Agape, Humility, and Chaotic Good: the Challenge and Risk of Allowing Agape a Role in the Law, in Cochran & Calo, Agape, Justice and Law: How Might Christian Love Shape Law?
Agape, Humility, and Chaotic Good: the Challenge and Risk of Allowing Agape a Role in the Law, in Cochran & Calo, Agape, Justice and Law: How Might Christian Love Shape Law? (Cambridge University Press, 2017)
Posted: 17 Apr 2018
Date Written: March 1, 2017
This essay argues that love has its dangers, when activated in the law. These dangers include factionalism, cronyism, arrogance, totalitarianism, and fanaticism. But if agape is understood as humility, it is an indispensable part of lurching toward justice in all-too-human legal contexts -- especially that of criminal sentencing. The essay concludes: "Lawful good for finite humans must co-exist with a humble chaotic good. Otherwise, we lose sight of law's need for defeasibility, particularity, and personal interaction, and we fail to notice law's underlying commitment to see 'others' as 'like' and to abide with them through time. We may also lose something rarer and more precious: if we banish chaotic love from law, we lose the liminal place at the boundaries of law from which we might catch a glimpse of the graceful wild lion."
Keywords: Agape, Christian love, mercy, sentencing, C.S. Lewis
JEL Classification: K10, K40, K14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation