We can know that God is love.

A comment was sent in:



How can God have any human characteristics since it is not human? Why is God referred to a "he" or "him" when it is more like an alien with supernatural powers. It has the ability to create an entire universe and at least one planet with millions of plant and animal species from nothing? How would any being that could do that be ANYTHING like the human animal or someone's daddy?

That's a good question because not only is it valid, logical and important, but I feel it leads to one of the better answers Christians can offer.All religious language is metaphor and analogical. Its' all an attempt to relate what we know to that which is beyond our understanding. What we can know with certainty is what we experience. We can't necessarily relate it to others but we can experience it. One basic thing we can experience and not mistake is love. We know when we are loved and we know when we love.

We can know that God is love. That's the only thing we can be truly certain about, God, that God loves us, that God is real (which is a function of the conformation of being loved).I can see other atheists asking questions like "how do you know God is not lying?" Or "How do you know God is not really evil. Some who think they are being really tricky and clever say stuff like "how do you know that what God calls good is not really evil? so God is just tricking you into being evil?" Of cousre that would be a stupid fear because God's will is the standard so if God says it's good it is. Then of course is raised the question, well God can just order murdering babies for fun and you would say it's good.

All such questions can easily be dashed if you know God in a true personal encounter. Of course the hearty skeptic will laugh at the very notion. Yet the fact of of the confidence with which I speak of it I think is a proof that it is real experience and since it leads to stronger personhood the better ability to endure life's storms and ultimately more and deeper sense of God's presence all of that is a good indication indication, and probalby the best we can have, that God is true. It's not the case that lies and falsehood work out to make us better in a positive sense. Sure if they don't kill us we may be stronger for having endured but love doesn't work that way. I love is a lie it usually dissipates and laves one broken rather than healed. The kind of strength that comes form God's love is not this bitter taste in the mouth sort of "what kill me makes me stronger" but a nurturing sort of love one finds form the good things in life. Part of the basis of skepticism is looking at the glass half empty.

From the nature of love we can deduce several things. Han Urs Von Balthasar made the point that it's the positive basis of love and the giving out of itself nature of both and being that link the two. Love is an attribute of being itself. That connection is a good way to understand the reason why God is right, God can't be a liar, can't be evil, and is the basis of the good. Love is nurturing and building. Love and being both give themselves out to produce more of what they are. Love and Being are the original. Evil is the absense of this original and it tends toward tearing down. That's an indication that it's a mockery of what comes first, thus it can't be the good.

Love is the best means we have of understanding anything about God. We can only speak of God in analogical terms and the analogical only makes sense if we have some frame of reference. the only frame of which we can be certain concerning God is the experience of God's presence and love.

Of course all of this is a lot of raving about nothing if it isn't real. The only way to know of it's reality is to experience it. Stop reading about it on paper and go pray. As God to show you his love. Ask God to let you feel his presence of love. Stop reading...get off the net...move away from the computer...close your eyes and pray.

Comments

Anonymous said…
JH: We can know that God is love.

What does that actually mean. Love is an emotion; do you really mean God is just an emotion humans feel?

JH: Of cousre that would be a stupid fear because God's will is the standard so if God says it's good it is.
Then of course is raised the question, well God can just order murdering babies for fun and you would say it's good.
All such questions can easily be dashed if you know God in a true personal encounter.


If "God's will is the standard", then if he chose that murdering babies was right, then murdering babies would necessarily be morally right, and that would be the loving thing to do - afterall you would be saving them from he misery this world inflicts on people. And yet here you seem to say that God would not say murdering babies is wrong because of his nature, which is a direct contradiction of right and wrong being the standard he has chosen.

Which is it Joe? Is God free to choose what is right or wrong, or not?

JH: It's not the case that lies and falsehood work out to make us better in a positive sense.

People following other religions, religions you consider false, seem to have the same happiness as Christians. We both agree they are living a falsehood (you might argue that they are still following God, but nevertheless they have some of it wrong, some of their religion is a falsehood). Apparently this is not as universally true as you would like us to believe.

JH: The kind of strength that comes form God's love is not this bitter taste in the mouth sort of "what kill me makes me stronger" but a nurturing sort of love one finds form the good things in life.

Placebos are pretty effective too.

JH: Part of the basis of skepticism is looking at the glass half empty.

Skeptism is looking in the glass to see how full it is. Theism is trusting the glass is full without even knowing if there is a glass.

