(Paul Ricoeur, Love and Justice, a book I would recommend to young philosophers and theologians)
If justice is possible because of love, can we call it love when a person is punished for doing justice, for example, the ” Capital Punishment “? Thus, love and justice are always dichotomous. Paul Ricœur’s book is a dialectical meditation on this dichotomy, trying to bridge the gap.
The point to be kept in mind is that “love” refers to Jesus Christ and “justice” to Moses.
Justice is concerned with social practice, while love is at best a motive. Justice, on the contrary, is more likely to have a narrow effect and less likely to be widely applied. We can see this in the history of Moses, when we consider the number of deaths. Even though the love of Jesus is slow in spreading, it spreads to many people. That movement is also called the grace of God. Justice is the spear, love is the shield. What non-Christians misunderstand is that they do not distinguish between God’s love and justice. (I don’t mean that as an evil thing.)
Particularly the Catholic emphasis on “God is love” has led to a number of misunderstandings.
And these misunderstandings are not limited to misunderstandings, they are also flaws in social practice due to the distorted interpretation of love. At the point where crimes committed by the clergy are covered up, for example, when clergy talk about God’s forgiveness for crimes, they are criticized in social practice as “they are distorting love”. However, through my experience as a journalist, I have also witnessed victim fraud. This experience has made me realize that the distortion of “love” is not enough. The testimony of victims, between lies and illness, takes advantage of people’s conscience and justice. It causes us to lose sight of the direction of justice.
To contemplate the dichotomy between love and justice is labour intensive and unrewarding. Many Hebrews would not have been saved if the revolution had not taken place in the time of Moses. This was the proper love and justice of the time. At the time of Jesus’ birth, it was hoped that he would be a revolutionary like Moses, but he did not make any great revolution. At first people were disappointed, but Jesus went to the poor on his own feet and saved them through love. Love is thus slow to progress and is attacked and persecuted by those who fail to understand it. Jesus’ quintessence of ‘love’ is that his justice was not in escaping justice, but in accepting the death penalty.
His justice was not in escaping justice, it was in accepting the death penalty, which is the essence of “sacrifice”, of love, of covering up all the sins of others. For those who follow Jesus, the practice of this supreme justice is no different from suicide, and whether or not Jesus himself would want people to do this has yet to be archaeologically proven. The same is true of martyrdom itself, which is not yet clear whether Jesus would have wanted it or not. But nowadays martyrdom is considered a virtue and worthy of praise, provided that the conditions are fulfilled. (Song of Solomon: Love is as strong as death)
Reading the Bible is like looking into the mirror of one’s self, a chapter which was originally in the book but was left out in the Japanese version because it was incomplete as a philosophy. This imperfection must be challenged by us, the next generation. We must return to the question of what the Bible exists for. We should read it honestly before we listen to the answers of the clergy. I urge young people to do this especially. The question that arises in the Bible is the self itself. It is a mistake to look for answers in a story, but the questions raised by the story are a guide on the journey to reality. As Paul Ricoeur says of love, it can be spoken of in both shallow and deep ways. The same is true of stories. They are made both shallow and deep. The Bible is considered a deep book, but it is less and less necessary for modern people. It was known that the world was falling according to gravity, though it was also the fall of the world. Probably the reason for the lack of attention is that there is something about Christians and the clergy that is not respected.
The bible has been around for a long time and has been interpreted by many different people. It was important that there were great men in it that we would still want to study. But we don’t have them today. They may exist, but they are not easy to find. When we lose our bearings, we need to go back to the basics of self-image as seen in the Bible. That is why the inscription on the temple of Apollo at Delphi, which existed before the Bible, says: “Know thyself”.
When you ask a Catholic priest a question, you will get a dozen different answers. The views of the Pope and theologians continue to change. However, we will come to realise this. People touched by the love of Jesus do good works voluntarily. It is not that Jesus is the only one, but that people are voluntarily awakening their conscience. I want people to know this glimmer in this age of information overload.
Paul Ricoeur’s philosophy, although it is an application of earlier phenomenology, is a “narrative theology”, the origin of the idea of the existence of Jesus. We recommend his book to many believers and students of theology who, in the future, will encounter incredible absurdities and disappointments. Paul Ricœur is a philosophy of problematic regression.
The thought which seeks to understand God is always brought back to the story. God’s thought can only be conceived as a narrated version of a story in which the concept is carefully checked. Thus, if a thought is to think of God, it must hear the story being told.
And again, ” God seeks to be told”
Paul Ricœur (from Love and Justice, original notes)