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Belovedness, God, and Morality without Foundations By Brendan Jones O'Connor There are no objective values.

This is how Australian etaethicist J.!. Mac"ie be#an his boo" Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong. $is short insi#ht bothered e #reatly. %nli"e a #reat nu ber o& other 'hiloso'hical issues, ethics see s to be the ost a''licable to one's li&e by &ar. A&ter all, i& there are no objective values, how is one su''osed to a"e sense o& what to do( )urin# an introductory eetin# o& the *yracuse %niversity +hiloso'hy Club, , entioned that , try every day to de&eat oral relativis , which was et with a #entle lau#h &ro the &ellow e bers, ost o& who #enerally too" a&ter de&lationary accounts o& etaethics and eta'hysics. *till, , re ained cau#ht u' in the 'u--le o& ethics. A&ter a #reat deal o& thou#ht, and so e e.'erience, , &eel co 'elled to write y 'osition on the atter o& values, whether they are objective or not, and what is the conse/uence o& this. By doin# so, , will #o to len#ths to e.'lain so e o& y views on s'irituality, reli#ion, and the nature o& God. , will assert that ethical duty resides in the unconditional belovedness o& 'ersons, hu an or non0hu an.1 A eanin#&ul account o& the structure o& ethics, etaethics, re/uires an e.'lanation o& a eta'hysical 'osition. Meta'hysics, a wonder&ul, but little understood 'hrase, is best understood as the #rand study o& what is really #oin# on, inde'endent o& one's i ediate 'ers'ective. Metaethics is a sort o& eta'hysical &ield, as it see"s to answer the /uestion about what e.actly are ethics, and what a"es one want to &ollow the . This second 'oint is the issue o& nor ativity, as ethics that advocate &or a bindin# 'rinci'le or duty are considered nor ative ethics, as o''osed to descri'tive ethics, which see" to e.'lain how a#ents act in various situations, without necessarily 'rescribin# a res'onse. 2hile , a convinced that the ost holistic res'onse to the riddles o& ethics involves the s'iritual, , a &ully aware that a nu ber o& di&&erent ethods to address oral dile as and issues e.ist, and any o& the are use&ul tools &or their 'ractitioners. A&ter all, ethical decision0 a"in# is not o'tional, we are contently con&ronted with challen#in# situations, none o& which can be de&erred until a &inal 'osition is reali-ed by the ethics researchers. To /uote O.&ord 'hiloso'her Mary Mid#ley, 3The 'ower o& oral jud# ent is, in &act, not a lu.ury, not a 'erverse indul#ence o& the sel&0ri#hteous. ,t is necessity. 2hen we jud#e so ethin# to be bad or #ood, better or worse than so ethin# else, we are ta"in# it as an e.a 'le to ai at or avoid. 2ithout o'inions o& this sort, we would have no &ra ewor" o& co 'arison &or our own 'olicy, no chance o& 'ro&itin# by other 'eo'le's insi#hts or ista"es.4 Thus, y assertion and de&ense o& a 'articular etaethical view does not necessarily see" to 3triu 'h4 over other view'oints, and, as y 'osition aintains, a value 'lurality hel's one co e to an ethical choice. $ere is y succinct state ent , would li"e to s'end this essay un'ac"in#5 There are no &oundations but the un"nown God, who is encountered throu#h unconditional belovedness6 it is &ro here we ust live. God is better understood as the ulti ate, in&inite, trans&or ational subjectivity, instead o& an o ni'otent bein#. The sel& is an illusion6 as God is within us, we within God, and all o& creation beloved by God, all action ust be re&lective o& the belovedness, see"in# authenticity in radical e 'athy. Throu#h belovedness, we transcend the ethical. The Metaphysical Question5 ,s it a rationally de&ensible 'osition that all bein#s are beloved by God( 7es, , say. All atte 'ts to create an air0ti#ht 'hiloso'hical e.'lanation o& the world &ro &irst 'rinci'les have &ailed to live u' to their as'irations. 2e have learned about our inability to 'er anently lin" se antics to synta.. 2e do not have secure &oundations &or our "nowled#e. A lo#ician's tool, the Munchhausen Trile a outlines it5
1 For this ter , and #eneral conce't, , a indebted to the wonder&ul $enri 8euwen. , hi#hly reco Life of the Beloved i& one is interested in a ore devotional a''roach to this atter. end his wor" The

