Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.


 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate

Subscribe!
Subscribe





On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.
___________

Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

All you need is love?

By Graham Young - posted Wednesday, 7 April 2021


Christian love does not mean gentle love either. The Easter story is a modulation on one of the most gruesome and difficult to morally justify stories of the Old Testament. Abraham takes his only son Isaac up onto a mountain to sacrifice him to Yahweh, because he believes that is what God demands of him.

At one level the morality of the story is saved by God sending an angel to stop Abraham, and providing an alternative sacrifice. At another level it is a declaration that, unlike their pagan neighbours, the Hebrews will not practice child or human sacrifice. But you still have to wonder what sort of god this is. It might be a test, but it is a cruel one.

The Easter narrative deliberately references and replays this story, but with variations. At Easter it is God who takes his son not to the temple mount, but to a hill nearby, and allows him to be tortured and put to death in the most gruesome way. God does with his only son what he would not allow Abraham to do with his.

Advertisement

The morality of this seemingly immoral act is salvaged in the first place by Jesus acting of his own freewill, and in the second, under the concept of the Trinity, Jesus is one with God, so his pain is God's pain, and his death God's death.

This isn't schmaltzy Aquarian love this is extremely tough love. And as Christians are told to "take up their cross", it's applied equally to all those who want to be "saved".

This episode also provides the tinder for the valorisation of the victim. Jesus is the victim here, and through his acts of civil disobedience leading up to his crucifixion – the Palm Sunday demonstration and the riot amongst the moneychangers in the temple – he courts that role.

This isn't the same as the identity group version of victim. Jesus is in control – he is active, not passive - and he is a victim as an individual, not as a member of a group. As a victim he doesn't ask for special treatment, but accepts the punishment the law metes out. Being a victim is a strategic gambit in a game which brings huge benefits. He doesn't say to the oppressor "you owe me", he accepts the punishment.

You may find all of this a little esoteric…I do. But if you want to understand the success of Western Civilisation, and how it is being subverted by progressivism, this story, its concepts, and its terms, esoteric as they may be, have been central to the culture we've built.

For example our justice system combines elements of retribution and rehabilitation, objectivity and independence. It stands apart from the mob, and there are people who are prepared to bravely put their lives on the line to enforce and administer it.

Advertisement

It is the antithesis of Cancel Culture, which says no matter how much good you have done, it can be erased by one thing that is judged to be unforgivable and you can never be rehabilitated. While you must empathise with me, I will never empathise with you.

The Greek word for the love of John's Gospel and Paul's epistle, agape, is translated into English as "charity". At this Easter it's charity I think the world needs most urgently, not a woke version of love.

We all need to give each other the space to be wrong, and to hurt ourselves and others.

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. Page 3
  5. All


Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

25 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with del.icio.us Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Graham Young is chief editor and the publisher of On Line Opinion. He is executive director of the Australian Institute for Progress, an Australian think tank based in Brisbane, and the publisher of On Line Opinion.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Graham Young

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Graham Young
Article Tools
Comment 25 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend
Advertisement

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy