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Shadows of Divine Things

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This site is devoted to theological and philosophical investigations of the spiritual meanings of life, current events, music, spiritual growth, nature, and learning to be attuned to listening to the 'language of God.' The name of this blog comes from one of Jonathan Edwards's journals which he called 'Shadows of Divine Things,' and later renamed 'Images of Divine Things.' As a Christian I am continously on a spiritual journey to grow more into the image of Christ, to understand what it means to be crucified with Christ. To seek the truths of the Christian Faith is of upmost importance, and to know that any truths that are found outside of Christianity are present there because they ultimately point to God. I have an M.A. in theology and apologetics and I completed one year of graduate studies in Philosophy at Marquette University.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Duty, Means, and Ends: The Kantian Kingdom of God, Part One

Below is the first part of a paper I wrote when I was studying philosophy at Marquette. I have changed the format (i.e. the footnotes have been placed in brackets/parenthesis at the end of each posting, sometimes in the middle, don't let this throw you off the flow), and certain words have been changed to fit a 'blog' setting instead a formal 'class work' setting. I will post these in parts as the entire paper was too long to post as one unit. I have tweaked the time of each post so all three parts flow in sequential order.
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It would seem that the last place one would search for a treatise regarding certain theological issues would be in the works of Immanuel Kant. But perhaps we should not come to such hasty conclusions about Kant’s ability to discuss such matters. What is more, this series, while not its main intent, may in fact flesh out that perhaps Kant was a closet theologian; if not a theologian proper, then at least a philosopher of theological issues. This may often escape the casual reader of Kant since much of the focus, prima facie, seems to revolve around Kant’s Critiques (The Critique of Pure Reason, The Critique of Practical Reason, and The Critique of Judgment. Usually the casual reader will spend the most time reviewing The Critique of Pure Reason since this is, more or less, Kant’s most popular work).


However, Kant had much to say regarding philosophical theological issues. In fact, Kant’s Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone (Henceforth referred to as Religion. It is important to point out at this point that when Kant refers to reason in the context of theology, this reason is a practical reason. And in the context of Religion this reason is a moral obligation on a practical level and is thus not theoretical theology for Kant) is a treatise regarding not only moral and political issues, but religious (theological) and philosophical issues as well.

The intent of this series of posts is to glean, from Kant’s Religion, a better understanding of one of the more prominent themes which stem not only from Kant’s view of morality but from his investigation of religion from a philosophical vantage point; namely, the kingdom of God. In fact, the focus of these posts will be narrowed to the third book of Religion which is aptly titled “The Victory of the Good over the Evil Principle and the Founding of the Kingdom of God.” In this chapter Kant is preoccupied with the notion that the formation of this kingdom is a result of achieving the highest moral good in a community of individuals who have this same goal in mind in their struggle for moral perfection.

However, Kant also believes there is a higher moral Being on whom this community of individuals must rely in order to achieve a unity for a common end. There are certain beliefs and practices which work as means to helping this community achieve this common end, and a certain moral duty which is necessarily enveloped in this social quest for moral perfection. Thus, this article will attempt to delineate the duty, means and ends for the Kantian kingdom of God.

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