,n order to answer any

eanin#&ul /uestion, one will eventually be lead into

1. ,n&inite re#ression 9A is because o& B, B is because o& C, C is because o& ), and so &orth: ;. Circular ar#u ent 9< is because o& 76 7 is because o& <: =. Ex Cathedra2 state ent 9+ is the answer, 'eriod.: Thus, it a"es 'er&ect sense why 2itt#enstein would write, 3At the core o& all well0&ounded belie&, lies belie& that is un&ounded.4 , a not a"in# an ar#u ent by &oundations. >ather, , a constructin# a coherent theory o& belovedness, one that could be acce'ted or dis issed by one based on how use&ul or relevant they &ind it in their e.'erience, thou#ht, and 'ractice. Belovedness as , have described it, the unconditional, sel&less, love o& God, readily available, and &ully i bued in all sentient bein#s. To eanin#&ully s'ea" o& belovedness, and its consistence with a notion o& God, , ust say a &ew words about God. Firstly, , hold to a conce'tion o& God uch di&&erent than the invisible, su'ernatural old an o& 'o'ular de'iction. As the #reat ystic *t. John o& the Cross would attest, the only &oundation we have is the hidden God. This &oundation, this su're ely un"nown God, cannot be s'o"en o& in ter s that belon# to a Bein#0a on#0bein#s or a thin#0a on#0thin#s. , be#in by rejectin# the anthro'o or'his o& God. God does not reside in Ti e and *'ace. God cannot be tested or &alsi&ied. God is i inent, th transcendent, and hu anly ani&est. ;? century theolo#ian +aul Tillich, &or who , a #reatly indebted, used the ter 3The Ground o& All Bein#,4 and advocated 'hrasin# such as 3God is,4 instead o& 3God is the ost e.cellent bein#,4 as Ansel , A/uinas, and other classic theolo#ians would 'osit. The God without bein# is the Creator, the >edee er, and the *ustainer. +lace aside the subject0object divide6 God is wholly other.= , ta"e God, the Ground o& All0Bein#, the in&inite, the unconditioned, as an a.io , and , do not strive to a"e so e sort o& deductive 'roo&. *uch lo#ic #a es when a''lied to God seldo loo" convincin#, and tend to 'rove a hollow God that does not rese ble the root o& all nor ative action, or the ins'iration &or all reli#ious e.'erience. As a brie& aside, consider re'lacin# 3God4 in *t. Ansel 's ontolo#ical 'roo& 9or ore recently, Alvin +lantin#a's ontolo#ical 'roo&: with 3*aturn4 or 3Odin,4 and see i& it a"es any di&&erence. ,& the co on conce'tion o& God is little ore than a #rand, jealous s"y0wi-ard, &ol" 'sycholo#y about the sel& is no less inaccurate and isleadin#. The subjective sel& is &re/uently understood as indivisible, &ully sel&0re&le.ive, consistent, &ree, and rational. All eanin#&ul 'sycholo#y and lin#uistic analysis has bulldo-ed the idea that 'ersons are enli#htened, libertarian &ree0willed autono ous units with the a&ore entioned attributes. ,nstead, it see s as eanin#&ul to e as to the Buddhists, the *toics, the early Christians, and 'hiloso'hers li"e *oren @ier"e#aard that one's sel&0identity is an a or'hous narrative, borne on nature, nurture, and co 'lete chance. Our 3indivisible selves4 arise in our co unities, &ro lan#ua#e, #ender e.'ression, social ores, econo ic values, inter'ersonal s"ills, and so &orth. The sel& arises &ro a broader syste , and &ro the unchosen #enetic and innate aterial in us. ,n short, your 3sel&4 rises out o&, and belon#s to, the #reater natural world6 the assu ed duality between our subjective e.'erience and the world around us is a dee'0seated ista"e. Moreover, everybody who has had a eanin#&ul s'iritual e.'erience, no atter what reli#ious tradition, will describe a loss0o&0sel& and a 3One0ness,4 between the and the world. This conce't can be called 8on0 duality, and is a center'iece o& ost conte 'lative &aiths. , do not see ysel& as a eta'hysical Materialist, the 'osition that the universe consists o& 'hysical ite s and &orces and nothin# else. >ather, this non0duality, this co in#0to#ether o& the entalA'hysical, o& the subjectiveAobjective, o& the &initeAabsolute, is an encounter with the Ground o& All0Bein#. A erican 'hiloso'her and author o& the &irst 'sycholo#y te.tboo" 2illia Ja es na ed this sort o&
; !atin &or 3Out o& the Chair,4 as an absolute ruler would issue an edict. = This is a 'hrasin# coined by ;?th Century theolo#ical #iant @arl Barth.

