layers, and certainty in several layers, and, so, that is all a proverbial “wash”. As in: Corrie ten Boom, no stranger to life’s unknowns, commented,

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”

Faced with the challenge of the unknown in, say, the initially perplexing problem of how to get X into orbit around the earth, we rely on, trust in, the mathematics which we’ve every rational reason to trust as we face the challenge of, again, “…how to get X into orbit around the earth…”. We do not there assert that we are irrational for moving forward with our Mathematics in hand. No. We embrace, trust in, the known, that which we’ve rational reason to trust and we push forward into the problems and the unknowns. Rationally. Such is the nature of Corrie ten Boom, Reason, Faith, and Mathematics.

Evidence based faith is the only kind the Christian metaphysic recognizes and for good reason: such comports with reality. And reality matters. There is the Known, there is the Unknown, and there is our trust in, reliance upon, faith in, the known as we work through reality’s array of often perplexing unknowns/problems. Like Corrie ten Boom and Mathematics.

That’s not complicated.

Therefore certainty/uncertainty cannot help us decide – or more precisely – certainty/uncertainty do not necessarily and rationally compel reason (…in her role as truth-finder…) into A vs. B. vs. C., as it were. But that’s old news. Everybody already knows that with respect to the nature of the knowledge of reality (…on the one hand…) and the fundamental nature of reality (…on the other hand…).

All that is left then is that painful “Y” in the road between the forced reductio ad absurdum (…on the one hand…) and reason’s lucidity (…on the other hand…). Uncertainty never has disqualified a premise, but what is clear is that when this or that premise forces a reduction to absurdity, the premise itself is (then) rationally rejected. Reason’s relentless demands for lucidity press ever forward, outward, upward.

The fundamental nature of reason, logic, knowledge, and perception will always force our hands, whatever paradigm we may be working within. Regarding this or that “metaphysical wellspring of all ontological possibility”, no rational person intentionally embraces absurdity (…the proverbial reductio ad absurdum and so on…). The reach of the physical sciences (…on the one hand…) and of reason herself (…on the other hand…) are universally and fundamentally distinct, and distinction here does not mean wholly disconnected from one another, but simply means that they – and their respective reaches – are in a relevant sense different (….scientism being fallacious (etc.)….).

For example, knowledge just isn’t “physics-full-stop” (….methodological naturalism etc…) and the moment the Non-Theist attempts to claim that such *is* the definition of Knowledge is the moment reality’s universal and fundamental transcendentals come roaring in to dismantle his “.…cluster of tautological statements giving an appearance of a meaningful structure or system when stacked and leaned up against each other at various angles …. the resultant spaces providing the necessary illusion for pattern projecting subjects to go on to…..” (DNW) The Non-Theist and physicist Sean Carroll makes the attempt in his “The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself” and, bit by bit, the absurdity of “useful but not true(…in various “layers” of “reality”…) subsumes all of his syntax.

Therein we find that one chooses, embraces, prefers – loves – absurdity over coherence , one chooses, embraces, prefers, loves, some contour of the ludicrous more than this or that contour of the lucid, one chooses the irrational over the rational. In short, there amid that unavoidable interface between self and truth the volitional man vis-à-vis the will of man invades the doxastic experience and displaces reason, hijacking the role of truth-finder and the rational man suffers yet another dive into he knows not what.

And there it is. QED.

That move by (too many) Non-Theists is hard evidence that one’s doxastic experience is fueled not “just” by evidence/reason, but also by other vectors subsumed within the intentional-being, within the being’s will, within taste and agenda. That the sky is blue may be a belief compelled such that one cannot deny it except by embracing the absurd, and yet the rationally compelled belief is *not* (…as is demonstrable…) constituted of “just” evidence/reason. If the price is sacred enough the Non-Theist will be telling us there is no such thing as blue, nor sky, nor sight, or I, nor self, nor even the utterance of “the sky is blue” nor even this very sentence one is reading for it – all of it – is you see but the absurd and the opaque, the “useful but not true”. You’re not reading this sentence. There is no sentence. There is no room for *you* to be *doing* anything there in nature’s four fundamental forces/waves which all layers ultimately reduce to, as all layers but one are ultimately and cosmically illusory. In fact, even the perception of our senses by which we organize nature’s four fundamental forces – and so on – are also subsumed by the illusory such that there is not even *one* layer which is “real”. It is *not* “…we know not what…” for there is no “we” nor “know” nor “what” nor “it”. Full Stop (…assuming – that is – that the price is sacred enough…).

Still far from home, the light breaks through:

Non-Theists are compelled into the hard stop of Mind and they therein do most of the Christian’s work for him in these discussions. That is to say that atheistic philosophers get there all by themselves as we’re just forced into it by logic regardless of our presuppositions. The hard stop of Mind is peculiar. One has to squint really hard to deny it – to eliminate it – but even then…….. The choice between ultimate or cosmic or final absurdity (…one the one hand…) or God / the Divine Mind (…on the other hand…) is, if we are patient – and we are – where these conversations always end up.

I think solipsism is always an interesting topic because if we start “mid-stream” in our epistemology by rejecting solipsism (as I think most of us probably do), it is then interesting to try to infer what “upstream” structure of our thoughts must have led to this rejection. There is some hope that by swimming upstream in this manner we will discover certain “first principles” that lie unrecognized at the wellspring of our beliefs. (j.hilclimber)

It is simply a matter of [1] following reason, logic, and observational reality as far as they will take you and, from there, [2] pulling in that which makes the most sense of all the information and also being careful to embrace [3] that which avoids the many pains of this or that reductio ad absurdum. Atheists of all strips do the Christian’s work for him here, saving the Christian all sorts of time, as they (…Non-Theists of all strips…) typically follow reason and logic and end up within various cousins of solipsism, both hard and soft, which of course is again what the Christian’s metaphysic predicts as that proverbial “Y” in the road between the Divine Mind – a Reductio Ad Deum (…on the one hand…) and Absurdity – a Reductio Ad Absurdum (…on the other hand…) approaches ever more rapidly.

Truth-Finding:

Having arrived in the Divine Mind by starting outside of such and allowing reason and logic to compel us truth-ward, we then discover that the rational terminus of reason’s impossibly extravagant appetite in fact never leaves the elemental substratum of Reason Itself and is therein – in a full and ontic sense – a kind of total rationalism:

“……the concept of being is one of power: the power of actuality, the capacity to affect or to be affected. To be is to act. This definition already implies that, in its fullness, being must also be consciousness, because the highest power to act — and hence the most unconditioned and unconstrained reality of being — is rational mind. Absolute being, therefore, must be absolute mind. Or, in simpler terms, the greater the degree of something’s actuality, the greater the degree of its consciousness, and so infinite actuality is necessarily infinite consciousness. That, at least, is one way of trying to describe another essential logical intuition that recurs in various forms throughout the great theistic metaphysical systems. It is the conviction that in God lies at once the deepest truth of mind and the most universal truth of existence, and that for this reason the world can truly be known by us. Whatever else one might call this vision of things, it is most certainly, in a very real sense, a kind of “total rationalism.” (D.B.H.)

Racing towards the “Y” in the road, we find that, as to Consciousness in God, that is to say, as for the constitutions of “Irreducible and Infinite Consciousness” in what is necessarily nothing less than *GOD* / “Being Itself”, such is, to be sure, another part to this narrative as we are forced thricely into an infinite locus of consciousness each of which by necessity cannot be less than Being in totum.

Consciousness in *GOD* is not and cannot be on ontological par with any contingent consciousness for given what the term *GOD* necessarily entails, the Divine Mind necessarily entails three irreducible and Infinite Loci of that which (…by logical necessity…) cannot be “less than” that which is “Infinite Consciousness”.

And here – in the Divine Mind, in God – in Infinite Consciousness – we must move methodically within the contours of Divine Simplicity. Moving forward then let us recall the opening paragraph’s disclaimer – the opening paragraph’s forewarning – with respect to what is going to be intentionally repetitive syntax. Again, the repetitive frame is used so that at *each* step through our progression we are forced to recall – and include – each claim along the way vis-à-vis one’s proverbial [A] Reductio Ad Deum as opposed to one’s proverbial [B] Reductio Ad Absurdum.

“To speak of God, however, as infinite consciousness, which is identical to infinite being, is to say that in Him the ecstasy of mind is also the perfect satiety of achieved knowledge, of perfect wisdom. God is both the knower and the known, infinite intelligence and infinite intelligibility. This is to say that, in Him, rational appetite is perfectly fulfilled, and consciousness perfectly possesses the end it desires.” (D.B. Hart)

Consciousness in *GOD* forces distinction void of division: It is uncanny that while, say, “Power” or “Goodness” or “Truth” all speak to some contour within Divine Simplicity such do not expressly and immediately force distinct centers of consciousness, whereas, while still within that same landscape, we do eventually come upon the affairs of *GOD* vis-à-vis Infinite Consciousness and, once we arrive “there”, we discover that the Divine Mind necessarily entails three irreducible and Infinite Loci of that which (…by logical necessity…) cannot be less than Infinite Consciousness which – it so happens – cannot be less than “Being In Totum“.

Consciousness in *GOD* finds distinction void of division: The trio of the Infinite Knower (…which in Infinite and Irreducible Consciousness cannot be less than Being in totum) and of the Infinitely Known (…which in Infinite and Irreducible Consciousness cannot be less than Being in totum) and of all Communique/Procession vis-à-vis Logos therein (…which is both *of* infinite consciousness and also *is* infinite consciousness, which cannot be less than Being in totum) carries – compels even – logic and reason into a thoroughly Trinitarian metaphysic.

A brief digression: While this will be explored further a few paragraphs downstream from here, the Self-Explanatory forces the Absolute’s Reference Frame as all such vectors force three distinct progressions, namely that which is by necessity nothing less than [A] Self-Reference – and that which is by necessity therein [B] distinction void of division – and [C] by necessity such distinctions (…plural…) can never be “less than” that which is “Being Itself” as logic forces Infinite Consciousness. One may wish to claim that not all such distinctions void of division expressly and immediately force the Divine Mind, or Infinite Consciousness, however, such trepidation can only remain rational for so long as it turns out that – again on force of logic – three distinct progressions in fact *do* force our hand. It is perhaps peculiar even if unavoidable. End brief digression.

As we pointed out earlier, even Non-Theists will do much of the Christian’s work here as they along with the Christian follow logic and reason into the various cousins of solipsism. From there logic simply, even nonchalantly, forces our hand into either a reductio ad absurdum or else into a reductio ad deum. Diving into “Being Itself” must entail the act of following upstream premises far enough downstream to address the actual question on the table with respect to the trio of [1] “Being Itself” and [2] Brute Fact and [3] the Self-Explanatory.

As we move farther downstream – or upstream depending on one’s approach – the necessary transcendentals are not convertible in any attempt at an “ontic-cul-de-sac”. Why? Because there are no such realities as ontological cul-de-sacs.

Nothing less than Being Itself presents reason with an irreducible substratum within the contours of Infinite Consciousness and it is both uncanny and yet expected that we find in this same Trinitarian metaphysic nothing less than a self-giving diffusiveness of the Ontic-Self in totum which carries reason (…in her proper role as truth-finder…) to the end of reality – into love’s indestructible and timeless reciprocity. All definitions stream from *that* metaphysical wellspring of all ontological possibility such that the Imago Dei itself and Reason itself and the Beautiful itself and the Rational itself are – all – in fact ontologically seamless with what is nothing less than the Moral landscape.

The complete metaphysic compels reason into the inimitable semantics of necessity, into the syntax of gospel, into a timeless and self-giving diffusiveness of the Ontic-Self in totum:

“[The] very action of kenosis is not a new act for God, because God’s eternal being is, in some sense, kenosis – the self-outpouring of the Father in the Son, in the joy of the Spirit. Thus Christ’s incarnation, far from dissembling his eternal nature, exhibits not only his particular proprium as the Son and the splendor of the Father’s likeness, but thereby also the nature of the whole trinitariantaxis. On the cross we see this joyous self-donation sub contrario, certainly, but not in alieno. For God to pour himself out, then, as the man Jesus, is not a venture outside the trinitarian life of indestructible love, but in fact quite the reverse: it is the act by which creation is seized up into the sheer invincible pertinacity of that love, which reaches down to gather us into its triune motion.” (D. B. Hart)

And again:

“This is true in two related and consequent senses: on the one hand, love is not originally a reaction but is the ontological possibility of every ontic action, the one transcendent act, the primordial generosity that is convertible with being itself, the blissful and desiring apatheia that requires no pathos to evoke it, no evil to make it good; and this is so because, on the other hand, God’s infinitely accomplished life of love is that trinitarian movement of his being that is infinitely determinate – as determinacy toward the other – and so an indestructible actuspurus endlessly more dynamic than any mere motion of change could ever be. In him there is neither variableness nor shadow of turning because he is wholly free, wholly God as Father, Son, and Spirit, wholly alive, and wholly love. Even the cross of Christ does not determine the nature of divine love, but rather manifests it, because there is a more original outpouring of God that – without needing to submit itself to the order of sacrifice that builds crosses – always already surpasses every abyss of godforsakenness and pain that sin can impose between the world and God: an outpouring that is in its proper nature indefectible happiness.” (D.B. Hart)

Avoiding Absurdity and Embracing Lucidity – Approaching Home:

There are independent philosophical reasons for landing within the “Divine Mind” and, having arrived “there”, there are still other independent philosophical reasons for landing within an irreducibly triune topography amid the Infinite Knower (…which by logical necessity cannot be less than Being in totum), the Infinitely Known (…which by necessity cannot be less than Being in totum), and irreducible Communique / Procession therein as such relates to Logos (…which is both *of* infinite consciousness and also *is* infinite consciousness, which by logical necessity cannot be less than Being in totum), as neither of the three (by logical necessity) can be “less than” the procession of Being in totum.

