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It's Not Love, So What Is It?


sharkindeepwater
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If you already know off the top of your head, feel free to just answer; if you need more of what I'm getting at, I think even the question I want to ask is still a bit muddled, so bear with me...

 

We've all been told by a total stranger that they love us based on their own religion. That's... not very possible. It's possible to see every human as precious, but love? Love is made of understanding, of connection, of knowing someone. And one cannot love others without loving oneself, which many Christians very obviously do not.

 

I was raised in a school that was religiously and emotionally abusive. I was told that my peers loved me, that my teachers loved me, and that I should love everyone. And I tried, although they could say they loved me while doing hateful things, and I manufactured something I thought was love while sometimes doing hateful things right back. (Children don't have the best coping strategies.) I named what I felt "love," although once I got out of the programming I'm able to tell it wasn't. I haven't felt it again since, because I know better than to try to force it again. I think I would call it "an excess of zeal" if I had to try. Now that I don't feel it anymore, I can also tell how intensely unhealthy it was.

 

So what is it? A wealth of good feeling worked up for an ideal, like "god," and then passed around to anyone in range? A separate mindset in which one is deliberately very nice and well-intended and somehow manages to avoid monitoring their actual words? It seems to me to be a denial of reality based on good emotions in church service, but my viewpoint is, after my experiences, extremely biased.

 

It seems presumptuous to me now to claim that something so valuable and precious as love can be offered free with every greeting.

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So what is it? A wealth of good feeling worked up for an ideal, like "god," and then passed around to anyone in range?

 

Pretty close. Anytime I heard anyone say these words, both in vocal tone and attitude....what they were really saying was more akin to "I feel superior to you."

 

And no...that certainly isn't love, or any variation of healthy affection or relational attitude to have towards others.

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When I was going to Bob Jones University, I worked a short time at its bookstore. My manager told me she loved me, the Christian love we were all supposed to feel for each other. I was fired not long after and never saw her again. Now, if you truly love someone, how is it you could be content never to see her again? My answer to you is that when it comes to love, actions speak louder than words. If you took the most devoted Christian and scanned her brain once while she's looking at an aquaintance, and then again when she's looking at her own child, do you think the pictures of her brain would look the same? Somehow I doubt it. So don't consern yourself with this "Love they Neighbor" bullshit.

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My theory is they either are saying this with an air of superiority, like "Look at me, I'm such a great xian" or they're confusing love and respect. I agree that we should respect people unless they have done something that tarnishes that respect, but love everyone? No. First of all, it's impossible to love everyone in the world, and second of all, handing out that love freely just because that person is a human being tarnishes the idea of love.

 

What I find interesting about the "love thy neighbor as thyself" thing is you're not supposed to love yourself, right? So is Jesus telling people to hate everyone?

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to the OP,

 

I think they are feeling a combination of fear and pity...i think the combination feels like love to them. I remember that feeling...and i was always just worried for people and i felt sorry for their inability to receive the gospel...

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Probably pity.

 

I speak from experience.

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I think it's not so much an emotion as it is an attitude.

 

They are told they must have this "love" much as they are told they must speak in tongues, refrain from sex, or vote Republican.

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I think when Christians say, "They love you" They are hoping your some lonely person who wants someone to love them and This will lure them into their cult.

Then in church they get hugs, shake hands and everyone love bombs them into thinking oh this cult cares about me.

 

 

It makes me sick it's just using people's emotions to lure them in like a chunk of cheese lures a mouse into a trap.

 

 

That's just one of the reasons I can't stand Christians..If someones gonna be touching me and saying the love me they need to be someone I know.

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Whenever a Christian says they "love" you, watch out.

 

They usually want something, something that you are not prepared to give. It involves a sacrifice on your part. Its always love with strings attached, because that is how their God loves. That is all they know. Watch out.

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It might very well be "love." It's just some dopamine (as I recall) spurting out in the old brain so these folks might actually get a little jolt of the stuff when they push "love" your way. Just like someone looking at some good old porn or any number of other brain "stimuli" that makes for a little happy feeling these people may actually get a little something from "loving" everyone around them. Is it deep or meaningful? Nope. But they're addicted to the "rush." And that's all that matters.

 

mwc

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When I was going to Bob Jones University,

 

Good Lord, you went there!? :twitch: Even when I was at the height of my fundyism, that place sounded like hell on earth to me.

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There were times when I felt a genuine sense of overwhelming love for the people that were around me. One time it happened when I went to see the Casualties (notorious drunk punk band). At the time I had "a heart" for punk kids and I felt all this warm gooey love for the kids there. Another time I was hanging out at Venice Beach and I felt love for the people I encountered there who were living the down-and-out L.A. rock and roll lifestyle, even the ones I didn't interact with directly.

 

So I've felt it before.

 

I don't know what precisely it was or whether there was something behind it that I couldn't recognize then and can't now, but it felt like genuine altruistic love to me. Whether it was sustained beyond those moments is another matter, of course.

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I think the key to both of those experiences is the fact you had something in common with those folks you could relate to. It may not be much to go on, but it's enough to form the basis for an emotional leap.