JH: From the nature of love we can deduce several things. Han Urs Von Balthasar made the point that it's the positive basis of love and the giving out of itself nature of both and being that link the two. Love is an attribute of being itself. That connection is a good way to understand the reason why God is right, God can't be a liar, can't be evil, and is the basis of the good. Love is nurturing and building. Love and being both give themselves out to produce more of what they are. Love and Being are the original. Evil is the absense of this original and it tends toward tearing down. That's an indication that it's a mockery of what comes first, thus it can't be the good.

We do not have some emotion sensor that goes ping when we feel love, Joe.

Love is nurturing and building in the sense that when you love someone you will nurture that person. I love my kids, so I nurture and build them. They know I love them because they can point to stuff I do that is nurturing and building. The way you feel love is the actions of the person who loves you.

And we see no actions from God.

JH: Stop reading about it on paper and go pray. As God to show you his love. Ask God to let you feel his presence of love. Stop reading...get off the net...move away from the computer...close your eyes and pray.

Another thing about love is it is unconditional. Apparently this thing from God is not. He requires us to pray, to worship before he will deign to let us feel his presence. That is a funny kind of love.

Pix
Joe Hinman said…
Anonymous said...
JH: We can know that God is love.

What does that actually mean. Love is an emotion; do you really mean God is just an emotion humans feel?

This statement is what we educated people call"a metaphor," It;s a literary device which is more or less symbolic. Usually when one says X is some other kind of X one means this x is very much a certain way,In this case it means God is the original source of love, the reason we have love as an emotion is because God built it into us so we can love God.There is no biological reasom why we should have love. But love is not merely an emotion because logically it is a philosophy. Atheists fear feelings and thus try to dismiss love love as mere emotion,


JH: Of cousre that would be a stupid fear because God's will is the standard so if God says it's good it is.

Then of course is raised the question, well God can just order murdering babies for fun and you would say it's good.
All such questions can easily be dashed if you know God in a true personal encounter.

no because does not issue purposeless arbitrary orders, he only issues orders commensurate with his character,

If "God's will is the standard", then if he chose that murdering babies was right, then murdering babies would necessarily be morally right, and that would be the loving thing to do - afterall you would be saving them from he misery this world inflicts on people. And yet here you seem to say that God would not say murdering babies is wrong because of his nature, which is a direct contradiction of right and wrong being the standard he has chosen.

wrong I just explained that, God's will will not contradict his character which is love,

Which is it Joe? Is God free to choose what is right or wrong, or not?

see above

BK said…
Actually, I think we know a lot more about God than your post suggests. We know a lot about God because Jesus, as the one and only true Son of God, came and revealed a lot about God and His nature. We know a lot about God because God spoke to us by the prophets during the Old Testament period. We know a lot about God because we can witness some of His divine attributes through nature. At the same time, I agree that God is not like us and so a lot of what we know is based on analogy. Jesus often spoke about God's kingdom and God Himself through analogies because we do not have a frame of reference to understand many of the heavenly things.

Having said that, God himself has told us that He is love. God cannot lie. These are two attributes about Himself that God has chosen to reveal. Thus, we can know for certain that God is love. I am aware some may see this as circular reasoning, but that is only if you limit yourself to believing that the statements in the Bible are the only evidence that we have we have about God's nature. No, that is an error. We have numerous other reasons for believing that what God says in His Word (the Bible) is true beyond the four corners of the Bible.

One such way is similar to what C.S. Lewis stated in the opening of Mere Christianity. We are born with a deep intuition of fairness, justness and beauty. We also instinctively understand that love is greater than hate. These intuitions come from somewhere, and the most obvious place it comes from is that God's nature is one of fairness, justness, beauty and love. Since we are created in His image we can understand these things.

Enough of my morning ramble. Good job, Joe.
Joe Hinman said…
JH: It's not the case that lies and falsehood work out to make us better in a positive sense.

People following other religions, religions you consider false, seem to have the same happiness as Christians. We both agree they are living a falsehood (you might argue that they are still following God, but nevertheless they have some of it wrong, some of their religion is a falsehood). Apparently this is not as universally true as you would like us to believe.

Truth is not simple rough to say people of other faiths are living falsehood all understanding is limited. Truth is relative to God which is beyond our understanding. religions are filtered through cultural constructs which is what makes them appear different. The actual truth is beyond all of us. The point of the essay is that the one thing that is not beyond us is the experience of Love,that will not turn out to be different.

JH: The kind of strength that comes form God's love is not this bitter taste in the mouth sort of "what kill me makes me stronger" but a nurturing sort of love one finds form the good things in life.

Placebos are pretty effective too.

