Das Problem des Kriegs und eine Definition von (Nächsten-)Liebe

Herman Bavinck schrieb nach Ausbruch des Ersten Weltkriegs einen Aufsatz “Das Problem des Kriegs”. Eine verkürzte englische Fassung gibt es hier, die Originalfassung auf niederländisch hier. Bavinck definiert die Kennzeichen christlicher Nächstenliebe – speziell in Abgrenzung zum Buddhismus – so:

According to Buddhism the cause of all misery lies in being. All creation, especially creation that is alive, is thus lamentable and the object of pity. We must exercise that pity mainly for our own sake in order to achieve our deliverance and to kill within ourselves the desire for life. Schopenhauer unjustly identified this pity with Christian love—unjustly because the latter is richer and stands on a higher plane.

Christliche Nächstenliebe geht viel weiter als Mitleid:

The mercy of Christianity goes much deeper than pity; it is not the single, dominant virtue, but the disposition and expression of love in a particular direction with a view to the need and misery in the world. Love goes back much further, love extends much further. To begin with, it has God and all His virtues as its object. Moreover, it also directs itself to all His works and creatures, not because they are lamentable, but because it is in God that they live and move and have their being.

Likewise, Christian love is basically different from the free love whose praises are nowadays so frequently sung. This free love is really nothing but lack of discipline and the emancipation of sentiment and passion. Christian love is rather the fulfilling of the law, is decreed by God’s will and is man’s duty which binds him by conscience. This love is neither arbitrary nor a matter of personal choice.  We must love all that is true, righteous and pure. We must hate sin and avoid it, no matter how beautifully it may present itself.

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