Saturday, October 16, 2021

Legitimacy Can't Go Back on Itself

Epistemic status: provisional.

In MSLN Theodicy, the point is made that if legitimacy were to will something that was illegitimate, it would make it legitimate. A (quasi?-)Nietzschean response might be to say that a truly great and life-affirming legitimacy would will everything, make all that is illegitimate legitimate.

But what I meant was more like "legitimacy, either through its nature or what it decides, is what it is, and couldn't go back on that, because if it did, it would call what really was illegitimate (what it considered illegitimate) legitimate (which it isn't)."

There's somewhat of a debate over whether God can determine what the good is, or whether he is subject to it himself (or they are subject to it themselves, as legitimacy comprises more than one person). Is it part of God's nature that certain things be right or wrong? (Legitimacy must call certain things illegitimate, by legitimacy's nature.) That seems plausible to me. It's also plausible to me that God decides what is right, and once the decision is made, it's irrevocable, even by him. So sometimes he decides what it should be by his will (something like divine command theory?) but after that, he's subject to it as much as anyone. God obeys himself.

--

God can command us not to do things that aren't really sins at root. But if he has commanded us, we shouldn't go against his commands. If we do, we sin, because our disobedience (our turning from his voice) is the sin. To an extent, God could (and from the Bible, seemingly did) make commands that are either arbitrary, or only made sense from an ancient perspective. (Or perhaps from the perspective of, "what beliefs cause a nation of God's people to flourish from the perspective of civilization?" / "what makes a viable tradition for human organisms in their environment?")

That we should have obeyed those commands then (or must obey arbitrary/historically-contingent ones of our own) might be up to God's free deciding. But that we should obey God, whatever that may cash out to, is not up to God's free deciding. That's fundamental to what goodness (as definition) is. God is legitimacy itself, and for us to be legitimate, we must be in tune with God. God can ordain things to be temporarily morally necessary. But there may be (I would guess that there are) things which are permanently morally necessary, which are not up to God to change anymore.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Apolitical Identity

Originally written October 2020.

[Note: when I use "humanism" and "theism" in this post, I mean the ethical position that favors humans and human interests (especially secular human interests) -- humanism -- and the ethical position that favors God and God's interests -- theism.]

In this presidential election, I have decided to not vote. Along with other abstinent life choices (celibate, vegetarian), I can add "apolitical".

[And in fact I did not vote in that election.]

As Orwellian as it may sound, abstinence is freedom. The freedom that comes from being apolitical is being able to be on everyone's side, or if not that, to refuse to be on the side of anyone who wants to come after someone else. In 2016, I voted for a third party candidate. But, because the third party candidates are coded "blue" or "red" to a large extent anyway, I set myself against the other half of the country. I would like to someday leave my default "blue" environment and be considered trustworthy by people in "red" environments. This might help some with the overall problem of polarization in America. I would like to be listened to by as many different kinds of Christians as possible, and "red" America has a lot of professing Christians.

Although I have always identified as a Christian, from around the age of 13 until perhaps a year or two ago, I was trying to move more into secular environments. If you eat secular food enough, you'll get secularism in your bloodstream. I catch myself being something other than Christian quite a bit. I've leaned conservative and liberal at various points in my life, and now I want to be neither conservative nor liberal, but instead simply Christian.

Some Christians (for instance, some Calvinists and Catholics, and perhaps others) want to have a particularly Christian way to order society, sometimes to work for Christian interests in the political system. It's possible that I could endorse a similar view. But I would have to do a study on what the Christian way to order society would be, and the Christian way to try to bring that about, if such a way even exists. This could take me years to bring to a reasonable state of completion, sufficient to cause me to feel like I had genuinely Christian political opinions, and not just secular opinions that I, a Christian, find appealing.

Other Christians, when trying to be Christian about politics, choose to be apolitical. In this way they can at least shed the identities of "Republican" (conservative humanist) or "Democrat" (liberal humanist), and perhaps highlight that they are theists, putting God's interests ahead of autonomous human interests as do the secular humanists. [Secular humanists put autonomous human interests before God's interests.]

Both Republicans (as Republicans) and Democrats (as Democrats) are secular humanists. Secular humanism is seen in how you trust, not just the words you say. So Christians in office, even people who ran trying to appeal to a Christian base, are not necessarily Christians in how they approach reality. You can carry the flag of Christ and act like you don't believe in God, not just by some kind of moral indiscretion, but in the way that you are fearful of things a faithful person wouldn't fear and the way you do not look for the deeper and better things a faithful person would look for. Being apolitical is a chance to get free from secular humanistic thinking and adopt a Christian-only worldview.