Placebo is not analogous to religious experience,see chapter seven (7) The Trace of God. my book on Amazon

JH: Part of the basis of skepticism is looking at the glass half empty.

Skeptism is looking in the glass to see how full it is. Theism is trusting the glass is full without even knowing if there is a glass.


that's just re wording what I said, you are marking its emptiness

JH: From the nature of love we can deduce several things. Han Urs Von Balthasar made the point that it's the positive basis of love and the giving out of itself nature of both and being that link the two. Love is an attribute of being itself. That connection is a good way to understand the reason why God is right, God can't be a liar, can't be evil, and is the basis of the good. Love is nurturing and building. Love and being both give themselves out to produce more of what they are. Love and Being are the original. Evil is the absense of this original and it tends toward tearing down. That's an indication that it's a mockery of what comes first, thus it can't be the good.

We do not have some emotion sensor that goes ping when we feel love, Joe.

yes we do that's part of you fear of feelings you know so little about them you don't get that we know love when we find it,

Love is nurturing and building in the sense that when you love someone you will nurture that person. I love my kids, so I nurture and build them. They know I love them because they can point to stuff I do that is nurturing and building. The way you feel love is the actions of the person who loves you.

And we see no actions from God.

glass is half empty hu? you close your eyes and put your fingers in your ears and shout lalalalalalaall when one talks o God then say:"I don't sense anything of God" if no omne ever did we would have all this study data on religious experience. people do and you don't because you want to avoid it.we are not required to it;s good to no verse in bible says you will go to hell if you don't pray, that would be salvation by works which is false, we don't pray in order tomerit God's love
Anonymous said…
JH: This statement is what we educated people call"a metaphor," It;s a literary device which is more or less symbolic. Usually when one says X is some other kind of X one means this x is very much a certain way,In this case it means God is the original source of love, the reason we have love as an emotion is because God built it into us so we can love God.There is no biological reasom why we should have love. But love is not merely an emotion because logically it is a philosophy. Atheists fear feelings and thus try to dismiss love love as mere emotion,

A classic example of a metaphor is "All the world's a stage", and if we consider these two things, the world and a stage, we can think of aspects that they share and aspects that they do not.

You seem utterly sure this metaphor, God is love, is apt, and so it must be that you can think of some aspects God and love share that makes the metaphor applicable. If it is applicable, and not just some trite phrase.

I guess what it comes down to is whether "God is love" is a metaphor to elucidate or obfuscate. So with that in mind: When you draw a parallel between God and love, when you goive this metaphor, what aspects do they have in common and in what regards are they different?

Pix
Joe Hinman said…
Anonymous said...
JH: This statement is what we educated people call"a metaphor," It;s a literary device which is more or less symbolic. Usually when one says X is some other kind of X one means this x is very much a certain way,In this case it means God is the original source of love, the reason we have love as an emotion is because God built it into us so we can love God.There is no biological reasom why we should have love. But love is not merely an emotion because logically it is a philosophy. Atheists fear feelings and thus try to dismiss love love as mere emotion,

A classic example of a metaphor is "All the world's a stage", and if we consider these two things, the world and a stage, we can think of aspects that they share and aspects that they do not.

so? you are arguing from analogy,all metaphors don't work the same

You seem utterly sure this metaphor, God is love, is apt, and so it must be that you can think of some aspects God and love share that makes the metaphor applicable. If it is applicable, and not just some trite phrase.

I also have the data to back it up

I guess what it comes down to is whether "God is love" is a metaphor to elucidate or obfuscate. So with that in mind: When you draw a parallel between God and love, when you goive this metaphor, what aspects do they have in common and in what regards are they different?

compare and contrast is pretty simplistic for graduate school. God tell us in the Bible.I don't time to give you a seminary education,
Anonymous said…
So your post is useless. Your are claiming God is metaphorical love, but do not have time to tell us what that actually means.

Looks to me like a exercise in obfuscation. You want to appear to be discussing the nature of God, but as soon as anyone trie to look behind the curtain, suddenly you do not really want to.

Pix
im-skeptical said…
I also have the data to back it up

Here we go with the "200 studies" again. But as Pix noted, when you are asked to explain just how you make the connection, all we get is obfuscation.

