Friday, March 26, 2010

Love - When is it Not Enough? Burning Questions #1

I am on my new blog schedule. I get to sit here in the atrium with plastic flowers and cheesy elevator music - well if the cell phone screamers are not around -I can hear the music of someones life, not mine. Do you think Crazy Train would sound good on classical guitar and flute?

I was thinking about things that people get passionate about. Have you wondered why some subjects like killing babies or "a woman's right to choose" get people wound up and other topics like ping-pong balls and lint don't?

Here is a burning burning question I see in various forms out there in the blog-o-sphere. I am going to do a "Burning Questions" series - so be sure to suggest some if you like.

Why is it some folks think love is letting someone do whatever they want?

Isn't freedom of choice just that, the choice to do as we will? (Don't you hate folks that answer questions with questions?) There are lots of ways to look at love - but today I want to focus on love in relationship to our behavior.

When there is a conflict, one side often wants justice while the other wants grace. Regardless, love should be able to appease both sides, don't you think? Locally, a teenager killed someone driving drunk at last years prom. He was sentenced to 6 months. You can weigh in if you want to.

There are a whole list of offenses that we could name from violent crimes to non-violent thefts along with a host of "not so big a deal" type actions such as lying or "salty" language. How do you treat your kids (or your family members) if they talk back, steal gum at the variety store, hit the neighbor with a stick, smoke pot, or are involved in a teenage pregnancy? What is the loving thing to do?

On the flip side, do we have to love those that talk back to teachers, flip us off in traffic, steal our car, sell our kid drugs or get our them pregnant? What is the loving thing to do to them?

Call it what you want, ethics, morality, grace, love - what is it, that would cause you to "let it go," and respond in a loving way? What's your threshold for hate (assuming that is the opposite of love)? What can someone do to you before you stop loving them (maybe you never started), or even hate them?

All religions and most philosophies answer; or try to answer the question: What do I deserve in life and in the afterlife?

The truth is this, if there is no God, who the hell cares? Conversely, what if there was a God, how could he be so fickle and inconstant to mange Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and the other various major world religions? Is it 72 virgins or a city, coming back as a cow or streets of gold?

What if God is love, and we don't do it, does he have to continue to love us? I'm just asking.

If love = happiness, or love = lack of conflict, or love = feeling good, or parental love = permissiveness, then what if what makes you happy, infringes on my space and makes me unhappy? Who's right? And what if compromise makes us both unhappy? It is probably different for every one. Especially if we have "done the crime," or are a "victim of the crime."

One of the very best principals in Christianity (and most religions with a god) is that God treats everyone exactly the same. Jesus is perfect in love, perfect in discipline, perfect in justice, perfect in mercy and thankfully slow to anger. Everyone is offered forgiving grace or eternal separation. It's is a choice (IMHO a good deal too!).

The problem for most folks is that punishment of any kind, but especially the eternal kind, seems unfair. The truth is that God punishes all sin. Every lie, every careless word as well as the "big ones" like rape and murder. God's holiness demands 100% purity (in His eyes, not yours). The good news is that Jesus paid the price (was put to death, not instead, but in place of you) for the sins of mankind. If you don't like the Lake of Fire (eternal torment or separation from God), remember that it was not supposed to be for human kind. I was made for Satan and his band of disobedient demons where they would be destroyed.

What should God do if you go off on your spouse causing emotional damage? How about throwing a co-worker under that bus at your review so that you can get his job? Let's see: cheating on income taxes, watching pornography, buying lottery tickets, "keying" a car because they blocked you in, or swearing at the bank teller? All of these are sin in God's book. Maybe you're cool with lottery tickets, but what about those that get addicted to gambling causing torment to their families, what should God do with them?

For many, they would like to be seen as good, or "not as bad as" someone they think is morally worse than them. There is a lot of lip service to be tolerant, to do the right thing, to do what's moral or ethical - etc. It is so ridiculous, that it seems having a job that makes money for someone else is "bad" in the eyes of some. We seem to want to give the power of personal choices which reward hard work over to the government - that is how we will get to the End Times.

Unfortunately love is portrayed as a feeling much more often than an action, as if our emotion should be the rule of law instead of common sense and thoughtful premeditated action. HERE is more on Love. In the final analysis love is a choice that you or I make. It is also one that God makes. It is up to us to receive it by faith - to receive the perfect righteousness of Christ, or not.

If you really think about it, the whole business of love, morality and sin is kind of silly - well, unless there is a Holy God.

11 comments:

photogr said...

