Sunday, 19 January 2014

Subversion of the family: one of the greatest evils of modernity


Most Men use their love of other people - especially love in the family - to understand the nature of God's love for us (it being like that of a wise and devoted Father) and ours for Him (like his grateful, trusting child).

I personally think this is a deeper truth than mere analogy - but even if regarded analogically it is the best 'way in' to understanding the nature of divine love for many or most people. 

Subversion of reverence for the family is among the greatest evils of modernity - because family is the primary metaphor for divine love

To misunderstand the family leads modern Man to misunderstand God - to find Him incomprehensible.



SFG said...

I'm dense and from another world, but: the love for God is like the love of a Biblical patriarch (done *right*), patriarchy in the old, self-confident sense, and because this idea of familial structure is dead, we have no referent to understand the love of God?

I.E., father:family::God:humanity, and because father:family no longer exists in the correct sense, we don't understand God:humanity either?

Bruce Charlton said...

@SFG - Umm - what is the question? If you are summarizing my argument, and asking if you got it right - the answer is yes, I think so.

Adam G. said...

Put in the form that SFG does, this argument makes clear to me that the decline of the family is inextricably tied to the modern inability to understand how love and discipline, obedience, and expectations can be compatible.

Is it a coincidence that the rise of fatherless homes is tied to a rise in a conception of love as solely 'maternal' unconditional love?

Bruce Charlton said...

#That sounds right.

But on reflection I think matters may be even worse, in that there is more than a simple inability to understand - there is an active and vehement refusal to understand; to resist understanding as if understanding this was evil (because exclusionary, offensive, hurtful, bigoted etc).

Ian said...

Excellent insight.

George G. said...

I wonder if Mormon theology might be more Orthodox than many realize...

"The Word of God became man, that you may learn from man how man may become God."
- Clement of Alexandria

It seems unfortunate that the Catholic church removed Clement from the list of saints in 1586.

John F said...

"family is the primary metaphor for divine love."

True. A communion of persons united in love for one another, this is the best image/analogy/metaphor for the nature of the True God. And its truth is secured via the revelation of Christ and cannot be deduced logically, EVEN IF "rule of three" hermeneutic frameworks strike us as rationally compelling and beautiful.

The late Fr. Dumitru Staniloae often made the same point about the Trinitarian significance of the family. He touches on it here, around the 4 minute mark:

Bruce Charlton said...

@JF - I havnen't heard that point (on the video) made before - food for thought.

SFG said...

Yup, that was it. Thanks!

I have some affinity for this idea, but (perhaps because I'm American) am skeptical about the practicability of real monarchy. Won't we just get lazy, stupid, and greedy kings, particularly as kings exercise their traditional prerogative as alpha males and pick up the most attractive women, who may or may not have any other positive attributes? I mean, premodern Europe was a mess of kingdoms warring with each other--the Chinese with their exam-based mandarinate at least managed to preserve their civilization for a few thousand years.

Bruce Charlton said...

@SFG "kings exercise their traditional prerogative as alpha males and pick up the most attractive women, who may or may not have any other positive attributes".

What prerogative? - I think we have crossed wires here. I am talking about Christian marriage - the rules apply to everyone.

SFG said...

Yes, you are, and I think I confused you with the rest of the neo-reactionaries I waste time reading. My sincere apologies.

I think I was generalizing to monarch:subjects, which is not a leap you made at all.

Anonymous said...

I was a student for many yesar and a teacher for such as long. I still remeber being a student and thginking: "why do teachers care if we pass or fail. For them it's just a job, marking papers, salary in the end of the month and batches of kids after kids, over the years, which they will quickly forget."

Well, surprisingly enough, becoming a teacher changed all that. Teachers do care, they do not like fails - it saddens them - they are proud of an excellet class and yes, some students - granted, not all - will be indelebly stamped in they're minds for the rest of they're days.

What's my humble conclusion: you only know what is to teach by becoming a teacher, much the same as it's not possible to explain fatherhood without being a father.

The next step in this line of reasoning is naturally: you cannot understand G*d unless you become G*d.

But, alas, that's where it all fails; only through Faith can you get to G*d, not becoming G*d.

Tragically, today's society in it's urgency wants to know and understand everything, including G*d. That's why people try to become gods, failing miserably and dragging us all down with the in their insistence in becoming like Him.