Here's a suggestion. Pick one of your 200 studies - any one. Explain what that study shows and how that helps you to make your point - in this case, how does it help you to conclude that "God is love"?
Joe Hinman said…
thanks for your post BK. I agree
Joe Hinman said…
Anonymous Anonymous said...
So your post is useless. Your are claiming God is metaphorical love, but do not have time to tell us what that actually means.

you've actually reversed the meaning that I stated explicitly,I said everything about god is metaphor except love that we can experience directly

Looks to me like a exercise in obfuscation. You want to appear to be discussing the nature of God, but as soon as anyone trie to look behind the curtain, suddenly you do not really want to.

works better if you read the words

sloppy reasoning, you are just reducing things to utter simplicity and not thinking,
Joe Hinman said…
I also have the data to back it up

Here we go with the "200 studies" again. But as Pix noted, when you are asked to explain just how you make the connection, all we get is obfuscation.


you admitted they are good you haven't read them, not knowing what they say you are still trying to criticize my reading of them that is quote a TRUMPISH thing to do.


Here's a suggestion. Pick one of your 200 studies - any one. Explain what that study shows and how that helps you to make your point - in this case, how does it help you to conclude that "God is love"?

what do you think I do in the god damn book you moron?????" READ THE BOOK YOU THIRD RATE PEST. all of chapter 2!!!!!!
Joe Hinman said…
YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK

YOU HAVE NOT READ THE STUDIES

YOU DO NOT READ MY BLOG, YET YOU STILL TRY TO PRETEND LIKE YOU KNOWALLABOUIT WHENIN FACT YOUKNOWNOITHING/'[YOUKNOWNOTIN G;''YOUKNOWNOTHING,


YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK

YOU HAVE NOT READ THE STUDIES

YOU DO NOT READ MY BLOG, YET YOU STILL TRY TO PRETEND LIKE YOU KNOWALLABOUIT WHENIN FACT YOUKNOWNOITHING/'[YOUKNOWNOTIN G;''YOUKNOWNOTHING,

YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK

YOU HAVE NOT READ THE STUDIES

YOU DO NOT READ MY BLOG, YET YOU STILL TRY TO PRETEND LIKE YOU KNOWALLABOUIT WHENIN FACT YOUKNOWNOITHING/'[YOUKNOWNOTIN G;''YOUKNOWNOTHING,


YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK

YOU HAVE NOT READ THE STUDIES

YOU DO NOT READ MY BLOG, YET YOU STILL TRY TO PRETEND LIKE YOU KNOWALLABOUIT WHENIN FACT YOUKNOWNOITHING/'[YOUKNOWNOTIN G;''YOUKNOWNOTHING,


YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK

YOU HAVE NOT READ THE STUDIES

YOU DO NOT READ MY BLOG, YET YOU STILL TRY TO PRETEND LIKE YOU KNOWALLABOUIT WHENIN FACT YOUKNOWNOITHING/'[YOUKNOWNOTIN G;''YOUKNOWNOTHING,

YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK

YOU HAVE NOT READ THE STUDIES

YOU DO NOT READ MY BLOG, YET YOU STILL TRY TO PRETEND LIKE YOU KNOWALLABOUIT WHENIN FACT YOUKNOWNOITHING/'[YOUKNOWNOTIN G;''YOUKNOWNOTHING,


YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK

YOU HAVE NOT READ THE STUDIES

YOU DO NOT READ MY BLOG, YET YOU STILL TRY TO PRETEND LIKE YOU KNOWALLABOUIT WHENIN FACT YOUKNOWNOITHING/'[YOUKNOWNOTIN G;''YOUKNOWNOTHING,


YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK

YOU HAVE NOT READ THE STUDIES

YOU DO NOT READ MY BLOG, YET YOU STILL TRY TO PRETEND LIKE YOU KNOWALLABOUIT WHENIN FACT YOUKNOWNOITHING/'[YOUKNOWNOTIN G;''YOUKNOWNOTHING,

YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK

YOU HAVE NOT READ THE STUDIES

YOU DO NOT READ MY BLOG, YET YOU STILL TRY TO PRETEND LIKE YOU KNOWALLABOUIT WHENIN FACT YOUKNOWNOITHING/'[YOUKNOWNOTIN G;''YOUKNOWNOTHING,


YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK

YOU HAVE NOT READ THE STUDIES

YOU DO NOT READ MY BLOG, YET YOU STILL TRY TO PRETEND LIKE YOU KNOWALLABOUIT WHENIN FACT YOUKNOWNOITHING/'[YOUKNOWNOTIN G;''YOUKNOWNOTHING,


YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK

YOU HAVE NOT READ THE STUDIES

YOU DO NOT READ MY BLOG, YET YOU STILL TRY TO PRETEND LIKE YOU KNOWALLABOUIT WHENIN FACT YOUKNOWNOITHING/'[YOUKNOWNOTIN G;''YOUKNOWNOTHING,

YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK

YOU HAVE NOT READ THE STUDIES

YOU DO NOT READ MY BLOG, YET YOU STILL TRY TO PRETEND LIKE YOU KNOWALLABOUIT WHENIN FACT YOUKNOWNOITHING/'[YOUKNOWNOTIN G;''YOUKNOWNOTHING,


Anonymous said…
JH: you've actually reversed the meaning that I stated explicitly,I said everything about god is metaphor except love that we can experience directly

Do you remember this exchange, Joe? You should do, it is just further up the comments.

