HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

LOVING GOD: EXCLUSIVE LOVE
 
CATHOLIC DOCTRINE: "Love God above all things and your neighbor as yourself for the love of God"
 
Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. in the Modern Catholic Dictionary, says we must become the kind of person who "loves God above all things for his [that is, God's] own sake, and loves others for God's sake."

 

“Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1822).  The bolded line shows that when the Church says love God above all it means love everything totally just because you love God.  So it is really only God that is loved.  The Bible calls this charity the greatest virtue of all - see 1 Corinthians 13:13.

 

"CHARITY, as treated of here, is an act of the will by which we love God for his own sake above all things, and our neighbour for the sake of God. The love of charity, then, is different from the love of concupiscence, by which we love God as our reward exceeding great, and desire to possess him
in whom our supreme and perfect happiness is placed. This love of concupiscence is good and belongs to the virtue of hope, but it is imperfect. By charity we rise above the consideration of our own reward and happiness; we see in God the infinite Good, the Source and Origin of all good, and we rejoice in his infinite Perfection. We wish him all honour and glory and every good, and desire, as far as we can, to obtain it for him, because he is infinitely worthy of our whole-hearted devotion. So that the formal object of charity, the reason why we love God, is his own infinite goodness and worth; for this reason we love him and our neighbour, for such is his will. He has made us all in his image and likeness ; all rational creatures form the great family of God, our common Father ; all are capable by grace of eternal happiness with him in heaven."

 

From a Catholic book called Beautiful Pearls.


One of the Scribes asked our Lord, " Which is the great commandment of the Law?" He answered : " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with
thy whole heart and thy whole soul and thy whole mind. And the second is like to this : Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments dependeth the whole Law and the Prophets."

1. The centre of all sanctity is the love of God. We must love Him with our whole soul and heart and mind. The affectionate loyalty of our hearts must be given entirely to Him, our bodies must be consecrated to Him, and our intellectual powers must be used for Him. Alas ! how defective is my love and service !  Can I say that my heart is wholly fixed on God?

2. The second law of holiness is no less binding than the first. It flows from it and is inseparable from it. We must love our neighbor as we love ourselves. This is a very high standard, and few indeed are they who attain it. Yet it is what God requires. It is a command, not a counsel, that we should regard the interests of others as our own. This is the great lesson of Christ's life. To what extent have I learned it ?

3. The obstacle to the keeping of these commandments is self-love. It prevents our loving God wholly, since He will brook no rival ; and it prevents our loving our neighbor as ourselves, for it makes us postpone our neighbor's interests to our own. Yet this is fatal to all true self-love and self-interest. Those who forget themselves are those who alone promote their own interest and their happiness.

 

One may love creatures, but only for God s sake.

The Catechism Explained: "We may only take pleasure in creatures in so far as they are conducive to the service of the Most High. The Creator ought to be
loved in His creatures, not the creatures in themselves. God calls Himself a jealous God (Exod. xx. 5), because He cannot tolerate our loving anything which interferes with our love for Him. He must reign supreme in our hearts, or hold no place in them at all (St. Francis of Sales). Because the patriarch Jacob was too fond of his youngest son, Joseph, He took him from him for a time, and He did the same with Benjamin. So He acts towards us now. Christ says: "He that loveth father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me" (Matt. x. 37). St. Augustine says: "He loves God too little who loves anything besides God ; unless indeed he loves it out of love to God."

 

From Brand Blanshard The Gifford Lectures: "Jesus took the love of God to be an essential part of morality. Jointly with the love of man, it was the prime motive of the good life. True Christians were to be childlike in their teachableness and affection, and of such he declared the kingdom of heaven to be composed. Their trust in their divine father was absolute; the good life meant his will for them, and their overriding concern must be to learn that will and do it. The love of man was important too, but Jesus seems not even to have considered the possibility of its standing alone. Human selfishness, lust, and greed would be too much for it. It was only as morality was infused with religion and human souls were seen as children of God that their infinite value could be recognised."