David:

God led us to create judicial systems to have laws that would insure justice for those that choose to break those laws repeatedly with a penalty to be assesed based on the crime. They seemed to be in favor of the victim but thanks to liberal groups we now have to weigh in the rights of the criminal. In my way of thought, the criminal should not get any rights. What rights did they violate when they did the crime?

As far as the kids today with the violence they are doing. Poor parental supervision, no moral values in the family, Being taught in schools it is ok to do whatever you want as long as you think it is right, not allowing teaching of moral and biblical values, and gory video games as well as movies glorifying violence and gore. What can you expect from them? They hve been brain washed to violent tendencies.

God will always continue to love the human race even though they don't deserve it. However, He does not follow the "criminals have rights too" way of thinking. If you do the crime, you will definitely pay the price eventually if you fail to see what you are doing is wrong. One of the reasons we have judicial systems in place which lately is failing the victims and failing to follow the laws put in effect for criminals.

In effect, liberal bleeding heart followers are tearing down our system in place that controls criminal activity, insubordination by kids, and belief in moral and lawful principles. We are being led down the path of the biblical Sodom and Gomorah.

On another thought, What is going on today is close to what is prophesized in scriptures.

Tracy said...

Lots of heavy stuff here; worthwhile stuff to think about.

I do know these things:
* I'm more than grateful for God's love and grace
* I'm not as loving as I want to be
* I struggle as a parent with being loving and yet holding my sons accountable for their actions. Sometimes I try to solve this dilemma by creating situations where my sons have choices and experience the natural consequences of their choices (I don't step in and save them).
* There is a difference between love and approval. I choose to love someone. I can not always condone their actions; especially if their actions are going to have bad results for them. The question typically comes in as to when and how do I express this?

GCT said...

photogr,
"God led us to create judicial systems to have laws that would insure justice for those that choose to break those laws repeatedly with a penalty to be assesed based on the crime."

OK. So, how is the penalty of eternal torment based on any crime a human could commit?

"They seemed to be in favor of the victim but thanks to liberal groups we now have to weigh in the rights of the criminal."

We all have rights, even those who are accused of wrong-doing or even convicted. I'd rather that we err on the side of caution than go overboard and ensure that innocent people are incarcerated. We can't simply toss out people's rights just because we think they are guilty of something.

"What rights did they violate when they did the crime?"

An eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind.

And, next time you get pulled over for speeding, I hope the cop remembers that you have rights and doesn't simply beat the crap out of you.

"As far as the kids today with the violence they are doing. Poor parental supervision, no moral values in the family, Being taught in schools it is ok to do whatever you want as long as you think it is right, not allowing teaching of moral and biblical values, and gory video games as well as movies glorifying violence and gore."

Freedom is hard stuff, isn't it? Aren't conservatives always talking about having more personal freedom? But, when it comes down to it, you're not advocating that here, are you?

"God will always continue to love the human race even though they don't deserve it."

Wow. Do you really think you are un-deserving of love? How hateful a sentiment is that?

"In effect, liberal bleeding heart followers are tearing down our system in place that controls criminal activity, insubordination by kids, and belief in moral and lawful principles."

I see that everything is the fault of liberals in your mind, but I'm wondering how that can be when it is de-regulated corporate interests that drive most of this.

GCT said...

David,
"Why is it some folks think love is letting someone do whatever they want?"

I don't know of a single person who thinks this. I only ever see this as a strawman representation of the atheist position by Xians.

"The truth is this, if there is no God, who the hell cares?"

I, for one, care. If this life is all I have, I want it to be a good, happy life. Part of that is the shared morality that we all enjoy as part of our culture. In fact, it is this morality that allows us to form social groups and interact as the social animal that we are.

"Conversely, what if there was a God, how could he be so fickle and inconstant to mange Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and the other various major world religions?"

Um, well yeah. Why is it that this omni-max deity is unable to pass along his message in unambiguous ways that don't lead to sectarian splintering and violence?

"If love = happiness, or love = lack of conflict, or love = feeling good, or parental love = permissiveness, then what if what makes you happy, infringes on my space and makes me unhappy? Who's right?"

No one has the right to infringe on the rights of others. It violates morality and social contract.

"One of the very best principals in Christianity (and most religions with a god) is that God treats everyone exactly the same."

This is patently false. He hated Esau from the start. People don't have equivalent life experiences either. Can you really claim that the child born in Africa with AIDS is getting the same treatment from god as you?

"Jesus is perfect in love, perfect in discipline, perfect in justice, perfect in mercy and thankfully slow to anger."