'osition 38eutral Monis ,4 where the subjective e.'erience and objective is o& the sa e irreducible substance, which , &eel co &ortable 'ostulatin# as God. The love o& God, which , will call in its Gree" na e Agape &or the duration o& the 'a'er to re ove it &ro the connotations o& consu erist hy'er0 senti entalis around the word 3!ove,4 'ervades all sentient bein#s, and all thin#, as we are livin# within God, and God abounds within us. >each out your hand, the Agape is closer to you than your hand. God ay be wholly other, but God is not an other. *o e evan#elicals describe God as 3A Mind,4 which , &eel unco &ortable with. 2hile , a sy 'athetic to odels o& consciousness that do not reduce ind0states to brain0states, it is very clear to e that the contents and &unctionin# o& a ind hin#e on the aterial construction and e 'irical e.'erience o& a brain 9or co 'uter syste , i& co 'uters can in &act be conscious, a to'ic on which ,' not as well0read:. *'ea"in# o& God as 3A Mind4 see s li"e just another ste' to anthro'o or'hi-e God, a tas" , reject. ,& , cannot 'rove God, and nor do , see" to, than what about the #reatest objection to God, the +roble o& Bvil( *t. Tho as A/uinas &a ously listed &ive ar#u ent &or the e.istence o& God in his S !!a Theologica, but he 'ositioned only one 'otential ar#u ent that could be used as a lo#ical 'roo& a#ainst God5 the 'u--le ent to why there is su&&erin# i& a a.i ally Good, benevolent, all0'ower&ul, all0"nowin# God e.ists. Many Christians tend to sideste' this /uestion without #ivin# it its due. This o& course is un&ortunate, as #ra''lin# with the 'roble is a way to #et to an understandin# o& the ut ost belovedness &ro God. >eally, the lo#ical con&lict o& the 'roble o& su&&erin# e.ists i&, and only i&, we 'resu''ose the God o& Classic Theis , which , do not. An atte 't to e.'lain the 'roble o& evil is called a theodicy. One o& the ost &a ous theodicies co es &ro the Ger an athe atician Gott&ried !eibni-, who obsessed about the 'roble o& evil to such a #reat de#ree that uch o& his eta'hysics are a construction to solve the atter.C !eibniconcluded that God created the 3Best o& all 'ossible worlds.4 *u&&erin#, then, &actors into the broader 'icture o& God's #rand 'lan. 2hile , a obviously caricaturi-ation an e.tensive syste , !eibni-' basic 'oint abounds in co on conversation. $ow o&ten does one hear, 3Bverythin# ha''ens &or a reason,4 or 3Bverythin# wor"s out in the end,4 re'eated without so uch as a /uestion about its validity( )oes everythin# wor" out in the end( Are all events directly contributin# to so e #rand eanin#( Can we really not i a#ine a better world( ,& we actually believed that the su&&erin# o& the world co es about &ro the direct will o& God, then God would be res'onsible &or #enocide, &a ine, disease, slavery, estran#e ent, des'otic rule, natural disasters, and other unthin"able cruelty. $ad , set out to write a lon#er essay, , would s'end ore ti e addressin# this theodicy, but &or the 'ur'oses o& y thesis, , believe that intuition, and a &a iliarity with history is su&&icient #rounds &or reason to reject this 'osition. Dariations o& the 3Best o& All +ossible 2orlds4 theodicy &re/uently arise when one is consolin# so ebody in loss. , &ind this so ewhat un&ortunate, as so ebody in #rie& is not so e #rease &ire that needs to be 'ut out as &ast as 'ossible, they are a hu an bein#, and #rievin# is a natural 'rocess in co in# to ter s with su&&erin#. , ediately ju 'in# to icono#ra'hy o& heaven and loved ones in the $ands o& God, i& anythin#, 'laces a bla e on the #rievin# 'arent &or not bein# ha''y that their dead baby #ets to dance with the an#els in the ethereal real . But &or those who have s'ent so e ti e thin"in# over the +roble o& Bvil, the Free02ill >es'onse is 'erha's the ost 'o'ular. As its advocates say, God wants the authentic love and res'onse o& hu an bein#s, thus $e #ave us &ree will. The su&&erin# o& the world co es out o& our isuse o& this #i&t, thus God is not orally liable &or war, ra'e, child olestation, #enocide, slavery, hu an tra&&ic"in#, econo ic o''ression, etc. , &ind this view 'roble atic &or a nu ber o& reasons. The Free02ill )e&ense rests in a critical isunderstandin# o& the will. 2ill is the i 'ulse, the drive,
C , hi#hly reco end *teven 8adler's The Best of All "ossi#le Worlds: A Story of "hilosophers$ %od$ and Evil to learn ore about the stran#e case o& !eibni-'s interaction with the other 'hiloso'hical stars o& his a#e.

