Monday, July 20, 2015

Love and Tolerance

While I was on my honeymoon, Fr. Robert Barron wrote a nice philosophical piece on love and tolerance.

People either don't know, or have forgotten, that Catholics don't believe love is an emotion or feeling. We believe that love is an act of the will, a decision, a desire. To love someone means that you want what is good for them. Hatred is the opposite; to hate someone means you want what is bad for them.

When you criticize someone, it can either be an act of love or an act of hatred. If I tell a family member to stop using drugs and clean up their life, that is an act of love, because I want what is best for them. When John the Baptist criticized Herod for marrying his brother's wife, that was an act of love, because he was trying to get Herod to convert and live a life free of sinful immorality.

This is an important thing to note. In a lot of debates today, people assume criticism is the same thing as hatred. And they tend to use "you hate [x]" as an excuse to dismiss or ignore you; sometimes, people go further and attempt to censor you. At least, that's what happened when Fr. Barron talked about Bruce Jenner. He disagreed with Bruce's ideas, on how the soul interacts with the body; people responded by saying Fr. Barron is a horrible person who hates transgender people.

Fr. Barron also talks about "tolerance", which used to mean "willingness to put up with something that you disagree with". Today, people think it means "acceptance and celebration of something else". I wonder how the definition changed so radically.

6 comments:

Katie said...

While not a Catholic, I would agree with your definition of love and hate. While not all encompassing definitions, they are good for the kind of argument the Father was making. The word hate is a tool being used (quite effectively) against people who disagree with the left on a variety of issues. It's a shame, because hate is a good word, which is being completely watered down and losing all meaning.

EloiseDrew said...

Perfect timing on this blog post, Michael! Just yesterday I was at youth group and this was the topic we were discussing. I'm definitely going to share this post with my friends. It explains the problem very well. :) Have a good day!

Anonymous said...

I think a key point on the opposite end of this argument is that to offer criticism you must ultimately admit your limitations as a human being. You will never want solely what is good for someone, you want what you think is good for them. This criticism is based on your view of the world and your own personal life experience which can cause you to turn on the blinders, so to speak, when it comes to someone else's position in life.

I think an issue arises here because people think just because they have loving intentions they are welcome to offer any criticism they like without any consequences. It's not about the intention, it's about the effects your words have on others. You may think you are acting lovingly, but constructive criticism can still be unhelpful or just plain hurtful.

Katie said...

So then you call someone unhelpful, or hurtful, not hateful. Unhelpful and hurtful describe the effect it had on the other person. Hateful describes motive/intention, and is misused all the time.

Anonymous said...

Caitlyn Jenner, you mean. She wants to be called Caitlyn, and showing tolerance to her would be respecting her wishes (even if you don't agree with her lifestyle.)

EJ Ramirez said...

Hi Arglefumph! When will you post your speedrun for Sea of Darkness?