Sunday, July 17, 2011

A return to the Divine authority?

Aquinas' moral theology is not a version of divine command theory in so far as that involves [Divine] voluntarism. But while the intelligibility of moral precepts is tied to "eudaimonism," the intelligibility of the precepts does not mitigate their obligatory character. Do discussions of Thomistic virtue ethics ignore this aspect of the moral precepts, and how their observance is tied to the virtues of obedience and religion (and not just charity, even if that is the highest virtue)? (Similarly, even if we rightly call God "Abba" should we not temper out understanding of Him with an acknowledgment of His Sovereignty and His Superiority?)

In an earlier post I talked about Aristotle's discussion of education for the young and how it should be common, or "public." What happens when the society is corrupt and the mores it seeks to impart contradict the natural law? Liberal tolerance may seem nice and neutral, but it involves a rejection of traditional morality and usually directs its adherents to suppressing those who would uphold it. What are families to do when their community has become hostile to tradition and to God? Does this mitigate the obligation to have one's children participate in the common paideia (and I am not equating this with our public school system, even if proponents of public mass education believe they are identical)? I would think so, precisely the authority of God is greater than that of the polis, and what the polis is doing is wrong in the sight of God.