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RE: [Kierkegaardian] The Nature of Christian Love

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  • Don Anderson
    James, You said: Furthermore, it contradicts what you said earlier about Kierkegaard s recognition of a difference between preferential love and selfless love.
    Message 1 of 11 , Apr 30, 2006
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      James,
      You said:
      Furthermore, it contradicts what you said earlier about Kierkegaard's
      recognition of a difference between preferential love and selfless love.

      My reply,
      I'm not sure if or how SK's distinction between preferential love and
      God-commanded (rather than selfless) love is suported in the NT or the OT
      for that matter. It is something that I am working to resolve in my own self
      but I have a long ways to go before I digest all of what SK has to say in
      the 18 upbuilding discourses on Love.

      Don



      -----Original Message-----
      From: kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com
      [mailto:kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of <none>
      Sent: Sunday, April 30, 2006 2:30 PM
      To: kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [Kierkegaardian] The Nature of Christian Love


      Don --

      First, about this:

      << First of all why would you say that there are four words for love in
      Biblical Greek then list Eros and say that it is not used. Sounds to me like
      an absolute contradiction and it is. Eros is used in Classical Greek and
      perhaps other Greek dialects but not in the Bible so we can drop that one
      from the list.>>

      Yes, that was dumb of me. By "Biblical Greek" I meant "koine Greek." And
      yes, of course I agree we can drop it, since we both agree the word isn't
      found in the Bible.

      Next, I'll accept what you say about storge for now since I introduced it
      only to say it's irrelevant. My recollection is that it was used more often
      and in more positive ways than what you describe, but it's been awhile since
      I've studied this, and I did admit my memory is fuzzy, so I won't pursue the
      matter.

      Next, you're mistaken about this:

      << You take this latter to be saying that "above yourself" means sacrificial
      love.>>

      I don't believe I said that. I do know that when I cited Rom. 12:10 it was
      as an example of friendship, affectionate-type love being commanded between
      Christians. I was using the passage to point out that Paul did indeed
      command Christians to have phileo love for one another too, but this is a
      rare use of phileo. I didn't cite the passage to equate phileo with agape.

      Now I don't think this is a very widely recognized conclusion within
      Biblical scholarship:

      "So my argument is that love is love no matter what word is used. Its all
      from God and no distinctions should be made."

      So you'll have to work very hard there to prove your point; pretty much
      everyone I've read asserts that these uses of the word love aren't always
      interchangeable (they are -sometimes- interchangeable -- you argue that they
      are -always- interchangeable). Furthermore, it contradicts what you said
      earlier about Kierkegaard's recognition of a difference between preferential
      love and selfless love.

      In this argument both you and Jim S have been disagreeing with me in the
      same way, and Jim S expressed on more than one occasion agreement with you.
      I think the difference between you and he is that he clearly reads your
      posts while you do not.

      Your claim that I'm a humanist I've already addressed at some length, so to
      repeat the claim without addressing my rebuttal is not very honest.

      But then again, I predicted this would happen.

      What you do accurately observe as a similarity in Jim S and myself is an
      orderliness of presentation (he's more consistent in this than I -- he makes
      a more consistent effort). But there's a big difference between the use of
      reason and "rationalism." The former is a natural capacity we all have to
      some extent, the latter is a philosophical commitment I don't share, nor
      have expressed any agreement with.

      Jim R


      Jim Rovira
      http://thephilosopersstone.blogspot.com

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




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    • Médéric Laitier
      Dear Jim, I am surprised you should take my answer as you seem to have taken it: as if my answer was not a serious one. You have asked me a very serious
      Message 2 of 11 , May 1, 2006
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        Dear Jim,

        I am surprised you should take my answer as you seem to have taken
        it: as if my answer was not a serious one.

        You have asked me a very serious question - the nature of Christian
        love - and I have answered as seriously as I could in one sentence -
        the love that Jesus has shown towards us all.

        My belief is that whenever you ask the very questions : "how would
        Jesus act?" and "What would Jesus do?" at a given moment in your
        life, with a view to your very own behaviour or attitude and in all
        the deepest solemnity of your soul then you are asking yourself
        precisely the right questions and have found the best guidance to
        reach Christian love. I could not emphasise enough this point.

        If wearing this bracelet could help you keeping these questions in
        mind, then I would think your $5.00 to have found a worthy
        placement. For the sticker I'm not so sure, though, for it depends
        whereon you should place it. If inside your car to remind yourself,
        why, after all why not! But usually American people place them on
        bumpers, don't they? I'm not so sure it would be the best practice
        to share Christian wisdom with other people. As far as I am
        concerned I would rather favour discussions or even better
        conversations. But if you insist on the sticker, I'll concede it.
        Cultural differences should allow some latitude ;)

        Your next point directs to a quite different aspect of the Christian
        religion which could fit, in my opinion, in another chapter of our
        conversation. This chapter could be placed, for instance, under the
        following header questions:

        Is it possible to derive a normative ethic (or doctrinal morals)
        from the Christian message of love, if so what should it consist in
        and to what purpose should it (they) be used?

