The official Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of
the American Psychological Association (2002) may be found online at:
The purpose of the Ethics Statement is to guide psychologists in the standards they should apply as professional psychologists. This includes all job settings where an individual delivers services or activities as a psychologist. For instance, psychotherapists, counselors, health professionals, supervisors, public service settings, researchers using human subjects, and instructors.
Atheistic psychology and theistic psychology share the same behavioral code of ethics but from an entirely different perspective and rationale. This makes sense since atheistic psychology does not make use of the concept of God while theistic psychology is based on God's Speech or Sacred Scripture. Everything in theistic psychology relates to God from beginning to end for every concept. So the ethics of theistic psychologists will be overtly similar in ideal intent as the ethics of atheistic psychology. But when atheistic psychologists justify the ethical standards they naturally use a different rationale that has nothing to do with God or heaven and hell. In contrast, theistic psychologists justify the same ethical standards using the concepts of theistic psychology, namely in terms of heaven and hell.
To see the particulars of this difference, we can examine the opening paragraph of the Preamble which summarizes the overall view of the entire Ethics Statement.
We can ask why are theistic psychologists committed to
Increasing people's knowledge of human behavior is vital for regeneration from two aspects--(a) from the perspective of our efforts at character building, and (b) from the perspective of assisting others in their efforts of character building.
Regeneration is a process of spiritual development whose goal is to prepare the mind for eternal life in conjugial love in heaven. God, our Divine Psychologist, is effecting regeneration in us but our progress is proportional to our cooperation. The fact is that people are born with inherited tendencies that resist and oppose character rebuilding. We have an enormous inertia in giving our consent to the Divine Psychologist to do the work of regeneration in our mind, in our habits of feelings and thinking. For almost anyone, to change is to experience negative feelings and suffering, even anguish. If it were left up to everyone how many could actually compel themselves to cooperate despite our strong inner resistance? It makes good sense therefore to teach people the psychology of cooperation. Theistic psychology has very useful knowledge about techniques people can use to increase their willingness and ability to cooperate with the Divine Psychologist.
One central technique is called the self-witnessing method. It consists of systematic and cumulative self-monitoring activities in chosen areas of daily living or in recurrent mental operations. Self-witnessing has three areas of focus called the "threefold self"--affective self, cognitive self, and sensorimotor self. This type of self-witnessing collects data on our feelings, thoughts, sensations, and motor movements. For example, people who want to introduce improvements or changes in their food behavior typically experience difficulty making the changes permanent. There is frequently a relapse into the former food behavior, nullifying the gain. The motive to change the diet is spiritual. People in the positive bias (see Chapter 1) understand that there is a connection between choices we make now and spiritual consequences later, when we pass into the afterlife.
An unhealthy diet originates from inherited enjoyments that are evil. This means that our mind is tied to some spiritual society in the hells (see Chapter xx). These connections are inborn in the affective and cognitive organs of the mind. The connections with the hells is in the form of a non-conscious mental communication or influence from a distance. These interconnections vary with culture, religion, and generation or historical era. They derive from the fact that mental connections between people are physiological structures in the spiritual world (see Chapter xx). The specific content of the inherited traits determines which spirit society from hell will have the influencing agency. This can be observed in family traits, as well as in the similarity of co-patriots when they meet in a foreign land.
Self-witnessing gives us the details of what we think and how we feel in various situations during our daily activities. The thoughts, reactions, emotions, and feelings--all private behaviors unseen by others, are indices or signs of the hell society that is influencing us. For example, feeling angry to the point of fantasizing torturing someone. Or, feeling so turned on that we fantasize having sex with another man's wife. Every inherited tie to some hellish society puts us under the influence of others who dwell in their hells. God creates and maintains these interconnections which I call the "vertical community" to distinguish it from our horizontal community like the city we live in or the people we know (see Chapter xx).
We also inherit heavenly traits, hence connections in the vertical community with people who are in the heavens of their mind. Swedenborg discovered that people who are in the heavens o their mind are in company with others who are also in the heavens of their mind. As well, people who are in the hells of their mind are in company with others who are also in the hells of their mind. In theistic psychology this leads to a basic formula: the objective geography of the spiritual world = the subjective anatomy of the mind. What an astonishing revelation!
