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Loving God?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Sunstone, Apr 22, 2006.

  1. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    Good question, as most are.

    It is impossible to devine Peter's full thoughts... we do our best but we are still guessing. It appears to me that Peter knew full well that he was incapable of "truly loving" Jesus who is God incarnate.

    Three times Jesus asked Peter if he "truly loved" him. Three times Peter only said that he "loved" him. That Peter also denied Jesus three times could be coincidental, but I don't think so. Let's look at that passage:

    Luke 22:31 "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."

    33 But he replied, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death." 34 Jesus answered, "I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me." NIV

    and it continues:

    Luke 22:54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, "This man was with him."

    57 But he denied it. "Woman, I don't know him," he said.
    58 A little later someone else saw him and said, "You also are one of them."
    "Man, I am not!" Peter replied.

    59 About an hour later another asserted, "Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean." 60 Peter replied, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!" Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times." 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly. NIV

    Peter was broken here beyond my ability to comprehend. He had completely betrayed his Lord. When Jesus approached him on this, he did not use his nickname, but his "legal" name, Simon. After showing such bravado and then not being able to live up to his own hype, Peter knew humility like few of us ever will. He could not utter the word "Agape" to his lord. He knew that he could only phileo Jesus.
     
  2. Opethian

    Opethian Active Member

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    Yes it does, because I too once thought that the things that you think you do for absolutely nothing, that you think are not selfish, are indeed not selfish. Some of the things you think of as selfless acts, are the same acts that I do, yet while you think there are no reasons to your "good" actions, I have thought about this, and turned the abstract (warm fuzzy feeling etc...) into something tangible, into a real reason. I have analysed my actions, and found that nothing that I do, nor that others do, is ever selfless. Just because you can't admit this, or don't wish to think about this, because you want to think that you're a good person, doesn't mean you can judge me of being afflicted of some kind of selfish disease. I'm just being honest, and you're not. If we weren't selfish, we wouldn't be here. We would've become extinct because the more selfish species would've outcompeted us. Behind every action lies a reason. The reason:surviving and thriving.

    I'm sorry to say we don't, since you and me are both living organisms. And organisms are selfish.
     
  3. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    Which is why "Agape" is consistently rendered as "Godly" or "Selfless" Love. Too often people put their own limitations on others. Well, if -I- can't swim a mile then it MUST be impossible. This is an over simplification of the entire premise. Just because they are unable to love selflessly, it does not follow that NO ONE can love selflessly.

    In fact, only ONE PERSON has ever been able to do it. That pisssed us off so much that we nailed him to a cross! Go figure!
     
  4. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Is it possible to unconditionally love God outside of when having a direct experience of Her?
     
  5. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    Guilt is not the driving force here. I don't return love out of guilt.
    "Feeling good is not the motivation, either. yes, participating in love does make me feel good -- I won't deny that -- but it's not the motivation. The motivation is the love, itself.

    While I would agree that selfless love is very difficult for selfish humans to give in to, it does exist, I have participated in it, usually on a daily basis, and simply because it is there and for n other reason.

    I couldn't disagree more.
    When you love someone, you just love them. I love people I don't have any intention of loving -- especially those whom it would be easier and much more comfortable to ignore. I don't love people in order top feel good. The fact that I do feel good is immaterial to the motivation. It's not denial -- rather it's acceptance of something that is wholly Other coming to me and working through me. It's my choice to recognize that, and to participate in it, submitting my own will to the will of the Source of the love.
     
  6. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Is it meaningful to say that we love something we have no experience of? And if it is not meaningful to say we love something we have no experience of, then what do we mean when we say we love God even when we have had no experience of God? Do we really mean in such cases that we love what we've been told of God, or that we love our concept of God?
     
  7. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    Those of us who love God have experienced God.
     
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  8. Mister Emu

    Mister Emu Emu Extraordinaire
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    Yes. I am saying that a) I feel no better by helping someone. b) I could feel alot better by doing other things not involving loving or helping someone.

    Not if you don't want it to...

    As I said, you find those who disagree with you either dishonest or ignorant...

    Amen Brother!
     
  9. Tiberius

    Tiberius Well-Known Member

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    I know if I help someone I feel pretty good about it.
     
  10. Opethian

    Opethian Active Member

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    I guess there's just some of us who don't want to admit it and some of us who do. Not that I'm judging anyone since I don't believe in free will or good and evil :p
     
  11. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    Admitting your own selfishness is a start. Now, don't just accept it: deal with it!