        I think in this chapter considerations over all the Paulian epistles
        would find a home and I am confident it would be both interesting
        and edifying to walk this chapter through. But again you had given
        me only one sentence! :) Furthermore wouldn't this one take us very
        far - too far? - from the heart of this forum: Kierkegaard? I fear
        it should.

        But to return to the subject of this thread and to bring this
        contribution to a conclusion: I still believe Christian love is one
        and the same towards all although it is probably true it may find
        different expressions under different circumstances.

        Circumstances affect not, in my opinion, its true nature - to be
        universal and unlimited - only its modality; it would probably not
        be a proper expression of Christian love, for instance, to come to a
        western funeral in lurid colours, laughing and cheering and
        singing: 'Oh happy him who's left this shanty world to meet the
        Lord!' Nor would it be more so to wear a stern face at some friend's
        wedding ceremony.

        Still the love you have for the individuals who compose the grieving
        society or for the festive circle, although there may be people who
        don't believe in Jesus in both, the love for each and everyone of
        these community is the same. It is the love Jesus has shown dying
        for them, dying for us all. It is a love which brings people
        together, not seperate them. It is a love seeking universal unity in
        mutual respect and unconditional forgiveness, not a love that nails
        the guilty to a cross. It is not the Christian love which seperates,
        Jim. It is rather the lack of. A infinite love which needs not to be
        reciprocated to exist, this love is Christian love, or so at least I
        have understood.

        I'll just have to hope that this time I have managed to present you
        with an answer which at least sounds more as it should: that I am
        taking this question of yours very seriously. From my point of view
        it is all a repetition. But perhaps the fact that it is repeated in
        a slightly different form may change the perception of the answer,
        both in its original and its new version. Yes, indeed, and most
        definitely, the more I think of it and the more "how would Jesus
        act?" sounds to me the ultimate guidance in the regard of Christian
        love... Thank you for providing this most concise and most precious
        moral.

        Yours sincerely,
        Mederic

        --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, "<none>" <jamesrovira@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > Of course I could have come up with answers like that,
        Mederic. "As Jesus did." Very easy. We can put that on bracelets
        and bumperstickers. But this doesn't get us any closer to the
        concrete -- instead of asking, "how does love act?", we're returned
        to the question, "how would Jesus act?"
        >
        > Or better yet, what would Jesus do? WWJD. I bought a braclet with
        those letters on it from a street guy in San Antonio for $5.00.
        >
        > And once again we have to take circumstances into consideration
        before we describe concrete behavior. 1 Cor. 13 is better, I think -
        - it narrows the questions we ask. How would patience act? How
        would kindness act? We're only one step away from the concrete with
        these questions rather than several. I've been wronged -- don't take
        it into account (don't bear a grudge). That seems to take us
        immediately to the concrete.
        >
        > Jim R.
        >
        >
        > Jim Rovira
        > http://thephilosopersstone.blogspot.com
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
      • Médéric Laitier
        Dear Jim, Not to worry about the consequences of that gap thing anyway I usually prefer Ralph Lauren s collections... Your observation stands firm on its two
        Message 3 of 11 , May 1, 2006
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          Dear Jim,

          Not to worry about the consequences of that gap thing anyway I
          usually prefer Ralph Lauren's collections...

          Your observation stands firm on its two feet and is indeed a fully
          grown biped. The "how to translate" issue is a real philosophical
          question, methinks, and is further a concrete everyday life task.
          Don't you think it is as it should be that we have no final and
          definite /manual/ in this regard if we are to consider ourselves
          free men?

          Finally, it seems you have quite a reading programme ahead of you so
          I have to wish you first a good reading time. It'll be a pleasure to
          resume our conversation on the basis of kierkegaardian readings a
          little later on. I think for the time being I'll let the forum
          waters recover their peace or quiet and let the room for other to
          have their voice heard.

          Thank you for the priviledge of this demanding conversation.

          Yours sincerely,
          Mederic

          --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, "<none>" <jamesrovira@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > Mederic, I'm very sorry about my response. I keep forgetting the
          culture gap. Here in the US "What Would Jesus Do?" is a common
          Evangelical slogan that is put on bumperstickers, bracelets, etc.
          As a US mass culture phenomenon it is very difficult to take
          seriously. As an individual method of thinking through our moral
          decisions it can be effective.
          >
          > But still, my observation that by itself we have no concrete
          direction by asking this question is, I think, a good one. We have
          to think through the steps we need to take to translate the
          question "how would Jesus act?" to concrete action, and that
          thinking through is our real moral reasoning.
          >
          > I think we could perhaps work through this question and stay on
          topic if we worked it through using Kierkegaard's Works of Love. I
          just finished Fear and Trembling/Repetition and want to read next PF
          and CUP again, this time in the Hong translations. Then I will move
          on to WL.
          >
          > Jim R.
          >
          >
          > Jim Rovira
          > http://thephilosopersstone.blogspot.com
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
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