Thoughts on Whatever Became of Sin? By Karl Menninger MD (1973) 0A

Menninger, a Freudian psychiatrist, wrote in America during the 1960s.  Two of his observations are the subjects of these first few blogs.  They set the stage for examining Menninger’s book in greater depth.

Page numbers come from the sixth printing of the paperback version in April 1977.

One observation described a (economic) bubble within a bubble that extended from 1945 to the time of writing (219).  The bubble started in the discipline of Psychoanalysis.   Early on, many students tried to enter the field.  There was plenty of opportunity.  But not enough analysts could be trained to meet demand.  Then, the “psychoanalyst” bubble was swept into a larger bubble in the field of mental hygiene.  Universities minted mental health “sub-professionals” who found ready employment in various state institutions.

A second observation portrayed the collapse of confidence at Princeton Theological Seminary.  When Menninger spoke there, presenting his 1966 book The Crime of Punishment, he found clergy students bewildered and disillusioned (224).  They asked: Had they embarked on the right career?

Menninger did not link these two observations.

However, he suggested a role for the clergy in addressing a “morality gap” (192) that could not be handled by psychoanalysts or mental care workers.  This book was intended to inspire clergymen (and now, women) to address this “morality gap” by recovering the Christian notion of “sin”.


Thoughts on Sin by Ted Peters (1994) Blasphemy 8M

Whether Peters knew it or not, his treatment of the topic was very narrow.  He examined Satanism as the opaque magic complement to the transparent magic of the New Age Movement.  He was not aware that both constitute the private cult complement to the Public Cult of Progressivism.

Because Progressivism claims that it is “not religious” that does not mean that its claim is true.  It means that the claim fits a “language” where “religion” is “defined in a particular way”.  This “language” deserves to be challenged.

However, Progressive’s grasp of Sovereign power makes a challenge difficult for many reasons.  One of those reasons is step 6.  Without a doubt, individuals who crave the thrill of domination without conscience have been entering into Progressive Institutions for the past few decades.  The more Progressives consolidate power, the more attractive their Institutions become to these perverted individuals.

In as much as Progressive Ideology defines “Higher Goods” that “One may become the Instrument of”, there will be no deficit of cruelty.

What does this mean?

This means that Peters’ intuitive schema has general applicability.  It certainly extends beyond his narrow treatment of the topic.

This concludes my blogs on Ted Peters Sin: Radical Evil in Soul and Society (1994).


Thoughts on Sin by Ted Peters (1994) Blasphemy 8L

In addition to fitting into a Peircean system, many of the features of Peters’ discussion resonate with ideas in An Archaeology of the Fall, especially the notion that the serpent was a reification of Eve’s own unconscious thoughts and the notion that we project referentiality into words that are only systems of differences.  Both these themes deserve more consideration.  They form a novel scaffold onto which we may hang Peters’ insightful nested steps.

At the same time, one of the plot elements, the jinn that Keller made a deal with, did not come to mind.  This deserves further thought.


Thoughts on Sin by Ted Peters (1994) Blasphemy 8K

At this point, Peters proceeded into Chapter 9: Forgiveness: Grace, Love and Unfinished Business.

I here also begin to wrap up.

My conclusion is that Peters seven steps to Radical Evil may be systematized using the nested formalism of Normal Context(Actuality(Possibility)) where:

Possibility makes Actuality possible.

Actuality situates Possibility.

Actuality makes the Normal Context appear actual.

Normal Context contextualizes Actuality.

Steps 1, 2 and 3 may be formalized as Pride(Anxiety(FaithUnChristian))

Steps 4 and 5 may be formalized as Justificationself(concupiscence())

Concupiscence encompasses actuality(possibility) and may be described as “the state of being(with Cupid)”

Steps 6 and 7 may be formalized as Blasphemy(Cruelty()).

Cruelty encompasses actuality(possibility) and may be described as “the thrill of acting(without conscience)”.

These nested formalisms fall within planes that may be described as “setting the stage” (steps 1,2, and 3), “doing” (steps 4 and 5), and “perverting” (steps 6 and 7).


Thoughts on Sin by Ted Peters (1994) Blasphemy 8I

So blasphemy is more than just “stealing symbols”.

Blasphemy is investing certain symbols with such authority as to be “beyond question” or “beyond uncertainty”.

In doing so, these symbols button down a symbolic order or “language” that cannot be consonant with the symbolic order or “language” of Christianity.

