This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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The limit of love

The limit of spiritual love is that it loves persons but cannot love evil in persons. This distinction between the person and ‘their evil’ is essential. If we ignore it, and if we see the evil and the person as inseparable, then we will fall into one of two dangers. Either we hate the person on account of their evil, in which case we hate something that we ought to have loved; or else, for the sake of the person, we give our love also to their evil, in which case we love something that ought to have been hated.

Due to the intermingling of good and evil in persons, the response of spiritual love will present itself as complex and even ambiguous. Think of the responses of Christ and the way they ranged from gentle and soothing to baffling and even to physically aggressive. In each case we must assume that spiritual love was the animating force behind the response, and yet it presented itself in so many ways.

Spiritual love will not resemble worldly love since it desires first and foremost the spiritual perfection of the beloved. Spiritual love wants the beloved to live free—which is to say, free from sin. The only true liberty. This is the opposite of the liberty the modern world would have us pursue, which amounts to the freedom to live in whatever sin we feel like. This is a loveless pursuit of liberty, liberty in the context of spiritual blindness.

This doesn’t mean that spiritually sighted people should go around trying to force everyone to change in accordance with their spiritual vision. We have already explained that this cannot be done because the only real transformation must be a process of self-education, as opposed to change under brute force or external compulsion.

It does mean, however, that when evil is discerned in a person, our attitude toward them changes, and must change in accordance with the magnitude of the evil that is present. It is simply not possible or appropriate to treat a man possessed of great evil with the same respect and the same affection as one who is spiritually healthy. In some cases, spiritual love calls for gentleness and compassion, and when permissible we should give these things to our neighbors. But in cases of serious spiritual danger, true spiritual love might involve withdrawal and isolation, and, in the extreme, it might call for the use of force.

The point is that even a negative response, for example one of withdrawal from the beloved, is a ‘blessing’ for the one who receives it, because it is the receiving of love and is for the sake of love.

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