There is a clear separation between science and religion that should also be maintained by theistic psychologists. Science is universal and applies to all human beings equally. Religion is localized to history, culture, and ethnic group. There are therefore diverse religions as there are different cultures. Since every cultural group chooses its own religion it would be an ethical interference for science to promote one religion over another. But this doesn't mean that religion is not a legitimate area of research for science. Religious behavior and belief are prominent aspects of all cultures and communities spilling over into social morality and political agenda. Especially for theistic psychologists religious behavior is an important focus. This focus includes atheistic and secular humanists who define themselves in relation to God, but in opposition or denial.
An issue arises with respect to religion and science because theistic psychology is based on Sacred Scripture that is historically identified with Western Judaeo-Christian religions, namely, the Old Testament (in Hebrew), the New Testament (in Greek), and the Writings (in Latin). As pointed out elsewhere (see Chapter xx), the literal meaning of this threefold Sacred Scripture is historical and relates to Western culture in the past three thousand years. But theistic psychology is based on the scientific meaning of the Threefold Scripture, not on its literal meaning. The literal meaning of the Old Testament is strongly ethnic and appears to be addressed to one nation. The literal meaning of the New Testament is more general, being able to be applied on a global basis. The literal meaning of the Writings is rational and therefore universal. The scientific meaning of the Writings is evident in the literal sense, less evident in the New Testament, and obscure in the Old Testament.
To derive the scientific meaning of the Old and New Testaments Swedenborg had to painstakingly define the psychological correspondences of historical events, of places and numbers, of allegories and prophecies rendered in poetic language, sometimes incomprehensible without knowledge of their correspondences. Since the Writings are written for the modern mind, its literal meaning is scientific in many parts. But there are parts that discuss particular religions and nations. If the literal meaning of these discussions were also the scientific meaning, then those parts of the Writings would not be suitable for theistic psychology since it is unethical for theistic psychologists to promote one religion over another.
But it is not feasible to divide the Writings up into portions suitable and portions not suitable for theistic psychology. The Writings are expressions of Divine Speech in a natural language, just like the Old and New Testaments. In fact, the three are connected into a solid unit whose coherence would be destroyed where one to omit portions from any of the three sets of Divine Speech. Remember that Divine Speech is universal. It is given by God to humanity and there is only one God. But when Divine Speech filters down from the celestial language, to the spiritual language, then to the natural language, it undergoes transformations governed by the laws of correspondences (see Chapter xx). By the time Divine Speech reaches the bottom of the line in a natural language, it necessarily contains historical and national references.
But only those references occur in this way that have a scientific meaning that applies to all of humanity. It is not possible for Divine Speech to be addressed to only some of humanity, to one nation or historical era. But when Divine Speech is transformed into a natural language, it becomes Sacred Scripture that appears to be given to one nation or culture. By applying the method of correspondences theistic psychologists can reconstruct Divine Speech through the various layers it has gone through on the way down to the natural world and natural mind. This is especially true of names, places, and numbers. For instance, the city "Jerusalem" which is the nation of Israel in the Middle East, disappears when we apply correspondences, to derive its scientific meaning as "spiritual doctrine" or the mental operations at the spiritual-rational level of the human mind. Similarly with all the cities mentioned in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Writings. They disappear from focus when you translate them into their psychological meaning.
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph disappear as historical and ethnic individuals when you recover their psychological meaning, which refers to the successive steps of development in our regeneration. Similarly in the Writings, when it says something about "Jews" the historical reference disappears when you recover its psychological meaning as the external state of mind relative to the internal. Similarly, Egypt, Assyria, and Israel actually refer to the anatomy of the human mind in hierarchical sequence--Egypt refers to thinking about God with natural correspondences, Assyria refers to thinking about God with spiritual correspondences, and Israel refers to thinking about God with celestial correspondences (see Chapter xx).
The Writings mention European nationals--French, Dutch, British, Swedish, etc. It is true that Swedenborg met people from these nations when he was in the world of spirits. Obviously when he interviewed people who had just passed on he sometimes discovered which country they were from, or even, which planet other than ours. But the more important issue is to understand that only those details are recorded in Sacred Scripture which correspond to the psychological meaning of universal Divine Speech. By focusing attention on their scientific correspondences the literal historical reference disappears. They are merely carriers of the universal meaning.
There is therefore no actual favoritism or promotion of one religion over another when we recover the universal meaning of Divine Speech. Theistic psychology is extracted from the literal sense of Sacred Scripture by reconstructing the universal meaning of Divine Speech which is embodied in the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture.
