25 Dec 2018 home
I respect the head of the Episcopal Church, the Most Reverend Michael Curry. I don't expect him to see the world as I see it, and on this Christmas day, with nothing to do but spill my opinions onto my computer, I'm presenting a different opinion from his on the sentiment of "love".
Can we with "the power love" ... change the world around us? "When love is the way," said the good Reverend, "poverty will become history. When love is the way, the earth will be a sanctuary."
As I see it, empathy as a biological condition, a condition inherited also by wolves and passed down to those of the dog family and pets for humans. Those of us who know dogs know this is no mean or trivial thing. "Love" made it possible for wolves to live in a pack rather that to tear each other apart. Those of us who know dogs know this as no triviality.
Empathy has targets. I've seen dogs play affectionately with the family cat. Our imagination might allow us to target our empathies on someone of a different race on the other side of the globe. But we have more than empathy for others. A dog guarding what it considers its family might bark at strangers, and we might detest those who are doing harm to those for whom they have empathy.
It would not be good thinking to consider love as just a Christian phenomenon, and I don't see Reverend Curry as doing that. But he and I do see the history of Jesus of Nazareth differently. Curry speaks of Jesus motivated by sacrifice as an act of love. Historians are aware of ritual of sacrifices among the ancient Hebrews, a credo that followers of Jesus (Jewish, like Jesus) used to explain His death.
That God "so loved the world" that he sacrificed "his only Son" so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life," makes little sense other than as a piece of mythology.
But I go along with the Reverend when he said:
The truth is that you can't build a society, there is no social compact, there is no functioning democratic society, there is no freedom, true freedom, when everybody is functioning solely on their own unenlightened self-interest.
I can't see as he does that "selfishness is the most destructive force in all of creation." But he appears right-on in describing selflessness as a creative power. Neither of us loves the philosophy or works of Ayn Rand — the priestess of selfishness. The Reverend Curry recognizes the existence of the bad (evil) as well as good and that there are limits on what he calls the "power of love."
Copyright © 2018 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.