LOVE: IS IT OUR CHIEF IDOL OR OUR MOST PRIZED VIRTUE? — PART 3

Three wise monkeys, invoking a proverb, with no text.
Three wise monkeys, invoking a proverb, with no text. (from here)

In the last segment in this series, we considered How The Idolization of Love Corrupts Church and State. Here we will consider what others have had to say.

A Review Of What Others Have To Say

Googling The “Idolization Of Love”

If we google “Idolization Of Love”, we won’t turn up much, just nine hits including this blog. What follows are the few hits that have relevant content.

Chewing the Cud: Alcibiades and Socrates Talk Life, Love and Nietzsche By John Taylor looks to be interesting.  Google has put some of the book online as a teaser. Here Taylor puts these words into the mouth of Alcibiades.

AlcibiadesIf you ladies want to know where “Alcibiades” was going with that, I am afraid you have to get a copy of the book. The preview did not include the next page.

The most surprising hit turned up the quote below. Those are the words of a college student, a student athlete, in response to the question in bold print.

What is the most important societal issue facing college students?   The most important societal issue plaguing college students, in my opinion, is the idolization of love, superficiality and materialism, entitlement, and the infantilizing of the college student. Culture ingrains these things in all our heads and it hurts our worldview and affects our lives in a great many ways. The most pressing of these issues is the infantilizing of the college student. By coddling college students, it strips them of a meaningful education, cheats them of preparation for the real world, and prevents them from growing up. (from here (www.cacsports.com))

It is a personal prejudice, but the last thing I expect of athletes is thoughtfulness. It seems, however, that cross-country runners have plenty of time to think.

The most relevant hit? In the form of a debate between Rev. Scott Elliott and the blogger, duanetoops, Dialogues of a Christian Atheist, pt.2 gets into the subject of the nature of God.

Here is a sample of Elliott’s argument.

Rev. Elliott: I have yet to find a way to satisfactorily convey my conviction that this love siren and loving way we are drawn to can also –if we want or choose–safely, sanely, rationally be named God. This experience of being we are in has that siren you/we hear in it, and if we go to where it is beckoning we end up loving. We don’t have to call it God; we can believe it is not God. It only matters because it means (aside from semanitics) that we are on the same page, love is the point. And love by any other name is still love. (Or as this theologian spins it, if God is experienced as love –a very Biblically sound claim– then love by any other name is still God). (from here)

How did duanetoops sum up his opposition to that sort of argument?

Response: I would whole heartedly agree that the “idolization of love” ( I Love that by the way) is most central. It is compelling above all else. Here we are precisely on the same page, where we diverge perhaps is that I am content simply with “love,” this is a word powerful enough, that doesn’t necessarily need to be renamed. I love that you said “if we choose to” we can call it God, I can willingly admit that I “choose” to just let love be love and let love be enough. (from here)

What Is The Opposite Of Love

Why is the idolization of love so foolish? God is not just an emotion.  We cannot properly express love by just feeling. We express love by caring enough to behave wisely.

Consider how well this Bible passage describes modern America.

Revelation 3:14-22 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Lukewarm Church

14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,

‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’”

What was the problem in Laodicea? They knew the truth, but they didn’t care enough to do anything. God loved them. They were rich, and that was all that mattered to them. The Christians of Laodicea were indifferent.

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference. ― Elie Wiesel (from here)

In What Is The Opposite Of Love? A Bible Study, Jack Wellman ends his article with these words.

Love and discipline are joined at the hip and in a similar way, love and hate are closely related but the polar opposite of love is indifference or apathy. You could not care any less when you do nothing to help others. The opposite of love then is not hate, it is apathy or indifference, and it is one of the cruelest of all human responses. There is no excuse for us to not tell others of the coming Day of Judgment; it is one of the greatest acts of love you could ever display. The opposite of love is that you don’t even care, you are indifferent, and you are apathetic. In short, you have no love for others, only for yourself. I am thankful that Jesus didn’t act in such a way (John 3:16). (from here)

When we make love our idol, we set aside God Himself. We become so absorbed in the fact God loves us that we forget to love God in return. We don’t do what He told us to do, love each other.

A Smattering Of Related Posts And Articles

Before continuing, consider reading Psalm 96. As Christians, we have the opportunity to know God. We can declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples. However, to do that properly, we must take the time to know God.

Finding the True God by Fr. Stephen Freeman provides a viewpoint from the Orthodox Church in America.

Freeman has a legitimate concern. “Human beings have a tendency to invent idols.” Here he says something I think very good.

In order to know God, you first have to admit that you don’t know Him.

Belief in God is not the same thing as the acceptance of a set of propositions. Even if the propositions are “supported by the Scriptures,” that entire interpretive exercise is as subject to the imagination and idolatry as pure fantasy. Most Christians whom I know who have a very distorted view of God have Scripture to support their notions.

Christ makes a very key statement on the knowledge of God:

All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. (Mat 11:27)

Since Freeman has contemplated the matter carefully, it is worth considering what else Freeman has to say.

Since we are all human, it is also worth considering what others have to say.

Do you have a primitive belief? by Colorstorm makes the point that the Bible’s age does not make it irrelevant. Its wisdom and what it says about God is timeless.

[Is] “God our Master” ? by altruistico considers The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-20) [Psalm 123:1-4]. observes what the story has to say about our relationship with God. The story compares us to God’s servants, slaves in that day and age. Since we like to see ourselves as free, that is quite disturbing.

The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: “they should make an image” by Rob Barkman looks at Rev 13:14 KJV.  Just how seriously does God regard our idol-making?

The Byproduct Of Idolatry by compares the idolatry of today with the idolatry of ancient Israel. Be Still considers how the Bible describes God.

God Cannot be Mocked by Don Merritt points out a difficult truth. God expects us to make good choices. A Troubling Conversation illustrates the challenges involved.

 

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2 thoughts on “LOVE: IS IT OUR CHIEF IDOL OR OUR MOST PRIZED VIRTUE? — PART 3

  1. These words struck me as rather funny, “I would whole heartedly agree that the “idolization of love” ( I Love that by the way) is most central.” I think they get to the heart of your argument.

    I don’t believe we’ve made an idol of love so much as we’ve lost the definition and transformed it into a somewhat superficial and sentimental idea, somewhat related to feelings and happiness. “If it makes me happy it must be love.” Scripture reminds us that love is a bit more profound than that, painful, messy, often sacrificial, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

    Love and discipline really are entwined, discipline coming from the same word as disciple, meaning those being taught by a teacher, loved. So we have, “Peter do you love me?” 3 times in perfect measure. Love is critical and central to the story. But we have to remember the depth of that love, that it is not a superficial thing related to happiness and feelings. “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;..”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @insanitybytes22

      This is why I love comments. Without them, little I post would be as good.

      I may have written three posts, but I think your comment does a better job of getting to the crux of the matter.

      Disciples? Yep! Jesus called them His disciples.

      Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

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