Archival Number: A561
Author: Lonergan, B.
Database and descriptions © Copyright 2017 by Robert M. Doran
56100D0L060 April 26
Religious conversion is conversion to God, aversion from creatures; it is opposed to sin. Aversion from God is conversion to creatures. (A) There is an implicit aspect, personal, interior, individual, and (B) there is an explicit, historical, and interpersonal aspect.
Religious conversion A (implicit): There is an implicit conversion to God and aversion from creatures, an implicit overcoming of the wound of ignorance and malice (Summa theologiae, 1-2, q. 85, a. 3), an implicit attainment of reason illumined by faith, given through intellectual and moral conversion. Intellectual conversion is conversion from the perceptionist myth to the intelligible, the true, being, the good. Moral conversion is conversion from the good as relative to what is absolutely good. Anyone who undergoes such a conversion of the whole personality is really ordered to the end that is God, implicitly is in relation to an end that is God. Implicitly: we are not saying one explicitly attains immediately to the recognition of God; we do not wish now to speak about proofs for the existence and reality of God; we wish to presuppose the philosophic materials and note the fact.
In intellectual conversion, there is left behind die natürliche Einstellung, and one in directed to understanding everything, to being. (1) to understanding everything, for questions are not limited, even if answers are; but understanding everything would be comprehending the divine essence, God. This is not attained even in Christ or in the beatific vision. (2) to being: quid sit, an sit; quid faciendum sit; what am I able to be, what should I be, what do I want to be. This ‘to be’ is what of itself is not limited. Limitation is of the essence of quiddity. Coreth: unlimited ‘to be’ is God.
In moral conversion: conversion from the good in a relative fashion to what is absolutely good. It can be conceived as a category of the human spirit, as the categorical imperative, as the root of obligation and morality. In fact it is implicit conversion to God. Being and the good are convertible. The good that is itself, that by reason of itself is good, the good by participation in which other things have value, is God. You have made us for yourself, God, and our heart is restless until it restrs in you. Summa theologiae, 1, q. 44, a. 4, ad 3m.
Corollary: There is a mutual variation among (1) what has to do with the authenticity of the person, (2) religion, (3) philosophy, and (4) theology. For the originary pole is headed toward the intelligible (quid), the true (an), being (the real of the realists), and the good. The authenticity of the person is conformity between the originary pole and the existential pole. Personal authenticity is religious and moral conversion, and is implicitly conversion to God and aversion from creatures. Philosophy regards all of being. Its condition of possibility is the originary pole. Theology is reason illumined by faith, and faith illumines in two ways: by healing the wound of nature, and by elevating to divine mysteries.
This corollary is of great importance. It has to do with the absolute transcendental horizon, the total personality, the universe, in an absolute way.
(1) authenticity and religion: (a) the acknowledgment of God leads to the knowledge of oneself, and the knowledge of oneself leads to the acknowledgment of God; (b) the denial of God leads to ignorance of oneself, and ignorance of oneself leads to the neglect of God.
(2) authenticity and philosophy: inauthenticity grounds philosophical errors, such as the view that ‘to be’ is of itself logical (Kant) or minimal (Hegel). It also corrupts true philosophy. Scholasticism becomes perceptionist, extrinsicist, partial, Talmudic [?]. It does not ask about what is and seek to understand what is. It lacks interiority. Authenticity radically removes difficulties and obscurities. It is the light that shines in the darkness. It solidly lays foundations which cannot be shaken except by turning away from the intelligible, the true, being, and the good.
(3) philosophic conversion and religious conversion: a philosophy that treats philosophic conversion also treats religious conversion, but implicitly: religion regard life, philosophy regards the mind. Existentialism versus positivism: the question of God is either put, at least atheistically, or is regarded as an absurdity and is not in any way even raised. Religious conversion is to the true God, not to an idol of the tribe, of the market, of the imagination, of passion. (i) there is a homology to philosophic conversion. The law, the prophetic word, the sapiential word, the word of the gospel pertain to the order of the real good, the true, being known through the true, and are opposed to the ‘already out there now’ and to the ‘good for me,’ the merely relative good. (ii) although it is not necessarily expressed in accord with differentiated consciousness, whether classical or historically minded. What the Greeks mean by logos, the Hebrews attain in the word of God.
Philosophy and religion: Whoever regards philosophy and religion as alien to one another has departed either from authentic philosophy or from authentic religion or from both. Beyond the moment of conversion, philosophy and theology may diverge and there can be many aberrations of both [RD: not sure of this.] Not everyone will be able to discern between truth and error, but one who is not able can justly doubt and deliberate about taking up the theological task. Learning is necessary, but direction and orientation determine the fruit.
(4) Christian religion and philosophy:
(a) Philosophic conversion is not a conversion to God through Christ, except implicitly. And conversion to God through Christ is not philosophic conversion except implicitly.
(b) Still, implicitly, as the development of authentic philosophy, it is part of Christian apologetics. Whatever truth there was in Hellenism was praeparatio evangelica, so that the development and explication of Christian doctrine entails a Christian philosophy. Some correlations are drawn at this point. See the document, p. 9.
(5) The authenticity of philosophy – Christian religion – and theology adds the supernatural explicitly and historically. The principle of theology is reason illumined by faith. We arrive at reason through intellectual and moral conversion and through healing grace.