    Obviously, you don't know me. I have never claimed to be perfect, and the includes being perfectly selfless. Only Jesus has ever done that. However, that does not stop me from setting that as my goal and becoming as selfless as I can be. There are definitely moments of selflessnes in my life. Now I need to increase them to minutes, then hours, into months and finally into years of selflessness. I am NOT a good person, and probably the most flawed individual on this forum. While I freely admit this, I do NOT accept it. As for judging you... you have confessed your selfishness to the world. I simply agreed with you. Let me leave this with a few passages:

    First: your feeling of seeming hopelessness (you are not the only one to go through this)...

    Romans 7:14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
    21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!NIV

    Now one of my favorites: a verse that guides my actions often...

    Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. NIV

    The biggest problem with a living sacrifice is that they keep crawling off the alter. It's tough and it hurts, and the rewards are for OTHERS to reap: their salvation. I already have my own.
     
  12. Opethian

    Opethian Active Member

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    I didn't really mean selfishness in a way that I can change, like not helping people except if they would reward me etc... I probably help people, and especially animals (I love them) for nothing (material) as much or more as the next guy, I just realised after thinking about it for a while, that I do these things because it makes me feel good. This doesn't work in such an obvious way as "Oh, I'll just help this guy/girl so I can get my endorphin fix" (or whatever the substance is that causes those feelings), it's just that in a very abstract way, everything you do, is inevitably linked to something you have experienced before, that you subconsciously know you will receive afterwards. It may not be that obvious, but it is there, and it is driving your actions.

    Yes I agree with that, but that doesn't change the fact that what you perceive as selfless, is in fact selfish to a degree.

    I never said that I felt hopeless. I have merely become aware of the fact that I am a processing machine that processes data to only one possible outcome.
     
  13. Mister Emu

    Mister Emu Emu Extraordinaire
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    Opethian,

    If we are all just meatbag processors with no ability to do anything other than preprogramemd output based on varied input, what exactly would stop one of us processors from processing in such a way(that we have no control over) that while there is no selfish reasoning one still commits a good act?
     
  14. Opethian

    Opethian Active Member

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    Because we, and thus our bodily features have evolved in order to survive, therefore our system (our body) is built to ensure our survival, making sure that only actions are performed that our system deems favorable for our survival, from the information given.
     
  15. Mister Emu

    Mister Emu Emu Extraordinaire
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    Ahh, but what would stop an evolutionary change wherein one now acts towards the intrests of others of the species without regard towards one's own pleasure/intrests even undergoing pain(possibly severe) with no form of gratification however subtle?
     
  16. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    Welcome to your conscience! God's bio-feedback mechanism that rewards you emotionally for doing what is right. Yours appears to not be seared as many who disregard their consciences become.
    You state YOUR opinion as fact. You might want to rethink that line of assertion.
    While never "saying" it, you expressed it beautifully. I have yet to see a machine process data so esoterically and with such a wonderful style. My congratulations to your inventor. :D
     
  17. Opethian

    Opethian Active Member

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    Well, suppose something like this would evolve, which is only really possible if it has no noticable effect towards survival (thus for example as you indicated pain, which does not hinder chances of survival), and if it would become prominent in the population, each organism would gain the benefit of the other organisms acting towards the intrests of the others, thus kind of nullifying the whole point of selflessness. If this would happen, selfishness changes from the point of isolated individual organism to isolated population of the same species. I think an example of this in nature would be populations of bees and ants. However, I don't quite see how something like this would become prominent in a population in the first place, since the mutation arises at first in a single organism, and thus the other organisms gain a benefit from the mutated organism, and the other organisms will have a greater chance of survival/reproduction than the mutated version, and one would suspect the mutated organisms to be outcompeted by the others. In the case of the ants though, the benefit is only directed towards the queen of the population, which is the organism which is responsible for the entire reproduction of the population in the first place, thus making it possible.
     
  18. Opethian

    Opethian Active Member

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    Only because my specific character (defined by my body) attaches more importance to these kind of emotional rewards/guilt than other people. That doesn't make me better than the guy that squashes the wasp or neglects the moth, and it also doesn't mean I make better use of my free will than others, it just means that "I" am different, and by "I", I mean my body.

    Yes, I'm sorry, but I'm from Belgium (we speak Dutch here), and I often use this expression "It doesn't change the fact", if I don't really know how to begin a sentence. That doesn't mean I'm pointing to the fact (see, here I use it again :(:bonk:) that what I'm saying is a fact, it's just a bit of grammatical screwing around. So sorry for that.

    Haha, that's just cause I'm a very complex little machine, and I was never invented, but I evolved ;) .
     
  19. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    When we experience God, is it anthropomorphic to describe God's unconditional love for us as "unconditional love"?
     
  20. lunamoth

    lunamoth Will to love

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    Being mere humans I think we are more or less limited to anthropomorphic understandings of God. But, just because we lack full understanding does not mean that God is limited by us.

    2 c,
    lunamoth
     
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