Divine and Mortal Loves

Religious Studies (forthcoming)
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Abstract

“If the concept of God has any validity or any use,” James Baldwin writes in The Fire Next Time, “it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God cannot do this, then it is time we got rid of Him.” This essay is a meditation on Baldwin’s claim. I begin by presenting Baldwin’s account of a grave danger that characterizes our social lives – a source of profound estrangement from ourselves and from one another. I draw on the work of the theologian Howard Thurman in order to explain how faith in a loving God can enable us to cope with this danger in a manner that may render us, in some sense, larger, freer, and more loving. Finally, I sketch Baldwin’s account of how we might cope with this danger not by relying on God’s love, but rather by relying in certain ways on our love for one another.

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Ryan Preston-Roedder
Occidental College

Citations of this work

How Does Trust Relate to Faith?Daniel J. McKaughan & Daniel Howard-Snyder - 2022 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 52 (4):411-427.

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References found in this work

Love’s Vision.Troy Jollimore - 2011 - Princeton University Press.
Faith in Humanity.Ryan Preston-Roedder - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (3):664-687.
Three Varieties of Faith.Ryan Preston-Roedder - 2018 - Philosophical Topics 46 (1):173-199.

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