An Argument from Our Agency

Longtime commenter Ilíon Troas and I have been corresponding privily about topics tangential to my recent post on error and free agency. In a recent message to me, he shared the following startling argument, and courteously agreed to my suggestion that we should publish it here as a guest post. A more expansive version may be found at his blog, Iliocentrism; here, I reproduce only the core of his argument. It is this argument that prompted the train of thought in me that resulted in my even more recent post on causation.

We theists recognize two general categories of causation: mechanistic (i.e., “cause-and-effect”) and agency (“ground-and-consequent”). Most people, including most God-deniers, will initially agree that these two categories are real, and distinct, and unbridgeable … until they see where the argument is going.

From recognition of the unbridgeable distinction between mechanism and agency, I argue that agency cannot “arise” from mechanism – this is what the God-deniers who haven’t denied agency from the start will then deny and this denial can then be shown absurd and thus false – and thus that agency is, and must be, fundamental to [the] nature of reality.

But, as there is no such thing as agency unless there is an actually existing agent, it follows that *an actually existing agent* is fundamental to the nature of reality.

That is, *we* cannot be agents unless God (who is an agent) exists; or put another way: the fact that we *are* agents proves the reality of God and simultaneously proves the falseness of atheism, in all its forms.

On the other hand, atheism in all its forms denies, and must deny, true agency. For, as per the little argument above, to acknowledge the reality of agency is to acknowledge the reality of God.

Some *atheists* will try to posit random causation, or ‘randomness’ as a causation – and these people will frequently try to subsume agency under ‘randomness.’ But, this is absurd, and thus seen to be false. For, to speak of ‘randomness’ is to speak of a lack of correlation between two or more things. That is, to speak of a “random cause” is to literally speak of a “cause” which is not correlated with its alleged effect – literally, it is to speak of an effect which is not caused by a “cause,” and of a “cause” which does not cause an effect.

Today is Weimar; Today is the Reign of Elagabalus; This is Belshazzar’s Feast

I remember back in the 70’s reading about Weimar and Elagabalus and Nero, and thinking, “How could anyone have been so nuts as to believe any of that obviously perverse and stupid stuff, let alone act on it?” Yet we seem to fall into such fantasies pretty regularly, especially in times of general prosperity and calm. Any number of other such wild and absurd episodes could be adduced: the French and Soviet Revolutions, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, ancient Persian Mazdakism, the Marquis de Sade and his circle (he must have had a pretty extensive circle, who bought his stuff, or we could never have heard of him, no?), Bloomsbury, the Frankfurt School, transhumanism, on and on.

Also, less violently but more radically and pervasively, Freemasonry and the occult – theosophy, New Age, and so forth.

I.e., Gnostic Pelagian utopianism, in all its instantiations.

And, now, right now, today, abortion, porneia, divorce, wokeism, globohomo, transsexuality, and – especially, and at their root, and at their most energetic and fulsome – anti-Christianity; which is to say, when abstract doctrinal push comes down at bottom to pragmatic bloody shove, infanticide and the genital mutilation of children.

That’s where it always ends, no? These Gnostic transvaluations of value always terminate upon the mutilation and death, or just the prevention, of children; i.e., of humanity.

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Moloch Will Want His Regular Meals: Cave!

The recent decisions of the Supreme Court cheat Moloch of his accustomed cheap comestibles. He’ll have to make do with less. But, as with all natural systems under the orbit of the moon, this is a case of pushing the envelope in one way only to see it bulge out in another. Moloch will be served, adequately, or there’ll be hell to pay, and no pitch hot.

There will be deaths. Not of children in the womb, but of others. Moloch must be fed, by his slaves. Now that he’ll be denied the food of babies from so many “trigger” states, he’ll need to be fed in some other way. His vassals will try to figure out how  to immolate some high profile victims, to sate his hunger and avert his wrath. I suspect they’ll offer up some from among their own company.

It can’t work. It can’t suffice. His wrath shall inevitably consume all his worshippers. There are not victims enough to sate his lust. His servants then are doomed.

Reject him! Serve the Lord of Life! Only thereby might you prevent your own ingestion, and dissolution, in the insatiable maw of Moloch.

Creatio ex Nihilo, Atheism, or Manicheism: Choose But One

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Genesis 1:1-2

The argument for creatio ex nihilo is simple. If contra Genesis God created the heaven and the earth by organizing chaotic pre-existent stuff coeternal with him, two incorrigible problems result. If on the other hand he created the heaven and the earth by organizing pre-existent beings who were not chaotic and who were not created from nothing by him, so that they were with him coeternal, then at least one other incorrigible problem results.

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On the Memetic Success of Modernism

Modernism appears pretty consistently in minds as an amalgam of several philosophical notions: positivism, materialism, physicalism, nominalism, liberalism, moral and aesthetic relativism, and atheism. There may be others. If you come across a man who credits one of them, it is a pretty good bet that he credits all the others, too.

It is interesting that, on any one of those notions, there can be no such thing as moral culpability. Modernism then looks like a retreat from morality, and so from responsibility, on every philosophical front. Implicitly, modernism makes shame and guilt inapposite to reality. Shame and guilt are painful feelings, and it is pleasant to get out from under them, via the conviction that they simply don’t pertain to anything – particularly oneself, or one’s acts. That is why modernism is tempting; this might account for its memetic success.

The Problem of Evil for Atheists

… is much more problematic than for theists. Which is not saying much: evil is no sort of problem for theists, once the nature of actuality is understood. What is actual must act – it’s right there in the term “actual” – so that if creatures are not able to err and so do evil, they cannot act, and so are not actual. Which is just to say that they are not, period full stop. There are actual creatures, who err, ergo etc. Thus if God was going to create *anything whatsoever,* he had no option in logic but to open the way to error, evil, sin, and death.

So, theists have no Problem with Evil, at least in respect to their theism.

Atheists are not so lucky.

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The Kalam Ontological Argument

The Kalam Cosmological Argument is well known: if the cosmos had no beginning, it would not require a creator. Yay, for the atheist! But then, the cosmos would be infinitely old; and, so, it would be impossible for finite events (such as all those that constitute reality insofar as we can apprehend it) to complete the infinite traversal from the infinitely distant past to any moment whatever of the cosmogonic timeline. Zeno would be pleased. There could then be no present moment, for no such present moment could ever yet have happened. Nothing whatsoever could then ever happen. But, tace Zeno, there is always a present moment, events do transpire, ergo etc. The infinity of the past is refuted by the reality of any present event (or any past event, for that matter). The cosmos is therefore temporally finite, had a beginning, so stands in need of an extracosmic cause, and so forth: God, QED.

But there is also an analogous Kalam Ontological Argument. Ontological arguments proceed from a priori premises, that do not at all depend upon a posteriori observation, such as your indisputable observation of this present moment of your experience. They work whether or not there is anything out there to be observed, or anyone to observe it.

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Philosophical Skeleton Keys: The Stack of Worlds & the Literal Fall; &c.

The stack of worlds implicit in Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems furnishes a way of understanding the Fall as having happened literally, and in (so far as I can tell) complete congruity with the latter day scientific model of our own world’s history – and, indeed, with that of any other – and with the account in Genesis.

This post supervenes two others in a series respecting divers Philosophical Skeleton Keys: first, The Stack of Worlds, and then, The Play: Its Wright, Players, & Characters. It will I think be easier to understand this post if you review them, before essaying this one.

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Philosophical Skeleton Keys: Idolatry

This key is simple to explain, but I have found it opens lots of doors; it explains lots of things. Idolatry is the worship of something less than the Most High; of something other than God. Simple, no?

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