The Attractions of Christian Metaphysics: Part 5, Cruciform Love

In my last post I noted that the Judeo-Christian tradition provides the foundation for liberal and democratic moral axioms, like "all men are created equal" and that we are endowed with "certain unalienable rights."

But Christianity goes deeper that liberalism and humanism. Christianity is about love.

Cruciform love in particular.

Self-donating, self-giving, self-emptying love. Agape love. Enemy love. Sacrificial love. Servant-hearted love. Kenosis. Washing feet. Seeking the last, rather than first, place. 

Cruciform love is what makes Jesus so attractive, even to non-Christians. And it's here where Christianity cuts deeper than liberalism and humanism.

To be clear, there are liberals and humanists that shame Christians when it comes to sacrificial, self-donating love. What I'm speaking about here is metaphysics.

Cruciform love is not the moral ideal of liberalism and humanism. Yes, as I noted in Part 4, every human being is a location of inviolable dignity and worth, but that doesn't mean I'm morally obligated to live sacrificially for others, especially not for my enemies.

True, few Christians reach, or even aspire to, cruciform love. But cruciform love is our moral ideal in a way that just isn't for liberals and humanists. Yes, any given liberal or humanist could, for themselves, aspire to self-donating, self-giving, self-emptying enemy love, but they would most definitely be leaving the liberal/humanist matrix and moving in a much more Christian metaphysical orbit, an orbit that originated with Jesus.

Again, metaphysics. There is nothing empirically or scientifically self-evident about adopting cruciform love as your moral North Star. You just have to put a stake in the ground and say, "This is what I believe in." And I admire anyone--Christian or humanist--who puts that stake in the ground.

So cruciform love, it's metaphysics and it's Christian.

But is it attractive?

Yes and no, I think. It's attractive in the sense that we find Jesus beautiful and feel drawn to emulate him. But is cruciform love really, ever, going to be attractive?

I don't think so, and it's here where Christian morality parts ways with liberalism. And with most so-called "Christians."

But for the few who hear his voice, cruciform love most definitely is an attractive metaphysics.

We live into his promise and find it to be true.

In losing our lives, we've found them.

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