JH: We can know that God is love.

Pix: What does that actually mean. Love is an emotion; do you really mean God is just an emotion humans feel?

JH: This statement is what we educated people call"a metaphor," It;s a literary device which is more or less symbolic.

So yesterday "God is love" was a metaphor, and today everything about god is metaphor except that!

JH: works better if you read the words
sloppy reasoning, you are just reducing things to utter simplicity and not thinking,


No, Joe, the problem here is that I am assuming that you mean what you say; I am assuming that when you say "God is love" is a metaphor, then that means "God is love" is a metaphor. It never crossed my mind that actually you meant it is not a metaphor, and you were just trying to duck an awkward question!

So now we know that "God is love" is NOT a metaphor (at least not today), I again ask, what does that actually mean? Love is an emotion; do you really mean God is just an emotion humans feel?

Pix
BK said…
Good grief, Pix. This is so typically "new atheist" of you. You pick a word like love which is broadly understood and try to hammer and hammer and question everything until words ultimately have no meaning. Still, against my better judgment, I will try to see if I can bring you back to earth.

The idea of love is pretty well known, but contrary to your suggestion, it is not strictly an emotion. Love is a choice. Love is action. Love is to put concern for someone else higher than your own interests. Love is the highest and best of what humanity does.

God is not human, but as we are made in God's image we have the ability to understand and grasp (albeit imperfectly) the attributes of God. When we say God is love, it is an attribute that is clearly understood and clearly grasped by humanity. Does that mean that we have a perfect understanding of how love is such a strong constituent element of who God is? Clearly and perfectly are not synonymous. So, the answer is while we are clear, our understanding of heavenly things will always be limited by our earthly, flawed, human viewpoint.

So to answer your question, God is love means that God cares for each and every one of us both because He chooses to do so, and because it is part of who He is. Believe it or not, God cares about how each and every one of us live our lives. God loves each of us so much that He was willing to send his Son to suffer so that you can be saved if you want to be saved. God loves you enough to allow you to make your own life choices even if they are bad life choices. God's very nature and essence is based on love.

I know, you will now do your usual deconstruction, but that's just your way. You have your answer, you can either choose to accept it or reject it. God loves you enough to allow you to do that.
Anonymous said…
BK: Good grief, Pix. This is so typically "new atheist" of you. You pick a word like love which is broadly understood and try to hammer and hammer and question everything until words ultimately have no meaning. Still, against my better judgment, I will try to see if I can bring you back to earth.

Look at the title odf the post. Joe chose the word "love", not me. It is the fundamental concept behind his post, and I am asking that he makes clear what he means by it. And hey, that is typical of atheists, because we know exactly how Christians hide behind shifting definitions and vaguness and ambiguity.

If that upsets you, make clear what you mean.

Sure I know what "love" means, and I know what "God" means, and they are two different things. When Joe claims "God is love", I will ask what he means.

BK: The idea of love is pretty well known, but contrary to your suggestion, it is not strictly an emotion. Love is a choice. Love is action. ...

No, love is not a choice. The choice is a consequence of love. The action is a consequence of love.


BK: ... Love is to put concern for someone else higher than your own interests. Love is the highest and best of what humanity does.

And God is love, therefore God is putting concern for someone else higher than your own interests, right?

No, it is not. You know that, and I know that. So why does Joe claim "God is love"?

BK: So to answer your question, God is love means that God cares for each and every one of us both because He chooses to do so, and because it is part of who He is. Believe it or not, God cares about how each and every one of us live our lives. God loves each of us so much that He was willing to send his Son to suffer so that you can be saved if you want to be saved. God loves you enough to allow you to make your own life choices even if they are bad life choices. God's very nature and essence is based on love.

Can you see a difference between saying "God is love" and "God loves"? To me, they have different meanings, ad what you descriobe is the latter.

BK: I know, you will now do your usual deconstruction, but that's just your way. ...

