Hope: A Theological Virtue

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And now faith, hope, and love abide.

Paul ends a well known passage of Scripture with these words. He goes on to claim that the greatest is love, but the three taken together — faith, hope, and love — are known as the theological virtues. They are virtues that go above and beyond the classical virtues (prudence, justice, temperance, courage), derived not from the natural state of human life but from a developing relationship with the divine. Today, it would seem odd to call these virtues, and even more odd to call them theological, since does not hope (or love or faith) abide in cultural without the need for God? To begin to understand this, we must begin with time.

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The Insanity of Extremism

 “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” — Jesus

It is a fact of history and of psychology that people kill and will die for faith. Whether this is seen as devotion or extremism depends on who is doing the killing and who is doing the dying. It is one thing to die because of one’s faith; it is another thing to kill for one’s faith. What drives people to this? And does extremism hold logically?

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