the inclination o& one's internal thou#ht 'rocess. There are two ajor ways to understand 3Free02ill4 without denyin# its e.istence, libertarian and co 'atiblist. !ibertarian &ree will 9no relation to the 'olitical views o& Ayn >and and Murray >othbardE: su##ests that the ori#ins o& our drives, desires, &ra es o& thou#ht etc. are created by the individual. !o#ically, this is a di&&icult clai , as it i ediately leads to an in&inite re#ress. ,& all your actions are deliberated by your will, than how does your will #et to its 'osition o& inclination( ,s there another layer o& willin# above that( *econdly, !ibertarian Free 2ill i 'lies that hu an behavior is indeter inistic, which is e 'irically not the case. Any sociolo#ist can dis antle the idea o& 3A sel&0 ade an,4 and 1F? years o& evolutionary biolo#y, 'sycholo#y, and environ ental sociolo#y, while seldo a#reein# about hu an tendencies with the sa e sort o& accuracy as a 'hysicist discussin# terrestrial #ravity, can conclude our inner wor"in#s are a eetin# #rounds o& nature and nurture, which do uch ore to a' out our behaviors than a radical individualist would li"e to con&ess. Adherents to libertarian &ree will, which is closest to 2estern culture's co on intuition on the atter o& will, want to believe one's will e.ists and o'erates inde'endent and above 'hysical causation, a"in# it 3&ree4 o& the 9 ostly: deter inistic laws o& 'hysics. Co 'atiblists would acce't that the ori#ins and con&i#urations o& our wills are not entirely o& one's own construction, and are e.'ressed throu#h the laws o& 'hysics, but &reedo rests in how one's actions are not coerced by an outside &orce, unless so ebody is literately 'ointin# a #un at one's head. , have the ability to conceive o& other 'ossibilities, and in "nowin# , could act on other 'ossibilities, thou#h , do not, , a &ree. Theolo#ically s'ea"in#, 1Gth century A erican theolo#ian Jonathan Bdwards 'ut it best5 2e can do as we 'lease, but we can not 'lease what we 'lease. Martin !uther, too, ar#ued &or 3The Bonda#e o& the 2ill,4 aintainin# that the &orce o& *in 'revents us &ro bein# wholly #ood or in control o& our behaviors. This is the 'osition o& *t. +aul, read the B'istle to the >o ans, es'ecially the seventh cha'ter. Our wills are a networ" o& su##estions, conditionin#, social develo' ents, 'hysical li itations, e ories, diet, intuitions. 2e cannot choose our wills any ore than we can choose to who and to what we are attracted. 2e can choose whether we act on these wills or not. ,n other words, our wills are not entirely our own, as they are a co 'ilation o& causal &actors 9social, biolo#ical, s'iritual, and otherwise: but our actions are accountable to us, the actor. ,t does not &ollow that God would cra&t hu an bein#s with an outra#eous 'ro'ensity &or evil rooted in our biolo#y, then wash his hands o& the atter by clai in# that the &ree will o& hu an bein#s absolves $i o& any bla e. Basily, our brains could have been constructed in such a way that we would &ind urder, torture, ra'e, discri ination less desirable, and coo'eration ore so. For e.a 'le, virtually every culture has a taboo a#ainst incest and cannibalis . 2hy couldn't the God o& Classic Theis have #iven us an a 'ted0u' natural sense o& e 'athy toward others( My &inal, and ost da nin# re ar"s on the Free02ill de&ense5 it is ba&&lin#ly anthro'ocentric. 2hat, then, do we a"e o& the continuous, e#re#ious su&&erin# o& non0hu an ani als in nature( $u an bein#s evolved out o& intelli#ent 'ri ates. 2hen did we beco e &ull0blown hu ans with this a#ical, sel&0creatin#, inde'endent &ree0will( Meanwhile, across the ani al "in#do , we observe others lovin# &or their children, &riendshi's bein# ade, 'ay, wor", co unities, ournin#, joy, se.ual attraction, innovation, a desire &or &reedo , creativity, and an ability to su&&er. ,n the illions o& years be&ore hu an bein#s be#an #atherin# and develo'in# culture, co 'le. or#anis s su&&ered &ro disease, e otional estran#e ent, injury, and violent death. 2hy( For what 'ur'ose( This su&&erin# #oes unaccounted &or in the Free02ill )e&ense, and &or this, , decisively reject its 'ossibility, as it is internally contradictory. 2hile there are other theodicies, , believe they are beside the 'oint6 God, as , understand $erF, is the
E Althou#h, ost A erican 'olitical libertarians , i a#ine hold to a version o& libertarian &ree will. F God's beyond #ender, re e ber(

