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Slavery Through Christianity

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When Virgil wrote about Aeneus and Dido’s passionate affair, he showed how the unfortunate mixture of lust, love, and divine intervention could result in tormented hearts. The word “Love” in the context of the above quote refers to the desire the couple felt for each other, an erotic, impulsive force that consumed their lives and made them forget their responsibilities as leaders. Dido’s suicide further shows how this force drove her heart to the extreme. However, I believe that Love in the purest, unselfish sense can drive the heart to the irrational extreme and hence can be applied to the quote as well. Love untainted by sex or base, unruly passions is not typically thought to cause the same results as lust and desire, but this role makes an appearance in Christianity. Just as man becomes a slave to his lusts and passions, Pauline Christians become slaves in their religion because of the Love they have for their God.

In order to understand how Christian Love can possibly be compared to lust and desire, this Love must first be defined. The very foundation of Christianity is sacrifice: God sacrificed Jesus and Jesus sacrificed his life. In Romans, Paul said that God sacrificed his only son so that humans could be saved from sin: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). The whole doctrine of this religion is based on a god sacrificing something dear to him for someone else as proof of his love for them, not because he expects anything in return. In this way, the concept of the sacrifice is very important in Pauline Christianity. It is not surprising that the sacrifice repeatedly appears in the texts of the New Testament. In Mark, Jesus urges the people to renounce their worldly possessions and family ties (Mark 10:25-30). In Matthew, Jesus commands a disciple to not bury his dead father but to “ Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead,” indicating the lower priority family should have (Matt. 8:22). Additionally, Pauline Christianity says that salvation comes from accepting Christ into the body and dying as he did:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
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