Apologies for that, it is just how I react to BS.

Pix
im-skeptical said…
YOU HAVE NOT READ ...

Joe. I have read all the stuff you ever pointed out to me except for your book (which I will be happy to read if I can get a copy of it without buying it). And I've told you several times that there is material in those studies that contradicts your conclusions - because YOU ignore the parts you don't like. But here's the thing: people ask you to explain what you're talking about in a post like this one, and your standard answer is always either "It's in my book", or you just spout some meaningless words that sound good to you, but don't actually explain anything.

Here's something you said in this post:
... it's the positive basis of love and the giving out of itself nature of both and being that link the two. Love is an attribute of being itself. ... Love and being both give themselves out to produce more of what they are. Love and Being are the original.

I must say, this sounds like a lot of "sweet nothings" to me. Pretend you are speaking to someone who knows nothing about the topic, like me. What are you trying to say, in plain language? Can you explain it, or will you just keep shouting "YOU HAVE NOT READ IT"?

Joe Hinman said…
m-skeptical said...
YOU HAVE NOT READ ...

Joe. I have read all the stuff you ever pointed out to me except for your book (which I will be happy to read if I can get a copy of it without buying it). And I've told you several times that there is material in those studies that contradicts your conclusions - because YOU ignore the parts you don't like.

that is bull shit, you say that stuff about things you don't understand, It turns out every single time you don't know what you are talking about I always disprove your crap.You are always making arguments that I've already answered and you are totally unaware that I've answered it. That's how I know you don't read much of the essays.

You think you are being real smart by not reading the book but it must means you are missing the real explanation that ties everything together that's why you never understand.
Look at your last suggestion,That;s the whole third chapter of teh book,




But here's the thing: people ask you to explain what you're talking about in a post like this one, and your standard answer is always either "It's in my book", or you just spout some meaningless words that sound good to you, but don't actually explain anything.

that's because you are so stupid you assume you know it all and I'm a dunce that keeps arguing everything bright down to point where you need to know what's in the book but as long as you don't read it you can pretend it's not there.

Here's something you said in this post:
... it's the positive basis of love and the giving out of itself nature of both and being that link the two. Love is an attribute of being itself. ... Love and being both give themselves out to produce more of what they are. Love and Being are the original.

I must say, this sounds like a lot of "sweet nothings" to me. Pretend you are speaking to someone who knows nothing about the topic, like me. What are you trying to say, in plain language? Can you explain it, or will you just keep shouting "YOU HAVE NOT READ IT"?

atheists don;t like love and they are afraid of feelings,so course you are going to be cynical and refuse to understand. You have to try and ruin people's faith to make yourself feel smart. you hate yourself and you hate anyone who believes in God because it makes you feel small and unimportant,
Joe Hinman said…
yes Pix love is a choice, you can choose to be open to love or you can close it off as a possibility. to love one must be vulnerable, that is a choice.
BK said…
Pix,

Your response to my comment explains a lot. If you don't think that love is a choice, you really don't understand love in the same way that I understand love. So, most people understand precisely what the Bible means when it says "God is love," but you don't because you don't have a solid grasp on what is love (or, at minimum, you are feigning ignorance to continue to nitpick on this thread).

BK
im-skeptical said…
atheists don;t like love and they are afraid of feelings,so course you are going to be cynical and refuse to understand.

Excuse me, but you don't know the first thing about what or how atheists think.
Joe Hinman said…
we had a study maybe BK cam remember that.
Anonymous said…
Jim: yes Pix love is a choice, you can choose to be open to love or you can close it off as a possibility. to love one must be vulnerable, that is a choice.

BK: Your response to my comment explains a lot. If you don't think that love is a choice, you really don't understand love in the same way that I understand love. So, most people understand precisely what the Bible means when it says "God is love," but you don't because you don't have a solid grasp on what is love (or, at minimum, you are feigning ignorance to continue to nitpick on this thread).

I know what love is - in normal parlance. What I do not know is the idiosyncratic meaning of the word you guys are using.

Here is the Oxford dictionary defintion of love. Guess what? The word "choice" is not on that page! So yes, BK I really do not understand love in the way that you understand the word. So how about you explain what the word means to you?

JH: love is a choice, you can choose to be open to love or you can close it off as a possibility

No, Joe, that choice is a consequence of love, it is not the meaning of love. Do you understand the difference? Either of you?

If you guys are right then:

God = Love

Love = Choice

Therefore:

God = Choice

And so when I was deciding what to have for breakfast, I had a God between cereal and juice!