ut ost #oodness, wholeness, and holiness that holds the universe to#ether. God does not need to be de&ended &ro char#es li"e a cri inal. ,& a conce'tion o& God a"es God so ehow liable &or evil and su&&erin#, that conce'tion rests in a &aulty anthro'ocentric odel o& God0as0General0Mana#er that , reject. An ordained &riend once told e, 3)escribe the God you don't believe in, and , al ost certainly do not believe in $i either.4 The God o& wholeness, holiness, all #ood and all #i&ts can only be understood i& we abandon the idea that God is o ni'otent. ,n short, , bite the bullet5 God is not All0 +ower&ul, or at least not in the sense it was e.'lained to you in &irst #rade. %nderstand e, it is not that , a atte 'tin# to de#rade God, but that , a assertin# a di&&erin# understandin# o& the nature o& God, one in which the state ent 3God is an o ni'otent bein#4 as se antically null as 3Colorless #reen ideas slee' &uriously,4 unless it is understood as analo#y, which accords with the theolo#y o& ost o& the Church Fathers. ,t i#ht hel' to re e ber the e.'erience o& Blijah5 God was not in the earth/ua"e, God was not in the &ire, but God was in the silence. ,n a #reat 'arado., God is not o ni'otent in the style o& the +a#an #ods6 God is uch, uch #reater. By cuttin# the Gordian "not o& theodicies, we can assert without contradiction that the Creator, *ustainer, and >edee er loves us, and all li&e, unconditionally. 1Hth century athe atician and ystic Blaise +ascal wrote in his wor" "ensees, that he sou#ht not the God o& the 'hiloso'hers and scholars, but the God o& Abraha , ,saac, and Jacob. >e&lectin# on this 'oint will hel' address the i ediate 'roble &ollowin# y outline o& God5 ,& one is to acce't that God could be 3The Ground o& All0Bein#,4 3Beyond the *ubject0object divide,4 and not 'ossessin# direct, coercive, causal 'ower, then how does one co e to understand God as the source o& belovedness, all Agape love, transcendence, and ulti ate telos(H ,t would see easier to believe that the God &ound in a naIve readin# o& the Old Testa ent could receive our 'rayers, co unicate with us, and love us individually, because $e 9and notice how it's a de&initive ale: is e&&ectively a su'ernatural bein# that e.ists within the universe. 2hile y ontolo#y o& God ay see unconventional, , believe it corres'onds to +ascal's notion o& the God o& Abraha , ,saac, and Jacob 9hence&orth "nown as GA,J:. The ter 3God o& the +hiloso'hers and *cholars4 is al ost certainly a re&erence to deis , li"e that o& Tho as Je&&erson, Doltaire, and 'robably Binstein. ,& the deist God created the cos os and le&t it alone, then $e is erely a natural characteristic o& the universe, deducible by reason, and without uch real consi/uence, uch less 'rayer and ad iration. Conversely, GA,J is "nown throu#h co unity, tradition, revelation, and 'ersonal e.'erience. GA,J eans nothin# i& not a way o& li&e, an e.istential res'onse to the situations o& one's birth. 2hen , write o& belovedness as an inherent, universal 'ro'erty o& all li&e, , intend to irror +ascal's insistence that &aith is o& ut ost relevance to one's conduct. *i ilarly, i& one does not acce't the reality o& universal belovedness o& all bein#s, then , cannot i a#ine why anyone would bother with any o& this God0Tal", e.ce't to s'ea" o& counter0&actuals and curiosities. 2e i#ht as well s'eculate about the u'co in# results o& unicorn racin# across the nth di ension i& we are to tal" about thin#s un"nown, un"nowable, and without conse/uence. But , do believe an understandin# o& God can a&&ect one on a 'ersonal, 'sycholo#ical, e.istential, and co unal level, es'ecially in the conce't o& belovedness. +uttin# aside centuries o& theolo#ical con&lict, allow us to 'osit the triune God as Creator, *ustainer, and >edee er. Much li"e how @ant's three a.i s o& the Cate#orical , 'erative a"e the sa e broader ar#u ent, but &ro a di&&erent stand'oint, the three titles , have 'rovided are di&&erent ways o& co 'rehendin# belovedness. C>BATO>5 All thin#s co e &ro God. Thus, all creatures share a universal ori#in. 2e are beloved in our introduction &ro non0bein# into bein#. *%*TA,8B>5 *tren#th and direction co e to all bein#s &ro
H Telos, &ro Gree", re&ers to an end0#oal, an ai