Those who tried to justified cruelty with the “language” of Christianity have always never quite succeeded.  Even the worst of the Inquisition was a mixed bag.  Consider Jonah Goldberg’s The Tyranny of Clichés, in that regard.

Those who tried to justify cruelty with the “language’ of Science, on the other hand, have succeeded so well that Modern History stands as a testament to the delusional powers of the Symbols of Science.

Now, Modernism transcends itself.  Modernism has shed its old skin. Postmodernism sets forth in a new skin, with a new “language” defining a new symbolic order.

Progressivism will justify its cruelty with the “language” of the Social Sciences.


Thoughts on Sin by Ted Peters (1994) Blasphemy 8H

Is Satan the real interiority of a society that idolatrously pursues its own self-enhancement, as Peters claimed?

Say “yes” and beware of Peters’ warning against those simplistic Christians who confound Satanic and New Age Cults.  As noted before, both are private cults that complement the Public Cult of Progressivism.  Yet, Peters was not aware of the Public Cult.

Say “no” and realize that the word “society” and “interiority” are slippery symbols.  Peters looked through the lens of his own narrow research. What did he mean by “society”?  “Society” is placeholder in a system of differences – a symbolic order – that belongs in a “language” once Christian, but now co-opted by Progressivism.

“Society” now defines “the Greatest Good” for this faithUnChristian.

As such, “Society” is “the Good” that the Thrill Seekers may become the Instruments of.

And there are no thrills as vibrant as political – or military – contest.

Perhaps, the answer to Peters’ claim can be formulated as such:

“Society” is the real interiority of a religion – that denies that it is a religion – idolatrously pursuing its own self-enhancement.


Thoughts on Sin by Ted Peters (1994) Blasphemy 8G

Blasphemy provides the excuses to be without a conscience.

And weirdly it works in two ways.

In one way, you justify looking inside yourself to see the image of “You as the Instrument of the Greatest Good”.

In the other way, you justify looking at others to see the demonic image of “What You Could Be”, while denying that “You Could Be That Way”.

The Massachusett “satanic preschool” trials prefigure the trials to come.


Thoughts on Sin by Ted Peters (1994) Blasphemy 8F

The Satanic Soul is a House of Mirrors.

The parents, therapists and lawyers of the “satanic preschool trials” saw their own unconscious persona in the testimony of those eager-to-please manipulated children.  The testimony reflected through their own House of Mirrors, where one of the surfaces contains an image of what they could never admit to be, but could be in the proper circumstances.  Those Progressives could be the Instrument of some Divine Compulsion – some “fill in the blank” – some Order of the Hypergalactic Space Probe.

Satan has one face that appears as two.  One face is transfixed – by the thrill of what it sees – one of the multiple reflections of – what appears to be another face – the one who would say “yes” to being without conscience.  The one face is that of the accuser, who thrills in the accusation and the trial.  The other face is that of the accuser, who longs to serve as the perverse vessel of a Higher Good.   Yet both belong to one.

One face of Satan is on the Outside Looking In.  The other face of Satan is on the Inside Looking Out.  The One on the outside is looking in, seeking the thrill of catching a glimpse of its own image.  The one on the inside is looking out, seeking the excuse to be without substance, that is, without conscience.

Satan wants to be reflected be a Hall of Mirrors instead of a single Mirror, which reflects a unified image, an image without “doubling”.


Thoughts on Sin by Ted Peters (1994) Blasphemy 8E

Consider the Massachusetts “satanic preschool” trials.

Here, “the possibility of satanic cult activity” was reified.

Let’s say that local secular  therapists were talking to themselves about how “creepy” those Christian preschools were.  Was there not a problem with their faithChristian, as opposed to our university-trained faithUnChristian?

Then the serpent joined their conversation, speaking through the mouths of children, telling them exactly what they already suspected.

The therapist’s “metaphorical” truths became “empirically” true.

How could the children’s claims be “metaphorically” true?

All families feel vulnerable to external forces.  What external force is more immediate than that little preschool down the street?  Parents never really know what is going on behind those closed doors. So their anxiety was written all over their faces when their child causally mentioned, while they read the New York Times on one fine churchless Sunday morning, that her preschool teacher touched her lips with a hypergalactic space probe.

The serpent converted the metaphorical truth of the therapists into an empirical truth.

Welcome to MA: First in Witch-hunts.