The Christian idea of love is radical. So what?

Gerald R. Baron
11 min readApr 13, 2024
Photo by Ismael Paramo on Unsplash

In the previous post I introduced a new topic or extended series called “So What?” Rather than criticizing physicalism, as most of my posts have, or defending theism or traditional Christian doctrine, I’m asking a more practical question: what does it matter what we believe?

What is real love?

In that introduction I suggested that love has ontological status, that it is real. We tend to think of things that have substance as real, yet we know a lot of what is real has no substance in the way that a stone or a cup of tea has substance. Mathematics, we might say, is ontological because, for one thing, we know it “works.”

Here I won’t argue further for granting love something we can consider “real.” We’ll assume it is and ask “so what?”

Love is a feature in many belief systems, religions and philosophies. Karen Armstrong, a former Catholic sister, has written many books comparing religions and religiously motivated actions, but focuses on compassion as a central theme of spirituality and religion. We learn that Buddha had specific teachings on love:

“Love that involves clinging, lust, confusion, neediness, fear, or grasping to self would, in Buddhist terms, be seen as expressions of bondage and limitation.




Gerald R. Baron

Dawdling at the intersection of faith, science, philosophy and theology.