Examining Intentions – “What we are all about” Intentionality

Examining Intentions – “What we are all about”
Intentionality – People are purposeful creatures
- Example: girl dropping some books in the hall way and a boy helps her pick them up.
Intention is a goal or purpose toward which we direct ourselves.
- “What do you want?”
- John 1:38 Jesus asks “What are you looking for?”
We all want happiness
- Thus our intentions in life reveal what we think will make us happy and how to get that through
our actions.
Intentions make our actions meaningful
- It is what sets up people apart from other animals
Intentions also shape who we are
- Transitive effect – Shape the world around us
- Intransitive effect – Shape us
Intentions and Our Character
- All of us have activities that are important to us
o But we when two activities conflict one usually wins out
- The Christian goal would be to love God with your heart, mind, soul and strength.
- Each of us has an ultimate goal
o Family, money, power, status, strength, pleasure, God, Heaven.
What we are truly all about wins outs
- Jesus “hating” you family (Luke 14:26)
- The Conniving status seeker
- Matt 6:33 – “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these other things will be
given you besides”
- Matt 6:21 – “where your treasure is, there also will your heart be”
- Matt 6:24 – “no one can serve two masters. He will either hate the one and love the other, or be
devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (money).”
- **In short it reveals to us what we think true happiness consists in and how we pursue it**
Some Qualifiers for this vision of Intentions
- 1. We generally do not self-consciously understand all our actions as hierarchically ordered, and
then make choices with some vision in mind.
- 2. Our Actions do not reflect the whole of our hierarchy or goals, in proper proportion, at each
moment or day or week.
- 3. We do not always act in a manner that is perfectly consistent with our higher and lower
- 4. People’s purposes change over time, either developmentally or through stages in life.
- 5. There is not discussion here on if one’s intentions are good or not. (later chapter)
Freedom and Human Action
- We are different than the animals in our scope of freedom
o Beaver, ant, sheep, salmon
- CCC – “the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not act, to do this or that, and so to perform
deliberate actions on one’s own responsibility. By free will one shapes one’s life.”
Object, Intention, and Circumstances
- Example: Captain of a sinking ship. Pg 49 in book
- Object: what is actually done
- Intention: the goal or purpose we have in mind for doing an action
- Circumstance: are features of the situation which, although secondary, help determine the morality
of an act.
- For an action to be labeled good it must be good and fitting in object, intentions, and
Becoming Free: Two types of Freedom
- Many think freedom is like a switch “on” or “off”. Either you got it or don’t.
o being under “duress” it is not your act.
 Example: Being force to drive getaway car in bank robbery.
We are all subject to external influences BUT we still choose
“Freedom of Indifference” – as long as you can choose
“Freedom of Excellence” – The ability to choose well
Example: The Richman
Example: Someone forming an addiction
Example: Married Couple and an affair
Ultimately both versions of freedom want to choose the good in the end and can agree on that.
Next Chapter is going to be on how being able to choose well easier.