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Misery loves company.

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It might very well be "love." It's just some dopamine (as I recall) spurting out in the old brain so these folks might actually get a little jolt of the stuff when they push "love" your way. Just like someone looking at some good old porn or any number of other brain "stimuli" that makes for a little happy feeling these people may actually get a little something from "loving" everyone around them. Is it deep or meaningful? Nope. But they're addicted to the "rush." And that's all that matters.

 

mwc

 

If ever anything made sense, this certainly does.

 

As normal people, though, we are social animals who feel empathy for others. This may be stronger in some people than in others but I think all of us experience it to some degree. I was raised with a very strong emphasis on "our people" as opposed to those who are "not our people."

 

I've been out of my horse and buggy community for some years now, and mingling with what I call the "bus culture" here in the city. I travel by bus every time errands take me further afield than I can walk. It's a pretty causal culture, yet it has its own trends and mores and I can tell if a person is new in town or lost and needs directions, etc. This calls for a level of empathy or a feeling of connection with total strangers. Not to mention my own handicap of low vision, which means I frequently depend on total strangers to know which bus to board and where to get off, etc.

 

Many and many a time do I wait at a university bus stop with a batch of people less than half my age. I move among them and feel nothing but acceptance and respect, as though I were among my own people. Yet all of us are total strangers to each other--some of them might know each other from class but as a group we're a batch of strangers. I think this is normal human attitude toward fellow humans when there is peace and plenty, i.e. no competition for limited resources and therefore no need to put anyone in physical danger.

 

Acceptance and respect is not exactly what I felt among my own people. Judgment and disapproval were more common. "But we love you even though you are such a depraved and horrible person." Basically, that means, "If you work hard enough and don't complain too much, you have the right to live." This, I was made to believe, is love. Compared to what I encounter these days in the bus culture, it was bare tolerance mingled with outright hate.

 

In one of the posts above someone mentioned fake Christian love or love-bombing. I experienced some of that, too, when I left my own people for the modern Mennonites. They wanted to prove to me that they were so much better than my own people, they wanted me to know real Christian love, they reached out to me and did all the good loving things. Eventually, I began trusting some of it as genuine. And then, somehow, people weren't really there anymore. Years later, recently a woman from a similar background as myself explained to me that some people had had a bit of time on their hands when I first showed up and saw me as a kind of mission, but then they got busy and couldn't be bothered with the case anymore.

 

That, folks, is Christian love. It's not normal human empathy for its own sake. I don't know if there is such a thing as love. I've been impressed that the Greek and Roman philosophers did not mention love on their lists of virtues. It's the Christians who make such a big issue of love in their writings, esp. in the NT. One thing I know, "love" is an excellent means by which to emotionally manipulate people, especially if it is touted as society's most treasured value.

 

I owe some of my ideas to Edmund D. Cohen's Mind of the Bible-Believer.

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It is not a feeling, it is just the party line.

 

When I was a preacher, I taught that Christian love was not a feeling, or else how could one love their enemy? Christian love was action for the good of another. It was one of my frustrations that I couldn't seem to get that across to folks. It was only later that I learned that feelings and actions are pretty much tied together by nature. The whole project of getting people to separate the two was like giving baths to cats. One assumes that given their behavior cats like to be clean -- until you try to put one in the tub.

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I also dont thing their "Love" is as sincere as they would put it out to be! Might be on their "TO DO" list for the day??? Also a pre-programmed thing for most of them, please do rememba they must keep hell in mind if they dont love all ;-) So they MUST love you (even though they dont feel like it) So I've learned really not to read to much into a stranger telling me they love me, its like eating a banana for them, eating it only to fill the tummy!

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I think the key to both of those experiences is the fact you had something in common with those folks you could relate to. It may not be much to go on, but it's enough to form the basis for an emotional leap.

 

That could be it.

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'Course, that seems reasonable, but it's fair to say I could also be talking out my ass, so there's that too. :shrug:

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Yes,R.S. Martin, The Mind of the Bible Believer is a great book. It influenced my deconversion.

 

I think love is a feeling we have and act upon, towards someone we highly value, so it is artificial to "love" anyone we don't know or like. Christians can attempt to conjure up this feeling, but they are just following orders from the bible due to mind conditioning and duty. It's all for show and to gather in converts. Then when the convert becomes a part of the group, he/she better follow the program or risk being shunned and excommunicated. So much for christian "love".

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For some reason when I think of Christian love I think of water that barely covers the toes, and when I think of love bombing I think of water that reaches just right above the ankles.

 

Then, once the love bombing stops, the tide goes back and I am left barefoot in the sand.

 

If that is love, then they can fucking keep it.

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When I was going to Bob Jones University,

 

Good Lord, you went there!? :twitch: Even when I was at the height of my fundyism, that place sounded like hell on earth to me.

 

I attended two years and paid for most of it myself. I actually enjoyed much of my experiences there.

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I think what you're talking about is obligation (combined with a strong desire to make it a positive experience for the one feeling the emotion).

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