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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Why we Love the Poor

Christian thinkers have agreed with the claim that one must love other people for themselves and not for an earthly reward. As Jesus Christ said “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies ... For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same?” (Matthew, 5:43-48; cf. Luke, 14:12-14; Acts, 20:35). Indeed the Christian manual Didache (c. 100) claims that the true Christian must give to everyone that asks without looking for repayment. Hence several Christians such as Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215), Lactantius (c. 240-320), Basil (c. 330-379), Ambrose (c. 340-397), Jerome (c. 347-420), Augustine (354-430), John Cassian (c. 360-433), Dorotheus of Gaza (c. 505-565), and Gregory the Great (c. 540-604), as well as the Hindu text Bhagavad Gita (c. 500-200 B.C.E.), assert that one’s love is true only if one is willing to love someone who may not return one’s love.
Excerpt from .... Vincelette, Alan, “Unconditional Love,” in Encyclopedia of Love in World Religions, ed. Yudit Kornberg Greenberg (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2008), v. II, pp. 647-649)
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