|Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries||Christian Dogmatics|
Cognizance «in person». The element of Freedom // Cognizance «in person». The element of Love
Love and the human community
Christian Love – Part 4
The Christian conception of God as a Trinity solves the ancient problem of divinity subjugated to its fate and “allows” God to transcend His essence (and consequently the fate that “compels” Him to be God), since the Persons of the Trinity freely choose to exist in that manner. Similarly, man as a Person can transcend his own “essence” and freely choose the manner that he wants to exist.
This interpretation – which clearly has a Hellenic philosophical background and has rooted deep inside Orthodoxy – transcends the “bloodline” ideologies that want the essence to also determine the purpose and thus frees man of his descent, his trends and his fate, without overlooking their significance however.
Besides, this is why Christianity has not adopted any social titles of nobility, aristocracy, etc., and it is for this same reason, that in Greece’s Orthodoxy there is no room for traditions related to “sacred genealogical lines”, or “Holy Blood”, or hereditary Monarchies and Orders that defend such hereditary rights, whereas all of the aforementioned are in full bloom, to this very day, in the West.
This article is the fourth part of the extract from an article by the University teacher V. Bakouros that was published in the magazine “TREETO MAHTI” (December 2004 edition No.128, pages 22-26, with the general title “Socialistic Social Solidarity and Christian Love”).
This article is being re-published, by kind courtesy of the magazine, and will be completed in a series of segmented articles.
Love, as we saw previously, is not so much an esoteric condition of the human self, as it is an externalizing, from the self (the “me”) towards the other person (the “you”). This externalizing is not a mere verbal expression; it is an act of love towards the other person, since it justifiably has a social character. If there is no act (of love), then there also cannot be any love involved, because in moral philosophy, the «ãßãíåóèáé» (= “becoming”) logically precedes the «åßíáé» (= “being”), since the former proves the existence of the latter, whereas the latter – even if subjected to change – does not induce any changes to the “me” and the “you”, unless it is implemented. Therefore, if a Christian loves only with words, without acts of love, then according to Saint John the Damascene, that person loves in the same way as Lucifer, because he too speaks of love, but doesn’t enforce it…
The Christian community (= the Church) is different to the other ones, because in it, the motive, communal power and the connective force of its structure is Love –both towards God and towards fellow man- according to the model of the Trinity. Man offers love (“eros”) towards God, and love (“agape”) towards fellow man. Love of God is expressed through piety, while love of fellow man is expressed through philanthropy (altruism, solidarity, etc.)
The gnomon for one’s love of God is the awareness of sacrifice, since, no matter how much man may offer to God, he offers far less by comparison to what he receives.
The gnomon for one’s love towards fellow man is equality, because without it, subjugation will ensue. Equality does not mean simulation; it is for this reason that Christians acknowledge the hierarchy of the state, except that they acknowledge it as a functional and not a physical role.
To a Christian, the acknowledgement of “aristocracy” – with all of its appurtenances – reflects social decadence, or, to be more precise, it is an oppressive imposition of the futile upon History; and, given that it has become obsolete, it is also something infernal.
Consequently love – in its social dimension – constitutes an act that confirms equality, and in practical terms, it is addressed to all of its community members as an overall reinforcement; however, its aim is to mend social impoverishment, which often hinders the establishment of equality because of the uneven distribution of wealth.
This uneven distribution is corrected ( or, should be corrected ) through the initiatives of the wealthy, by equalizing the poor with themselves, in order to render them their equals.
To Christianity, imposing upon the wealthy to contribute towards a financial equilibrium (through taxation for example) has no moral benefits, because –despite its practical outcome- it does not lead to salvation, in other words, to a union with God; any kind of ‘contribution’ should be an act of personal choice, a verification of one’s personal freedom….
Excerpt from the magazine “TREETO MAHTI”, December 2004 edition No.128, pages 22-26. Article written by V. Bakouros, with the general title “Socialistic Social Solidarity and Christian Love”.
Continuation, with topic: "Christianity, Marxism and Love"
Translation by A.N.
Article published in English on: 13-10-2005.
Last update: 19-10-2005.