That is a fact which necessarily and logically flows from what the term *GOD* entails. [A] is not [B] which is not [C] which is not [A] and each by logical necessity cannot be “less than” The Absolute, or Being In Total. Just as unavoidable, contra various Non-Theistic straw-men, distinction is not division as logic carries us onward and outward:

Distinction is not division as logic compels us thricely into an infinite locus of infinite consciousness whereby we come to our topography:

Mapping Reality:

The map of “Being Itself”, which of course is not the territory, begins to take shape:

[A] is not [B]
[B] is not [C]
[C] is not [A]

Each is Being in totum, each is *GOD*.

Conclusion:

Both [A] Logic and [B] Love’s timeless reciprocity compel reason (…in her proper role as truth-finder….) into a thoroughly Trinitarian metaphysic.

Mind’s Reference Frame:

“…..if reason’s primordial orientation is indeed toward total intelligibility and perfect truth, then it is essentially a kind of ecstasy of the mind toward an end beyond the limits of nature. It is an impossibly extravagant appetite, a longing that can be sated only by a fullness that can never be reached in the world, but that ceaselessly opens up the world to consciousness. To speak of God, however, as infinite consciousness, which is identical to infinite being, is to say that in Him the ecstasy of mind is also the perfect satiety of achieved knowledge, of perfect wisdom. God is both the knower and the known, infinite intelligence and infinite intelligibility. This is to say that, in Him, rational appetite is perfectly fulfilled, and consciousness perfectly possesses the end it desires. And this, of course, is perfect bliss.” (David Bentley Hart – The Experience of God)

We want to be methodical so that at *each* step through our progression we are forced to recall – and include – each claim along the way vis-à-vis one’s proverbial [A] Reductio Ad Deum as opposed to one’s proverbial [B] Reductio Ad Absurdum. And, so, let us repeat a brief item from earlier: Having arrived in the Divine Mind by starting outside of such and allowing reason and logic to compel us truth-ward, we then discover that the rational terminus of reason’s impossibly extravagant appetite in fact never leaves the elemental substratum of Reason Itself and is therein – in a full and ontic sense – a kind of total rationalism:

“……the concept of being is one of power: the power of actuality, the capacity to affect or to be affected. To be is to act. This definition already implies that, in its fullness, being must also be consciousness, because the highest power to act — and hence the most unconditioned and unconstrained reality of being — is rational mind. Absolute being, therefore, must be absolute mind. Or, in simpler terms, the greater the degree of something’s actuality, the greater the degree of its consciousness, and so infinite actuality is necessarily infinite consciousness. That, at least, is one way of trying to describe another essential logical intuition that recurs in various forms throughout the great theistic metaphysical systems. It is the conviction that in God lies at once the deepest truth of mind and the most universal truth of existence, and that for this reason the world can truly be known by us. Whatever else one might call this vision of things, it is most certainly, in a very real sense, a kind of “total rationalism.” (D.B.H.)

While none of this sums to any sort of claim upon any kind of thoroughgoing Idealism, the Divine Mind is inescapable. Within that context of Idealism juxtaposed to Christianity (…and nothing more is implied here…) one can perhaps consider landscapes as discussed in “Idealism and Christian Theology: Idealism and Christianity Volume 1” within its subsection titled, “Necessary processions of idea and action in God“. It seems logic and reason in fact “compel” us into the Divine Mind and that, once there, logic and reason again force our hand – into something irreducibly triune. On sheer force of will I suppose one can reason oneself *out* of a thoroughgoing Trinitarian metaphysic, but, of course, being compelled (…by that attempt…) to embrace an ever widening array of reductions to absurdity, the metaphysic of the Triune *GOD* is – hands down – reason’s bliss. The Christian rationally rejects absurdity, self-negation, contingency, and so on and thereby we find reason spying the proverbial “Y” in the road between a forced Reductio Ad Deum and a forced Reductio Ad Absurdum.

And, if one recalls, reason is, after all, where this whole journey started – out there – far from home – and now – finally – reason as truth-finder has found her delight – that of total rationalism – that of the uniquely triune metaphysical wellspring of all ontological possibility. Reason has found, that is, her Groom. And with that she has found nothing less than Home. One can even begin to see just how it is that we can say that reason has found the ultimate and the self-explanatory.

The Self-Explanatory and Ontic-Closure:

We come upon Mind, and Time, and Reference Frame, and the Absolute’s Reference Frame:

“This is arguably the besetting mistake of all naturalist thinking, as it happens, in practically every sphere. In this context, the assumption at work is that if one could only reduce one’s picture of the original physical conditions of reality to the barest imaginable elements — say, the “quantum foam” and a handful of laws like the law of gravity, which all looks rather nothing-ish (relatively speaking) — then one will have succeeded in getting as near to nothing as makes no difference. In fact, one will be starting no nearer to nonbeing than if one were to begin with an infinitely realized multiverse: the difference from non-being remains infinite in either case. All quantum states are states within an existing quantum system, and all the laws governing that system merely describe its regularities and constraints. Any quantum fluctuation therein that produces, say, a universe is a new state within that system, but not a sudden emergence of reality from nonbeing. Cosmology simply cannot become ontology. The only intellectually consistent course for the metaphysical naturalist is to say that physical reality “just is” and then to leave off there, accepting that this “just is” remains a truth entirely in excess of all physical properties and causes: the single ineradicable “super-natural” fact within which all natural facts are forever contained, but about which we ought not to let ourselves think too much.” (by D.B. Hart, The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss)

The nature of an ultimate self-explanatory principle presses in:

As for Time and Fact and Observer and Reference Frame, we know that time is neither eternal nor absolute (….time is neither the Absolute nor the absolute reference frame nor the Absolute’s Reference Frame.…). The Absolute’s frame of reference cannot even in principle *be* Self-Explanatory unless and until the Absolute is in fact Self-Referencing. We also know by both reason and logic that at the end of all explanatory termini we are forced into either [A] final absurdity or else [B] the Absolute’s reference frame, which must by necessity be Self-Reference, which is a metaphysical absurdity – but for the triune God who meets us in Genesis.

The I AM identity: There is no frame of reference for “Self” but for the fact of “Other”, as the Absolute’s Self-Reference presses in through the eons of the “I AM” traversing history:

….. we are forced to conclude that these are relational qualities and have no meaning in isolation. In other words, in God, qualities of personality can be actualized only if there is an actual, eternal relationship in him prior to, outside of, and without reference to creation. Only in that way would God be a personal being without being dependent on his creation. When Moses asked God for his name, the answer he got was least expected: I AM (Ex. 3:14). This amazing mystery of the name (identity) of God solves a problem that we may not always be aware of: God is his own frame of reference. We have already considered the fact that the infinite cannot be defined with reference to the finite. God, therefore, has to be self-referencing. This would be an absurd proposition but for the fact that, in the being of God, there is a plurality of infinite persons and each can define himself with reference to the other. God can truly be said to be self-existent only because he is the all-personal, all-relational being…” (L. T. Jeyachandran)

It is at this juncture where we begin to come upon the nature of the Self-Explanatory. However, when speaking of the “Absolute”, there can be no “rational reference frame” other than Self-Reference.

That finds two interesting footprints. First, there is “that” or else all “explanation” at all “levels” of “reality” suffer the pains of the absurd vis-à-vis the inexplicable on all fronts as the only other option of “brute fact” comes roaring in. Now, reason in her proper role as truth-finder seeks to embrace – not absurdity – for such is her extinction and forces her non-existence – and instead she chases after lucidity through and through.

“You want to endorse a form of naturalism according to which real explanations are possible at levels of physical reality higher than the level of the fundamental laws of nature, yet where these explanations rest on a bottom level of physical laws that have no explanation at all but are “brute facts.” But this view is, I maintain, incoherent. For if you endorse a regularity view of laws, then you will have no genuine explanations at all anywhere in the system. All of reality, and not just the level of fundamental physical laws, will amount to a “brute fact”……. You maintain in your most recent post that explanations legitimately can and indeed must ultimately trace to an unexplained “brute fact,” and that philosophers who think otherwise have failed to give a convincing account of what it would be for the deepest level of reality to be self-explanatory and thus other than such a “brute fact.” Unsurprisingly, I disagree on both counts. I would say that appeals to “brute facts” are incoherent, and that the nature of an ultimate self-explanatory principle can be made intelligible by reference to notions that are well understood and independently motivated.” (E. Feser)

Ontic closure in Self-Reference, that is to say in the Divine Mind – in the irreducibly triune – in Trinity:

“….God is his own frame of reference. We have already considered the fact that the infinite cannot be defined with reference to the finite. God, therefore, has to be self-referencing. This would be an absurd proposition but for the fact that, in the being of God, there is a plurality of infinite persons and each can define himself with reference to the other. God can truly be said to be self-existent only because he is the all-personal, all-relational being…” (L. T. Jeyachandran)

Reason and logic, and, as it so happens, love’s timeless and self-giving diffusiveness of the Ontic-Self in totum, all compel us into a thoroughly Trinitarian metaphysic.

In the Christian metaphysic reason discovers love’s timeless self-giving as Trinitarian processions await reason at the ends of all vectors such that should reason chase after some other constitution amid the unavoidable “one-another“, should reason chase after some other form or procession, then she would be (…factually…) “contra-reason”, that is to say she would be (…factually…) *un*reasonable. The rational is (…therein…) perfectly or ontologically seamless with the moral. The observation that the rational and the moral are in fact perfectly seamless is another way of expressing both the coherence and the explanatory power of Christian metaphysics.

Paradigmatically speaking, such is a radically different explanatory terminus than we find in any Non-Theism. The Golden Thread of Reciprocity is affirmed by natural theology, is perceived by reason, is seen by Non-Theism, but Non-Theism must foist a metaphysical impossibility in order to claim her given that in that paradigm irreducible self-giving trades on irreducible indifference and the convertibility of the transcendentals is finally illusory. Whereas, in the pursuit of coherent definitions with respect to the fundamental nature of reality it is the Christian metaphysic whereby reason affirms that the “A” and the “Z” of reality in fact carries the rational mind into an ethic of irreducible and self-giving reciprocity – such that it is the case that “GOD” or “Ultimate Reality” is in fact love. An immutable and cruciform love housed within the ceaseless and Self-Giving diffusiveness of the Ontic-Self in totum vis-à-vis Infinite Consciousness logically forces an unavoidable reductio ad deum. Such contours carry reason towards reality’s irreducible substratum within love’s timeless reciprocity amid those uncanny Trinitarian processions housed in Being Itself – housed in the revealed …God who is glorified by sacrificing Himself for creation and not by sacrificing creation for Himself….. (Fischer)

The thoroughly Trinitarian metaphysic illuminates – explains – the root within the pains of our privation while simultaneously illuminating – explaining – not only the express epicenter of intelligibility but also our true good, our final felicity:

The perfection of love necessarily entails the perfection of reason, which itself necessarily entails the perfection of consciousness, which is the perfection of being. We are relational beings and that is true for a reason – as in the Imago Dei, as in Trinity, as in The Good, as in nothing less than God.

End.

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Love, Reason, Reality, And The Golden Thread Of Reciprocity

Love, Reason, Reality, And The Golden Thread of Reciprocity:

The only disclaimer or forewarning is simply that the choice of wording here is going to be intentionally repetitive with respect to just why and how it is that reason (…on the one hand…) and morality (…on the other hand…) either succeed in finding singularity or else fail in finding singularity. The metaphysical wellspring of all ontological possibility reveals – given the Christian’s thoroughly Trinitarian metaphysic – love’s timeless reciprocity and reason’s final felicity in the ontological singularity that is the Trinitarian Life and in fact nothing less than the *singular* metaphysical wellspring of Love and Necessity will do as we press in upon all possible contours here. The topographic map which results with respect to *that* – with respect to Possibility’s express Fountainhead – sums to the singular rational/moral landscape of the triune. The occasionally repetitive syntax is used so that at *each* step through our progression we are forced to recall – and include – each claim along the way.

Reason in her proper role as truth-finder is obligated to chase after the fundamental nature of X, whatever X is. The rational with respect to reason as truth-finder cannot be ontologically seamless with the moral given the No-God paradigm wherein irreducible self-giving trades on irreducible indifference and the convertibility of the transcendentals is finally illusory. Given the No-God paradigm what reason claims to apprehend is (….given the non-convertibility of the transcendentals…) ultimately unable to traverse the ontic-ocean from the good and the beautiful and to the real.

