Sin as a Damaged Form of Love

Rod Dreher has written a personal reflection on Dante’s Divine Comedy in a book called How Dante Can Save Your Life. Readers are posting mixed reviews, partly, it seems, because they don’t understand the depth of the subject matter. Dreher quotes a review and offers some reflection on the family matters he revealed in his book:

Given his life experiences, it would have been easy for Dreher to paint himself as a victim and blame everyone else for his woes. But neither God nor Dante allows him to do so. Rather, as he descends the levels of the inferno and then ascends the cornices of purgatory alongside the Florentine poet, he comes face to face with his own propensity to make golden calves out of his family and his tradition: in a word, southern ancestral worship. Yes, his father and sister must bear some guilt, but Dreher alone allows himself to become bound to these false idols.

He says, “For me, Dante‚Äôs understanding of sin not as lawbreaking but as a damaged form of love was important to understanding my crisis situation, and how to break out of it.”

One thought on “Sin as a Damaged Form of Love”

  1. He hits on two of the most current stumbling blocks in the church today, Victimhood and Ancestor Worship.

    I remember being put off by a series of popular Christian novels that depicted haven as mostly fellowshipping with long lost loved ones with an occasional nod to an appearance by Jesus. I didn’t realize how much that permeated the church until I was reading a secular description of the various world religions that depicted Christianity as accepting Jesus so we can see our relatives after we die.

    Reading the quote above I was suddenly struck with the connection between my discomfort with that brand of false teaching and the Eastern practice of ancestor worship. Presenting heaven as the place to reunite with relatives is really the Western equivalent.

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