Morality as Ideology

Episode 268 · November 6th, 2020 · 1 hr 25 mins

About this Episode

This episode is not about the election, but it is absolutely about the election. Luke asks Gomer about what happens when our Christian Morality is wrenched free of Christ and hardens into an ideology used for smashing our enemies. Gomer, agreeing with the premise, fears this pathway leads to the Antinomian dark side.

Antinomianism means anti-law as in the commandment-based morality, rules of right and wrong, good and bad. The opposite of antinomianism is legalism, which views the whole of morality as fully articulated through commands. These are often Protestant terms.

In Catholic circles, especially in the moral enquiry of the 15-17 centuries, the dichotomy would be between rigorism and laxism, since the Natural Law tradition and the 10 Commandments are such a central portion of our Catholic moral theology. Rigorism and Laxism are, generally speaking, ways of viewing our moral responsibilities in the face of supposed conflicts between human freedom and divine command and which occupies your default position. Laxism means you default to human freedom, because that is how we image God. Rigorism means you default to the Law, because that is how God is sovereign over us creatures.

When these are in conflict, neither side seems a good option, which is why St. Alphonus Liguori is the patron saint of Moral Theologians, because his way of navigating these conflicts was through Aequiprobabilism. Confusing? Go check out the Catholic Encyclopedia article on this and you'll leave less sure of anything in your moral life.

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