Thursday, December 12, 2013

Love of God is needed, not just love of neighbor

Suppose Jim believes that he has a long-lost elder brother, and in order to become the next Marquess of Winchester he strives to hunt down and murder that brother. The above is incompatible with Jim's being virtuous, but it is logically compatible with (though psychologically unlikely to coexist with) Jim's loving every human being, since Jim's belief might be false, and he might thus have no long-lost brother, and hence no failure of love for that brother. Thus, loving each human being does not entail being virtuous.

But loving God—that's a different matter. For if one loves God, then one is thereby disposed to love all that God has made. Thus, Jim, while he does not fail in love of any particular neighbor, does fail in love for God.


Dagmara Lizlovs said...


Sorry I am posting late. Too much stuff going on just before Christmas. Have you ever attempted to love God more than yourself? I know that we are to love God more than any other creature or thing. So, I take this to mean that we are to also love God more than ourselves. I pray and ask for this, but I don't know if I am achieving this at this time. Pray for me and assist me with this.

Merry Christmas.

Alexander R Pruss said...

Whenever you make a sacrifice for another for God's sake, you are loving God more than yourself.

Dagmara Lizlovs said...


Thank you.

Kara said...


I am sympathetic to your point but couldn't it be argued that Jim has failed to properly love himself (because he believes that he is the kind of heteronomously rational person who could murder his brother for his own ends) and thus what is incompatible with virtue is not the absence of the love of God but a poverty in the love of self.

Just a thought.