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Two more false oppositions
Tue December 31 2019  10:20amFaith/Philosophy

Here are a couple more examples of true and false opposition, in which a hyper or exaggerated version of something becomes its very opposite:

Distributism vs. Capitalism

mega economy
local control
Many small
state controls all
control all

In conformity with modern parlance, I'm using here the term 'capitalism' to refer to our current experience of large corporate capitalism, what some might call late-stage capitalism. This is but a perverse exaggeration of a small-scale and more reasonable capitalism, what is now called distributism.

Distributism has been championed by such diverse thinkers as G. K. Chesterton and Thomas Jefferson. As the name suggests, distributism puts economic and political power in many small hands, mostly at a local level. I believe it was Chesterton who said, "The problem with capitalism is not too many capitalists, but too few capitalists". The original U.S. Constitution gave the vote to landowners, as these were seen as having a legitimate stake in setting government policies. Jefferson's vision was for as many small landowners and small businesses as possible, thus distributing economic and political power widely to many legitimate stakeholders.

Distributism, or small-scale capitalism, remains the most equitable and human alternative to the false opposition of socialism vs. late-stage corporate capitalism, both of which concentrate power in the hands of a few elite. In our present unwieldy system, the humongous state controls the corporations, and the humongous corporations own the politicians, so there isn't a nickel's difference between the two ideologies, opposite though they may seem. Either way, you're a slave, whether to Walmart and Microsoft, or to bloated government bureaucracy.

Love vs. Unconditional Love

& reciprocal
cold, unfeeling
unconditional love
makes no demands

Returning to a more specifically religious theme, we've all heard the seemingly inarguable axiom: God's love is unconditional. There are no limits to his love, and nothing we can do to increase or diminish it.

Since God's love is unconditional, one might surmise, it follows that he can never be displeased with any of us; his blessings are assured, no strings attached. Whether I seek his will or go my own way, God holds me in the same high regard. Even were I to deliberately commit grave sin, and willfully reject God, he would love and embrace me all the same. In fact, if God's love is all-encompassing, perhaps there is no such thing as sin. My consciousness of wrongdoing before God is just my over-scrupulous imagination; in reality I cannot offend God at all, since he loves me no matter what. Quite obviously, then, there can be no Hell, and I can be sure of enjoying eternal life hereafter regardless of how I may have lived in this world. Even Hitler and Mussolini must be in Heaven.

But wait - can love be thrust upon someone who doesn't want it? Would that be true love? It may be better to say that love, by definition, must be freely offered, not forced upon the recipient. And if freely offered, it must be freely received and reciprocated. This means it may also be freely rejected. This is what sin is: a rejection of God's love, and of the demands of that love. We must, in fact, be able to completely and finally reject God's offer of love. This is what Hell is. Jesus, the very embodiment of God's love, warned of eternal Hell more than any other prophet or teacher of the Bible.

Moreover, an unconditional love which makes no demands, which always accepts the recipient just as he is, seems quite passive. Neither participant is expected to do much of anything; it is an agreement to just let be, much the same as indifference. But God's love is anything but passive or indifferent. Jesus loves us to the point of dying on the cross to restore our broken relationship with the Father. He requires something from us as well.

If true love makes demands, God's love, being perfect love, demands everything in return. To be sure, God knows our frail nature, and his demands are very lenient. He offers to forgive and cleanse us of our sins and gather us into his eternal home. In return, we must agree with God that our sin is evil, repent of those sins, and join ourselves completely to the crucified and risen Jesus, holding nothing back. Is this unconditional love? I think it's the opposite, and immeasurably better.

rev. Mar 21 2021  11:18am
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1 comment:

Lenore Jan 2 2020  10:15pm

God has planned the strength and beauty of youth to be physical because the strength and beauty of age is spiritual. We gradually lose the strength and beauty that is temporary, so we'll concentrate on the strength and beauty which is forever.
- Dr. Robertson McQuilkin

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