sources outside o& the selves. God

&or what a 'articular tas" see"s to achieve.

'rovides coura#e, 'ursuasion, virtue, and

ost o& all, agape. 2e are beloved, unconditionally.

>B)BBMB>5 The @in#do o& God is the teleolo#ical end o& all virtue. The @in#do is not so e &ar0 o&& 'lace, but so ethin# achievable in this world. The God0as0>edee er is always 'resent, and all0 &or#ivin#, as well as subversive, challen#in#, and radical. 2e are beloved, and throu#h this belovedness, we are tas"ed with co0creatin# the new @in#do . The Metaethical Question5 $ow does unconditional Belovedness a&&ect a &ra ewor" o& orality(

There are objective values. 8ot necessarily sel&0evident values, absolute values, a.io atic values, or culturally0irres'ective values, but objective values nevertheless. Objective values, or virtues as , shall describe &urther in this essay, are the 'ractices, attitudes, and dis'ositions that reco#ni-e the belovedness o& all li&e, and the belovedness vested into onesel&. To 'ut this answer to the Metaethical Juestion as a series o& re&lections5 $ow would we treat each other, how would we con&i#ure society i& we believed that every sentient bein# is beloved by God( $ow would we treat each other i& we "new that God, the ut ost o& Good and $oliness, is closer to us than i a#inable( That God e 'owers all o& us to brin# about $is @in#do on Barth( For those un&a iliar with the rich tradition o& ethical 'hiloso'hy, 1Gth century *cottish !awyer )avid $u e articulated the &unda ental challen#e o& deter inin# what is ethical5 The ,s0Ou#ht +roble . ,& we "now the world 'rinci'ally throu#h e.'erience, then we are aware o& 3,s0*tate ents,4 observations, correlations, &acts, and scienti&ic laws. Observation, and its collection o& 3,s0state ents4 do not lin" to orality, which $u e noted consists o& 3Ou#ht0*tate ents.4 $u e did not ean that ethics could not e.ist, he just did not believe there could be a #rounded, de&initive universal ethical 'attern to arise &ro observation, as there is nothin# in 'hysics, che istry, biolo#y, anthro'olo#y, or archeolo#y that can 'rescribe a way o& li&e. To a"e u' &or this, he &i#ured that ethics are based out o& an e otional reaction, an atte 't to a''eal to an ideal, i 'artial observer. Metaethics are any atte 't to brid#e descri'tion to the 'rescri'tion. >ecently, author *a $arris wrote a boo" entitled The &oral Landscape, in which he insisted that neurobiolo#y would 'rovide a de&initive answer as to what is oral or not. Accordin# to hi , actions that 'roduce a hi#her rate o& well0bein# are oral. Alon# with bein# a reductive account that chooses to a''eal to B@G readin#s o& brains as a de&initive readin# o& orality, $arris 'resents the ethical theory o& conse/uentialis 9where oral values are deter ined by conse/uences: as i& it were a new idea. ,t isn't. And a host o& thin"ers who will be re e bered uch lon#er than )r. $arris have levied several stron# criticis s o& such a naIve conse/uentialis . The criti/ue o& conse/uentialis re/uires a uch lon#er s'ace than the &ocus o& this essay, but , would li"e to assert that , reject any ethical syste &ra ed by an econo ic o& 'leasure and 'ain. Conse/uentialis does not reco#ni-e the inherent belovedness o& a li&e. *a $arris' air'ort non0&iction boo" re&used to discuss any o& the 'revious wor" in ethical theory, as he believes neuro0science can 'rovide the answers to etaethics. Ad ittedly, , too so eti es &ind etaethics a tad &rustratin#. Bthics are lived by everybody, everyday. Major issues in 'ractical ethics, li"e abortion, euthanasia, torture, dru# decri inali-ation, have assive 'ublic and 'ersonal i 'lications, and ost everybody has so e sort o& o'inion. Metaethics, li"e a #reat deal o& 'hiloso'hy, involves a 'recise jar#on &airly con&oundin# to those outside the &ield. Moreover, etaethics &ocuses on the &oundations 9or lac" thereo&: in ethics, how this actually chan#es our li&e 'ractices can be di&&icult to notice. +eo'le don't see to consult ethical theories be&ore actin#, usually one receives an intuition, a notice &ro one's conscience, and then stru##les to &ollow or avoid that essa#e. Thus, do etaethics even atter, or are they just an atte 't to a"e a &or al syste out o& ethics where no &or al syste has any business o& bein# ade( 2hile these concerns are real, , believe they 'oint towards a eanin#&ul conclusion about the