However, this apolitical stance comes at a cost, which is having less of a chance to intervene in public affairs. A truly apolitical person might have less of an influence in stopping something like the Third Reich. If Germany was to have some kind of party governing it, one which was successful, filling the role that the Nazi party took on [could/would take on] and thus blocking it from coming to power, it would be run by humanists, not by apolitical theists. And if the church sits by while secular interests dominate the public sphere, that may be worse for both theists and secular people. Currently, politics is all about humanism rather than theism, and maybe that's for the best, even in a Christian society. But the question of "what is human well-being?" is one that we haven't figured out as a society. Christians should be heard in that discussion.

We could say that Christians are more essentially interested in advancing the Kingdom of God. And humanists are more essentially interested in advancing civilization. [A definition of "Kingdom" and "civilization".] If you save your child from a speeding car, he or she will grow up a certain way and will probably spend more of his or her waking life furthering civilization (on the job) than in furthering the Kingdom. The love in your family feeds capitalism, resource extraction, technological and cultural development, and the geopolitical interests of the nation you live in. So even apolitical people are voting, just not in an election.

Politics is all about humanism, at least ostensibly. So I could try, as an apolitical person, to still try to further human well-being, to vote in civilization in various ways, while staying away from identifying with someone I am ultimately not: a warrior for a secular army. I can aspire to be someone whose existence and activities further the interests of both "blue" and "red" people, or people on either side of any other politicized divide, and most importantly, the interests of God.

Having said all this, I do hope that someday I will have gone through the study I mentioned above, of what is the truly Christian way to interact with civilization. If the result of that is that it seems right to vote (I am making political decisions that are really Christian, and I have "malice towards none" / I maintain my independence from political feuds), then I will.

[Implicitly, I'm not rejecting humanism entirely. I could say that humanism follows from theism. Being apolitical enables me to distance myself from some sociologically and psychologically compelling humanistic identities (Republican, Democrat, etc.) which commit me to a version of humanism that tends to exclude theism -- and which also has defects (polarization) in how it pursues even secular humanism.]

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[It's interesting to read this in October 2021. I don't find the question of polarization to be nearly as salient to me right now. I think that in an election year, like 2020, we are more political than in an off-year. Also maybe 2020 was a particularly vivid year in terms of protests.]

[Identities are partly about how you feel. If you don't find an identity relevant, can you hold it? Maybe not to as great an extent. If there's nothing at stake, can you hold an identity? This is an interesting question to ask of Christians. Do Christians feel like there is anything theistic that is greatly at stake? If so, then they might probably more often hold to the identity of "Christian" deeply and firmly. But if Christians are only concerned with secular concerns (are you healthy? will you live a long physical life on earth?) then they perhaps can't be Christians as deeply and firmly. I would say that not-holding-firmly is itself a threat that raises the stakes, because we are saved by making it 100% of the way to being in tune with God, including valuing what he values on some important level.]

[I haven't relinquished my political identity of apoliticalness, even in an off-year. At least, it's still on the books in terms of how my life is set up. As mentioned here, I chose not to vote in the California gubernatorial recall election in 2021. Identities are fresh when new but are paid for by work over time.]

[This could apply to the Christian identity. Though the feeling might dissipate somewhat, can you work faithfully in accordance with the feelings you used to have? I don't feel that to love apoliticalness is inherently necessary, but I do feel that to love Christianity in some proper form (insofar as doing so is necessary to fully loving God) is inherently necessary, and if I can't feel that way at times, in those times I should at least be open to the time in the past when they were fresh, as well as to the hoped-for near or far futures where they are fresh again. Remaining faithful in the desert is being open to the times of freshness.]

Kingdom and Civilization

Originally written November 2020.

Epistemic status: provisional, particularly in my definition of "Kingdom".

The Kingdom (for a Christian), is the kingdom of heaven, the domain ruled by God according to his righteousness. The Kingdom exists in heaven, and to an extent on earth. It is as though each Christian is partly in heaven while they live on earth. So they bear the Kingdom with them. The Kingdom is made up of those who do the will of God. It is made up of its subjects.