This extraction process for the sake of universal science is not in any way threatening to religions based on Sacred Scripture. The Writings reveal that all Sacred Scripture contain historical parts and they are true and correct in detail. This is obvious when you consider that Divine Speech is given with the intent of it being recovered from Sacred Scripture. But Sacred Scripture does not lie for this would be sacrilegious or blasphemous. Therefore the literal sense upon which religion is based remains accurate and holy, suitable for worship.
Practitioners of atheistic psychology take a natural stand regarding moral issues of what's right or wrong, and regarding spiritual issues of what's good and evil. In contrast, theistic psychologists focus in on what's right and what's good and evil as fundamental issues people face in the lifelong struggle of regeneration, whose outcome determines their eternal future. The sharp difference between the two types of psychology is that there is no scientific basis for good and evil in atheistic psychology, while in theistic psychology we have the good and evil defined by Divine Speech, which is the source of scientific revelations.
Knowledge of theistic psychology gives people an understanding of how mental habits we practice today will be determining influences on our mental habits in the afterlife, and how they determine the quality of our future life in eternity. Teaching theistic psychology involves presenting the facts and explanations that give people an understanding of how our present life determines our future life in the spiritual world. Theistic psychology is the science of immortality, hence the focus is on the built in connection there is between this life and the afterlife.
In public institutions like the one I'm teaching in, students in a classroom have diverse backgrounds in religion, ethnic identification, or secular beliefs like atheism or materialism. High ethical standards must be maintained in teaching to avoid putting persuasive pressure on students own belief systems about the spiritual issue of right vs. wrong or good vs. evil. Theistic psychology clearly proves that persuasive belief systems are injurious to people in the afterlife. This is because the process of persuasion diminishes one's freedom of choice in choosing between truth and falsity, and between good and evil. Swedenborg observed that people in the world of spirits undergo a rapid personality change shortly after the resuscitation process (see Chapter xx). In this phase, the internal, deep seated, dominant motives and loves come out into the fore of our personality, and they lead us to abandon all pretenses of personality, all belief systems we hold without rational understanding and approval.
When we emerge from this process no beliefs or attitudes are left that we acquired by persuasive belief or mystical faith. The individual is now left defenseless against all sorts of spiritual assault and victimization perpetrated by those who prey upon intellectually defenseless individuals. One is then misled, and led around, and ultimately dropped into the hells of our mind with little rational consciousness left to willingly get ourselves out of there. Those who teach theistic psychology must be fully aware of the damage done when pressure is placed on students to adopt ideas and principles of theistic psychology without understanding them rationally.
Teaching rational understanding is an ethical imperative for theistic psychologists.
Students who have read a significant portion of this book have told me that I am repetitious and talk about the same topic in many places repeating the same information. I've read other people complain that the Writings of Swedenborg are very repetitious and even boring in its meticulous rational style. The reason that repetition is needed in the presentation of theistic psychology is that there is a constant requirement to be fully clear and rational. When a new concept is introduced, readers can sometimes be told to recall or check back on certain earlier segments that connect to the new concept. But how realistic is this with most readers? People don't recall the prior segment, nor do they interrupt the flow of reading by reading some prior sections again. Therefore it is ethically necessary to connect the new concept to earlier ones so as to maintain the path of understanding.
Rational understanding has to do with integrating separate concepts into a higher entity called "doctrine," principle, or explanation. You cannot integrate a new concept unless you repeat what prior concepts are and how they fit together. The new concept must be fully justified and explained as to its parts and functions. For instance, if you teach anatomy and physiology, and you are introducing the new concept of the "heart," you need to use prior concepts like circulatory system and the lungs. If the details are numerous, students will not understand the body's physiology without going back to the earlier concepts.
Repeating facts and principles already discussed elsewhere, is done in such a way that the prior portions are re-integrated into the new portions. Compare the discussion of the "same topic" in several places and you will note differences. The perspective is slightly different, the content range is slightly different, and the application context is different. I would predict that when readers feel that this kind of repetition is boring, it is because they are not noticing the contextual differences and what is new about it when viewed in connection with the new topic. The solution to that is to reread over and over again until crystal clear understanding is reached. And sometimes it is advisable to reread prior sections, which is why I make it into a habit to cite other sections that deal with a topic more extensively.
