Aristotle Quote of the Day

Aristotle QOTD

to love is to wish good to someone. (Rhetoric, ii.4)

The only thing I would add is that love includes actually doing good for someone that is proportionate to the circumstances. As St. James points out it is not loving merely to wish that a poor man at my door be well-fed and sheltered if I have it in my power to provide these things but do not do so. Other than that, how about that crazy pagan ancient philosopher? People scratch their heads, wondering what love is, and the answer has been known for at least 2300 years. Love is not about wanting or possessing but rather about what is good for the other. It isn’t a feeling. It is an attitude, a decision, an act.

And speaking of Greek understanding of what love is, the same is blindingly obvious to anyone who reads Homer’s Odyssey. It is practically a major theme of the poem that hosts have a duty to show utmost kindness and concern for their guests, to the point of even giving gifts to them. They understood that travel (especially in those days) was both wearisome and hazardous in ways we cannot grasp, and they understood how important the Golden Rule is: the next weary traveler may be yourself.

I think these facts also once again show us how hopelessly wrong is the Reformed doctrine of total depravity. Those who are not saved can have a very clear understanding of what the right thing to do is, and will even happily do it. This does not mean, as we have seen over and over, that they may earn salvation by their works. They can’t. But can they do the right thing? Absolutely. Indeed, sometimes they put Christians to shame.

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Posted in Aristotle, Charity, Natural Law
2 comments on “Aristotle Quote of the Day
  1. Thom Hickey says:

    Thanks … Looks like i will have lots of thought provoking reading here! Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox.

  2. aquinasetc says:

    Hi Thom,

    Thanks for stopping by. If I can provoke a thought instead of a flame war or fistfight I will consider my efforts worthwhile. :-)


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