 

My comment is that if the command to love others could do on its own then Jesus is doing a bad thing by making the love of God so necessary and by implication condemning any morality that ignores it or is devoid of it as a wolf in sheep's clothing.

LOVE GOD ALONE!
 
Jesus Christ was asked what the greatest commandment was in the Old Testament. He said that it was the command to love God with all one's heart and soul and mind and strength. He said the second greatest commandment was to love one’s neighbour as oneself.
 
As God supposedly has to stomach evil for the sake of a greater good, it follows that you might never be happy in this life or the next. So what use is God to you then? Believers would urge to you simply find comfort in the love God has for you. This doctrine teaches that the meaning of life is not to be happy - because not everybody can be okay forever - but to be loved. But you don't need God for that. Jesus' doctrine that we must love God wholly shows no concern for us being loved by God. He did not command, "You must try to settle for the infinite love of God and this is the first and greatest commandment."
 
God roughly means the supernatural being that is solely entitled to your concern and your love because he is the source of love and goodness and even human goodness really comes from him and no other source.
 
Does this mean that God should be good or believed to be good?
 
Actually there is greater heroism in loving a God that is evil than one that is good. If evil is caused by error as religion says then clearly the evil person should get the most love if it has to be him or some good person. If we should love without looking for anything back the only way to be sure is to love a God who does not really give a toss about us.
 
The Christian faith says that you must love God with all your heart and soul and strength and mind. God and Jesus say that in the Bible.

If you love God passionately you can’t see if you love others properly. Love blinds. If you love God with all your heart or more than anything, it would be hard to see if you really love your neighbour. God gets your attention. No wonder those who claim to be extremely holy are often cruel.
 
The Church may say that love of God and love of neighbour go together. But if I love my child with all my heart and soul and mind that does not necessarily mean I must love others too. I wouldn't even have to love his nurse. The only way to make sense of the Church teaching is to argue that loving God and obeying him go together. He must command me to serve my neighbour. Therefore if you love God you have to obey him by loving your neighbour. Jesus stated that loving God means obeying him. He said that he who loves God will keep the commandments.

The command to love God with all your mind does not mean God approves of your power to think and avoid contradictions. It really means you let God tell you how to reason and think. It forbids you to think for yourself. The Christians have never taught that the more we use our minds the more we can love God. They do not expect all people to be academics.
 
"Love God by loving your neighbour for it is his will". This command cannot mean you are being asked to care emotionally for God. Indeed it implies a cold obedience is what is asked for.
 
True love for God means loving him because he is good in himself. To love him because he is pleasant or good for you is to love what you get out of him not him. It is valuing what he does and not what he is. God is not necessarily good for you even if he is good. True love of God means you would love him if he had reason to let you suffer horrendously forever.
 
Some say the more you love your neighbour the more you love God for he loves them. This mistakes benefiting God for loving him. It is simply wrong. Look at the motive!

The Catholic doctrine that our love for God is measured by how hard we try to keep his commandments is ridiculous. What would we think of a person who said that a wife’s love for her husband is measured by her obedience to her husband? We obey the law but does that mean we really love it or trust it?

Laws that consider people not God are against God. No system of law can be perfectly just. Not even God’s. Nor is it meant to be. God’s law is necessarily only perfect under the circumstances. Every law hurts some innocent no matter how fair the makers of the law tried to make it.

God makes it a duty for you to love. Love should not be an obligation. You cannot obligate anybody to love. Those who say that those who reject love will go to Hell forever for there is no love there are blackmailing those who fail to love. To present people with a God who is love or whose law is love is to oppress them. It accuses people who don’t make a bigger effort to love of being partly partial to the everlasting despair and punishment of Hell.

This commandment to love God with all our heart and strength does not tell us to put God first. Rather it tells us that all the loving we do must be for his sake. We love our neighbour to please God and not the neighbour. This love does not really value the neighbour except as a means to please God. If we feel affection for another, we must make sure that it is only allowed for God’s benefit. So strictly speaking, you are to love God alone.
 
