The separation of love and state : C. S. Lewis and Søren Kierkegaard as political allies.
Access changed 2/25/15.
Does a limited government limit neighbor-love? Through their writings, C. S. Lewis and Søren Kierkegaard have inspired many individuals to “love thy neighbor,” yet these authors do not call for government to fulfill the command to love others. This is inconsistent, critics say, for neighbor-love ought to have political dimensions as well; in fact, love requires more government, not less. But Lewis and Kierkegaard favor a small and limited government. They are “generous liberal givers” on the individual level but “absolute conservative restrictors” on the collective political level. Why? These two men do not directly answer this charge of inconsistency, but this essay aims to extract three possible answers from their theology and political philosophy. All three answers agree that neighbor-love has social but not political implications: (1) the Argument from Corruption: sin hinders love; (2) the Argument from Force: a person cannot be forced to love by government since love requires consent; and (3) the Argument from the Holy Spirit: neighbor-love is divine love and the government does not have access to it; but the Church does have access by way of the Holy Spirit. If true, the Holy Spirit may be a missing variable in Church-State calculations for a model of Low State, High Church.