Atheistic psychology does not take an ethical stand on the spiritual harm caused by television and movie content. It does take a stand on the negative effects of violence upon many children. These negative effects are defined in terms of behaving violently as a result of seeing violence portrayed in the media. But theistic psychologists have more knowledge and research about the spiritual effects of media content and therefore it becomes an ethical issue whether they condone it or promote it. The appropriate behavior as a theistic psychologist is to warn people of their harmful effects on themselves. This is similar to a doctor having an ethical obligation to warn someone not to drink contaminated water when the individual is unaware of the potential medical harm.
In theistic psychology is known that a determinative relationship exists between accepting one's evil enjoyments in this life and the life of eternal hell. Anyone may have evil thoughts and evil enjoyments since it is a strong hereditary tendency in the entire human race. It is a fact that children and adults enjoy violence on TV and all sorts of lewd entertainment. People enjoy watching other people being deceptive and nasty, cruel and very gross. This is natural and it may be universal. But now every person has a reaction to observing that we enjoy these bad and gross things. One reaction is to skip over it and not to think about it, and if someone mentions it, not to get too involved in the topic, or to violently disagree in order to end further discussion. This reaction is not helpful to the individual who is going to undergo spiritual regeneration, and theistic psychologists are committed to the universal necessity of undergoing spiritual regeneration. No one can live a life of immortality in heaven without undergoing spiritual regeneration, either in this life or in the world of spirits. But it is far better and safer to do it in this life for reasons known in theistic psychology (see Chapter xx).
The other reaction is a good one: We are shocked at ourselves.
This is a self-witnessing act of spiritual significance.
Being shocked at ourselves that we enjoy watching other people being abused, victimized, deceived, treated without dignity, is the result of our conscious awareness of conscience within us. This is a critical moment for the individual. Conscience is a sub-conscious receptor of heavenly Divine truths. Divine truths are the sole means by which we can resist the inherited connections we have to the hells. The hells act into our affective organ in the natural mind. We experience this influencing agency by being aware of a strong impulse, urge, or preference. We are propelled and attracted, like being pulled on a chain. This chain ends in hell. The people who insist on remaining in the hells of their mind can be destroyed by God or need to be fed. God feeds them in such a way that only good results are achieved by their participation in our mental life on earth.
There is a strong sub-conscious mental connection we have here on earth with those who are in the hells of their mind in the spiritual world. This connection is maintained by God moment by moment with much dynamic involvement. We are connected and disconnected to different societies or communities of people in the hells, depending on the psychological need we have at each moment of our living. For instance, my cat Minsky is here in the room and for the past few minutes he has been agitating to get me to stop typing and walk with him to the dish. My first reaction of annoyance could not have occurred unless the Divine Psychologist had connected me to the community in hell that needs the emotion of annoyance to feel alive. My feeling of annoyance at Minsky was their hellish manna God feeds them out of Mercy so they can have some life left to their delusional minds.
By connecting me to the hells of annoyances God accomplishes two good things. First, the people who are stuck in an evil mental state are kept alive and active. Second, the annoyance I feel, which is not from myself but from them, is an opportunity for a spiritual temptation (or celestial) that faces me with the fact that I am still connected the hells of annoyances. If I do my normal self-witnessing, to which I'm committed, I cannot avoid making a choice that has incalculable spiritual significance for my entire future. I can see it as my selfishness, or my cruelty, or my rigidity, or my excessive task involvement, or a nudge from the Divine Psychologist--which are all good perceptions because they uncover the deep network of interconnections between the hells in my mind.
Theistic psychologists are committed to teaching self-witnessing skills to every individual. It is as important as other forms of literacy skills such as reading, writings, arithmetic, critical reasoning, art, and physical disciplines. It's not practical to merely advise parents to control what their children are watching or what songs they are listening to. Instead, parents and teachers can instruct children on how to practice self-witnessing techniques while they are watching entertainment or listening to it (see Chapter xx).
Instructing self-witnessing involves parents in the detail's of the mental world of their growing children.
The instruction of self-witnessing skills is a practical context for discussing how God's truths can give us the inner power tools we need for character building. The main motive for character building is religious. Unless we rebuild our inherited character we become wild people wallowing in the hells of our minds forever. Rebuilding our character by using the spiritual weapons of Divine truths insures that our immortal mind spends its eternity in the heavens our mind where we live with others in peace, in bliss, in the excitement of daily new discovery and adventure that never ends.
This is the constant choice that parents and teachers must bring to their children. This will equip them with the mental or spiritual tools that an immortal individual should have for safety and success.