She (…reason…) in her proper role as truth-finder is obligated to chase after what *is*, after *facts* and justifiably so. As such the Non-Theists Hume, (physicist) Sean Carroll, Alex Rosenberg, Michael Ruse, and countless others find no obligation on reason’s part to prefer, chase after, the scratching of one’s finger over the destruction of the world. That is to say that the “morally *un*-reasonable” is, simply, impossible given the No-God paradigm’s appeal to the metaphysically absurd concept of ontological cul-de-sacs wherein irreducible self-giving trades on irreducible indifference and the convertibility of the transcendentals is – at bottom – illusory.

There again we find that in any No-God paradigm what reason claims to apprehend is (given the non-convertibility of the transcendentals) ultimately unable to traverse the ontic-ocean from the good and the beautiful and to the real.

Whereas the Trinitarian processions of love’s timeless self-outpouring find that the rational with respect to reason as truth-finder is in fact ontologically seamless with the moral. Therein (to borrow a phrase from Feser) ….what reason therein apprehends is (given the convertibility of the transcendentals) as good and beautiful as it is real….. The triune God presents us with the timeless diffusiveness of self-giving as such relates to the Ontic-Self in totum which of course presents reason with reality’s irreducible substratum.

Paradigmatically speaking, such is a radically different explanatory terminus than we find in any Non-Theism. The Golden Thread of Reciprocity is affirmed by natural theology, is perceived by reason, is seen by Non-Theism, but Non-Theism must foist a metaphysical impossibility in order to claim her given that in that paradigm irreducible self-giving trades on irreducible indifference and the convertibility of the transcendentals is finally illusory. Whereas, in the pursuit of coherent definitions with respect to the fundamental nature of reality it is the Christian metaphysic whereby reason affirms that the “A” and the “Z” of reality in fact carries the rational mind into an ethic of irreducible and self-giving reciprocity – such that it is the case that “GOD” or “Ultimate Reality” is in fact love. An immutable and cruciform love housed within the ceaseless and Self-Giving diffusiveness of the Ontic-Self in totum vis-à-vis Infinite Consciousness logically forces an unavoidable reductio ad deum. Such contours carry reason towards reality’s irreducible substratum within love’s timeless reciprocity amid those uncanny Trinitarian processions housed in “Being Itself”.

Self-Giving with respect to “Being Itself” forces our hand. The “term” and “definition” with respect to “GOD” thereby referents, in fact, nothing less than the immutable love of the Necessary Being vis-à-vis love’s timeless and self-giving diffusiveness of the Ontic-Self in totum:

“…..the cross of Christ does not determine the nature of divine love, but rather manifests it, because there is a more original outpouring of God that – without needing to submit itself to the order of sacrifice that builds crosses – always already surpasses every abyss of godforsakenness and pain that sin can impose between the world and God: an outpouring that is in its proper nature indefectible happiness….” (D.B. Hart)

That is the proverbial umbrella beneath which all other definitions in fact live and move and have – obtain – their “being”.

Ontological Cul-De-Sacs Sum To Nonsense On Stilts:

Paradigmatically speaking – once again the Christian metaphysic thereby constitutes a radically different explanatory terminus than we find in any Non-Theism and in fact we find – once again that the attempt to “add” to any Non-Theistic paradigm’s irreducible substratum – ad infinitum – attempts a metaphysical absurdity whereby irreducible self-giving trades on irreducible indifference such that the convertibility of the transcendentals which reason apprehends is finally illusory.

“The West’s liberal ideals in a secular/atheist framework are practically mysticism. This idea of a “fundamental human right” in a [Non-Theistic] context is, as Bentham stated, “nonsense on stilts.” ……..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”……” (G.M.)

Humanity’s general consensus on several fundamentals is expected given natural theology. The problem with Non-Theism is that it sees The Golden Thread Of Reciprocity but it cannot connect it to reason’s obligation in her (reason’s) role as truth-finder (….see Oderberg and what he terms the fundamental test or the primary criterion of the moral a few paragraphs down…).

Within any Non-Theistic substratum it is the case that reason, will, appetites, and reality find no irreducible moral nature to chase after, to fulfill, to reason towards. Non-Theistic maps of all kinds lack any such ontic-terminus and are – painfully – therefore eternally open-ended. All Non-Theistic definitions stream – ad infinitum – from a metaphysical bedrock within which reason is found attempting the metaphysical absurdity of irreducible self-giving trading on irreducible indifference and the final sum of that irrationality is nothing less than a kind of ontic-psychosis in that the convertibility of the transcendentals which reason apprehends is finally illusory and ultimately unable to traverse the ontic-ocean from the good and the beautiful and to the real.

Whereas, within the Christian metaphysic it is the aggregation of logical compulsory moves which carries reason (….in her proper roles as truth-finder….) into a thoroughly Trinitarian metaphysic constituting the timeless diffusiveness of self-giving as such relates to the Ontic-Self in totum as nothing less than Being Itself presents reason with an irreducible substratum within the contours of love’s indestructible reciprocity. All definitions stream from *that* metaphysical wellspring of all ontological possibility such that the Imago Dei itself and Reason itself and the Beautiful itself and the Rational itself are – all – in fact ontologically seamless with what is nothing less than the Moral landscape.

Reason as truth finder has every (justified) prerogative to chase after reality *as* reality. Given the non-Theistic paradigm, the rational is (…therein…) perfectly seamless with the (…non…) moral. Enter the “ontic non-entity” of the Non-Theist’s blind-epistemic which he labels “sociopath”. Whereas: Love’s timeless self-giving in and of Trinitarian processions awaits reason at the ends of all vectors (….given the Triune God…) such that should reason chase after some other constitution amid “one-another”, some other form or procession or contour, she would then be (…factually…) contra–reason, or factually *un*reasonable. The irreducible rational is (…therein…) perfectly seamless with the irreducibly moral.

Non-Obligation:

Regarding the pains of Non-Theism’s eternally open ended teleology vis-à-vis “goal(…yes – it is true – as that statement reveals the absurd….), see Oderberg’s fundamental test or primary criterion of the moral a few paragraphs down.

The Non-Theist’s explanatory terminus is eternally open ended. And irreducibly indifferent. And reason knows it which is where the problem is found for the Non-Theistic paradigm given that she (…reason…) has an appetite for facts.

Obligation:

Reason is obligated (…in her fact-role as truth-finder…) to chase after *facts*, after the fundamental nature of X, whatever X is.

Reason presses forward:

The unavoidable result is that while the facts measured in all of the Non-Theist’s various metrics are real, they do not (…cannot…) change the fundamental fact which Hume, Carroll, Rosenberg, Ruse, and a growing tide of younger, more honest, gutsier New Non-Theists eager to get to the point affirm with respect to the fundamental nature of objective truth, the rational, and what is and is not contrary to reason. Any notion of supposed ultimate/cosmic worth of any self or any notion of any reach of any justice inside of a universe devoid of (…ontic…) moral facts, devoid of the triune’s irreducible and fundamental processions constituting love’s timeless self-giving is, simply put, …nonsense on stilts…

That a few Non-Theists hold out and try to disagree with Hume, Carroll, Rosenberg, Ruse, and that growing tide of younger, nervier Non-Theists with respect to the nature of reason and reality is interesting, though the premises and arguments of the hold-outs are not nearly as cogent as the crisp intellectual honesty seen in that bolder current.

Therefore it would be helpful if the hold-outs highlight some of the arguments of Rosenberg, Ruse, Hume, and Carroll in charitable form and then demonstrate where they fall down regarding the fundamental nature of reason and reality. We’d enjoy reading the hold-out’s demonstrations of where those rather bright fellas go off the rails.

That’s enough here as the best and brightest of the Non-Theists have already done the Christian’s work for him.

Hence we need not even introduce the thoroughly Trinitarian metaphysic of the Christian nor love’s timeless reciprocity therein which constitutes reality’s irreducible substratum. Nor the fact that we find reason in her proper role as truth-finder factually obligated to chase after the fundamental nature of X (…which is *always* the case…) where X is the only (…morally…) reasonable option – namely that unique substratum of love’s irreducible nature.

Of course reason is *free* to chase some *other* end, only, then she will have ceased in her (proper) role as truth-finder (contra-reason….) and will then have chased after the factually (…and morally…) *un*-reasonable.

A brief excerpt from Oderberg:

Assuming that the meaning of “good” in morality, at least in its most general aspect, is identical to its meaning outside morality, we must appeal to the fulfilment of appetite in defining the fundamental test or primary criterion of moral behavior. But that cannot be the whole story, since as argued earlier, reason and will must be essentially involved in the test. So I propose that what we end up with is the following formula:

The fundamental test of morality is whether an act is directed by reason to man’s ultimate end.

Now the ultimate end is just another way of talking about the ultimate appetite or essential tendency (perhaps tendencies/appetites in the plural) the fulfilment of which perfects human nature.

To appeal to the ultimate end is, from the ontic point of view, to dismiss the idea that there can be an endless series of appetites, each one such that its fulfilment is at the same time the means to the fulfilment of the next one in the series, where the next one will be broader, more general or all-encompassing. To countenance the thought is effectively to deny that human beings can ever fulfil their natures, that they can ever be just good. Apart from the intolerable hopelessness this would inject into morality, it would involve attributing a kind of infinite nature to a manifestly finite being, which verges on metaphysical absurdity. From the practical point of view, the appeal to an ultimate end is just to endorse Aristotle’s famous doctrine that all practical reasoning must find a terminus.

End excerpt. (From the essay “All for the Good” by David S. Oderberg, which is at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7SKlRTfkUiebWUyV25FRFZ0UWc/view )

Aristotle’s discovery, as opposed to invention, properly orients or aims reason as truth-finder. We say “discovery, not invention” because chronological mapping of epistemological developments through history never can define ontological – metaphysical – ownership of ultimate truths. Hence morality before Sinai – because *God*. Hence morality after Sinai – because *God*. The force of law (….and that includes Sinai…) just isn’t much according to Scripture’s definitions of Moral Excellence. Of course popularity and the day’s latest fashion are all the Non-Theist’s tools will allow him and so he has got to dance to that melody within his paradigm’s continuum of eternally open-ended cascades of cosmic flux.

Whereas, [1] Christianity’s metaphysic of course shows how disharmonious that “culturally normative” Non-Theistic melody truly is and [2] history itself is a good demonstration of that disharmonious-ness. Therefore Christianity, history, and reason all track together in one seamless narrative throughout all of Mankind’s painful peaks/nadirs.

Still More Discovery:

We find in the No-God paradigm (…..wherein irreducible self-giving trades on irreducible indifference and the convertibility of the transcendentals is finally illusory…) that reason, will, appetites, and reality find no irreducible moral contours to chase after, to fulfill, to reason towards. Non-Theistic maps of all kinds lack any such ontic-terminus and are – painfully – therefore once again found to be eternally open-ended. Hume rightly observed that, given such tools, it is not and in fact cannot be contrary to reason (….in her proper role as truth-finder….) to prefer the destruction of the whole world over the scratching of one’s finger. Hume was right after all. And Carroll, Ruse, and Rosenberg with him.

Again: It would be helpful if the proverbial Non-Theistic hold-outs highlight some of the arguments of Rosenberg, Ruse, Hume, and Carroll in charitable form and then demonstrate where they fall down regarding the fundamental nature of reason and reality.

The Golden Thread of Reciprocity:

Non-Theism’s appeals to mutable perfection (….”god”….) seems odd. As does Non-Theism’s eternally open-ended “goal” (…”good”…). Precision is a priority here and so “odd” is not the right word. A better term would be either [1] metaphysical impossibility or perhaps [2] absurdity. As we move farther downstream – or upstream depending on one’s approach – the necessary transcendentals which the Non-Theist finds himself in need of are not convertible in his attempt at an “ontic-cul-de-sac”. Why? Because there are no such realities as ontological cul-de-sacs. In various fictions perhaps there are but not in the real word as we actually find it, such “ontology” is – being committed to this or that cul-de-sac – finally illusory.

The eternally open ended teleology of Non-Theism is forever just a few steps removed from successfully obligating reason (…in her fact-role of truth-finder…) should she disagree with Goal-X. Non-Theism has not overcome Hume’s (…and so on…) rational refutation of the morally *un*reasonable. Reason finds no obligation to chase after the illusory and therein “…useful but not true…” is all that “emerges”. Why? Because, given the nature of cul-de-sacs, that is all that *can* emerge with respect to reality’s irreducible substratum. Of course, even there the employment of the term “useful” again begs the question but, as that is all Non-Theism has to work with, there’s no need to press the point.

Paradigmatically speaking, such is a radically different explanatory terminus than we find in the Christian’s metaphysic. The Golden Thread of Reciprocity is affirmed by natural theology, is perceived by reason, is seen by Non-Theism, but Non-Theism must foist a metaphysical impossibility as irreducible self-giving trades on irreducible indifference and the convertibility of the transcendentals is finally illusory.

Reason is obligated (…in her fact-role as truth-finder…) to chase after *facts*, after the fundamental nature of X, whatever X is.

