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January 14, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

What makes Christian love unique

Jesus puts Gods love at the center of history. Creation puts Gods love at the center of the human experience. Freedom, created by God, also puts Gods love at the center of the human experience.

Love is sacrificial. Service and serving is a core component of love. Ask any parent. Cultural ideas of “love” from Cosmo or Men’s magazines simply don’t live up to the ideal. Movie and TV love is the same way. They don’t last–they aren’t grounded. They are shallow. Certainly compared to that–the Biblical idea of love is a critical component of what love is.


Your fair to point out the issue regarding Cosmo. I was just pointing out that alternative versions–those founded on just physicality or material appearance–might be missing the point. As an ideology Christianity stands against those shallower versions of (labeled) “love” which are really more lust.

The other aspect is the sacrificial aspect. A Biblical version of love also includes grace and forgiveness. These are unique to the Christian worldview. There are certainly other world views who mix these in–but they are part of a larger buffet–watered down due to lack of focus. Its like trying to make a perfect rum and coke using all the ingredients behind the bar (or a dozen of them).

The proof–if you want it–is the value of family. Christians or followers of Christ believe that the bond of marriage is important–sacrosanct and holy even (hence the wedding bands). In current society, marriage and relationships are disposable. Christians aren’t perfect in this regard–but followers of Jesus–people who take his words seriously in their lives–probably do. The disintegration of the family is one of the lead causes of the most pressing problems in society. Our lack of love, sacrifice, commitment, and forgiveness. In the same way you can’t just throw random amounts of ingredients into a recipe–you can’t expect to not follow the ideal pattern and come up with anything approaching the ideal or excellence in family, marriage, or any part of life for that matter.


I don’t see that as a conundrum. Thats the nature of any categorization or definition. Also, faith is about a process and a journey and a movement–so rigid demarcations are helpful for feedback and direction and definition–but aren’t super important in some respects.

The definition of moving in faith–its like moving to California might be. You test drive it by doing it in earnest. By diving in. Faith is a bit of a leap. It requires you to leave your place on the side of the pool and dive in.

You’ve already agree that the Christian love is better than a Cosmo-based “love.” There is genuine love and there is “love” thats less so. Our desire is to grow in love–love toward family, toward others, and God.

Christianity is a process to do so. Jesus’ life and to some extent the life of the Apostles is a model. The heros of Hebrews 11 are also another possible model.

Atheism doesn’t have a code of ethics or code of character so much–perhaps beyond its commitments to the scientific method and skepticism. Am I wrong? I realize individual Atheists span the gamut in terms of the places they seek out ways to base their decision. Christians are called to be in the world but not of it, there are no such requirements for Atheists. The lifestyle and journey Christians have chosen is one of distinct self-discipline and commitment to grace, forgiveness, love, service, and the fruits of the spirit. Atheists simply don’t have that kind of codification or clear goal structure. They are free to adopt any goal under the sun in terms of self and other. They can fall anywhere on the continuum.

Even Thomas Jefferson implicitly acknowledged that reading and hearing the words of the bible was an important part of being a better person and of improving toward being his best self. Here, I’m pointing out that the Christian commitments, character, and disciplines play a critical role in providing its uniqueness. Do all people meet this standard. No? Many are improving toward it on a hourly, weekly, daily, monthly, and yearly basis.


Given your tone….I’m not sure you’re interested and genuinely curious–so the idea that. You’re like an ideological window shopper. That position is never going to help you learn orI experience anything beyond your current bubble. You have to make the jump….you have to dip your toe in.

Someone who has been married will tell you there is a difference in identity between the person who has been married 1 day, 1 month, 1 year, 10 years, or 50 years. And those differences make a huge difference. In fact, that experience of their spouse can cause them to grow into a more robust notion of love and relationship, and affection. It causes them to see differently–to view the importance of relationships across the board. Marriage is learning–constantly learning. Constantly growing in identity and potentially in character and as a quality human being.

The “its all the same” attempt at conflation contravenes the continuum–the diversity–that lies in between one extreme and the other.

There are similarities. But there are also distinctions and differences–and those differences make a difference in lifestyle.

Thats like the conflation that all of any categories are all the same:
• All steak is the same.
• All soccer teams are the same.
• All social networks are the same.

I love people. You love people. We must be talking about the same thing when we say those words.

Football and getting better for football championships is a game of inches. 30 minutes of extra prep per day = 182 hours over the course of a year (assuming they work out on Sunday too). Thats the equivalent of 4+ work weeks–and entire additional month. Thats significant.

What difference does 30 minutes make? Ask Larry Bird. He practiced before the game.

Whats the difference between Harvard, Vanderbilt, and a State school like Kansas. Theres a decent amount of variation by professor and by department (and year and student and student motivation). But, those differences in culture make a difference–those differences in degrees of commitment to excellence can make a really big difference. How many Kansas startups have been funded in Silicon Valley? How many Harvard ones have been funded?Thats a difference. Part of it is a perceived one–but there is a big difference.

More to the point books and ideas and ideologies make a difference.

Using one key notion–the diversity (there are no rules) to be an atheist, means that there isn’t an ethical compass of necessity.There certainly is likely an ethical compass–but what constitutes an ethical compass is different by person. There isn’t a set of common principles, much less a codified set of principles. Thats a difference and a big one. Just ask a good company culture and a bad one–based on the fact that the culture is all guess work–there is no shared meaning. In Christianity these aren’t 100% cut and dried–given that the nature of normative principles and words tends to be a bit vague–but there is a standard.

You saying there is no difference is like saying there is no difference between Liverpool and Belfast…..or the US and the UK without being to the other one. Or that people love people the same or differently in the US and the UK. No, there are cultures built around the issue of what constitutes “love” and what the “ideal husband” and “ideal wife” which are unique to those cultures.

There is no Jesus figure in the atheist fold. When’s the last time someone talked about ethics and virtue in a positive light in an atheist meeting. The number of atheist books on ethics are about 12 in bookstores. Alternatively, there are a ton by Christians–of various qualities for sure–but all centrally about the same core principles–the same honesty, love, service, forgiveness, and fruits of the spirit. Thats a core set of shared principles. And its a shared set of principles thats replicated on a weekly basis–and infused in other ways in culture.

Yes….I would say I do have an implicit idea of Christian, not just someone who called themselves a Christian. Harvard has the same principles–people that call themselves Harvard graduates aren’t Harvard graduates by calling themselves Harvard graduates. Christians have standards about principles. Its important that you attempt to live by the principles (intentional living).

I’ve outlined that:
1. There are differences
2. Those differences make a different.

There isn’t per se preventing an individual atheist from loving his wife with all his heart I suppose–but he has no reason to do that versus accept another system of ethics. Second, the Christian walk defines a particular walk and lifestyle. Which encourages Christian husbands to go above and beyond versus their atheist alternatives or cohort so to speak.

If there is a problem getting that point feel free to read the other posts I wrote earlier in the thread.

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