Civilization is a process -- has no king. It is the sum of all the nations on earth. Civilization drifts, evolves. It grows and may not be able to stop growing. Civilization is the interaction of human desires, is the field for history.

In Weilian terms, civilization tends to be made up of her "gravity", and driven by it, while the Kingdom could be seen as made up of and driven by her "grace".

[October 2021: Kingdom's subjects (persons) vs. civilization's human desires, which happen to be bundled into what we label as "persons".]

[October 2021: Church as both civilization and Kingdom. It aspires to being part of the Kingdom and perhaps "forensically" is, but its mind and flesh can be the same as civilization, when it lets human desires (or their semi-impersonal interactions) rule it, rather than God.]

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Why Love the Invisible?

"How can you love the God that you can't see if you can't love the people you can see?"

"Why should you love the God you can't see if there are plenty of people to love that you can see?"

Holiness and Untouchability

Holiness can mean "set apart" or "morally pure". Another dimension is "untouchable". Maybe the center of "holiness" is purity. There can be things so pure that they shouldn't be touched, and one could also imagine a purity so intense that it can't be touched. Or maybe rather than it being untouchable, it can't be mishandled. If you mishandle it, you die. Or you are simply unable to come close enough to mishandle it.

A woman (or a man) might be holy in the sense of "if you mishandle me, you should, or will, die", in that sense be untouchable. One could then think that God, the most holy, is unreachable, but that assumption isn't necessary. The thing to work with here is the proneness to mishandling. Those who learn to not mishandle generally do so by understanding the holy person, and understanding a holy person is a natural gateway into becoming holy yourself. (Perhaps it is necessary sometimes to become holy in order to understand a holy person.)

Monday, October 11, 2021

Personal Responsibility and Anxiety in MSL

We value being responsible for ourselves, taking care of ourselves, self-care. This can make us anxious. If we try to have the maximal personal responsibility, we might feel like we have to be anxious, and maybe that really is what is required to be personally responsible to the maximum extent. How highly should we value being responsible for ourselves? Should it be an absolute that rules our lives?

The biblical position is that we should not be anxious, though we might try to take care of ourselves.

Matthew 6 (Jesus speaking):

24 "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can't serve both God and Mammon. 25 Therefore I tell you, don't be anxious for your life: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn't life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 See the birds of the sky, that they don't sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you of much more value than they?

27 "Which of you by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan? 28 Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don't toil, neither do they spin, 29 yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today exists and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won't he much more clothe you, you of little faith?

31 "Therefore don't be anxious, saying, 'What will we eat?', 'What will we drink?' or, 'With what will we be clothed?' 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first God's Kingdom and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore don't be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day's own evil is sufficient.

Does the natural theology of MSLN also support this relaxation of anxiety? Certainly if I think egoistically, then if I love and trust God, all will be well with me in the end, and it's okay if I risk dying young. But if I think altruistically, I might think that it is important that I stay alive, so that I can help other people. There's a bit of a trick here, where "responsibility to help other people" could really just be "being fearful, self-centered, (self-protective), and not trusting God" masked in concern for others. But if this trick is not in operation, then there's something worth thinking about here. How can we trust God and not fear things, and still be around to help other people? Arguably, if I want to ensure maximum responsibility to altruism in myself, I should maintain a certain useful level of anxiety, to make absolutely sure I stick around to be able to do good.

How will they learn to trust God if we're dead? But then, how will they learn to trust God if we don't trust God?

The natural theology of MSLN (MSL) says that with only a few (or possibly no?) exceptions, everyone will be resurrected to the Millennium or a time like it. Whatever I could have said to you in this life, had I not died young, I could say to you in the next. But at the same time, the way this life turns out does matter. Maybe if you heard what I would have said when you were younger, in this life, it would have done you more good. In principle, the structures of civilization and/or the church can further people's holiness, and serve as prophylaxis to hardening. If you're part of that structure, maybe it is better for you to keep living.

However, sometimes soldiers are needed, in battles against Satan. A soldier can be needed to die young. That can be more effective in bringing people to love and trust God than trying to make sure no one from our country dies. You should only be a soldier if there is a real need for you to go to war, and you should only die if you have to. Your goal is to die well, and to die too soon or too late are equally a problem. You don't know what you're doing, but God is a good commander, and if you trust and obey him out of loyalty to him and his values, then he will put you to good use.

