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Chit-Chat » Explaining Catholic teaching on sexuality » Today 12:30 pm

Proclus
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I'm not Roman Catholic, and this may not help with the rhetorical effectiveness part of your question, but I found JPII's Love and Responsibility to be an incredibly compelling philosophical account of Catholic sexual morality (which I 90% agree with despite not being Catholic myself).  Here is the edition I have and is a classic, although there is a new translation that I have heard is available.  Several of the basic arguments in this book can be made to speak to contemporary non-Catholics:

(1) I think many people today will find it compelling that one should not treat the other person in a sexual relationship as a mere tool to one's own end.  This basic Kantian point means that I cannot pursue sex merely as a way of receiving pleasure.

(2) Many people today will be sensitive to the idea that we are essentially embodied beings.  Our bodies are not something merely extrinsic to our true self (this mistake lies behind much of the transgender ideology), so therefore treating another person with love involves taking his or her embodied gender (and one's own) into account.  Thinking that you and I can love one another quite apart from our respective genders implies a kind of angelism.

(3) I think it is a fairly easy argument to make for people who are really worried about being "scientific" that reproduction must at least be a part of any adequate philosophy of sexuality.  The more we talk about reproduction, however, the less compelling many contemporary philosophies of sexuality become.

Religion » Okay, the resurrection is probably historical... » Today 12:17 pm

Proclus
Replies: 7

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Alexander wrote:

For the crucial question of "Who is Jesus?":
It's definitely worth going through the way in which thinkers in the Church historically came to affirm increasingly strong and clear statements of Christology....When you see something of the process by which doctrine developed into what we have today, many apparently obscure and unjustified points tend to snap into place.

This.  I agree 100%

Religion » Okay, the resurrection is probably historical... » Today 1:26 am

RomanJoe
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Proclus wrote:

It seems like over and over again in the gospels the writers call attention to the shortsightedness of the disciples at the time that Jesus foretells his death and resurrection.  This makes them look foolish, which would make it somewhat harder to believe that they merely invented these episodes ex post facto.

I was also chewing on this thread and some of your other threads earlier today.  One of the elements that you seem to be working on quite a bit is the personhood of God (analogically predicated, of course).  It may be that this attribute cannot be gotten from many of the classical arguments for the existence of God.  Many versions of the cosmological argument in particular only go so far.  I am sympathetic to an argument from the theologian Dennis Kinlaw in his book Let's Start with Jesus, that we would not know that God is personal apart from revelation, ultimately culminating in the revelation of who God is in the person of Jesus Christ.  It may be possible to establish his personhood in theory, but historically, our conviction that "he is a who" rather than merely "it is a what" comes from the various theophanies (e.g. to Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and ultimately in Jesus).  Kinlaw argues systematic theology is often conducted backwards, beginning with the classical arguments from natural theology, eventually establishing the possibility of revelation, and finally proceeding to a discussion of Jesus.  Instead, he claims, we should begin with the historical facticity of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and work our way outward from this central event thinking through the implications that this event holds for everything else.  You may find this book and this approach in general helpful.  (Or you may not; one never knows.)

Great! I'm bookmarking that link--the book looks promising. Yes, you're correct, one of my issues with many of th

Religion » Okay, the resurrection is probably historical... » Yesterday 6:18 pm

Alexander
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For the crucial question of "Who is Jesus?":
It's definitely worth going through the way in which thinkers in the Church historically came to affirm increasingly strong and clear statements of Christology. Thomas Weinandy's book "Jesus the Christ" gives a decent summary, and Stephen Bullivant's "How Not to be a Heretic" does something similar with the doctrine of the Trinity (obviously there is a lot of overlap between the two ideas). When you see something of the process by which doctrine developed into what we have today, many apparently obscure and unjustified points tend to snap into place. I've just bought J.N.D. Kelly's famous book on Early Christian Doctrines which looks useful for similar reasons, though I can't yet comment properly on it.

When it comes to Catholicism specifically, this question was asked quite recently - the suggestions I gave there apply equally here. Personally all sorts of reasons keep me Catholic - I don't see Protestant churches as live options by this point, though the Orthodox churches are of course something else altogether. I could never give up Mary, the sacraments, apostolic succession, and the religious orders, and I can't see the Anglican "middle way" as anything other than practical Protestantism mixed up in some Catholic vocabulary and aesthetics.

Religion » Okay, the resurrection is probably historical... » Yesterday 3:15 pm

Proclus
Replies: 7

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I just so happened to be reading Joseph Ratzinger's important essay "Concerning the Notion of Person in Theology," today and thought this point would reinforce the idea from Kinlaw: 

"...the Christological concept of person is an indication for theology of how person is to be understood as such" (p. 450).  In other words, if you want to understand personhood, you need to start with Christology, rather than the reverse procedure of starting with a philosophy of personhood in order to understand Christology.

Religion » Okay, the resurrection is probably historical... » Yesterday 2:08 pm

Proclus
Replies: 7

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It seems like over and over again in the gospels the writers call attention to the shortsightedness of the disciples at the time that Jesus foretells his death and resurrection.  This makes them look foolish, which would make it somewhat harder to believe that they merely invented these episodes ex post facto.

I was also chewing on this thread and some of your other threads earlier today.  One of the elements that you seem to be working on quite a bit is the personhood of God (analogically predicated, of course).  It may be that this attribute cannot be gotten from many of the classical arguments for the existence of God.  Many versions of the cosmological argument in particular only go so far.  I am sympathetic to an argument from the theologian Dennis Kinlaw in his book Let's Start with Jesus, that we would not know that God is personal apart from revelation, ultimately culminating in the revelation of who God is in the person of Jesus Christ.  It may be possible to establish his personhood in theory, but historically, our conviction that "he is a who" rather than merely "it is a what" comes from the various theophanies (e.g. to Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and ultimately in Jesus).  Kinlaw argues systematic theology is often conducted backwards, beginning with the classical arguments from natural theology, eventually establishing the possibility of revelation, and finally proceeding to a discussion of Jesus.  Instead, he claims, we should begin with the historical facticity of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and work our way outward from this central event thinking through the implications that this event holds for everything else.  You may find this book and this approach in general helpful.  (Or you may not; one never knows.)

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