I think that that is a stupid mangling of the English language. I suspect you do too. It is, however, he necessary implication of what you appear to be asserting. Now I am pretty sure you guys do not really think I had a God this morning, so explain what is wrong with the logic above.

JH: atheists don;t like love and they are afraid of feelings,so course you are going to be cynical and refuse to understand.

Seriously Joe? Comments like this just make you look like a petulant child.

Pix
im-skeptical said…
I have to agree wit Pix. We have implored you to explain what you're talking about in straight-forward language, and you insist in using cryptic wording that doesn't make sense in terms of ordinary dictionary-definition usage. I think this is a way of making yourself seem superior - because you have the secret handshake, and you can go around claiming that you understand, and we don't. Your fellow religionist can play along, saying "Yea, I see what you mean, brother. God is Love. Makes sense to me." But it's a facade. You can't explain what you are claiming in ordinary sensible language, because it's just meaningless bullshit, and you know it as well as we do.
Anonymous said…
IMS: You can't explain what you are claiming in ordinary sensible language, because it's just meaningless bullshit, and you know it as well as we do.

Do they? I do wonder if they are deluding themselves.

Pix
Joe Hinman said…
Anonymous Anonymous said...
IMS: You can't explain what you are claiming in ordinary sensible language, because it's just meaningless bullshit, and you know it as well as we do.

Do they? I do wonder if they are deluding themselves.

Pix

typical prejudice but he can't explain why those who have that experience have all the great effects above those who don't. Convent to chalk it up to placebo but that doesn't work because Placebo works by expectation and mystical experince is often totally unexpected,
im-skeptical said…
he can't explain why those who have that experience have all the great effects above those who don't. Convent to chalk it up to placebo but that doesn't work because Placebo works by expectation and mystical experince is often totally unexpected

Which just proves that YOU don't read what I have said about your so-called empirical "warrant for belief". Here, and here, for example. You simply ignore what doesn't appeal to you, and you go on spouting your pseudo-scientific hokum.
Anonymous said…
JH: typical prejudice but he can't explain why those who have that experience have all the great effects above those who don't. Convent to chalk it up to placebo but that doesn't work because Placebo works by expectation and mystical experince is often totally unexpected,

It is an opinion based on experience. You could have chosen to make clear what God = Love = Choice means, but instead you went off at a tangent. I think that that is to distract from the fact that you cannot explain it.

My opinion: "God is love" is a trite phrase, a soudbite, Christians trot out without thinking, and when called on it, they try to change the subject.

Evidence: Posts by Christians on the thread.

Let is be honest here, my opinion is based on better evidence than your religious beliefs.

Pix
Joe Hinman said…
It is an opinion based on experience. You could have chosen to make clear what God = Love = Choice means, but instead you went off at a tangent. I think that that is to distract from the fact that you cannot explain it.

I think you are asking for explanations because you have nothing to gum up the works with and it;s really obvious and we all know what it means,you jut can';t take it, if i sayI lovemy mother does require explaining,what do yo mean by love whqat do you mean by mother,
im-skeptical said…
Joe, when you say you love your mother, we know what it means because you are using the word in a way that is consistent with the way is is usually used. When you say God = love, that doesn't comply with the normal usage of the word. It doesn't fit the dictionary definition, or make sense grammatically or semantically. So if you wand to communicate effectively, you should define your terms. And if you can't do that, it is fair to conclude that you are not saying anything sensible.
Joe Hinman said…
yes it does and everyone knows it does, I am going to put up a thing on FB asking ath to see not scientific but the best I can do.

your sensibilites are jaded by atheism
Anonymous said…
JH: your sensibilites are jaded by atheism

No, they are jaded by meaningless nonsense like this. Here we are 30 comments in, and still you cannot tell us what "God is love" means, and yet that was the basis of your post!

Pix
im-skeptical said…
your sensibilites are jaded by atheism

Your brain is addled by theism. Why can't you just answer a simple question in a straight-forward manner?
Joe Hinman said…
liberalism is the mark of an stupid person,anyone who can;t metaphor is a dolt. the literal one's thinking the less intelligent one is.

I dom't think you really believe what you are saying,you know the phrase is meaningful and clear. I asked people on facebook several answered they all said they have a clear sense,Here is the best answer:

more comment
Martin Bode
Martin Bode --I think your poll is a bit confusing! "God is love" appears in the first letter of John, and it is in the context of a discussion of the incarnation. That context eliminates the vagueness inherent in the assertion standing by itself. God sent his Son to die for us; he loves us that much. It should also be understood that way to eliminate the temptation to reverse the verse to say that "love is god." (I'm of the Lutheran tradition)
Joe Hinman said…
No, they are jaded by meaningless nonsense like this. Here we are 30 comments in, and still you cannot tell us what "God is love" means, and yet that was the basis of your post!