In this, personal responsibility ends up being more about being responsible to God than being responsible to the godless pursuit of survival.

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Being responsible for your own well-being, if pursued enough, makes you conservative in outlook. This conservatism makes you fail to do the good you could do, to follow the visions that you otherwise could have, to recognize and follow a good leader, to be a good leader. So while it is easy to praise from a humanistic perspective, if everyone abides by it scrupulously, we're worse off as a whole, and some people suffer who don't have to otherwise, those who would have benefited from the fruits of visions. Unsurprisingly, being responsible for your own well-being can be a selfish act.

It may be that it is difficult to say exactly how self-caring a person should be. Some self-care is beneficial to the whole and serves God's interests, but some is not and does not. No matter how popular self-care may become, there needs to be some sense that it could be untrustworthy.

--

Another dimension to consider: you would save the whole world, but yourself be lost. Or, you overestimate how necessary or beneficial you are to saving the world, while losing the person who is most under your control -- yourself. You need to come to love and trust God completely, and you should start that pursuit now. If, as someone who loves and trusts God, you feel led to be altruistic, so be it. You can still think altruistically, see your own salvation as simply being one part in the whole of all people who need it, but focus on yourself as the one most accessible to your care.

So in the end, true self-care requires that you not be anxious over your well-being. To be responsible for yourself requires that you trust God.

A certain amount of watchfulness (which is similar to anxiety) can be called for to keep on track toward loving and trusting God and serving him. There really are dangers, but you watch for them, rather than worrying about them. Trust God in your watchfulness.

--

These loose threads say different things, but overall they agree that from a natural theological (MSL) perspective, you should trust God. Trusting God involves not being anxious about the godless concern for survival. So MSL's take on personal responsibility is close to or essentially the same as the Bible's.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Building Trust in Natural Feelings of What to Pursue

In Romantic Sense of Kinship, I talked about romantic feelings and how they seem to call for action. But this question can be generalized. Other kinds of feelings can call for action. Which should we pursue?

Our natural feelings can be helpful guides to what is good to pursue if our nature has been tuned to be in line with God and reality. If we value what God values and have (consciously and subconsciously) an accurate map of reality and of our ability to act on that map, then we will have good desires and be in a position to act on them. Then we can trust our own intuitive senses of what is desirable to do.

If we have God's values (more or less), then we will be in kinship with him. If we find someone romantically attractive, it will likely be because we share kinship with them, and there's a good chance that their kinship with us will imply their kinship with God. A kinship with someone else that is along the road of values that inherently involve us being kin with God is a good pathway across which to connect, bond with, become loyal to, someone else. So then it is likely that if we sufficiently share God's values, there is a high probability that whomever we fall in love with is either God's particular choice for us, or one of a number of acceptable choices we could make. (This discussion also applies to other forms of friendship.)

With romance and friendship, a lot of the heavy lifting of figuring out if pursuits (pursuits of people) are worthwhile is done by just figuring out kinship. Finding kinship, shared values, is a big part of facing reality in that context. But what about work pursuits? There competence involves more than just fitting the values of the work pursuit with your own values and your own values with God's values.

One way to be competent is in the usual worldly way, and there's a lot to be said for diligently building up your competence in a worldly way. But sometimes you can be more competent by being guided by God, and also, it is very important for your spiritual life for you to love and trust God, and listen to God. Sometimes, your own salvation may be more important than whatever good you would have done for others, for all you know. So it could be best for you to pursue an altruistic method that has attunement with God baked into it.

If you become kin with God, then he can speak to you more richly. As you become kin with God, you develop sensitivities, memories, and understandings, through which God can speak to you. A pipe organ may have many small pipes, and many large ones, shaped in different ways to produce different sounds. If a pipe organ lacks the 32 foot or 16 foot pipes (the longest ones which produce the lowest notes), a piece of music might not be playable, one which relies on bass sounds. Or if it is played, it lacks the bass, and doesn't convey the composer's full intentions.

The better God can speak to you, the better you will become and be kin with him, and sometimes the better decisions you will naturally make in work and friendship.

So if we want to trust our feelings when they say to pursue something, we should become trustworthy, so that our natures are trustworthy. We do so by developing kinship and trust in God and by building competence (and kinship and trust with God can help build competence.)

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Romantic Sense of Kinship

Originally written November 2020.

