Theological Logicism

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Teaching / Society / Social Epistemology / Cosmology / god /

gods, God, & god: Theological Logicism

Are promises made to a god binding? Any promise should be binding: so long as the promise is possible. (Like what if one kid promises another that he’ll “stop the sun”?)

Ah, but what if you made the promise under an immature theology and then review it under a less immature theology? note If the promise was also made to yourself then it ought to be binding (again: if possible).

I promised God to try to do certain things: and to try to communicate certain things to my society. Maybe both were impossible, but I keep trying. Hence, . I also suspect that the promises weren’t made “also” to myself; they were really made to myself. But then of course my self issues from the universe, from the land, from the world. How could I break a promise to the land? to the world? And isn’t the universe, the land, the world … what I really meant by God all along? Well, partly. Part of the time. Increasingly.

What makes me uncomfortable this late autumn 2004 is my increasing conviction that God is a purely kleptocratic concept: invented by the managers to make the serfs more serf-like. You don’t need justice in society: you’ll get it after death (in your imagination: after your imagination has evaporated: rejoined the void). Already believing in magic, the magic of others’ if not our own failed magic, we steeped in it.

So. For a decade here I’ve been continuing my lifelong argument that I am not and have never not believed in god. I fuss with the capitalization. I still very much like much of what I’ve said: as I still like some of what I’d said on the subject before going online with a web page. The word was comfortable: a default. Now the word is making me uncomfortable. But I don’t take back much of what was behind the urges.

The other day I wrote, “There doesn’t have to be any bogeyman in the clouds: or on the other side of the two-way mirror; all there has to be is a real universe: one not party to our deceptions.”

Later that same day bk linked me to a blog entry by Roderick T. Long. Long, with good reference to Aquinas, summarizes Theological Logicism. He proceeds to resolve some sticky socio-theological problems: very well. I don’t say infallibly, but well. And I revelled in the timing: because I saw that my own thinking (and some of my expression) had long been moving in that direction. It all also relates to something I’ve been struggling for decades to articulate with respect to deschooling and my offer in 1970 of a low-tech, non-government but public internet. We must reject human laws, but discover and fight for human principles. We should establish some social axioms: and then take them very seriously. The Constitution is violated daily, by everyone, by presidents. note Constitutions aren’t good enough. What we need are possible principles, logically presentable. And if that’s what god is a synonym for, fine.

Except that it isn’t. The word has too too many wrong, magical, kleptocratic associations.

Habit however is strong.

PS. We’re steeped in the idea that we’re owned from infancy. Like women, we’re steeped in the idea that it’s wonderful to be owned, to owe. Mutual benefits are one thing; Abbot taking and Costello giving is another. We’re told that Jesus sacrificed himself for man. What could be greater than to imitate his sacrifice? Next thing you know there are pks all over the place looking to lie down with lepers.

Soldiers injured each other wrestling for position to be killed where Napoleon might see.


Constitution Violated:

My entry was largely a response to recent correspondence with bkMarcus, so I flagged him as soon as it was up. He promptly responded:

I know it’s not essential to the point you’re making, but I can’t let this one get by.

The US Constitution CAN’T be violated daily by everyone:

(1) I never agreed to it, therefore I can’t violate it; (2) It never applied to me in the first place.

It’s an agreement between governments. Between state governments and a theoretically very limited central body. It’s a partnership contract — assuming for the moment that collectives can make contracts.

The US Constitution is a promise made between the Federal Government and the states. You and I can’t violate it unless we’re part of one of those governments.

The state governments, in turn, have their own constitutions, their promises to their citizens. Again, the citizens can’t violate state constitutions. Only the state government can violate the state constitution. If I promise you something, then it is illogical to contend that you might violate that promise.

This is the kind of confusion that results from seeing freedoms as positive, rather than understanding that liberty and natural rights are negative: the absence of coercion. Similarly, we talk as if the governments grant us rights. If the government grants me the right to free speech, then it might make sense to say that you’re violating my First Amendment rights when you censor me. But I don’t get that right from the government. I have that right, period. And the government either does or does not recognize it. (And in fact until the 14th Amendment reinterpreted the entire Bill of Rights, the 1st Amendment did not recognize a citizen’s right to free speech. Reread the 1st Amendment. Citizens’ speech rights were protected or violated at the state level. The 1st Amendment was a promise from the Federal Government to the states not to interfere with speech. It does not say anything about state government violations of individual citizens’ rights. Now compare that with the wording of the 2nd Amendment!)

I think it is very dangerous to talk about (for instance) censorship when you mean anything but coercion against communication. There are some libertarians who insist that only a government can censor: If I boycott your site, and encourage others to do so, that’s not censorship. If I decline to publish your words, that’s not censorship. But I think I disagree with those libertarians. I think if you are publishing things on your website that I disagree with, and I take criminal action to make your site unavailable, I think that counts as private censorship. Again: coercion initiated against non-coercive communication. Doesn’t matter who does it, but it must involve coercion or it isn’t censorship. Even if I do censor you, private coercion is not a violation of your First Amendment rights, because (1) your right to peaceful communication precedes the First Amendment, and (2) I’m not bound by the First Amendment.

I think it’s a similar conflation, similarly dangerous, to talk of individuals violating the Constitution. If you have a right to bear arms, and I steal your gun, I’ve violated your rights — but I’ve not violated any document or agreement.

Immature Theology :

How many pulpits are held by professionals who, in gaining their certificates, modified the beliefs that led them to the ministry? How many garrets hold saints who just couldn’t pretend with a straight face? How many alley ways. How many of those bums sleeping on cardboard ordained preachers whose learning curve didn’t halt? Are the Church’s best priests saying mass? or drinking Ripple?

History (or should I say experience) as well as novels (see Graham Greene) are full of the latter.

Cosmology, Theology

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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