'ractice o& ethics5 orality cannot be reduced to a value0&ree set o& a.io s. The two ajor etaethical theories to co e out o& the Bnli#hten ent, consi/uentialis and deontolo#y, both see" to &ind a universal basis &or their theory, inde'endent o& cultural ores, values, or historical 'ractice. 2hile , have already touched on consi/uentialis , , also &ind deontolo#ical ethics to be 'roble atic, but not co 'letely without use. ,ts e.tensive &ocus on the ythical autono ous individual and &i.ation on the conce't o& ri#hts are a troublin# way to root one's ethics, as &ind the autono ous sel& to be a yth, and , do not believe in natural or sel&0evident ri#hts. +rior to the a#e o& !oc"e, >ousseau, @ant, $obbes, and Madison, there was no tal" o& 38atural >i#hts.4 ,& one asserts that ri#hts e.ist outside o& a convenient le#al &iction, then where do these ri#hts co e &ro ( $ow are they deter ined( A classic res'onse is 3Fro God,4 which i ediately raises the /uestion whether God's &oreordained ri#hts &or Man included wo en and ethnic inorities, or whether slavery, a'artheid, and do estic and child abuse, as are 'er itted in sections o& the Bible, are 'art o& these untouchable, absolute 38atural >i#hts.4 The a''eal to natural ri#hts is little ore than a &allacious a''eal to authority, and historically a ethod &or o''ressors to justi&y their e&&rontery unto the belovedness o& the downtrodden. For the secular lot, natural ri#hts are so eti es invo"ed 3Fro >eason,4 which is an e/ually troublin# assertion. As , aintain in y thesis, we have no &oundations outside o& belovedness, and a priori reason will not lead to a universal set o& ri#hts that e.ist inde'endent o& culture, e.'erience, #eo#ra'hy, and econo ics. Juestions o& law ay be addressed by re&errin# to ri#hts, but oral situations can al ost never be eanin#&ully wor"ed out by i ediately justi&yin# one's actions throu#h the su''osed ri#ht one has to do so ethin#. The socially a#reed0u'on 'eri eters to acco 'lish a certain tas" without ir"in# the coercive &orces o& a law en&orce ent body does not a"e what one does oral. >i#hts, as codi&ied in law, &all short &ro reco#ni-in# the unconditional belovedness o& all bein#s. 2hile ri#hts are an invention, belovedness is a /uali&ication, and a di#ni&ication o& li&e, "nown to hu an bein#s throu#h the &aculty o& e 'athy. B 'athy allows one to reco#ni-e the #reat non0duality. Christ states that the Torah can be understood as two laws, /uotin# directly out o& the @in# Ja es Dersion, which a"es u' &or its 'oor translation with wonder&ul literary /uality, KThou shalt love the !ord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy ind. This is the &irst and #reat co and ent. And the second is li"e unto it, Thou shalt love thy nei#hbour as thysel&. On these two co and ents han# all the law and the 'ro'hets.4 , identi&y these two co and ents as 3The Agape +rinci'le,4 &or which &ollows i& one acce'ts universal belovedness. Agape is the ut ost virtue, in all ti es, in all 'laces, with all 'eo'le. ,& all bein#s are i bued with the love o& God, and re&lect this agape, then how could one justi&y actin# in such a way that does not reco#ni-e the belovedness o& that hu an bein#, o& that sentient li&e &or ( This, o& course, leaves a lot o& #ray area. ,t's su''osed to. The A#a'e +rinci'le reco#ni-es that all action is situational, and what atters is the character, the intention behind the action. ,n other words, consi/uentialist and deontolo#ical ethics &ocus on what to do and what not to do, the Agape 'rinci'le &ocuses on how one ou#ht to be, above, beyond, and be&ore any sort o& ethical dile a. These two co and ents are o& course lin"ed. The latter is a reco#nition o& the belovedness o& all 'eo'le in our daily 'ractices and attitudes. The &or er is a call to e.a ine all o& creation, which is in God and God is within, and wor" to brin# about the trans&or ation o& the @in#do . Morality is a constant a''raisal o& virtue, a dialo#ue o& when virtues are to be "e't and when they are to be abandoned, not just a set o& ne#ative laws. ,n &act, eli inate any analo#y between a le#al syste and virtue, con&latin# those two 'roduces the o''ressive syste o& oralis .G The ista"e o& oralis is the atte 't to use the nor ative lan#ua#e and rhetorical authority o& ethics to induce &ear, dis#ust, sha e, and derision in others. ,& the orality o& God rests in a"in# us
G , a#ine this, whether &airly or not, as 3+uritanical0Dictorian0*outhern0Ba'tist0Jerry0Falwell4 orality. Moralis is the 'atriarchal, 'aternalistic, absolutist attitudes toward 'ersonal events or shortco in#s, li"e drin"in#, se., dru#s, clothin# choices, divorce, artistic tastes, etc.

