Tuesday, May 23, 2017

"You've gone soft on Coyne"

It would probably be more easily satisfying to just hate on him and pretend he was totally evil and deserving of hate but it wouldn't be honest and there's a moral obligation to be honest.  Like us all, there is that but anyone who is against murdering elephants or stoning people can't be all bad.

And, while it's something I'll probably have to work on the rest of my life and probably won't do in whatever time I've got left, this passage from The Reverend Martin Luther King jr. is certainly worth meditating on.

The Greek language comes out with another word for love. It is the word agape. And agape is more than eros; agape is more than philia; agape is something of the understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. It is a love that seeks nothing in return. It is an overflowing love; it’s what theologians would call the love of God working in the lives of men. And when you rise to love on this level, you begin to love men, not because they are likeable, but because God loves them. You look at every man, and you love him because you know God loves him. And he might be the worst person you’ve ever seen.

And this is what Jesus means, I think, in this very passage when he says, "Love your enemy." And it’s significant that he does not say, "Like your enemy." Like is a sentimental something, an affectionate something. There are a lot of people that I find it difficult to like. I don’t like what they do to me. I don’t like what they say about me and other people. I don’t like their attitudes. I don’t like some of the things they’re doing. I don’t like them. But Jesus says love them. And love is greater than like. Love is understanding, redemptive goodwill for all men, so that you love everybody, because God loves them. You refuse to do anything that will defeat an individual, because you have agape in your soul. And here you come to the point that you love the individual who does the evil deed, while hating the deed that the person does. This is what Jesus means when he says, "Love your enemy." This is the way to do it. When the opportunity presents itself when you can defeat your enemy, you must not do it.

I can't say I love Jerry Coyne, though I've got a religious obligation to work on it.  I certainly don't like him and probably never will without one or the other of us radically changing.  But my choice to convert, as an adult, not as a result of my baptism as a two-week old, carries obligations that I take seriously.  The obligation is to try to live up to it, not to pretend I have.

I don't see that as in any way preventing me from mocking the trolls.  Or Trump.

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