Romantic feelings claim different things. They may claim that someone ought not to be married to their spouse, and instead should be married ... to you... They may claim similar life-sculpting things, that you should run through an airport, or that you should find someone no matter what. It's possible that sometimes when these feelings tell you something so dramatic, they are saying something trustworthy, but a lot of the time, or most of the time, they are not. And the feeling itself is not the final guide, or shouldn't be.

[October 2021: Not sure I would endorse "not trustworthy most of the time" (can't quantify the situation that well). (The ones that suggest adultery or other sexual sin aren't trustworthy in that sin is in itself evil.) Certainly the feelings are often not as necessary to pursue as they vividly and obviously seem, or are not of as indubitable truth, and in that sense are untrustworthy. (A life reality that is less trustworthy than it seems is less trustworthy for seeming more trustworthy than it is.)]

[October 2021: God uses romantic feelings to accomplish goals -- as with Samson being caused to fall in love with a Philistine woman to bring about violence against them (Judges 14:1-4) -- or perhaps sometimes in less "mixed" ways. It's certainly conceivable that Satan can use romantic feelings as well. Hopefully there is a good way to process the fact of those feelings given both those possibilities.]

Romantic feelings [by themselves] don't have any good reason to know about the future or even about what should be, in the present. However, they generally can be taken as a sense. They could probably indicate a lot of different things. But one thing among them is, they can indicate that you have some kind of kinship with the person you're interested in. What you do with that fact of kinship may vary. You might pursue a romantic relationship, even to the point of marriage. You might pursue or continue a friendship. Or you might think of the person you're interested in as a kind of point of reference in making sense of yourself or other people like you. You might feel in some sense less alone in the world, to know that there's someone else like you.

Friday, October 8, 2021

News: 8 October 2021

I released a big post (Establishedness and Loving God) and that has left me winded for a few weeks. (I have bipolar disorder so I tend to get energy in waves.) I've found myself more interested in social and political questions, as evinced by that post, which is not something I expected in January when I was looking forward to this year.

I've been working on a book on "the cross" and find myself in a slow place. I think it will take longer than expected, but perhaps this is good so that I have more time to gather data for it. I don't really know where to look but the ACX/SSC-sphere seems to keep providing unasked-for sources. (I do have a lot of sources already lined up to read for some chapters of the book.)

I looked back at old news posts and saw where I was announcing things. There's more going on now on my Twitter and Tumblr accounts than when I first announced them.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Dialogue of Peace

In the marketplace:

BUYER: I hear such a clamor in the marketplace. One person wants me to buy fish, and another to buy fruit. Which should I buy?

VENDOR: You should buy whatever it is that will bring you life.

BUYER: You are not offering up your produce to me.

VENDOR: Alas, I know that turnips are only for those who know them.

BUYER: But if you won't talk me into buying turnips, what shall I buy? Fish? Or fruit? Or whatever else?

VENDOR: Often enough, I am in your position. Every vendor is a buyer sometimes.

BUYER: What do you do?

VENDOR: Truthfully, I think that we don't know what food really brings life.

BUYER: So what do you do?

VENDOR: I'm waiting for someone to come into the marketplace and say what really does bring life.

BUYER: But how will you hear that person over all the noise?

VENDOR: I will try to make everyone be quiet.

BUYER: But why should they be quiet? Don't they know that fruit or fish bring the most life?

VENDOR: You're right...

BUYER: Vendor, please sell me some turnips.

VENDOR: Life and truth are not found in them.

BUYER: You said it: life and truth are found in them.

BOTH: We both know they aren't the answer.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Re: Empiricism is Silly as an Epistemic Basis, by APXHARD

Here is another in my series of comments I decided not to leave on people's blogs, and instead wrote here as blog posts (see also Hero's Journey vs. Absurdism vs. Ancient Judaism). The post I would have replied to in this case is APXHARD's Empiricism is Silly as an Epistemic Basis.

I didn't post this one because it was too long (I thought) and also a little bit off-topic. But mainly too long.

--

I like empiricism when it implies things like "everything that exists is consciousness because that's all we experience" and is broadened to include noetic perception (things we perceive by believing that they exist or are true, like memories or concepts) as well as sensory perception, since that's part of what we actually experience. The consequence of holding to this kind of empiricism (in my understanding of it) is an openness to something like Platonism (I can "noetically see" democracy or algebra for instance, just as I can "sensorily see" my laptop as I type this). From this point of view, empiricism is a good epistemological stance because experience is all there is to know.

