Problems with Agape Love - Nietzsche and Lewis

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Both Nietzsche and Lewis find problems with Agape love with accordance to their own respective philosophies of love. Lewis describes a paradoxical relation between God’s love and natural loves. Whereas Nietzsche explicates that the grounds that a person’s behavior may present itself as Agape love, is actually a behavior motivated primarily for selfish reason of gaining power. When comparing these two problems with Agape love, Nietzsche’s explanation is stronger in explaining the pattern of Agape love in the current western culture.

Lewis says that there is not a true Agape love by itself. Agape love can only be experienced after having experienced the natural loves, such as the romantic love for another human. However the natural loves cannot be experienced without God’s love, as God’s love completes all other loves such as romantic love. This creates a paradoxical circle of experiences that cannot be fulfilled without the other. In this way, there is no true Agape love, just a mixture of Agape and Eros, which Lewis called “Charity”. Lewis describes the first real motivation for all actions as being to love and to be loved in various means. This is what propels Charity however unlike Eros, it is regulated by reason. Lewis also states that there is intense suffering attached to human loves. He illustrated this with the tragic story of St. Augustine who lost a friend. Consequently any form of Agape love is also not without suffering.

Lewis expressed that the only way to get truly close to God, is not to imitate Agape love. However it is by accepting and reacting to Agape love that God gifts onto one’s self. As Agape love can only be experienced while experiencing the natural loves, one is the closest to God when in love with another. Therefore, to get close to God, one shouldn’t imitate Agape love or love strictly only God, however one must experience a natural love, which seems contradictory.

Unlike Lewis who said that behaviors are motivated by...
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