"You shall love your neighbor as yourself"...dethrones feeling and good fortune and replaces them with the 'shall'....
According to Christ, our neighbor is our equal. Our neighbor is not the beloved, for whom you have a passionate preference, nor your friend, whom you prefer. Nor is your neighbor, if you are well educated, the learned person with whom you have cultural affinity - for with your neighbor you have before God the equality of humanity. Nor is your neighbor one who is of higher social status than you, and you love him because he has higher social status. This is mere preference and to that extent self-love. Nor is your neighbor one who is inferior to you, and you love him because he is inferior to you, because such love can easily be partiality's condescension and to that extent self-love.
No, Christian love, this 'you shall', means equality. In your relationship to people of distinction you shall love your neighbor. In relation to those who are inferior you are not to love in pity but shall love your neighbor. Your neighbor is every person, for on the basis of distinctions he is not your neighbor, nor on the basis of likeness to you as in contrast to others. He is your neighbor on the basis of equality with you before God.
~Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Provocations
Labels: quote, Soren Kierkegaard