Altruism, Happiness, Judeo-Christian Tradition, Love, Spirituality, Values

How Not to be a Christian Lover

A while back I was surfing the night web when in the darkness I chanced upon a blog with these godly words:

“Non-Christians can eros and philos, but only a Christian has the power of Christ within them to accomplish this godly Agape love.”

Naturally, I was amused by the author’s arrogant but petty propagandizing.  For would it destroy the pleasure she takes in being Christian if she thought everyone — even us heathens — could agape?  Would she mope?  Perhaps life would seem meaningless to her without the snide assurance she loves better than anyone else?

So love’s a trophy now that you bring home to hang above the mantle, eh?

Well, I do not think we accomplish love.  It seems to me the times I’ve loved most truly, love has come upon me unexpected, without effort on my part, like a sudden breeze.  I don’t recall having done anything to deserve it, nor anything to accomplish it.  It just happens.

Yet, if love does just happen, then what sense is there in imagining ourselves any more accomplished than others because we love?  Taking pride in loving is like taking pride in winning the lottery: It’s a foolish response.  A more appropriate response is to feel grateful.

10 thoughts on “How Not to be a Christian Lover”

  1. A heavy dose of criticsim is due for this post, Paul!
    This is a mystical interpretation of love. Love is one’s emotional response to a person’s values. You love not because he or she is a lousy person, but because of his or her best qualities. So, it is not that it is like a flu that you get ‘hit’ with. It is a very value-based response, though most people don’t perceive it as such. To repeat, love doesn’t choose you. You choose (to) love. Love (and I am talking of romantic love here) is not a free gift, it is the highest expression of respect and regard for the highest in one’s soul. Hence, it is a matter of pride to be loved and to love.

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  2. To love humanity and God one has to recognize and accept that others, other creatures of God, have feelings and emotions. One of those emotions is love, is she doesn’t realize that others are capable of love and undermines that emotion then she isn’t really all that Christian, is she?

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  3. Jesus said; “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” So an atheist, Hindu, Muslim, or Buddhist firefighter or soldier or cop or even parent who gives up their own lives in the service of their tribe has…

    (I just checked – the verse does indeed use “agape” not “eros” or “philos”. And it don’t say nothin’ bout what religion or really anything about motives)

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  4. You’re quite right in your observation that love isn’t something we accomplish but something that’s revealed to us. Rambodoc is wrong: we don’t choose to love, so much as we allow ourself to love. There is considerable arrogance to thinking that love is an achievement rather than a gift.

    Genuine love is by no means a Christian thing. I’m not even sure that fundamental Christianity understands the concept.

    Great, perceptive post today.

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  5. Hi Rambodoc! That’s a very interesting analysis of what’s going on with love. Honestly, I’m not sure what I make of it yet, though. Subjectively, loves seems to transcend “an emotional response to a person’s values.” But that’s only subjectively. I must mull this over in the privacy of my room with only a Playboy and the Bible to guide me! 🙂

    Hi Raatkiranii! Interesting point! Can something that denies another person has feelings be called love?

    I got the impression she was much more concerned with proving her love was superior to the love of others than she was concerned with actually loving.

    Hi Maithri! Welcome to the blog! 🙂

    Hi DOF! Thanks for checking that verse! And thanks for pointing out what an absurd bind she’s put herself into. For her to be consistent, she must deny that anyone but Christians are capable of sacrificing themselves to save others. I wonder how she would handle your critique?

    Hi Mystic! I’ve quite often wondered the very same thing about Fundamental Christianity as you have. It seems to me the love they sometimes espouse (when they’re not espousing hellfire and damnation) is a very narrow and petty love. I once heard a fundamentalist in this town state that the Bible’s “love your neighbor” applied only to her fellow fundamentalists! Can such a person understand anything worth understanding about love?

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