Altruism and Christian Love

Browning, Don. “Altruism and Christian Love.” Zygon 27(4):421-436, December 1992.

In “Altruism and Christian Love,” Don Browning interprets the meaning and application of Christian love through the lens of sociobiology and the grace of God. This approach provides room for both kin altruism and self-sacrificial love represented by the cross of Christ, demonstrating the family as “an important mediating institution” between self-regard and regard for others. Browning believes that extreme forms of agapism and its neglect of family affections make love into an implausible and self-defeating expression. Sociobiology reorients Christian love toward caritas models of love by interpreting eros in the context of parental love to signify kin, reciprocal and group altruism. God’s grace thus builds upon and extends eros to include self-sacrificial love for remote others.