If you put God first, that only means you love him and love others but you love him the most. You do not give him all your heart.
 
SHOULD WE LOVE GOD ALONE!
 
Many do not like the suggestion that they are to love God alone for they want to love themselves.  Sadly for them Jesus did not command self-love.  Telling us to look after our neighbour as yourself only means he sees you do look after yourself or you would not be alive but does not indicate any approval. What gets the approval is looking after your neighbour.  He is only saying we love ourselves not that it is right to or that we should.

 

Why is it so important to some people that we believe in God and a specific kind of God at that? What is wrong with a vague sense of powers that can help us if we tune into them? Their stance shows more concern for dogma than for human welfare. It shows a level of intolerance.
Do we need a God to love?
 
We are better to love the living and our dear departed. They are better role models for us. They are practical role models. It does not matter if you worship a poster of Britney Spears as long as you feel happier and keener to do good because of it. Its okay if it is the best for you.
 
Jesus Christ taught, “Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is one Lord and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength. This is the greatest commandment. The second is like it, you shall love your neighbour as yourself.”
 
This law was given by God to Moses according to the Old Testament.
 
The teaching says that the God of Israel is the only true God. This God revealed himself through the scriptures and the prophets. It is this God that must be loved. Anything else is the wrong God.
 
So according to the Bible, the main commandment is to love God more than yourself or anything else. That is one element of the commandment. The other is that we are not told to love God with a little of our powers, most of our powers but we are told to love God with all our powers. This means that all we do we must do solely out of love for God. When the next commandment says we must love our neighbour it means we only value our neighbour because God says so and not because our neighbour is to be valued for herself or himself. If you value your neighbour because God says so then it follows that it is God that is really being valued and not your neighbour at all! The commandment certainly condemns humanism – it condemns our knowledge that religion and faith are to be restrained within the limits of human needs alone.
 
The main commandment implies that those who do not believe in it are evil at worst and morally defective at best.
 
To say the commandment is the greatest moral law of all is to say that morality is based on authority or on the Bible because these make the rule. The command to love God as if we were sure is not God’s commandment but the Bible’s. Belief in the commandment is actually a matter of faith in the Bible. The only way one can be sure that one loves God alone is by suffering for him and refusing to think of a reward and the only way one can be sure the thought of the reward isn’t encouraging one is to refuse any reward. This infers that extreme asceticism is an essential.
 
Even if God exists it does not follow that he wants to be loved first of all or with all our hearts either. The teaching, “God made me to love him and to serve him and to enjoy him forever” is not for us. Because this God invites us only to believe in him and belief is not the same as certainty he could not ask us to die for faith in him, wreck our lives for him or suffer for him. Faith is to be made for us. We will not make the mistake of thinking that we are made for faith. This truth tells us that we get the best out of belief in God or something else without the fanaticism and we reach the best of our human potential. There is no room for condemning those who do not believe in God. God works within all who are sincere.
When Jesus taught an unloving doctrine as the centre of his theology how can we believe that God really raised him from the dead? No matter what evidence there is for the resurrection it is annulled by his doctrinal errors for Jesus said God raised him to show that his gospel was true and the resurrection is useless if we can’t trust Jesus’ teachings.
 
Why does unhealthy religion want us to love God in a way that technically amounts to loving God alone?
 
Is it because God is perfectly good?
 
No. He has all power and has no need of our devotion. Only a being that needs our devotion can have a right to it. Rights are based on needs.

 

 Is it because God has no need of our devotion that he only commands it for our sake not his own? But then why not give us some laws for the sake of regulating society and let us worship as we please?
 
A God who commands that we love him in the way Jesus required people to love God is a fundamentalist god. He has no right to command it.

 

It might be thought God hides himself because he wants us to help us love one another. He does not want any special love. In that case we would have to love God as we would love any friend but not above ourselves or others.
 
Self-love not God-love redeems the world! True self-love is a beautiful kind of love that is eager to reach out to others so that all may evolve into living angels of light. It is in giving that you receive. It is in forgetting yourself to help others that you love yourself in the best and most glorious way possible.
 