united in non0duality, utual e.'erience, and unconditional Agape. Moralis is rooted in sta"in# a clai in a 38atural Order4 o& thin#s that needs to be aintained, and hea' bla e on those who i#ht reasonably challen#e the standin#s o& those with 'ower. But since there are no &oundations, cultural or otherwise, beyond the %n"nown Ground o& All Bein#, this 'roject is lo#ically inconsistent, and cannot s'ea" eanin#&ully to the Agape "rinciple. Conversely, why would so any hos'itals na e the selves 3*t. Jude,4 a&ter the 'atron saint o& lost causes( The Agape +rinci'le does away with utilitarian calculations6 'eo'le are beloved by the sa e God, they are an end nto the!selves nto the 'ingdo!. Throw away star" dualis , throw away the autono ous, individual sel&, throw away the &iction o& natural ri#hts, and one is le&t with a revelation counter to all the o''ressive &orces o& individualistic society5 Our lives are not our own. Act on this 'rinci'le. As result o& belovedness, our orality ust be seen as a ste''in# stone to the @in#do o& God, the ulti ate telos. The @in#do is not necessarily so e alternate di ension where one #ets to esca'e all the 'ain and su&&erin# o& the world. >ather, the "in#do will be here, on this Barth. And not at the end o& chronolo#ical history, it is an event that e er#es where belovedness is reco#ni-ed and lived0throu#h. God's @in#do will be radically di&&erent than ours. The last shall be &irst, and the &irst shall be last. ,n the Bible, we be#in by leavin# the Garden o& Bden. ,n the end, we will be livin# in the City o& God, all the 'eo'le, to#ether. ,n the "in#do , we shall si 'ly be. And it will be #ood. One o& the #reatest &rustrations , have with continental 'hiloso'hy 9e.#. $eide##er, *artre, Foucault, $e#al: is how swee'in# ideas are introduced by the eans o& assertion, ob&uscation, and wea" historical evidence. 8ot wantin# to i ic that style, , re ind the reader that , be#an this essay by clai in# how , sou#ht to describe a odel o& ethics rooted in a reli#ious tradition, "nowin# that , could not decisively 'rove every 'oint. This has been y case that a reco#nition o& belovedness is the ost use&ul way to live. The @in#do o& God is within you.