Within the Christian metaphysic it is the aggregation of logically compulsory moves which carries reason (….in her proper roles as truth-finder….) into a thoroughly Trinitarian metaphysic constituting the timeless diffusiveness of self-giving as such relates to the Ontic-Self in totum as nothing less than Being Itself presents reason with an irreducible substratum within the contours of love’s indestructible reciprocity. All definitions stream from *that* metaphysical wellspring of all ontological possibility such that the Imago Dei itself and Reason itself and the Beautiful itself and the Rational itself are – all – in fact ontologically seamless with what is nothing less than the Moral landscape.

The Irreducibly Objective Moral Ontology:

Just as it is necessarily true that “Being Itself” cannot be “just a little bit less” than infinite with respect to God ←→ Miracles (…as in “a bit too much” of GOD© or as in “not quite enough” of GOD©…), in the same way it is necessarily true that “Being Itself” cannot be “just a little bit less” than irreducible objectivity.

The metaphysical fountainhead of all possibility that just is reality’s irreducible substratum ultimately forces all definitions and, for painfully obvious reasons, the rational with respect to reason as truth-finder cannot be ontologically seamless with the moral given the No-God paradigm wherein irreducible self-giving trades on irreducible indifference and the convertibility of the transcendentals is finally illusory. Given the No-God paradigm what reason claims to apprehend is (….given the non-convertibility of the transcendentals…) ultimately unable to traverse the ontic-ocean from the good and the beautiful and to the real.

Whereas, there is a metaphysic which is far more robust and lucid which is found housing not only far more explanatory power but which is also found successfully traversing the vast Oceans of Reason Itself without ever coming upon that fateful Edge of Non-Theism’s Flat World there at the End of Reason Itself. Therein the annihilation of reason follows hard on the heels of love’s annihilation as we press in, and that just won’t do.

Whereas, the rational mind seeks to prize and retain reason itself, even as the rational mind seeks to prize and retain logic itself, even as the rational mind seeks to prize and retain love itself, and – just the same – the rational mind finds – discovers – all such currents streaming from that metaphysical fountainhead of all possibility that just is reality’s irreducible substratum. As it turns out, a thoroughly Trinitarian metaphysic emerges.

Moving Towards A Necessary Ontological Singularity:

Reason’s obligation – in her proper role as truth-finder – is to chase after the fundamental nature of X – whatever X may be – and that directly relates to this or that paradigm and whether or not, in fact, the irreducibly rational is ontologically seamless with the irreducibly moral.

Any convergence of vectors in a metaphysical epicenter or fountainhead of irreducible Self-Giving vis-a-vis the Ontic-Self in totum reveals that the irreducibly rational is ontologically seamless with the irreducibly moral. There we will discover reason’s obligation in her proper role as truth-finder. For clarity: Reason is not obligated to chase after the illusory “qua” Truth. Why? Simply because of the fact that the metaphysical absurdity of ontological cul-de-sacs just won’t do when what is necessary and sufficient sums to reality’s ontological continuum. Self-Giving with respect to “Being Itself” forces our hand. The “term” / “definition” with respect to “GOD” / “Being Itself” thereby referents nothing less than the immutable love of the Necessary Being vis-à-vis love’s timeless and self-giving diffusiveness of the Ontic-Self in totum.

“…..the cross of Christ does not determine the nature of divine love, but rather manifests it, because there is a more original outpouring of God that – without needing to submit itself to the order of sacrifice that builds crosses – always already surpasses every abyss of godforsakenness and pain that sin can impose between the world and God: an outpouring that is in its proper nature indefectible happiness….” (D.B. Hart)

That is the proverbial umbrella beneath which all other definitions in fact live and move and have – obtain – their “being”. In the Christian’s thoroughly Trinitarian metaphysic it is the case that the metaphysical wellspring of all ontological possibility reveals love’s timeless reciprocity and reason’s final felicity in an ontological singularity. Nothing less than the *singular* metaphysical wellspring of Love
and Necessity
will do as we press in upon all possible contours here and the topographic map of that very Wellspring just is Meta-Christianity.

The *Why* of Morality – The *Reason* of Morality:

The Objectively Moral comes with and in and by the Objectively Rational, through the seamless singularity of The-True and The-Good, that is to say, through the seamless singularity of The-Rational and The-Moral.

As in:

Reason’s lack of any obligation to chase after the illusory “qua” Truth as per Hume stands intact given any Non-Theistic paradigm. That tends to be an arena which a large percentage of our Non-Theist friends are too timid to enter into given the fact that the phrase “morally un-reasonable” sums to a metaphysical absurdity.

Convertibility: We begin to discover just why it is the case that the rational with respect to reason as truth-finder cannot be ontologically seamless with the moral given the No-God paradigm wherein irreducible self-giving trades on irreducible indifference and the convertibility of the transcendentals is finally illusory. Given the No-God paradigm what reason claims to apprehend there in that golden thread of reciprocity is (….given the non-convertibility of the transcendentals…) ultimately unable to traverse the ontic-ocean from the good and the beautiful and to the real.

The irreducible substratum of love’s timeless Self-Giving in and by and through those uncanny Trinitarian processions finds the The Always and The Already compelling the convertibility of the transcendentals even as it is there alone where we find that the irreducibly Moral is in fact ontologically seamless with the irreducibly Rational. All such contours relate to Reason herself in her proper role as truth-finder and her obligation to chase after The True which in and by and through the convertibility of the transcendentals is to chase after The Good.

The “why-of-morality” is found in the necessarily rational, in reality’s irreducible substratum, in that which sums to nothing less than that uncanny metaphysical singularity wherein The-Rational is ontologically seamless with The-Moral. Hume gets it right and observes that the Rational itself, that Reason herself, finds no necessary amalgamation with any claim of Moral, of Good, and thereby rationally prefers any goal to any other goal as there cannot be, even in principle, the morally unreasonable. For clarity once again: Nothing less than the *singular* metaphysical wellspring of Love and Necessity will do as we press in upon all possible contours here and the topographic map of that very Wellspring just is Meta-Christianity. The red herring so often injected here by our Non-Theist friends is “….but disagreement exists…!!” Rather, the point is the fact that we believe that some things really are right/good and some things really are wrong/bad a – contra Hume, as in:

“-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 choose 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.” (Hume Treatise of Human Nature 2.3.3.6)

An Observation on Monism, Dualism, and Moral metrics:

Granting Monism or Dualism to the Non-Theist is easy enough. Consider it done.

We observe, then, that our Non-Theist friends have *not*, with said grant, managed to fund the problem of closing any moral loop. In other words, short of “Love and Necessity” in singularity we still lack the means to close any moral loop as at some ontological seam somewhere any such paradigm will – finally – do to the Self and to Love and thereby to The Good what Pantheism in fact does to them. The narrative of love and of necessity in all such paradigms is one where we find two X’s which are forever disparate as the two fail to precede, define, and outdistance all other lines in and by and through their own metaphysical singularity/unicity.

It is catastrophic. Love will lack the Necessary, or, the Necessary will lack Love. The rational mind demands lucidity through and through and we find that Necessity void of love’s necessary content arrives on scene at some ontological seam somewhere and such lovelessness just won’t do.

We error to assume the whole of morality is a thorough-going intentionality. It isn’t.

Intention, even it emerges, just won’t do the work of obligating reason to chase after love’s topography. Hume stands undefeated in all such granting-of-wishes as “The Good” presses in as to what reason is and is not obligated to chase after for reason’s role is Truth and should the end of Truth fail to land in the lap of Self-Giving – Full Stop (….we’ll leave it to folks to find the necessary contents of love’s “Self-Giving” in their Necessary X’s rather than their Contingent X’s….) – then – again for obvious reasons – Hume stands undefeated.

That said, many Non-Theists claim all sorts of things about their mathematical models and what they can account for, but there’s been no one so far who successfully traverses that ocean short of equivocating somewhere between “upstream” and “downstream” in a logical impossibility aimed at inventing a kind of ontological cul-de-sac. Sean Carroll’s syntax roles on quite strong in his Poetic Naturalism only to gently slip into the illusory syntax of useful-but-not-true.

Metaphysical Armistice:

All such Non-Theistic paradigms finally or cosmically leave us within what just is a metaphysical armistice amid eternally colliding ontological equals and thereby we’ve no means by which to find any (ontic) moral *distinction*. “Being” is conceived of as ….a plain upon which forces of meaning and meaninglessness converge in endless war; according to either, being is known in its oppositions, and oppositions must be overcome or affirmed, but in either case as violence….

David Bentley Hart describes such views and notes that – on simplicity – on beauty – on goodness – it is not “Totality”, nor is it “Chaos”, nor is it distinction achieved only by violence among converging ontological equals, but rather it is the compositions of the triune where all vectors of being ultimately converge. Nietzsche prophesied correctly: what now always lies ahead is a choice between Dionysus (who is also Apollo) and the Crucified: between, that is, the tragic splendor of totality and the inexhaustible beauty of an infinite love.

His book, “The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth” in part explores such contours. A brief excerpt:

Quote:

Within Christian theology there is a thought – a story – of the infinite that is also the thought – the story – of beauty; for pagan philosophy and culture, such a confluence of themes was ultimately unthinkable. Even Plotinian Neoplatonism, which brought the Platonic project to its most delightful completion by imagining infinity as an attribute of the One, was nonetheless compelled to imagine the beauty of form as finally subordinate to a formless and abstract simplicity, devoid of internal relation, diminished by reduction to particularity, polluted by contact with matter’s “absolute evil”; nor could later Neoplatonism very comfortably allow that the One was also infinite being, but typically placed being only in the second moment of emanation, not only because the One, if it were also Being, would constitute a bifid form, but because being is always in some sense contaminated by or open to becoming, to movement, and thus is, even in the very splendor of its overflow, also a kind of original contagion, beginning as an almost organic ferment in the noetic realm and ending in the death of matter.

Christian thought – whose infinite is triune, whose God became incarnate, and whose account of salvation promises not liberation from, but glorification of, material creation – can never separate the formal particularity of beauty from the infinite it announces, and so tells the tale of being in a way that will forever be a scandal to the Greeks. For their parts, classical “metaphysics” [rather than rigorous metaphysics] and postmodernism belong to the same story; each, implying or repeating the other, conceives being as a plain upon which forces of meaning and meaninglessness converge in endless war; according to either, being is known in its oppositions, and oppositions must be overcome or affirmed, but in either case as violence: amid the strife of images and the flow of simulacra, shining form appears always only as an abeyance of death, fragile before the convulsions of chaos, and engulfed in fate. There is a specular infinity in mutually defining opposites: Parmenides and Heracleitos gaze into one another’s eyes, and the story of being springs up between them; just as two mirrors set before one another their depths indefinitely, repeating an opposition that recedes forever along an illusory corridor without end, seeming to span all horizons and contain all things, the dialectic of Apollo and Dionysus oscillates without resolution between endless repetitions of the same emptiness, the same play of reflection and inversion. But the true infinite lies outside and all about this enclosed universe of strife and shadows; it shows itself as beauty and as light: not totality, nor again chaos, but the music of a triune God. Nietzsche prophesied correctly: what now always lies ahead is a choice between Dionysus (who is also Apollo) and the Crucified: between, that is, the tragic splendor of totality and the inexhaustible beauty of an infinite love.

End quote.

Non-Theistic means and ends (….be they non-theistic evolution or any other landscape….) lands in the eternally-open-ended and therefore the syntax of goal/closure is unintelligible as that same eternally open-ended landscape finally void of Being vis-à-vis Self-Giving in fact built *all* epigenetic/genetic memes – both religious and non-religious – Hard Stop. Every permutation. Every combination. The Net Sum: metaphysical armistice – eternally colliding ontological equals – Hard Stop.

All such Non-Theistic paradigms finally or cosmically leave us within what just is a metaphysical armistice amid eternally colliding ontological equals and thereby we’ve no means by which to find irreducible, ontic, moral *distinction*. “Being” is conceived of as ….a plain upon which forces of meaning and meaninglessness converge in endless war; according to either, being is known in its oppositions, and oppositions must be overcome or affirmed, but in either case as violence….

Whereas, in the Christian metaphysic we discover factual – metaphysically necessary – differences between The Good and various deficiencies thereof even as we discover such nuances as, say, the fact that to whom nothing is given, nothing is required, to whom little is given little is asked, to whom much is given much is required, and that, say, forgiveness is tied into not-knowing. All of that and far more which continues to arrive on scene is far more coherent than what Non-Theism brings to the table here.

A Second Observation on Monism, Dualism, and Moral Metrics:

Locating the irreducibly objective moral fact is not complicated when one does not have to try to find a pretend line in the sand where there is in fact no line to find. There’s a reason morality precedes Sinai just as there is a reason morality outdistances Sinai – and – should our Non-Theist friends embrace that unmistakable truth of Scripture they will find that, then, that same reason doing real, actual “ontic-work” throughout the rest of reality’s metanarrative as well.

