Dark Brightness

Bleak Theology: Hopeful Science

The modern has the illogic of the cafeteria.

We talk about cafeteria Christianity: the believer who ignores the commands that hurt or distress. The very commands that are, to us, the cross we must bear, and the points where we are called to share in the sufferings of Christ.

But cafeteria Christianity makes sense to the modern, for he lives in a world where any sense of duty and obedience is lacking. Liberalism has become a cafeteria, with no pretense of having any values whatsoever.

Modernity is characterized by a whole array of incoherent doctrines: liberalism, positivism, nominalism, feminism, materialism, relativism, financial anti-realism, etc.

It is technically impossible to say what a person committed to an incoherent doctrine should and should not do based on that commitment. An incoherent doctrine provides layers of intellectual rationalization for whatever the person committed to it happens to prefer — what he happens to prefer for reasons extrinsic to the doctrine. Incoherent doctrines create an illusion of being in the moral right, a structure of arguments and reasons which propose to justify whatever a person’s preferences happen to be independent of the incoherent doctrine itself.

This is a significant reason why incoherent doctrines are so popular. They make it possible to argue, at least superficially, that the good, the true, and the beautiful are equivalent to whatever preferences we happen to have. Incoherent doctrines destroy objective values and replace them with whatever our preferences happen to be.

We are left with feels and with being offended as the only currency the modern will understand or accept. Reason is unacceptable. Consequences unthinkable. But reason is needed, and consequences occur.