Saturday, September 26, 2020

Informing Love

If you want to persuade someone of something, it may be more effective to love them than to present an argument (or to argue with them). Knowledge is justified true belief. What you do on the justification side does not change someone's mind if there is some sort of obstacle on the belief side.

Belief is a form of trust. So lack of trust is a deficiency that can prevent belief. Trust is difficult sometimes: is dependent on physical, intellectual, emotional factors, and a person's life history. A person can't deeply listen to what they don't trust, and can't even understand some concepts that they don't trust. How can a person believe a truth that is foreign to them? Something has to act on them to open them up to what they were closed to, for them to trust. And love overcomes many difficulties in trusting propositions. Why wouldn't you trust someone who, from your perspective, has your best interests at heart, and effectively pursues them? Someone who delights in you and bears with you? How could you resist getting drawn into their current?

Having said that, love could now sound like a sinister thing, a way to have power over people and suck them into the way of life you personally prefer, to narrow their horizons to whatever you happen to prefer. And while it doesn't have to be used that way, it can be, and even if we are innocent of that design, it's worth asking "If I become so good at loving, so genuine in loving people, what kind of truth am I leading them into? What kind of path is it that I follow?"

Apologetics is traditionally thought of as a way to persuade "infidels", or perhaps less acknowledged is the motive and effect of shoring up the faith of believers who have inquiring minds. However, apologetics could also be seen as the pursuit of informing love, so that love does not keep its beloveds in a house that is ultimately untrustworthy.

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