With respect to the Non-Theist’s “re-defining” of “Being Itself / GOD” into something akin to “a subjective thought” or into something akin to “a thought floating in space” as opposed to what the term actually referents vis-à-vis the irreducibly objective reality of nothing less than Being Itself, and with respect to [A] monism vs. [B] dualism, it becomes apparent that the factually objective finds no complete explanation of all things Adamic in the trails and footprints of particle cascades. Even if we assume a Theistic Monism that is the case for there too what is in those footprints fails to provide a lucid stopping point. That is to say that even in Monism – if God – then also there will always come that seam at which some contour within us or of us travels beyond us in order to find closure. Not that we affirm Monism, but, rather, that is only mentioned to point out that our Non-Theist friends sometimes assume that their own Non-Theistic brand of Monism can provide something other than that finally illusory “useful but not true” which finds its way into the syntax of “reality” (…on the one hand…) and “reason” in her role as truth-finder (…on the other hand…) vis-à-vis, say, Sean Carroll’s Poetic Naturalism or into, say, the moral termini of Hume with whom Carroll agrees as we juxtapose them here:

“The lack of an ultimate objective scientific grounding for morality can be worrisome. It implies that people with whom we have moral disagreements—whether it’s […name any evil player…] or schoolyard bullies who beat up smaller children — aren’t wrong in the same sense that it’s wrong to deny Darwinian evolution or the expansion of the universe….But that’s how the world is…….. Hume was right. We have no objective guidance on how to distinguish right from wrong: not from God, not from nature, not from the pure force of reason itself….Morality exists only insofar as we make it so, and other people might not pass judgments in the same way we do…..” (S. Carroll)

….juxtaposed with……

“– 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 choose 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.” (Hume, Treatise of Human Nature 2.3.3.6)

First, note Carroll’s unavoidable re-defining of what “it” “is” which the term *GOD* in fact referents (…in the Christian metaphysic that is…), and, secondly, note that both Carroll and Hume agree with the Christian in concluding this: our Non-Theist friends who sometimes assume that their own Non-Theistic brand of Monism can provide closure with respect to moral ontology are in fact mistaken. If they wish to go down that road than perhaps Spinoza’s Pantheism or the Hindu’s Pantheism awaits them and, even there, outreaches them, outdistances them. But let’s move on to the Christian’s Trinitarian metaphysic:

Irreducibly Objective Moral Metrics:

The first metric just is the last metric and such just is immutable love as that which reason apprehends is – given the convertibility of the transcendentals – actually or factually real. Love’s timeless reciprocity carries us into those uncanny Trinitarian processions which in fact are reality’s irreducible substratum there amid Self/Other – what D.B. Hart somewhere terms that “…eternal ‘one-another’…“. We need not be concerned about Privation for in the Triune God it is the case that the Self is both The-Good and The-Whole such that the term “Hate” is not necessary for that move of Privation within the Trinitarian Life as the I AM traverses both history and consciousness.

Only the Trinity solves that dilemma with respect to love’s perfectly free and volitional contours amid Self/Other (…on the one hand…) and that which is Necessary (…on the other hand…). No other metaphysics solves that problem. It is – again – uncanny that Privation is not only necessary in the Trinitarian Life but, also, it is necessarily the case that the term “Hate” cannot be ascribed to Intra-Trinitarian Privation given that that term is referencing “Good-Minus-Some-Thing” and – obviously – to ascribe such to the seamlessness of Divine Simplicity (…on the one hand…) and/or to the Christian’s Triune God (…on the other hand…) sums to ascribing roundness to squares or sound to colors. Nothing less than the singular wellspring of Love and Necessity will do and that is precisely where the Christian metaphysic finds both its A and its Z as the collocation of reason, logic, and love carry us into a thoroughly Trinitarian metaphysic.

End.

Postscript:

Perhaps a few references can be found at [1] http://www.str.org/node/42523#.WR8ycGgrJPY which is STR’s “How to Make the Case for Objective Moral Truth”, and at [2] http://christianapologeticsalliance.com/2017/01/18/god-is-necessary-not-necessary-for-morality/ which is titled, “God Is Necessary & Not Necessary For Morality?!”

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Atheism: The World is Flat – The None, the Non-, the Non-Theist

The World is Flat – The “None”, the “Non-“, the Non-Theist

On the term Atheist and its definition, the report of “a lack of evidence” is fairly accurate on the more common definitions in general. Interestingly, what the word Atheism in fact referents has become so diversified and generalized that it has lost its ability to be helpful in any reliable fashion. A simple example: it has drifted so far afield that (some) Buddhists claim they are not “Atheists” because they are “spiritually minded”.

Entire discussions on the utility and meaning of the term Atheist are not uncommon and for good reason. If one has a discussion as to why the term “Non-Theism” is of greater utility than the term “A-Theism” then one can certainly point out where such a discussion gets it wrong or gets it right, but the discussion itself is always illuminating.

Regarding the “None”, the “Non-“, the Non-Theist…… and why it is a superior term to “A-” (Atheist) etc. with respect to precision as to what one actually does affirm, that carries over into the fallacious nature of the claim about one’s own belief-state in the statement, “…..my claim of Not-Your-God is “nothing-but” non-belief….” which our Non-Theist friends so often claim.

That’s why “Non-Theist” is more precise as it speaks not to a person’s (an atheist’s) self-report of insufficient evidence but rather it speaks to his actual belief-state, to what he affirms, to what he in fact likes, to what he gives intellectual assent to, and, thereby, to what every possible metaphysic available to him necessarily lacks within its own frame.

That brings us to the following three forms of what is in fact one common claim:

[1] “One God further than you…”

[2] “One less God than you….”

[3] “One fewer Gods/gods than you…”

If you are not familiar with it, an introduction can be found in a discussion of the One God Further Objection. Also, fundamental flaws in the “One Fewer Gods / One Less God / One God Further” line of reasoning are briefly looked at in the comments [1] Part 1 http://disq.us/p/1gxarix and [2] Part 2 http://disq.us/p/1h06j3a (…depending on browser variables links to specific comments may take a few seconds to open…)

Whether or not the “Non-” specifically claims and/or dives into Panpsychism, Idealism, Buddhism, Naturalism, Materialism, Immaterialism, and so on does not change the fact that the Non [1] has his respective explanatory terminus and [2] said terminus *is* one’s respective irreducible substratum from which all definitions necessarily stream and [3] at some ontological seam somewhere one’s claims upon the fundamental nature of reality or of being will either trade away or else land within the Necessary, the Immutable, the Irreducible, the Self-Explanatory (….contra the Contingent, the Mutable, the Reducible, the Brute Fact…).

Nowhere does this press upon us more relentlessly than in the elemental and irreducible processions constituting Love and Logic, or Reciprocity and Reason. Therein the “Non-” becomes manifestly infinite. Therein (any) one’s metaphysical wellspring of all ontological possibility compels either closure or else insolvency.

The nature of the question here has significant overlap with the “One Fewer God” or “One Less God” challenge often foisted as a challenge against the Christian, or more precisely as a claim which the Non-Theist makes with respect to his own belief-state. The core of that is obviously fallacious given the fact that the doxastic experience is not – and cannot be – a vacuum void of belief and given the fact that all of our own upstream beliefs give life to all of our downstream claims upon what counts as rational inquiry and what counts as rational metrics. Therein everyone has his or her explanatory terminus:

“The reason is that for the classical theist, whatever else we mean by “God,” we certainly mean by that label to name the ultimate source, cause, or explanation of things. Properly to understand classical theism, the hostile atheist reader might even find it useful to put the word “God” out of his mind for the moment — given all the irrelevant associations the word might lead him to read into the present discussion — and just think instead of “the ultimate source of things.” (E. Feser)

The following is perhaps also helpful for context:

“Actually it is quite easy to reject atheism because atheism is the rejection of a certain conceptualization or definition of the term God. Monotheism in the Abrahamic tradition conceptualizes God as the one source of all that exists. To claim that all that exists has no source or cause is simply to deny reality, most particularly, to deny science itself. Atheists can’t have it both ways: to deny that there is an explanation through science for all that exists and to deny that what we monotheists give the name God to as the source of all that exists Himself/itself exists. Atheism is inherently illogical and inconsistent.” (by J.Black)

Preliminaries:

Description isn’t explanation. Cosmology is not, and cannot “become”, ontology just as physics is not, and cannot “become”, ontology. The contours of the “Fallacy of Composition” press in even as the irreducible contours of “Being Itself” press in as the only contours which Non-Theism ultimately finds are those of “Brute Fact”. Finally, in the end, the syntax of “useful but not true” unmasks the illusory and the absurd at all “levels” of reality and – thereby – assumes ownership of all claim-making by all claim-makers.

None of this is about missing knowledge of physical systems. All of this is about what granting all knowledge of all physical systems does not and cannot even in principle grant to any Non-Theistic paradigm.

Non-Theists too often fail to realize just what “Brute Fact” necessarily forces upon all of their claim-making, which, of course, includes all slices of “reality” which we think of as the physical sciences. They mistake Brute Fact for “…we’ve not figured it out yet, and maybe we never will….”, as in, they equate it with merely one more vector in a series of problems vis-à-vis gaps – and the God of Gaps fallacy typically comes roaring in there. It’s a common error. The Non-Theist is guilty thereby of an argument which is itself based on GAP and not on logic, reason, sound metaphysics, and the testimony of physical systems – as irony emerges. What is needed instead is the knowledge of physical systems in the context of the ultimate self-explanatory principle, such as [1] http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2013/10/why-is-there-anything-at-all-its-simple.html and also [2] http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2016/02/parfit-on-brute-facts.html and also [3] http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2014/03/an-exchange-with-keith-parsons-part-iv.html begin to discuss.

With respect to our belief-states:

What misses the point with respect to the question on the table is the claim by Non-Theists that it does not matter if they do or do not have beliefs about reality’s ultimate source because either way they don’t think that “it” is “God/god”.

None of this is new information. We all have beliefs about reality which inform us on how best to inquire about reality. Beliefs about reality drive our modes of inquiry with respect to reality. According to some, this or that cousin of physicalism gives us the most exhaustive explanatory accounting of reality, while according to others that is hardly the case. Offshoots or products of that lead into conflations of the descriptive for the explanatory, and into the nature of brute facts and the nature of the self-explanatory, and into several other downstream consequences of those initial, upstream beliefs. If we claim we have no such beliefs, then we may want to research the topic of the “doxastic experience”.

The nature of how our beliefs about reality impact our inquiry is an interesting slice of the proverbial pie that is the doxastic experience. Removing the term “god” and/or “God” and replacing it with “reality” or “reality’s rock-bottom” and so on clears out some of the clutter and helps us focus on that interface of belief/inquiry.

Several initial, upstream beliefs held by Non-Theists compel them into some rather unfortunate downstream consequences. The intellectual price tag some are willing to pay becomes evident as they trade away logical lucidity for this or that (…ultimately…) self-negating – or illusory – possibility.

The proverbial reductio ad absurdum finds it way in through the likes of Brute Fact and through the likes of the ultimately illusory bedrock of the “….useful but not true….” syntax of navigations akin to Poetic Naturalism, and through various other examples of those downstream consequences. The ultimately self-explanatory is (…obviously…) juxtaposed to those sorts of choices. As to how to proceed, the physical sciences may or may not be the only rational mode of inquiry with respect to reality’s “rock-bottom”.

Most Non-Theists and Theists who are well published come to the end of the physical sciences and reach beyond those X’s. The proverbial “Y” in the road pretty much always carries us into [A] Brute Facts or else [B] the Self-Explanatory.

The “self-explanatory” is interesting. The “Absolute’s” reference frame cannot be defined in terms of the finite and so cannot land in anything other than Self-Reference. A few insightful theologians have followed that logically compelled premise and on several intriguing levels it begins to force X’s which have overlap with specifically Trinitarian premises.

Regardless of where our line of inquiry takes us we find the Non-Theist’s and the Theist’s initial, upstream beliefs about the nature of reality fully in-play, driving their respective downstream claim-making as to just what counts as rational inquiry, as to just what counts as rational metrics. With respect to that word “regardless”, Non-Theists too often attempt to claim immunity for their own belief-state and we see this best exemplified or demonstrated in the affairs of their “one-less-god-than-you” claim of, “….my claim of Not-Your-X is “nothing-but” non-belief….”

Non-Theists want to claim immunity and therefore want to claim that some sort of magical (…inexplicable…) or non-porous barrier between those interfaces exists – vis-à-vis their own belief-state. It’s fine if they want to claim, and believe, that such a thing exists. That claim itself (…of immunity…) is another interesting occurrence (…in this series of observations…). That is to say that that claim itself (…of immunity…) is another interesting belief – itself the downstream product of a long series of upstream beliefs about reality.

Reality’s continuum ruins claims of immunity. There are consequences for trading away lucidity in favor of claiming – gaining – the Brute Fact option. That move sets all lower levels as the inexplicable and that is *not* an agnostic claim *nor* a claim that we are simply limited by our tools. Then, from there, the consequences on all claim-making moves which take place in all distal locations which stream from that metaphysical fountainhead — all downstream consequences — suffer an intellectual price tag. Non-Theists in general fail to account for that continuum. Now, that continuum and those downstream consequences are fine if Non-Theists want to believe in those and in their claim-making, however, it is the upstream beliefs about reality which lead Non-Theists into those unfortunate tar pits which are of interest here with respect to the fallacious nature of the Non-Theist’s claim of “….my claim of Not-Your-X is “nothing-but” non-belief….”