In general the profession of psychology in my generation has not favored forms of censorship as a social technique for managing information in society. Theistic psychologists are ethically dedicated to the principle that we ought to do everything we can to enhance people's rational consciousness for the sake of their spiritual development. This involves self-witnessing within the context of religious doctrine or understanding. For Divine truths to be actual and have actual power in our mind we must understand them rationally. This is obvious since truths are rational by definition. We can know Divine truths yet not understand them rationally. This dimities their battle effectiveness in fighting the hells in our mind.
Censorship is a form of external compulsion and therefore when we comply with it we do so for an external motive. It has nothing to do with our agreement or understanding. We are given no choice. The spiritual choice we must have to grow is taken away from us. Therefore all forms external authority must be infused with rational understanding, and if not, authority becomes coercive and persuasive. Theistic psychologists know that persuasive obedience to a principle or belief system is useless in the world of spirits where we awaken within a few hours after the death of the physical body. They are useless in terms of fighting the attractions of hell because we are not as attached to the persuasive truths as we are to the falsities that justify our hellish attractions. Hence censorship is harmful.
Instead, theistic psychologists see the need for parents and teachers to teach critical thinking skills which are basic to spiritual growth. Since spiritual growth depends on rational consciousness it is necessary to develop the thinking skills of every individual. The existence of public education in all countries, and its mandate from the United Nations, is a result of people being led by God to see rational thinking as a human good to which every human being is entitled to by birth.
As a practical matter, parents and teachers cannot prevent children from exposure to information about evils they can't even imagine. And so this a clear potential for being spiritually harmed. It's the remains of innocence that are harmed (see Chapter xx). Innocence is absolutely required to live in one's heaven because our heaven is made of innocence. Innocence is defined as the willingness to obey and abide in God's truths. God's truths make the heaven of our innocence, hence our eternal life in that state of mind.
The critical need in parenting and education is therefore the protection of spiritual innocence by which every individual is willing to accept and obey God's truths. The best way to do this protection is for research to tell us. In the meantime we must teach children where evil enjoyments come from and why they need to give them up. Children need to be encouraged to practice critical thinking while watching television, listening to their favorite lyrics, or surfing the Web. They should be taught not to give themselves over to enjoyment of entertainment and that this is a life thy will have to give up soon anyway for something they would enjoy far more and with no trouble.
Theistic psychologists view war and the death penalty as necessary techniques for society in controlling people who are going along with their evil tendencies. The vast majority of people in this country are ready to die for it to protect the nation and its people. They are willing to go into battle in defense of their country which they acknowledge as a "fatherland" or "motherland." This is rightly so and rational. One's country is what supports and protects what we have, our life and our possessions and our basic human rights. Too many countries are taken over by dragons who mislead and deceive and torture their hapless people--until by Divine Providence the wicked leaders are removed. Soon in the spiritual world they are going to encounter bigger devils than they are and they shall deserve our pity for great is there eternal suffering.
They suffer not because they are being punished by God since God never punishes anyone. But God has a built in system as to what happens when people found the Divine order and act against it in full premeditated intent and awareness. Such are cruel tyrants and all individuals who abuse others as a way of life for themselves. They love their willful rebellion so much, so deeply, that they are unwilling to give it up even as they are being tortured endlessly to eternity, and still they refuse to give it up. It is this refusal to give it up that keeps them in hell, not God's punishment.
Killing attackers in self-defense is seen as a reasonable behavior by people who think rationally about it. The Commandment not to kill or murder applies to wrongful killing. More research is needed in theistic psychology to determine the precise limits of what is rightful and wrongful killing. People have done much work on this regarding the law of the land and the science of jurisprudence and international law. It is reasonable for theistic psychologists to abide by the results of this body of rational knowledge.
It is similar with the death penalty. Personal philosophies and creeds may vary and disagree but in relation to theistic psychology the treatment of criminally convicted individuals may be left up to the law of the land and the experts who think these matters through and debate them with each other. Theistic psychologists can throw useful light on many aspects of these issues, but in general, they will abide by the reasonable conclusions of the specialists. Obviously, it's different when an injustice is being practiced by a society and encoded in the law. All reasonable people who have a strong sense of charity and decency will want to work for change through all the reasonable means available. Can they resort to terrorism?
The answer is, No.
One cannot rationally justify terrorism because it is an outward expression of an inner evil.
