Self or Others

Written by | April, 2014
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Vanessa and I had the opportunity to visit a musical presentation of traditional Karnataka music last night. It was very interesting and much of the music was quite beautiful. I enjoyed the whole thing immensely.

However what I was not expecting was that the music was interspersed with Hindu philosophical reflections on the nature of love. It brought to light something which I had not noticed before. True to normative Hindu philosophy the speaker refused to define love. Rather she implied that it was not something humans could ever truly understand or speak about, but something we simply had to experience and enjoy. However shortly before the end the speaker indicated that true love cannot be found in our relationships with others which always require a give and take, but true love must come from within. Only when we have find true inner love can we engage in successful relationships, in which we need neither to give or take but simply are. I admit I am paraphrasing according to my memory here but I do believe that is the gist of what the speaker was saying.

How different this is from the biblical view point, in which the inner self is not the answer but the source of all trouble, and our relationships with others, especially God, has the highest meaning. Even in those aspects where some might think there is similarities between the Hinduism and Christianity this point shows the vast difference. In meditation the purpose of the Hindu is to find and make peace with the inner self, the purpose of the Christian is to reach out and establish a relationship with God. This is just one example we could give many. This of course is not the main difference. The really important difference is that we have a Savior from sin. But it does touch very closely on the very core of our faith.

Another interesting point is that whereas the speaker continually talked about the love of a mother for her child, she never once mentioned the love of a father. She talked about the love of husband and wife, the love of brother and sister, the love of friends, but never once touched on the love of a father. The Bible on the other hand talks about the love of THE FATHER as the highest example of love, as Paul Nolting so elegantly talked about in our last General Pastoral Conference. It is THE FATHER who protects and nourishes and provides as is the role of all earthly fathers. We certainly don’t want to disregard or diminish the role and love of motherhood, but it would equally be a mistake to ignore the role and love of a good father.

In our society feminism greatly scoffs and degrades the role of motherhood, but even more so and to an even greater degree do they degrade the role of fatherhood. This is one of the greatest dangers of homosexual marriages, sure it affirms as normative that which the Bible calls sin, and that is bad enough, but it also implies that gender roles are meaningless and completely interchangeable. I remember a guest on Issues Etc who talked about the minor festival of St. Joseph. Although we often ignore such minor festivals and even think of them as a catholic thing, this one in particular is very important because it celebrates the role of Joseph as a good earthly father of Jesus. It is so much more important in our day when even the idea of fatherhood and motherhood are scoffed at.

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