With respect to that continuum, the Non-Theist’s claim-making-move to assert and/or argue that such a magical (…inexplicable…) or non-porous barrier between upstream beliefs and downstream claim-making-moves actually exists (….presumably within that continuum….) is in part motivated by the Non-Theist’s desire – want – to claim that his claim-making is constituted of “nothing-but” the stuff of “no-beliefs” with respect to reality. Observational reality therein seems to affirm that Non-Theists want to claim immunity and therefore want to claim that some sort of magical (….inexplicable….) or non-porous barrier between those interfaces exists. Again, it’s fine if they want to claim, and believe, that such a thing exists. That claim itself (…of immunity…) is another interesting occurrence (…in this series of observations…). That is to say that that claim itself (…of immunity…) is another interesting belief – itself the downstream product of a long series of upstream beliefs about reality.

The World is Flat:

The growing tide of younger, bolder Non-Theists are eager to deconstruct, eager to get to the point, and they’re not afraid to let go of yesteryear’s brand of Atheism’s muddied and hedge-filled attempts to retain necessary transcendentals. “Ultimately absurd? Sure. So what? It’s enough to get by on…..” as the likes of, say, Sean Carroll’s Poetic Naturalism and other such T.O.E.’s run to the edge of reality – truly believing that reality is in fact flat – such that they truly believe they have found reality’s edge – and truly believing there are no catastrophic consequences to taking the proverbial ship over the Flat-World’s edge where lucidity in fact ends as they race towards reality’s epicenter with respect to that pesky trio of “Being Itself” and Brute Fact and the Self-Explanatory. “But it’s enough to get by on!” and various forms of “Sure, it’s useful but not true! So what?” end all such polemics against reason’s demands for lucidity through and through. For a bit more context see http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2013/10/why-is-there-anything-at-all-its-simple.html as to “Why Is There Anything At All? It’s Simple”.

Regarding the Flat World, the Non-Theist must not react too quick in his attempt to deny that he in fact does affirm such a world. The edge of the world just is the end of lucidity and such finds the illusory within the useful-but-not-true. That growing tide has displaced the timid Non-Theists of yesteryear who still hold on to their bizarre attempts at ontological cul-de-sacs, while the younger, bolder brand is far more eager to get to the point. Now, of course we don’t know the end of all physical systems and if the Non-Theist claims his agnosticism with respect to such systems, well then all that we can is that his move to agree with Christianity regarding physical systems is fine.

The Non-Theist’s World is not a Flat World “only because” we do not understand all of reality with respect to the physical sciences *nor* is it “only because” we do not understand all of reality with respect to all that lies beyond the metrics of the physical sciences. For in fact the Christian actually claims that there is that which awaits ahead – up over the horizon – which Scripture tells us is beyond all that we can ask or think. Hence the Non-Theist’s attempt to address the question on the table by employing his appeal to his belief-state being agnostic with respect to the ends of the physical sciences and/or all which awaits us beyond physical metrics is evidence that he does not understand the nature of the problem he thinks he is – but is not – addressing.

The “Flat World” is not Flat on Non-Theism because we do not understand all of reality, but, rather, it is the Non-Theist’s conflation of [A] that gap in knowledge for [B] an inexplicable intellectual right to [irrationally] embrace the absurd and reject logic and lucidity.

Non-Theists do the Christian’s work for us here as they follow logic and reason into the various cousins of solipsism. From there logic forces our hand into either a reductio ad absurdum or else into a reductio ad deum. Diving into “Being Itself”, which is the question on the table, is too often avoided by too many Non-Theists as, based on standard replies, such discussions don’t follow upstream premises far enough downstream to address the actual question on the table with respect to the trio of [1] “Being Itself” and [2] Brute Fact and [3] the Self-Explanatory.

The Edge of the Non-Theist’s Flat World just is the end of lucidity and such finds the illusory within the useful-but-not-true steering the ship. Not through this or that “layer”, but in fact through and through. It’s all about layers. Too often our Non-Theist friends talk as if a gap in knowledge is the point. It isn’t. The point is quite simple and it is the Non-Theist’s Edge there at the end of lucidity such that his complaint turns on the subtle but unavoidable premise that he has a reality in mind that is beyond mind, beyond lucidity, and beyond logic. In their appeal to their belief-state and this or that layer of agnosticism in their attempts to deny that they do in fact affirm that the world is flat, they are already making one category error with respect to the term Reality and the term Edge. Often they do not recognize that and actually think – half way through these sorts of discussions – that the goal posts have changed, but that merely implies that they’ve not begun to understand the Christian’s metaphysic. Much less address its premises. Non-Theism’s logical progressions into the trio of [1] “Being Itself” and [2] Brute Fact and [3] the Self-Explanatory just is the T.O.E. (….Theory Of Everything…) which affirms that The World Is Flat.

Before going further, a brief comment on love:

We see that same “Non-” pressing in upon love and empathy (…it must be for the World is, the “Non-” tells us, truly Flat…) as irreducible indifference is traded on in the Non-Theist’s polemical sonnets [1] against Theism and [2] in defense of love and empathy. The rational with respect to reason as truth-finder cannot be ontologically seamless with the moral given the No-God paradigm wherein irreducible self-giving trades on irreducible indifference and the convertibility of the transcendentals is finally illusory. Given the No-God paradigm what reason claims to apprehend is (….given the non-convertibility of the transcendentals…) ultimately unable to traverse the ontic-ocean from the good and the beautiful and to the real. She (reason) in her proper role as truth-finder is obligated to chase after what *is*, after *facts* and justifiably so. As such the Non-Theists Hume, (physicist) Sean Carroll, Alex Rosenberg, Michael Ruse, and countless others find no obligation on reason’s part to prefer, chase after, the scratching of one’s finger over the destruction of the world. That is to say that the “morally *un*-reasonable” is, simply, impossible given the No-God paradigm wherein irreducible self-giving trades on irreducible indifference and the convertibility of the transcendentals is finally illusory.

Whereas the Trinitarian processions of love’s timeless self-outpouring find that the rational with respect to reason as truth-finder is in fact ontologically seamless with the moral. Therein (to borrow a phrase from E. Feser) “….what reason therein apprehends is (given the convertibility of the transcendentals) as good and beautiful as it is real….”. The thoroughly Trinitarian metaphysic presents us with the timeless diffusiveness of self-giving as such relates to the Ontic-Self in totum which of course presents reason with reality’s irreducible substratum. There again we find that in any No-God paradigm what reason claims to apprehend is (given the non-convertibility of the transcendentals) ultimately unable to traverse the ontic-ocean from the good and the beautiful and to the real.

On a few levels that is in part akin to the concept of the eternally open-ended continuum which metaphysical naturalism forces even as that same paradigm inexplicably attempts to lay claim to “goals” within this or that ontological cul-de-sac or stratum or echelon. But “eternally open-ended goals” just won’t do and for all the same reasons that “ontic-cul-de-sac” just won’t do.

Moving on and pressing in on definitions:

“Non- ’s” of all strips do our work for us as in navigating to the Edge of what they claim is the Flat World of Lucidity. They (….”Non- ’s” of all strips….) typically follow reason and logic and end up within various cousins of solipsism, both hard and soft, which of course is again what the Christian’s metaphysic predicts as that proverbial “Y” in the road between the Divine Mind (on the one hand) and Absurdity (on the other hand) approach ever more rapidly.

Reducibility, contingency, mutability, and brute fact just won’t do. The metaphysical absurdity which the “Non-” is forever the victim of is his own attempt to make the difference between Being and Non-Being something akin to just a little less than infinite. There again the pains of those supposed “ontic-cul-de-sacs” are supposed to be an anchor whereby the Non-Theist really can – while using his GPS – “simultaneously” [A] travel over the Edge of what he believes to be a Flat World and [B] go on talking “as-if” the World is Round. Whether it be logic and love, whether it be reason and reciprocity, or however one wishes to phrase it, such does not change the conclusion.

The Atheist’s athe-ism:

The ism is not about what he rejects. It’s not “A-”

The ism is not about his self-report on evidence. It’s not “A-”

It is, rather, about what one delights in, what one affirms, what one gives intellectual assent to, what one embraces.

It is about what one loves.

And what is that? The reductio ad deum and the reducito ad absurdum press in and find that such will be – in the full light of day – the Edge of a Flat World and what one trades upon in order to affirm the reliability of his GPS – namely [A] the absurd or the non-rational and [B] the illusory or the non-real, and – finally – [C] the indifferent and loveless or non-love. It is an irreducible substratum. It is the “Non-”

Such is Non-Theism.

In closing, an observation:

On occasion the Non-Theist will avoid the question all together and claim that there is a fundamental difference between the concept of “GOD” vis-à-vis the Bible/Scripture (…on the one hand…) and the concepts relating to the source of reality (…on the other hand…). Such a move displays an unawareness of the Christian metaphysic as it relates to what it finds in logically forced steps carrying reason into a thoroughly Trinitarian metaphysic. A brief discussion under the “Define God” tab looks at the following:

A Thoroughly Trinitarian Metaphysic:.

An excerpt for direction and context:

The topic of mapping reality carries us forward in our inquiry. The map of “Being Itself”, which of course is not the territory, begins to take shape:

[A] is not [B]
[B] is not [C]
[C] is not [A]

Each is Being in totum, each is *GOD*. Both [1] Logic and [2] Love’s timeless reciprocity compel reason (…in her proper role as truth-finder….) into a thoroughly Trinitarian metaphysic.

End.

 

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Hell, Cosmic Fairness, And The Ethic Of Love

But What About Hell and God? What About Cosmic Fairness?

Step 1 of 12 – Preliminaries:

In our shared experience we have our collective mixology of a sense of Irreducible / Cosmic Fairness laced through with a sense of Irreducible / Cosmic Grace and therein a narrowed T.O.E. which is in fact top heavy with the Judgement of Forgive-For-They-Know-Not presses through. It is there (…among many other foci…) where our Non-Theist friends reveal their own betrayal of the paradigm they mean to defend as they reveal a very Christian-esc set of demands upon “reality”. Any Cosmic System of ethics which is top-heavy with anything other than irreducible / cosmic indifference at reality’s “rock-bottom” is – for obvious reasons – troubling for Non-Theism of any kind (…which includes Buddhism’s appeal to an elemental substratum radically different than love’s irreducible contours amid Self/Other) given that such ontic-ends are inaccessible to any such paradigm. The concept of “the convertibility of the transcendentals” weighs in there through the pure force of logic but will be largely left to the side in this brief discussion.

“You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It’s clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I’m absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that as you sow, so you will reap” stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff…. [ …..] …But I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I’d be in deep s—. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace.” (Bono)

Is love the highest ethic? That question focuses on the convertibility of the transcendentals such that the rational is in fact seamless with the moral there at the end of all possible “ontic-voyages”. Does an enlightened society believe any one part of the syntax in the sentence “love is the highest ethic“? Or does an enlightened society instead love something other than irreducible veracity and thereby truly believe in, say, something akin to a kind of equivocation or perhaps a kind of noble lie or perhaps a kind of “cosmically-induced autohypnosis” baked into us through this or that genetic/epigenetic meme?

Step 2 – Preliminary Discussions:

It is unfortunate that in these discussions with our Non-Theist friends, not always, but quite often, it turns out that *if* we remove eternal conscious torment (…commonly abbreviated ECT…) and employ (…instead…) Christendom’s segues into annihilationism or Christendom’s segues into universalism or Christendom’s segues into conditional immortality then our Non-Theist friends, after making quite an emotive storm demanding Cosmic Fairness as their non-negotiable metric of truth, inexplicably just drop all of that “non-negotiable” claim-making and all of that “metric of truth” claim-making (…as if it was all a pretense… perhaps…) and, then, simply shrug and, then, employ some sort of softened version of …okay you got me…, and, then, move on to some other location on the floor of the stock-exchange busily trading-away love’s timeless – and irreducible – metaphysic.

Where love itself is concerned and where the highest ethic is concerned, such being self-giving love, it is the Non-Theist’s painfully necessary metaphysical reality that all his own explanatory termini are constituted of tediously complex self-negations amid ultimately fictitious “As-If’s” ending in the pains of metaphysical elimination immersed within autohypnosis wrapped up inside of Noble Lies and as such factually fail to do the necessary “ontic-work”. With respect to (…actual, metaphysical, cosmic, ultimate…); fairness, and justice, and injustice, there are very important differences of course (…and that work will have to be done further downstream…), but, the only players with ANY possible claim to rational (…actual, metaphysical, cosmic, ultimate…) resolution of evil, of injustice, of unfairness, are:

[A] Hell defined as ECT (hence Christianity)

[B] Annihilationism (hence Christianity)

[C] Universalism (hence Christianity)

[D] Conditional Immortality (hence Christianity)

[E] Hinduism (not Spinoza’s pantheism for many reasons, and not Buddhism’s equivocation upon Naturalism)

[“E” has much which needs unpacking but that isn’t the main focus here.]

Now, whatever player wants to claim a seat at the table, nothing can change the necessary moral landscape of what is needed here, namely the non-fictitious, irreducible Good, and specifically the sort which obligates reason herself in her proper role as truth-finder to chase after love’s categorical means and ends (…lest reason be factually / ontologically *un*– reasonable should she chase after – or claim – some other contour….. contra Hume…).

