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The Table Video

Robert P. George

Christian Love is Not a "Feeling" - Robert George on Love, Emotions, and Thinking

McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University / Founding Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions
September 22, 2015

We live in an age where feeling is king, but basing our love on feeling does not produce true love.


Sometimes intellectual historians divide up the epochs and put names on them. So sometimes, the Medieval Period is called the Age of Faith, and the Enlightenment Period is called the Age of Reason. Well if the Medieval Period is the Age of Faith and the Enlightenment Period is the Age of Reason, what age do we live in?

We live in the age of feeling, the age of feeling. Feeling is the touchstone of everything, the measure of everything, and what do we do with the concept of love in the age of feeling? We reinterpret, or we retranslate love into a feeling. Love is a matter of feeling, and love is a matter of respecting people’s feelings, or stroking people, or making people feel good, because feeling is the touchstone of everything.

Well, whatever that is, that’s not the Christian understanding of love. Christian love is not a matter of feeling, it’s a matter of volition. It is the active willing of the good of the other for the sake of the other. And I’ll tell ya something. That makes it hard to love.