Aug 112010

To know what is truly so and appreciate what is truly good.

The Generalized Empirical Method

1) Be attentive
2) Be intelligent
3) Be reasonable
4) Be responsible


It is not through true judgment that we reach knowledge of existence, it is through knowledge of existence that we know true judgment

Ontological causes —————-> Soul — Potencies — Acts — Objects <———————-Cognitional Reasons

Knowledge… is not an accomplished fact… but only a goal, the end, the objective of a natural desire.

According to Aquinas, the object of the natural desire of our intellects includes the ens per essentiam. When we learn of God’s existence, spontaneously we ask what God is; but to ask what something is, releases a process that does not come to rest until knowledge of essence is attained.

The natural desire to know is the natural desire to know being.

Understanding God

“There are two ways of seeing God. One is perfect vision, in which the essence of God is seen. The other is imperfect; though in this vision we do not see what God is, we do see what he is not. And, in this life, the better we understand God to transcend whatever is grasped by intellect, the more perfectly also do we know him”

1) the subject of theology is not a set of propositions or a set of truths but a reality

2) theology itself is an understanding, for science is a process towards a terminal understanding

3) this understanding is not of God himself, for then the science would not be subalternated but subalternating

4) an understanding of the revelation cannot be adequate, for revelation is about God and God himself is not understood.


There is an intellectual conversion by which a person has personally met the challenges of a cognitional theory, an epistemology, a metaphysics, and a methodology.

There is a moral conversion by which a person is committed to values above mere satisfactions.

And there is an affective conversion by which a person relies on the love of neighbor, community, and God to heal bias and prioritize values.

Conversion as Lonergan understands it is three-fold. Although he never uses the explicit phrase in Insight, in fact the entire book is an exercise in intellectual conversion. It is about coming to the realization that one’s knowing is commonly a mixture of two different kinds of knowing, and about the process of learning to distinguish between the two and to discern their proper roles. To this Method in Theology adds moral and religious conversion. Moral conversion is the shift from self-satisfaction to value as the criterion of one’s decision-making and action. Finally, Lonergan conceives of religious conversion as a being-in-love in an unrestricted fashion. It is the gift of God’s grace flooding our hearts.


  • Love liberates the subject to see values: Some values result not from logical analyses of pros and cons but rather from being in love. Love impels friends of the neurotic and egoist to draw them out of their self-concern, freeing their intelligence to consider the value of more objective solutions. Love of humanity frees loyalists to regard other groups with the same intelligence, reason and responsibility as they do their own. Love of humanity frees the celebrated person of common sense to appreciate the more comprehensive viewpoints of critical history, science, philosophy and theology. Love of a transcendent, unreservedly loving God frees a person from blinding hatred, greed and power mongering, liberating him or her to a divinely shared commitment to what is unreservedly intelligible, reasonable, responsible and loving.
  • Love brings hope: There is a power in the human drama by which we cling to some values no matter how often our efforts are frustrated. Our hopes may be dashed, but we still hope. This hope is a desire rendered confident by love. Those who are committed to self-transcendence trust their love to strengthen their resolve, not only to act against the radical unintelligibility of basic sin, but also to yield their personal advantage for the sake of the common good. Such love-based hope works directly against biased positive self-images as well as negative images of fate that give despair the last word. To feel confident about the order we hope for, we do not look to theories or logic. We rely on the symbols that link our imagination and affectivity. These inner symbols are secured through the external media of aesthetics, ritual, and liturgy.
  • Love opposes revenge: There is an impulse in us to take an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. While any adolescent can see that this strategy cannot be the foundation of a civil society, it is difficult to withhold vengeance on those who harm us. It is the nature of love, however, to resist hurting others and to transcend vengeance. It is because of such transcendent love that we move beyond revenge to forgiveness and beyond forgiveness to collaboration.
 Posted by at 2:24 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.