No evil may be justified by rationally thinking people, or else if they do, they become irrational and spiritually insane. They are preparing themselves for an eternal tie to sordid and cruel hells within which they will be imprisoned forever by their own lust for insanity, never wanting to let go no matter how much they have to suffer from the torture of bigger devils than they are.
War, terrorism, killing, and destruction are possible only from intentions and desires that are in the deep hells of the human race. The people who are in that state of mind are so deep that they are unwilling to ever emerge into rational consciousness and good. From that place in the human mind they are conjoined by God into a community of hell. They see each other, they interact, they live together, they suffer harsh conditions and worse of all, each others insane tortures. All those who lust for a particular kind of depravity or injustice or fantasy are gathered together by God into a community of their own. In this way the human hells are organized geographically to correspond with the human heavens but in corrupted or distorted form.
The heavens are also organized in this way by God so that each heavenly community is composed of people who are alike in their ruling loves. For every heavenly community there is a corresponding hellish community because everything good and true from God has been distorted and corrupted in the history of the human race. Each good and truth has its heavenly community in the human mind and likewise each hellish community has its corrupted good and distorted truth.
Killing someone can therefore come from either an evil or a good motive.
Sometimes people take it upon themselves to kill for supposedly a good motive. Just because they think or claim that their motive is good is no reason to accept it as good since people with an evil motive can easily claim that they have a good one. They may believe the motive is good when it is evil. This is typical. When we are not listening to conscience or acting according to moral principles we call good what is evil and evil what is good. Hence it is necessary to maintain full contact with a rational understanding of Sacred Scripture and a deep interest in studying the revelations in Divine Speech. This is God talking to us and teaching us how to get to heaven. Without Divine truths to pave our way and create our journey, we stay immersed in falsities that justify our love for evil from which we then cannot ever be separated.
Abortion is also considered by many as a form of killing and everyone in this country knows that abortion has been one of the most controversial, divisive, and violent of all political disagreements this generation. Such is the passion people feel for both sides. One side sees the inherent right of a woman to choose whether or not she wants to proceed with the pregnancy. Another side sees the inherent right of an unborn child to be protected from being deliberately killed.
Theistic psychologists have some facts not available to others that are relevant to this conflict. It is known that the human soul is immortal once created. It is also known that moment of creation of a human soul by God is at conception, prior to birth. God manages the growth process of the body through the soul. Clearly, the soul has to be created at conception so that God has the mechanism for making the fetus grow. When a woman decides to submit to an abortion she agrees to putting an end to the particular soul she carries in the fetus. But the soul is immortal. However the fetus doesn't have a mind of its own before it is born and the lungs are opened. It then takes its first breath and a mind is activated or born. From then on, second by second, the child's body is bombarded by incoming sensory stimuli of which it is aware. The mind organizes and feeds upon the order and property of this sensory input from the physical world. This experience is what creates the conscious human mind that can live in heaven to eternity. But without a mind, there is no personality, there is no awareness, motivation or a single thought.
Hence the mother and doctor and legislator who approve of abortions agree to putting an end to an immortal soul's right to a personality and consciousness.
The Writings tell us that the souls of unborn fetuses, once dead, are gathered by God into a place of the human mind that is above individual consciousness, thus above the highest heaven in our mind. In that highest state, souls are not conscious individual human beings so that they can absorb the intense heat and light of the Spiritual Sun where the Divine Human abides in relation to the human mind. This gathering place near the Spiritual Sun is called the heaven of Human Internals. Just below this heaven is the Third Heaven of celestial angels where we are in our mind when we elevate ourselves to the highest potential of rational consciousness possible for human beings.
Many women, doctors, and legislators agree to abortion because they are unaware of these facts revealed by God to humankind in the Writings of Swedenborg. People who are unaware of appropriate rational information and believe false things and do evils, are not spiritually responsible for what they think or do. It's different in natural law for we cannot claim ignorance of the law as a defense when reasonable people could have known about it. Spiritually only that which we know can hurt us. Of course, if we ignore conscience, or ignore religion, or ignore rational considerations, or Divine truths we know of, then we are responsible for not knowing spiritual truths that reasonable people could know.
To be spiritually responsible means that we will suffer bad consequences from that act or from that irresponsible ignorance of truths. Such an attitude of willfulness is a love from hell to which we are deeply connected. It is this hellish love that will emerge from within once we hit the freedom roads in the world of spirits and begin our eternal life in the loves we've brought with us from our earthly life.