The love of God with all your heart means all your emotions must be drawn only to God and fulfilled by God. I am not allowed to love and respect myself with all my heart. If I did that I would be a happy productive person who others would be drawn to. Instead I am to love God with all my heart. If I do that I will pine for him in great emotional agony.
 
Loving your neighbour as yourself really assumes that we love ourselves. It does not actually say we should love ourselves. If it did it would read, "Love yourself and your neighbour equally".
 
Anyway you could not possibly be commanded to love yourself! You will do that automatically. Even those who hate themselves in fact love themselves by enjoying their misery.
 
If you fail to love yourself, you create fears. Fear is the cause of hate. If you create fears for yourself, how then can you avoid being afraid of others? You will lose respect for them. All love starts with loving yourself.
 
The love of self is truly the most important and most useful love of all.

 

THE "ATTACHMENT IS HARMFUL" ARGUMENT FOR LOVING GOD ALONE

 

We need to avoid the love that is based on too much attachment to another person or to a thing such as a job. You end up treating the person who you are too attached to as a possession and will resort to violence if you think somebody is taking her or him away from you. You will end up hating them when one day they will criticise you or let you down. Attachment makes demands on yourself too that can harm you.  It can be very hurtful to be attached to the wrong thing.

 

St Augustine says love as in attachment is only okay if the object of your love is God and only God. The reason is that God never lets you down and is worth getting attached to and he cannot die. You do not love God in order to get things from him or to feel good about yourself. That is just another way of being attached to things.  But notice how Augustine makes it about you!  If God is perfect good and creates us and even if his being all-powerful does not mean he will necessarily save us from all evil for he only does what he can under the circumstances surely it is still right to be attached to him for he is so good even if his good cannot benefit us.  Religion assumes God will overcome all evil but that is not necessarily true if God and evil are compatible.  It is really that assumption they are about not God.  Indeed if evil will never be overcome that in fact gives you the best reason for battling it for you don't want it to get stronger when it will always be here.  Better to fight evil that will always be there if the overall picture is that it will be 98% not 99%.  Why? For it takes more courage to battle evil for a small benefit than to battle it when you think the benefit will be huge.

 

It is an end in itself to give God love and joy. It is about him not you.  Nobody cares that the love and joy you give God are not really given to him for he already has them.  It is not a very heartening enterprise.  Christians in fact are lying.  They are masking attachment to things as attachment to God.

 

Christians say if you are not letting yourself be controlled by God then you are letting yourself be controlled by something else. But is it really true that say for example your love for your job controls you? Reality will always force itself on you. You cannot get away from it. The same thing will happen in force if you think or believe you are controlled by God or ruled by him and if you are wrong.

 

Attachment to God only benefits (let us assume it does!) if it really is about faith.  But that will lead to an attachment to faith.  Thus it ends up not mattering if God will let you down or not for faith can and often will let you down.

 

The attachment to God is recommended by Christians for bad reasons and harmful reasons.  They prove that they are not interested in being attached to God for his own sake even if evil is something that will be as powerful forever.  It is about them more than they want you to think.
 
MORE TO LOVING GOD THAN JUST OBEYING HIM
 
Jesus said that we must love God as Lord with all our potential - not some of it. This is another way of saying that disobeying the Lord or Boss is the worst sin for it implies a refusal to love him.
 
Some say Jesus meant that we are to love God by keeping God's commandments. Yes but he meant more than that. There is more to loving someone than just obeying them. He asked us to love the Lord personally and show it by obeying. He asked us to love God as a person. Loving a person's commandments only, means you love something other than the person. It is obviously mistaken to equate loving God with loving his commandments.
 
Jesus said that we must love the Lord our God with all our being. Obviously, we are to love God as Lord and Boss and Master. We are to approach him as inferiors and not as equals. This is a doctrine of submission to God and whatever he commands just because he commands it. We love God as a person but as an authority person. We have to love God as the one who has the right to give orders to you and you have to see yourself for the underling you are. This is a very negative and discouraging and austere commandment. Jesus said you cannot love two masters - so if you are master and so is God then you do not love one of them. Only you make you your master so its clear you do not love God.
 