Perfect in justice? The fetus that is aborted goes directly to heaven or hell, correct? How could either one be equitable? Perfect justice would also mean that the rape victim doesn't actually get raped. And, while we're at it, eternal punishment isn't justice (it's infinitely unjust to eternally punish for finite crimes) but revenge.

"Everyone is offered forgiving grace or eternal separation. It's is a choice (IMHO a good deal too!)."

It's a choice? Doesn't one have to believe that Jesus died for our sins? Is that something I can choose to believe in? If you think so, can you try and choose to believe in Zeus for a day and see how it works out for you?

GCT said...

Cont....sorry for the long comment, but there's much to comment on...

"The problem for most folks is that punishment of any kind, but especially the eternal kind, seems unfair."

Again, the only time I see people saying that any sort of punishment is wrong is when they are making strawmen. As for eternal punishment...well it's infinitely unjust (see above).

"God's holiness demands 100% purity (in His eyes, not yours)."

Holding us to an impossible standard that we can't meet because of the way god made us is fair how?

"The good news is that Jesus paid the price (was put to death, not instead, but in place of you) for the sins of mankind."

And, that constitutes justice somehow?

"If you don't like the Lake of Fire (eternal torment or separation from God), remember that it was not supposed to be for human kind. I was made for Satan and his band of disobedient demons where they would be destroyed."

And yet god allowed Satan and his demons out to tempt humans to go there. And yet god created hell knowing full well that humans would end up there. How can you claim that an omniscient being that knew full well what would happen and did it anyway didn't intend for hell to be a place for humans?

"In the final analysis love is a choice that you or I make. It is also one that God makes."

How can anyone claim with a straight face that the Xian god can love us while simultaneously torturing us for eternity?

"If you really think about it, the whole business of love, morality and sin is kind of silly - well, unless there is a Holy God.'

This is basically the argument that there can be no morality without god, and it's simply wrong. Animals exhibit morality to varying degrees. It's part of being a social animal that works in packs/herds/groups/etc. Morality is what allows us co-exist with our fellow humans. Without god, we still need to get along in order to ensure our mutual survival.

David said...

Thanks for folks for the comments.

Yes it is heavy. Prevailing thoughts seem to think that God is somehow disconnected or nonexistent. I can only say that spending time with Him, not with religion is that only way that I can sense any sort of clarity. I am amazed at the flood of opinion when it comes to this stuff - most by folks who have not read the Bible - or at least not in depth.

My take is that the real God makes people different. Religion makes people the same.

Tony C said...

One thing I do know for sure, you can't apply Pascal's Wager to the equation and expect to call love hedging your bet there is a God.

Well, actually two things...Crazy Train can not possibly sound good in elevator style music... but thanks for putting that in my head though.

photogr said...

GCT:
SO you are saying that a child molester kills an innocent child for his perverted desires deserves to do what he pleases? A life sentence after being proven guilty for this action is not really justice is it?

"Freedom is hard stuff, isn't it? Aren't conservatives always talking about having more personal freedom? But, when it comes down to it, you're not advocating that here, are you?"

I don't advocate more personal freedom to allow harm to others.

"We can't simply toss out people's rights just because we think they are guilty of something."

That is why we have courts to prove with out a shadow of doubt that one is guilty.

As far as the liberals, I agree with you on that.

"Wow. Do you really think you are un-deserving of love? How hateful a sentiment is that?"

I don't think it is a hateful sentiment. It is my opinion. What is your opinion on love to others?

"And, next time you get pulled over for speeding, I hope the cop remembers that you have rights and doesn't simply beat the crap out of you."

That has happened to me once. The cop was my uncle when he caught me racing cars on the street as a teenager. A leson well learned.

Deregulated corporate interest may well have some influence in a lot of the problems we have today but what specifics are you refering to?

GCT said...

photogr,
"SO you are saying that a child molester kills an innocent child for his perverted desires deserves to do what he pleases? A life sentence after being proven guilty for this action is not really justice is it?"

I'm not saying that at all. I am saying that the convicted offender still has some rights. We don't have the right to torture that person, for instance. I also believe that our "punishments" should focus more on rehabilitation than revenge.

"I don't advocate more personal freedom to allow harm to others."

I'm not talking about that. It seems to me like you are advocating that we get away from allowing such things as violent video games or free speech that you disagree with. The problem is that if you are for more freedom, then you have to defend the freedom of others to say and do things that you don't approve of, so long as they aren't violating the rights of others.

"That is why we have courts to prove with out a shadow of doubt that one is guilty."