But the version of empiricism you are talking about involves something like verification. Public, based in sense perception and not shared noetic perception.

At some level, experimentation and perception merge. If I want to "test" that the word "that" is written in this comment box as I type, I just look and it's there. I'm not sure that there's a more rigorous way to test that, and if there is, the basic component parts of that test have to be taken as "bedrock" at some point, have to just be perceived to be true. In that sense, we empirically prove 2 + 2 = 4, just by seeing it to be true, just like we empirically prove any of the tenets of logic, or anything that really follows from deductive reasoning. We test that 2 + 2 equals 4 to us, and very consistently it does.

(Perception can be valid even if uncorroborated.)

I think that there may be such a thing as materialism bias, which gets us to prefer to see the physical world "out there" and ignore the things we see which are not "out there", but rather "in our heads". But really it's all perception, and there's a kind of continuity and unity to what can be known.

Having said that, some perceptions are more trustworthy than others, and materialism bias protects us from taking seriously some untrustworthy perceptions. I think our culture (parts of it) decided a long time ago to not listen to certain possibilities. Maybe if you don't believe in ghosts, they don't haunt you (whether that really means there are no ghosts or not, you don't know and perhaps don't care).

If you don't trust at all, you die. A definition I like for trust is "receptivity to enhancement". If you're not receptive at all, you don't breathe or see the world as a place to find food. Without constraints like death (or experiences as bad as death), we would be free to be as free in believing as we want, and as strict as we want. But there's a kind of deep reality that says "To have life, you need to not believe everything, and also, you have to trust something to have life."

I like looking at things through the lens of "everything is uncertain, so what do we do practically? How do we choose to see the world, given that uncertainty gives us degrees of freedom?" We choose "practical epistemologies" to help us make decisions. The one I like best is one of love / altruism, which says "believe in the world to the extent that, just in case it does exist, you do help the people / sentient beings it represents to you."

If it matters whether you regard something as trustworthy or not (in order to avoid harm or seek enhancement), enhancement (and harm) matter. Harm and enhancement occurring to others matter no more or less than such happening to you. So harm-minimization (or the maximization of some essential enhancement) then shapes how I see reality, how seriously I take skepticism, and how freely I believe things. There's some real risk to being too skeptical or closing off some aspect of reality, as well as a risk of being too credulous or letting ideas (or worse, other beings) take over my mind.

The endpoint for me, of these kinds of thoughts, is not materialist or physicalist. I believe in God both because there is a certain amount of evidence (following from, for instance, the idea that everything is consciousness), and because the consequences of not believing could include harm for God or for other beings whose well-being is affected by the fact (or, speaking uncertainly, the live possibility) that God exists. I "practically believe" (through practical epistemology) that God exists, closing the gap between the evidence and whatever level of certainty is needed to live. This could be labeled "faith", but it's one that has the tonality of responsibility. It follows from being responsible for the world, rather than from letting go of responsibility for the world, or wanting to feel good in a practical, egoistic way.

I think empiricism is the only possible epistemic basis, but not the definition of "empiricism" you were talking about. (Everything we know about comes through our perceptions, and even our theories or deductions about reality we only know through noetic perception -- they are instruments for noetically perceiving the realities they talk about.) I think holding truth to a standard matters, but not divorced from how effective we are in helping.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Disestablishedness, Honesty, Politeness

Psychological disestablishedness can lead a person to open up and say what they really mean, to reveal their true heart. Politeness is an establishedness.

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Honesty before God is a form of trust. Politeness is a lack of trust.

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We show respect out of politeness sometimes. If the only way to show respect is out of politeness, maybe we are being dishonest. While we may genuinely intend to show respect, which is respectful, we can only do so out of politeness, which is less than fully genuine. So then we have a dilemma: be dishonest and appear (and to some extent really be) respectful, or be honest and appear (and to some extent really be) disrespectful. There are different levels of disrespect, some more excusable than others, and honesty may outweigh some levels of disrespect, but not others.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Actually Connect in Negative Times

I've heard it said that successful therapy involves the therapist as well as the client being changed. Maybe writing works similarly, so I should be changed by the process of me writing what I write.

One thing that I learned while writing the most recent major post, Establishedness and Loving God, is to remind myself to actually connect with God when I'm in negative situations, since it is easy enough to miss the opportunity.