Paradigms and/or explanatory termini which ultimately annihilate “Cosmic Fairness” just won’t do. In short, removing Hell defined as eternal conscious torment (…removing [A]….) from the Christian’s metaphysical landscape (…easy enough to coherently do, hence many have…) won’t change the Non-Theist’s painfully obvious problem of fictitiousness in all fronts dealing with love and ought-love just as such won’t change the Non-Theist’s obvious problem of his own moral and intellectual disingenuousness in his claim-making demanding cosmic fairness.

Step 3 – Truth and Truth Metrics:

Two valid concerns emerge in that question. First, that of ECT / Eternal Conscious Torment vis-à-vis Cosmic Fairness and love, and secondly, the Non-Theist’s horrific ethic of 51%/49% where love is concerned, which usually manifests thusly:

“You know, honestly I have crossed the 51% / 49% threshold ratio of helping others and the idea of eternal conscious torment for leading what is overall a good life sums to a set of claims that is simply void of the word “fair” and the word “just”. That’s my honest sense of things.”

[We will – here in this brief discussion – leave to the side the various defenses of and criticism of eternal conscious torment (ECT) and simply reference the book, “Four Views on Hell”, Second Edition (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology), by Preston Sprinkle (Editor), Denny Burk (Contributor), John G. Stackhouse Jr. (Contributor), Robin Parry (Contributor), and Jerry Walls (Contributor).]

Again, all of this is a valid concern which many have. So let’s start well before ECT and journey towards ECT and those other segues mentioned in our preliminaries:

Love only at 51%? Okay. Let’s go with “that” demand of “*But* I have crossed the threshold of 51% and *therefore* love ought, now, sort of “kick in” as it were…”

That is very concerning given the horrific ethic it is actually resting upon. We love our own beloved regardless of any such math. How do our Non-Theist friends not know that? With our own beloved we love them in and through both their sickness and their health, in and through both their best moments and their worst moments (….quite unlike the landscape which the horrific ethic of this scale of “51% / 49%” forces us into….). How do our Non-Theist friends not know that?

On love, while God is not blind we in part are such that in our marriages we who know in part find that the groom is blinded by love and desires the beloved regardless of her worst, and rightly so, for such is love. How do our Non-Theist friends not know that? Even further we find that the peculiar God of whom we speak, the Infinite Knower, loves the beloved (…the Adamic…) regardless of her worst – for such is love. How do our Non-Theist friends not know that? That question is asked *because* every bit of our own undeniable experience within love and every bit of observational reality and every bit of the peculiar God of whom we speak just forces that undeniable fact upon us.

There is no cunningly devised set of smoke and mirrors here: interface amid Self/Other – that is to say – amid Groom/Bride – that is to say – amid God/Man – that is to say – amid Weddings simply come down to love’s proposal and to what the beloved volitionally chooses to love in the light of day.

Step 4 – Two Paradigm’s Respective Ethical Rock-Bottoms:

We have to ask ourselves if we believe in, love, and value Fairness as a metric of truth because it is The-True and The-Beautiful. The question is not whether or not we value justice and fairness. Of course we do. That’s not the question. The question is in what sense? Whence the ontological singularity which sums to Perfect-Mercy-Perfect-Justice? Do we in fact value Cosmic Fairness as an actual truth-metric such that any paradigm which finally, at some ontic-seam somewhere, annihilates that metric is ipso facto found to falsely interpreting reality?

With respect to ECT it is the case that from antiquity internal discussions within Christendom have segued into other robust conclusions (…as listed earlier and so on…) and yet still our Non-Theist friends make two moves which are quite bizarre: First, they knowingly reject the truth-metric under review and embrace as their own primordial ethic a frightening affirmation of Cosmic Unfairness as such relates to love’s informed and volitional motions amid Self/Other (…as opposed to embracing cosmic fairness and logic’s lucidity…). Secondly, on top of that they too often add a horrific layer of ascribing to love that fateful moral landscape of only “really kicking in – for real” once the math of 51% has been traversed vis-à-vis our beloved.

Those two moves are both revealing and unfortunate.

Step 5 – Moves and Possible Motives:

We have all suffered at the hands of something akin to unfairness. We have seen and known and tasted, simply by living, many of the horrific contours of unfairness and of love’s antithesis of that within the contours of fairness and even further in the contours of grace/forgiveness. It is at such a juncture where we ask our Non-Theist friends that, given that they are free and informed, *why* do they so often – being as informed as they are – freely choose to chase after the antithesis of Cosmic Fairness as such relates to Truthand to Reality? Such is asked because even given the absence of eternal conscious torment our Non-Theist friends STILL reject Fairness as a valid truth-metric with respect to interpreting reality.

It is peculiar because our Non-Theist friends know and see and taste the contours of Fairness and Unfairness and STILL they freely embrace as their own primordial ethic all the horrific contours of Cosmic Unfairness as such relates to love’s informed and volitional motions within the proverbial interface amid “Self/Other” The question is why? Whether our own doxastic experience freely evades the truth of “ABC” or not, “ABC” is actually the case, and what is “ABC”? It is, apparently and unfortunately, the fact that some folks knowingly and freely embrace that horrific primordial rock-bottom of Cosmic Unfairness with respect to all things ethical. They in fact do not count Fairness as a Truth-Metric with respect to interpreting reality. Not really. Again the question on the table is simply why that is the case – what possible motive could fuel such a free and informed decision?

The bizarre: Some – quite horrifically – knowingly and freely choose to believe in and value Cosmic Unfairness and even reject Cosmic Fairness as an actual – ontological – truth metric. Now, to whom little is given, little is required. Many are a bit beyond the proverbial boy in Tibet who cannot read. Some are informed and in the light with respect to what they choose to love regarding actual / ontic Unfairness / Fairness in any true end. To whom little light is given – little can-be/is required…..To whom some light is given… some is required… To whom much light…much. The boy in Tibet who cannot read finds quite a different window wherein his own life interfaces with those same Divine Contours of The-True and The-Beautiful, but it seems that, perhaps, our Non-Theist friends in far too many of these discussions are not exactly that boy given the fact that the contours of Love’s Proposal meet them within quite another sort of window.

Step 6 – A Proposal ≠ A Wedding

The short version:

Any proposal of love that isn’t free amid “Self/Other” just isn’t a trinitarian love. While it is the case that Universalism is necessarily possible (…given the volitional nature of love vis-à-vis Christianity’s trinitarian metaphysic…) even as in seamless lucidity Universalism is not necessarily actualized (…given the volitional nature of love vis-à-vis Christianity’s trinitarian metaphysic…). Given, that is, the Decree of Imago Dei. We have to be careful about our definitions because all of “that” of course is the metaphysical landscape of love’s Proposal. Which is necessarily going to be irreducibly different than the metaphysical landscape of love’s Wedding. Which is necessarily going to be irreducibly different than the metaphysical landscape of a Birth. Conflating and/or equating one landscape for another isn’t going to give one the definitions specific to the uniquely Christian metaphysic.

Step 7 – The terms “un-evangelized” and “under-evangelized” arrive:

Of course every person will hear, see, know the Truth under review. First of all, in a moral landscape populated by conscious beings created on the Decree of the Imago Dei it is impossible for moral interfaces to “not exist“. Think about that. As in:

“….Of course, what counts as regarding God as one’s ultimate end requires careful analysis. Someone might have a deficient conception of God and yet still essentially regard God as his ultimate good or end. One way to understand how this might go is, in my view, to think of the situation in terms of the doctrine of the transcendentals. God is Being Itself. But according to the doctrine of the transcendentals, being – which is one of the transcendentals – is convertible with all the others, such as goodness and truth. They are really all the same thing looked at from different points of view. Being Itself is thus Goodness Itself and Truth Itself. It seems conceivable, then, that someone might take goodness or truth (say) as his ultimate end, and thereby – depending, naturally, on exactly how he conceives of goodness and truth – be taking God as his ultimate end or good, even if he has some erroneous ideas about God and does not realize that what he is devoted to is essentially what [theists] call “God.”

Hence the earlier statement of: First of all, in a moral landscape populated by conscious beings it is impossible for moral interfaces to “not exist“.

As for the Means to “The Good“, well, what does Scripture say is the necessary and sufficient? A man’s faith in A or B or C? No. Not at all. The Aqueduct (…faith…) isn’t the Living Water, isn’t Christ. Many are strangely adept at confusing Aqueducts for Water in many settings hence that clarification. It’s clear from Scripture’s definitions that neither Time nor Circumstance nor the death of the physical body nor the presence/absence of missionaries factually constrain the reach of *GOD* with respect to communiques vis-à-vis Christ/Salvation.

At that juncture – either pro or con etc. – it’s not clear that anyone can say more than that. Scripture has examples of God/Grace outreaching all such combinations and permutations.

Think about what that fact does to “definitions and terms”.

That said, what *is* clear is the TRIO of [1] God’s intent and therefore decision with respect to Mankind – or the beloved – vis-à-vis His Own Self-Outpouring for/into the beloved – or Mankind – or, as some say, “the Adamic”, and [2] the fact that the degree of His intention / decision there is matched by the reach of His chosen Means, namely Himself, namely the All-Sufficient, and [3] the obvious fact that as God intends in [1] and therefore reaches in [2] all that is left is this: Will God fail in His reach vis-à-vis the Adamic, vis-à-vis every-man?

Obviously not.

In fact we can even say, given the nature of both time and timelessness, that in and by Christ He already completed, finished, the communique in question with respect to every-man. It’s not like Abraham or the Native American Indian got some sort of a free pass. Animal sacrifices won’t do. Nor will obedience. Nor is Faith enough for faith is merely the Aqueduct through which the Living Water pours. None of it is enough. Why? Because *only* an All-Sufficient Means will do. Centuries of being underexposed to the light cannot change Scripture’s affirmation of the fact that God has overlooked the sins of those centuries and has now come near, in and through Christ, such that that “over-looking” does not sum to a free pass but rather to the intent to reach and the ability to reach and the fact of reaching those same sins in those same centuries which – obviously – interfaces with the individuals in question.

In Lucifer’s Heaven (…which will not be the same as the Adamic’s Heaven given the distinctions forced by the Decree of the Imago Dei) Lucifer in fact properly confesses, and knows, and believes, and in fact knows correctly and in fact believes correctly, yet such is still not the proverbial “enough” for there is still the volitional being who still volitionally – not necessarily – withholds love’s reciprocity, and therefore has “nothing but” what others have referred to as the “Isolated Self” or as the “Pure I“. So too in like manner (….Scripture tells us….) every-man will at some ontological seam somewhere know, confess, see, comprehend, and therein interface with and intentionally trade pro/con with Truth with respect to (….as A-T metaphysics and Christianity in general often reference God…)The Good” or “The Beautiful(…on the one hand…) and one’s own self (….on the other hand…). All men at some ontological seam somewhere interface with the only (…logically possible or necessarily…) All Sufficient Means available. Nothing less will do with respect to *Means* because nothing less *can* do.

Step 8 – A Trio of Facts from The Judge:

When the Judge with Whom we have to do speaks, we discover a trio of facts:

Fact 1: He shouts from high atop His Bench all the affairs of Forgive-For-They-Know-Not, which of course concurs with God’s “overlooking” and “coming near” as alluded to earlier wherein His reach is not limited by either Time or Circumstance. We begin to find a pattern there (…and of course elsewhere…) that volitional, free, and informed motions are where lines emerge vis-à-vis [1] love’s proposal and [2] weddings.

Fact 2: God’s “intent” or God’s “free decision” to Atone/Redeem – or His Decree – with respect to Mankind – or with respect to the beloved – vis-à-vis His Own Self-Outpouring for and into the beloved – or for and into Mankind – is all layered on top of the fact that the degree of His free decision – His Decree – is matched by the reach of His chosen Means, namely Himself, namely the All Sufficient. A. Stanley comments that, ….if someone dies *for* you then they are *for* you…. and God’s demonstrated Decision – Decree – along with God’s demonstrated Reach *cannot* permit some lesser, more tame, less radical “Gospel” than that of Mankind vis-à-vis Every-Man.

It’s uncanny that the fact of Universalism’s “ontic-possibility” cannot be otherwise just as the fact of Man’s free and informed volition inside of love’s relational contours cannot be otherwise. Whereas, Universalism “compelled” just is the reverse of a subtype of Hyper-Calvinism in that each claims that God *forces* the annihilation of that which He Himself has in fact Decreed – which sums to absurdity. It is necessarily the case that the bride-to-be and the groom-to-be factually *can* freely marry, just as it is then necessarily the case that their marriage does not “have to” occur. It seems on all counts that the beautiful freedom called Permanence necessarily entails love’s proposal and as such “Man” necessarily (….given the necessity of love’s proposal….) awakes to find himself before Two outward facing Doors (….whether in Eden or in Privation, but that’s another topic…), before [A] love’s whole amid self/other or else [B] love’s privation within the isolated self.

