Saturday 23 January 2016

Christian love ('Agape') in CS Lewis's The Four Loves, and in Mormon theology


The Social Pathologist said...

Caritas is not agape.

Valkea said...

Excellent and interesting, Mormon view makes a lot of sense. Jesus was a Jew, who taught Judaism, and Christianity has come to its present liberal state by distancing itself from Judaism, in essence by becoming apostate religion. In Judaism, and thus in original Christianity, man is not special in itself, not much in the eyes of God, not much different from animals, and there maybe beings in the universe who are more intelligent and advanced than us, in every way superior when compared to us. Man is made special when God talks to us, chooses to communicate with us, and engages in mutually effective and warm relationship with man that raises and develops both man and God higher, but of course man much more than God. God offered this relationship to many other peoples before Jews, but they rejected it. It was too demanding and they had to make too much sacrificies, they always found varying reasons to reject it, e.g. some people said, "We have to desist from robbing and murdering? No way, we get much of our wealth by robbing and murdering. We have always robbed and murdered, it is our way of life." Jews accepted God's offer both because they were ready to make more sacrifices than other people, and partly because of ignorance; they didnt know how much sacrifices they had to make in the future, hence they became the Chosen people. Jews hence became Chosen people partly because of imperfection, which is typical to all men. In Jewish and original Christian theology, Satan is a "god" of abstraction and power. Satan is philosophically and wants to be philosophically at the center of the universe, he wants to rule and control the universe. God is philosophically either somewhere at the outer edges of universe or a presence that fills the universe with meaning, purpose, life and affection. To Satan men are abstract and insignificant objects and tools, to which he directs his will to power. Satan is extremely status sensitive, and his ultimate purpose is to displace God and take his place, the highest place. Satan takes without reciprocation, wants without limits, expands without limits and is endlessly greedy. Satan wants to trample people under his feet, crush their will and souls, dominate them and demands absolute obedience from them. Gods wants to give, raise men higher, reciprocate mens good will, wants to have relationships with men and subsume benevolently the universe and everybody in it with godliness, as much as possible without removing free will.

Bruce Charlton said...

@SP - I have been under the impression that it was. Could you elaborate?

Valkea said...

... God cares about people, loves them.

Valkea said...

If you allow, this beautiful song fits to both Mormon Christians' and Christians' view of God:

Bruce Charlton said...

@SP - I should clarify that I know that Agape is not the same word as Caritas in translation - but I am arguing from the premise that they are implicitly and conceptually accepted to be the same thing by mainstream Christian theology: i.e. the distinctively Christian form of Love. I did not regard this as controversial, just stating what I gathered was the consensus of most mainstream Christian theologians.

The Social Pathologist said...

Apologies for my late reply, I've been out all day.

This is my understanding of the matter.

Consider the following: An SS soldier who dies for the fatherland is expressing agape but he is not expressing Caritas. Clearly, here, he has given his life for the love of his country and friends(agape) but the cause for which he has done so is wrong.

On the other hand, a soldier who dies specifically for a good cause may also be expressing agape but he is also expressing Caritas.

I view Caritas is Aristotelian light; it is a potential, which when expressed in act aims to perfect form. It is a power of perfection. Perfection, in this sense, meaning perfecting a thing as God would want it to be.

Agape is a type of love that is similar in many ways to Eros in that it is hedonic. The operation of hedonic love is primarily directed towards the pleasure of the lover, the pleasure of the object being a secondary consideration. The soldier who sacrifices his life for country does so with the notion that it pleases him more that his country or cause survives rather than him. On the other hand, the state of pleasure of the individual is irrelevant to the operation of Cartias, it aims to do good regardless of the hedonic state of the operator. Caritas is primarily concerned with the perfection of the object, the operators hedonic state being irrelevant.

Bruce Charlton said...

@SP - Thanks for that. I don't really follow it - but it is good to have the perspective set down.

Valkea said...

The Social Pathologist,

Perfection is the enemy of good.

Bruce Charlton,

could it be that Mormon Christian and Jewish-Christian views of the God -relationship are views about the same thing, but directed towards different aspects of it, thus they would complement each other, form together more complete view of the God -relationship? According to this we are Gods children and form a family, and also have uplifting communicative social -relationship with God. Could Mormons, Jews and Christians agree on this?

The Social Pathologist said...


In the Aristotelian world, something that is not perfect is "privated" and therefore not completely good. Caritas operates to restore things to perfection but whether or not it achieves it in a particular instance is a different matter all together.


Where is the confusion?