How could Jesus or God give a command that we must obey his commandments? His commandments are supposed to be commandments anyway! A commandment means you have to do something or be punished. The Christian reply is that he is only giving a new commandment to obey his commandments but only saying we must keep the commandments. But they can't read his mind. I command you to obey my commandments could be read as intended to be a new command. It may be a new attempt to force.
 
You could speak of loving God's suggestions but it is laughable to say you can love his commandments. Commandments seek to put reins on the free will God has allegedly given you. If you were truly good, you would not need to be commanded. A commandment would be a necessary evil and not something to be revelled in.
 
The idea of some writers that loving God with all our hearts merely means keeping his commandments is an over-simplification. It is supposed to be that but more. If you love God's commandments, that does not mean you necessarily love God as a person. To love a person's rules is not the same as loving the person.
 
The philosopher, Baruch Spinoza who was born in 1632 and died in 1677 thought the commandment to love God with your entire being and strength, was to be put in practice by doing loving things for your neighbour. But to love God with your entire being and strength means you love him with all your will and your emotions leaving no room for anything else. If you do good works for a neighbour you do them for God only. The actions are inwardly for God and only outwardly for your neighbour. Spinoza ignored these facts and basically reduced the command to love God to loving one's neighbour. He concluded that the two commands and the scriptures that taught them declared that we can believe whatever we wish but are under obligation only to believe in what is strictly necessary for carrying out loving service to our neighbour. If Spinoza was right, then Jesus should have said there was only one greatest commandment, "Love your neighbour as yourself." Why bring God into it and unlovingly cause confusion?
 
Spinoza should then, to have been consistent, declared the Bible to be an evil book for it obliges us to believe that Adam and Eve sinned for us and ruined creation and that Elijah went up to Heaven in a flaming chariot and that a man should not have loving sex with another man. The entire Bible claims to be the word of God. Spinoza was a Jew. It is worse for Christians for they have a longer Bible than the Jewish one and are obligated to believe needless ideas such as that Jesus was born of a Virgin and that he could create bread to feed five thousand plus out of a few loaves. Even the view that the short and unnecessary epistle by Paul to Philemon is inspired by God is an example. It follows then that if Spinoza is right that the Bible is only brain food for bigots.

 

Spinoza is right that only what is necessary for doing the best for ourselves and our neighbour is right and should be obligatory. But he is wrong to interpret the vicious commandments as supporting that idea. The love of God in the Bible means believing all the Bible says about God. The commandment says that if belief in God is unnecessary and harmful or if it disturbs mentally ill people it should still be promoted. This is clearly saying that Bibles and Gods and religion come before your rights and those of your neighbour. The commandment to love God entirely says that the neighbour or yourself isn't as important as God. Thus it is up to God not you or you feelings or your reason to decide what it is to love your neighbour. Loving them means treating them the way God wants them to be treated. So it is love then when God commands it to put an adulteress to death or to mutilate a baby boy in the act of religious circumcision.
 
ONLY GOD ALLOWED TO BE LOVED UNCONDITIONALLY
 
To say God is to be loved most or first of all is to preach that we should give God most of our unconditional love. That means that the love of humanity is conditional. "I give God the best of my love because he is God and I refuse it to you because you are not."
 
FINALLY
 
Only God deserves to be enjoyed or loved or served and anything from him such as a friend or a lovely apple is to be considered a gift from God that teaches us about God and is only taken for God's sake not as an end in itself.  They are loved for they teach us about God so it is really about God and not them at all.  Loving God the way the God belief suggests you should implies that you are suffering from some addiction. You turn away from loving others and yourself to love a concept. What you don’t see is put before the people you do see. To serve others while valuing God and not them is to manipulate and fool and trick them. If God does not exist, those who promote God are the lowest of the low even if they do not realise it.
 
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