The short version: Trinitarian processions within love’s timeless reciprocity cannot be otherwise with respect to the fundamental nature of the Imago Dei. Christianity alone has the wherewithal amid self/other to make that necessarily the case. It’s part of the beauty of the content within the term “triune”. It is part of the beauty of self/other in an ontic singularity as that alone dissolves tensions which no other paradigm can.

Fact 3: We come here to the obvious fact that as God intends in His free Decision – in His Decree – and (therefore) as God reaches into Time and Physicality to *do* as He Has Decreed – as the syntax of Incarnation subsumes Time, Physicality, and the Adamic to their bitter ends we are forced to ask this: Will God fail in His reach vis-à-vis the Adamic, vis-à-vis every-man? Obviously not. Insufficiency (or the Adamic) cannot know life but for those immutable and timeless means. Of course, that is true whether Insufficiency (or the Adamic) is found inside of Eden or outside of Eden – hence Two Trees or Two outward facing Doors populate the matrix of both Eden and Privation. Decrees cannot be otherwise – cannot be thwarted.

Step 9 – Why Preach?

As for the Command to go about the world Truth-Telling, to be busy telling folks about the Good News of Christ – about love’s timeless reciprocity – four things:

[A] Truth-Telling is good.
[B] Love’s self-giving is the highest ethic hence the veracity of the Trinitarian metaphysic presses in.
[C] With respect to Ethics, see [B]. With respect to [B], see [A].
[D] Truth-Telling with respect to reality’s highest ethic is, after all, a Command. Therefore: Preach to all men everywhere.

There is only one genre on planet Earth which has offered Mankind a coherent metaphysical wellspring of all ontological possibility. It is the genre wherein God Himself pours Himself out. Creation is not needed here because of course in Trinity such timeless reciprocity amid love’s self-giving constitutes those Trinitarian processions which are themselves that wellspring of love’s self-outpouring mentioned at the start.

Self-Giving with respect to “Being Itself” forces our hand. The “term” / “definition” with respect to “GOD” thereby referents… well… what? It referents nothing less than the immutable love of the Necessary Being vis-à-vis love’s timeless and self-giving diffusiveness of the Ontic-Self in totum.

“…..the cross of Christ does not determine the nature of divine love, but rather manifests it, because there is a more original outpouring of God that – without needing to submit itself to the order of sacrifice that builds crosses – always already surpasses every abyss of godforsakenness and pain that sin can impose between the world and God: an outpouring that is in its proper nature indefectible happiness….” (D.B. Hart)

That’s the proverbial umbrella beneath which all other definitions in fact live and move and have – obtain – their “being”.

Step 10 – Non-Theism’s Rejection of Fairness and Embrace of Unfairness:

Where love itself is concerned and where the highest ethic is concerned, such being self-giving love, it is the Non-Theist’s painfully necessary metaphysical reality that all his own explanatory termini are constituted of tediously complex self-negations amid ultimately fictitious “As-If’s” ending in the pains of metaphysical elimination immersed within autohypnosis wrapped up inside of Noble Lies and as such factually fail to do the necessary ontic-work. On (…actual, metaphysical, cosmic, ultimate…) fairness, on justice, on injustice, there are very important differences of course (…and that work will have to be done further downstream…), but, the only players with ANY possible claim to rational (…actual, metaphysical, cosmic, ultimate…) resolution of evil, of injustice, of unfairness, are:

[A] Hell defined as ECT (hence Christianity)

[B] Annihilationism (hence Christianity)

[C] Universalism (hence Christianity)

[D] Conditional Immortality (hence Christianity)

[E] Pantheism via the Hindu (not Spinoza’s pantheism for many reasons, and not Buddhism’s equivocation upon Naturalism)

*IF* our Non-Theists friends actually believed what they are saying about good, evil, justice, and injustice – and cosmic fairness*THEN* they would be a Christian in, say, the Universalist arena, or else they would be a Hindu, or else they would be in the Christian’s Conditional Immortality arena, or, perhaps, in the Christian’s Annihilationist arena (…we’re leaving [A] aside as it’s the Non-Theist’s supposed contention…). We need not waste our time with other names for Philosophical Naturalism, such as “Buddhism”, nor with Spinoza’s Pantheism (…for other reasons not unpacked here…), given that Buddhism, summing to Naturalism, necessarily inherits all of PN’s metaphysical baggage, while Spinoza’s pantheism brings other sorts of baggage.

But instead our Non-Theist friends believe “in” and “by” and “of” mutable and contingent normative ethics whereby both in history and in conscience all sorts of evils have been, not tolerated as in Sinai given the fact that Sinai is not God’s Ideal for Mankind, but, rather, said evils have in fact been condoned by the only available stopping points in all such appeals.

Therefore, trying to take the Non-Theist seriously when he shakes his fist with clenched teeth ranting about his “concern” over cosmic fairness is difficult if not impossible.

Before going further with the topic of Cosmic Fairness and [A] through [E] and the Non-Theist’s apparently feigned “concern” over “Cosmic Fairness”, let’s pause and offer a suggestion for our Non-Theist friends who jump into this arena of Cosmic/Ultimate Fairness or Goodness: Try being honest. What does Non-Theistic intellectual honesty look like? Well, like the following five quotes:

“The lack of an ultimate objective scientific grounding for morality can be worrisome. It implies that people with whom we have moral disagreements—whether it’s […insert any evil here…] or schoolyard bullies who beat up smaller children—aren’t wrong in the same sense that it’s wrong to deny Darwinian evolution or the expansion of the universe….But that’s how the world is.” (S. Carroll)

And also:

[2] “Hume was right. We have no objective guidance on how to distinguish right from wrong: not from God, not from nature, not from the pure force of reason itself….Morality exists only insofar as we make it so, and other people might not pass judgments in the same way we do.” (S. Carroll)

And also:

[3] “– 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 choose 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.” (Hume, Treatise of Human Nature 2.3.3.6)

And also:

[4] “Morality is just a matter of emotions, like liking ice cream and sex and hating toothache and marking student papers. But it is, and has to be, a funny kind of emotion. It has to pretend that it is not that at all! If we thought that morality was no more than liking or not liking spinach, then pretty quickly it would break down. Before long, we would find ourselves saying something like: “Well, morality is a jolly good thing from a personal point of view. When I am hungry or sick, I can rely on my fellow humans to help me. But really it is all bull___t, so when they need help I can and should avoid putting myself out. There is nothing there for me.” The trouble is that everyone would start saying this, and so very quickly there would be no morality and society would collapse and each and every one of us would suffer. So morality has to come across as something that is more than emotion. It has to appear to be objective, even though really it is subjective. “Why should I be good? Why should you be good? Because that is what morality demands of us. It is bigger than the both of us. It is laid on us and we must accept it, just like we must accept that 2 + 2 = 4.” I am not saying that we always are moral, but that we always know that we should be moral. Am I now giving the game away? Now you know that morality is an illusion put in place by your genes to make you a social cooperator, what’s to stop you behaving like an ancient Roman? Well, nothing in an objective sense.” (Michael Ruse)

And also:

[5] “Pressing on through Alex Rosenberg’s The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, we come to Rosenberg’s treatment of morality. Followed out consistently, Rosenberg says, scientism entails nihilism. As Rosenberg is keen to emphasize, this is not the same as moral relativism or moral skepticism. It is not the claim that moral truth is relative, or that it is real but unknowable. Nor is it the claim that everything is morally permitted. It is a far more radical and disturbing claim than any of these views. Nihilism, as Rosenberg understands it, is the view that there is no such thing as being “morally permitted” or “morally prohibited” in the first place. For there is, given Rosenberg’s scientism, no intrinsic value in the world of the sort that is necessary for morality to be intelligible. Morality — not just commonsense or traditional morality, not just religious morality, but all morality, morality as such, including any purported secular, liberal, permissive morality — is therefore an illusion.” (…from http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2012/02/reading-rosenberg-part-vii.html etc…)

Step 11 – Valuing Fairness As A Truth Metric – For Real:

One can find intellectual respect for Hindus or Universalists (Christian) or the Conditional Immortality folks (Christian) or the Annihilationist folks (Christian) who approach “Hell” or “Ends” from their respective directions (….we’re leaving eternal conscious torment aside because it can be done as tension exists either way and because it’s the Non-Theist’s supposed contention…). However, the approaches which the Non-Theist uses in his tired rants on this topic are tediously unthinking. When Atheists attempt this move with Hell it is painfully revealing of their own gross unawareness that they are in fact praising […insert any normative construct…] within their own normative ethics and hence cannot possibly believe in cosmic fairness, nor cosmic injustice, nor cosmic justice, nor that fateful moral bedrock of “The True” for the express truth metric one needs in order to traverse such an ocean is in fact, at the end of the day, freely and knowingly rejected. They then (…therefore…) necessarily embrace as their own primordial ethic a frightening affirmation of Cosmic Unfairness as such relates to love’s informed and volitional motions amid Self/Other (…as opposed to embracing cosmic fairness and logic’s lucidity…). Secondly, on top of that they too often add a horrific layer of ascribing to love that fateful moral landscape of only “really kicking in – for real” once the math of 51% has been traversed vis-à-vis our beloved.

The logical failure of Non-Theism in general when it tries to get into this arena is not only blindingly obvious, but what the Atheist actually ends up conceding, and embracing, is just embarrassing.

Therefore: We invite our Non-Theist friends to choose between [B] through [E].

[A] Christian A — Volitional Hell

[B] Christian B — Conditional Immortality

[C] Christian C – Universalism

[D] Christian D – Annihilationist

[E] Hindu’s Pantheism

Why? Because…..Fairness!

*IF* one believes in fairness, *THEN* one affirms that fairness is a valid truth-referent. Therefore we need only sit and wait for our Non-Theist friends to choose between B, C, D, and E (….we’re leaving [A] aside because we can and because it’s the Non-Theist’s supposed contention…).

*IF* one does not believe that fairness is a valid truth-referent, *THEN* one will not choose B, C, D, or E (….we’re leaving [A] aside because it can be done as tension exists either way and because it’s the Non-Theist’s supposed contention…).

But, on point of fact, the Non-Theist too often in these discussions doesn’t believe in actual, ontological, irreducible fairness. In which case he and the Christian certainly, absolutely, have a radical difference in what they believe given that the Christian absolutely believes in fairness. Clarification: fairness, that is, in a few senses as, actually, grace from us to one another and grace from God to us is by definition *un*–fair (….but that’s another topic dealing with All-Sufficiency’s self-outpouring and Insufficiency’s self-acquiescence, and so on….).

Step 12 – Closure and Coming In From Out Of The Rain:

Everybody understands (…hopefully…) that the Hindu and Christianity’s various interior discussions have important differences. They do matter. However, that is not the point here.

Rather, the point is on two truth claims:

[1] “I believe in fairness and cannot believe in an unfair Ultimate Actuality. God being, of course, ultimate actuality.”

[2] “Because I believe in fairness, fairness is *therefore* (…since we are not speaking of the fictitious here…) *necessarily* a valid truth-referent such that whatever paradigm truth testifies of will find that fairness just does remain intact – ad infinitum.”

The options are, truly, limited. Finer nuances can be worked out later, once we are well within the walls of what we know houses fairness. For now, the point is simply to get ourselves into something which approximates truth where fairness is concerned, and, thereby, to test the premise of our own claim that we must have fairness. Indeed, that is an interesting arena once inside. The interfaces among Hinduism and Christianity’s various internal discussions are light years ahead of the uninformed premises/conclusions put forth by our Non-Theist friends.

The Non-Theist is (…factually…) forced to live some sort of phosphorescing vapor as it is all a sort of “As-If” approach to reality – as in: We speak As-If so and so is true. We argue about so and so As-If we speak of ontology and not of the ultimately illusory. We try to act As-If so and so isn’t fundamentally fictitious. We run about the stage pretending As-If *fairness* actually does serve as an *actual* truth-finder such that our Non-Theism couldn’t possibly be true but still the same our Non-Theism must be true. We argue against the only possible metaphysical landscapes capable of housing ontic, irreducible, actual fairness As-If fairness testifies against them rather than against our own Non-Theism.

Upon spying all of that confusion from Non-Theism’s paradigmatic termini, the Christian rationally affirms the following:

I reject Atheism / Non-Theism. Why? Because….UNFAIRNESS!

The Non-Theist replies: “Bah Humbug! Just because something isn’t palatable doesn’t make it untrue! What sort of truth-test is THAT! Bah Humbug!

What was that? Truth tests? Palatable? Unpalatable does not mean untrue? Huh? Isn’t that what the Christian has been telling the Non-Theist all along? Perhaps there’s hope after all.

Conclusion:

Fairness, being an actual truth-referent, leads Reason as truth-finder into only two shadows cast by only two umbrellas as alluded to earlier (Christianity or Hinduism). Once within said shadows, well there is more work to do of course, but not until one is in from out of the rain can one begin to do such work.

End.

Postscript:

A few references of essays followed by meandering threads in comment boxes which may be of help are, perhaps, [1] http://www.str.org/node/42356#.WSPrI2grJPa which is STR’s “Paul’s Solution to the Problem of the Unevangelized Is the Gospel”, and, perhaps, [2] http://www.str.org/node/42493#.WSPq5GgrJPZ which is STR’s “A Gospel without Final Judgment Is Not the Gospel”.