Friday, May 9, 2008

Enlightenment and Agape

Doing a little research here and there on my own, I came across the website of a BC Philosophy professor, Peter Kreeft, who is Catholic and has written several (like 25 or so) books on various topics. He is conservative, orthodox, charismatic and has a writing style that is scholarly, yet not elitist, but accessible. He had written an article discussing the fundamental differences (and few similarities) between Hinduism and Christianity which I'd read before, but enjoyed revisiting.

One of the things I was having difficulty wrapping my mind around was the concept of enlightenment. I understand it from the yogi point of view, but was having trouble really understanding what it means from a Christian p.o.v. I asked a dear friend and though his explanation was perfectly sound, I still didn't "get it." That's not his fault, it's mine. However, in reading the article today, I think I finally understand what he was trying to say:

"Thus the two essential points of Christianity--sin and salvation--are both
missing in the East. If there is no sin, no salvation is needed, only
enlightenment. We need not to be born again; rather, we must merely wake
up to our innate divinity. If I am part of God, I can never really be
alienated from God by sin."

Another fascniating, well-written article on the website concerns love and the different types of this misused word. Agape, being the love that Jesus showed and taught, is what we are all called to show and teach even though it's the hardest thing in the world to do (at times). In my own life, most recently, I've had to distinguish between agape and feelings of love. In agape, we give ourselves away selflessly and receive unestimable rewards. Peter Kreeft uses the metaphor "'s like a ball in a game of catch: throw it and it will come back to you; hold on to it and that ends the game." That seems perfectly right at this time in my life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

who would have thought...the Hindu God is not the same as the Christian God...crazy Indians!