OK, so it seems that I misread you a bit and was confused by your meaning. If I understand properly now, it sounds as though you are advocating that one should have one's rights up to and until conviction in a court of law. I still maintain that people retain some rights, like the right to not be tortured, etc. Would you agree with that?

"As far as the liberals, I agree with you on that."

I hope this is simply you giving me what for for being a tad bit snarky to begin with, right?

"I don't think it is a hateful sentiment. It is my opinion. What is your opinion on love to others?"

I see it as a hateful ideology because it debases humans. This ideology sees all humans as morally corrupt and despicable beings that deserve torture and infinite harm. Personally, I don't think anyone deserves torture. I think that within all people lies the capacity for love and hate and that we should focus on the good and trying to bring that out rather than beat ourselves up and focus on the bad.

"That has happened to me once. The cop was my uncle when he caught me racing cars on the street as a teenager. A leson well learned."

I was thinking more like a Rodney King style beating. If we treated such crimes as sufficient for torture (as god does) we wouldn't like it very much. Also, note that this comment came from my misunderstanding of what you were saying.

"Deregulated corporate interest may well have some influence in a lot of the problems we have today but what specifics are you refering to?"

Take Enron, the housing issues, health care, the environment, etc. Let's look at the banking industry. We had to have massive bailouts because deregulation led to people gaming the system. When it all came crashing down, the people who were gaming the system were already out and the people who would have lost out (if not for the bailouts) were you and I (we still did, but hopefully not as much). It's in large part due to government turning a blind eye to illegal and shady practices. So, what did McCain say was the remedy? More deregulation - IOW less oversight and turning and even blinder eye to it all. In this case, I think we can agree that we need to do a better job of enacting and enforcing rules that keep the gamers in check, but we won't get there by deregulating.

GCT said...

photogr,
I had a comment yesterday that seems to have been wiped out by the google server errors...apologies if it shows up and I'm double posting...

"SO you are saying that a child molester kills an innocent child for his perverted desires deserves to do what he pleases? A life sentence after being proven guilty for this action is not really justice is it?"

I'm not saying that at all. What I'm saying is that even convicted felons have some rights, like the right to not be tortured. And, I don't really see punitive action as necessarily "justice." I would rather see our penal system work more towards rehabilitation and getting at the root of problems than simply trying to punish people after the fact. Does a drug offender deserve prison or should we try to get them off the drugs?

"I don't advocate more personal freedom to allow harm to others."

I didn't think you did. What I was objecting to was the sense that I got that you were objecting to the freedom of others to do things that you personally disagree with. That's why freedom is hard. It means that we have to grant freedoms and be willing to defend freedoms for people and ideas that we fundamentally disagree with.

"That is why we have courts to prove with out a shadow of doubt that one is guilty."

If you are in favor of mainaining rights for those accused until convicted, then that's a step in the right direction (and if so, I misread your original comment - sorry about that). Still, the reason we have rights for the accused is to try and ensure that if one is convicted that it is beyond a shadow of a doubt.

"As far as the liberals, I agree with you on that."

I hope this is simply a snarky response to what was admittedly a snarky comment of mine.

"I don't think it is a hateful sentiment. It is my opinion. What is your opinion on love to others?"

I find it debasing to the human race and therefore hateful. I don't believe anyone is deserving of torture. See people as fundamentally bad is not the way to love others.

"That has happened to me once. The cop was my uncle when he caught me racing cars on the street as a teenager. A leson well learned."

If the beating was severe enough, however, that you were left crippled or something, then you'd be rightly P.O.ed. Of course, if you believe the accused have rights, then this statement isn't really pertinent.

"Deregulated corporate interest may well have some influence in a lot of the problems we have today but what specifics are you refering to?"

There's lots of examples, but take the banking industry for example. Due to deregulation we had people artificially gaming the system and making real profit off of it. When the system came crashing down, most of them had already made real cash by basically cheating the rest of us out of our money. It happened because the government turned a blind eye and trusted that the system would take care of itself. So, McCain wanted to go one step further and remove more regulations and trust in the free market, but it's trusting in the free market that caused the whole mess in the first place.

photogr said...

GCT:

"I would rather see our penal system work more towards rehabilitation and getting at the root of problems than simply trying to punish people after the fact. Does a drug offender deserve prison or should we try to get them off the drugs?"

I have to agree to a point.

Deregulated coroporate interest may well be part of the problem but we have to blame the government too for allowing it to run with out restraints or in many cases allowing it to happen such as the case of Imron and others as an example.

Enjoyed the debate.

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