I did tell you want it means.It means love exists because it is Gods nature to love; if God did not make us in his image with some aspect of his nature we would not love,
Anonymous said…
JH: It means love exists because it is Gods nature to love...

At last!

So why not just say "It is God's nature to love" rather than "God is love"?

The claim of the post, then, is that we can know it is God's nature to love.

Have you ever been loved by a person? How do you? The way we know is by observing that person's behaviour towards us. If you cannot see or hear that person, you have no way to know if he or she loves you. You cannot feel love through a wall. The curious thing about this love from God is it is quite the reverse of that. We cannot see or hear God, but his love can (supposedly) be felt. Which to me suggests it is not love at all, but something else entirely!

Pix
Interesting conversation, JH.
My problem with the phrase "God is love" is still I don't know how to make the leap from seeing evidence of love to the assumption god exists and IS this love.
I have to consider all possibilities, (yes skepticism requires that), and how could we prove that love is not a human construct?
Joe Hinman said…
Holly is an old friend from the days of the CARM board,she is a neat person.


Holly Amelia Pond said...
Interesting conversation, JH.
My problem with the phrase "God is love" is still I don't know how to make the leap from seeing evidence of love to the assumption god exists and IS this love.
I have to consider all possibilities, (yes skepticism requires that), and how could we prove that love is not a human construct?

yes but that's a different question from :is the statement itself nonsensical as a statement?"

we could fill volumes on the question about the discrepancy between Go as love and the nature of the world.only the experience of God's love can answer it intellectual answers don;t help.
Hello Joe. Okay. Allow me to back up to the initial question. Is the statement itself nonsensical as a statement?
I cannot say it is nonsensical, only unverified. Which makes it meaningless as a standalone argument to the skeptic who does not begin with any premises such as "god exists" . So first steps in such a conversation would indeed begin with a definition of love, and then why does one conclude that god exists and that god is indeed love.
Joe Hinman said…
JH: It means love exists because it is Gods nature to love...

At last!

So why not just say "It is God's nature to love" rather than "God is love"?

Because in former times before science leached out all other forms of thought people understood and responded to the power of words.Literary devices such as metaphors are used because they put the power in words. A metaphor is when you say one thing is another to make a point, God is love, the love of money is the root of all evil,and so on.

The claim of the post, then, is that we can know it is God's nature to love.

I said it explicitly

Have you ever been loved by a person?

yes! I had the best parents in the world.

How do you? The way we know is by observing that person's behavior towards us.

not entirely. sometimes behavior can be confusing and misinterpreted; there are other aspects such as emotional vibes, that's the kind of thing emotionally shut down people don't like to hear.

If you cannot see or hear that person, you have no way to know if he or she loves you. You cannot feel love through a wall. The curious thing about this love from God is it is quite the reverse of that. We cannot see or hear God, but his love can (supposedly) be felt. Which to me suggests it is not love at all, but something else entirely!

but of course you have not felt it so you don't know. You are at war with your super ego and you are bitter about aspects of life,we all are. The atheist movement teaches you to blame God for all ills and to reject anything good in your life as a mere accident and to disassociate it from God.If you were actually open to feeling God's love it would become abundantly clear to you how many blessings he's put in your life,but you den't want to see it that way because you want to beat the super ego that comfuse with God.
Joe Hinman said…
Holly Amelia Pond said...
Hello Joe. Okay. Allow me to back up to the initial question. Is the statement itself nonsensical as a statement?
I cannot say it is nonsensical, only unverified. Which makes it meaningless as a standalone argument to the skeptic who does not begin with any premises such as "god exists" . So first steps in such a conversation would indeed begin with a definition of love, and then why does one conclude that god exists and that god is indeed love.

everything I say is not an attempt to prove something to skeptics.I think christians need to know that we can feel God's love in a palpable way.If so that really strengthens faith and deepens commitment those are important for doing apologetic,I would urge everyone to stay away from arguing with atheists until they have a deep sense of 'God's loving them.
Joe, when you say, "of course you have not felt it so you don't know"...
How would you describe your own knowledge of God's love? Is it a personal experience? A feeling? Is it personal blessings you believe he has put in your life? Because I have known some that have had so much sorrow and tribulation and still proclaim god is love, and proclaim, "though he slay me yet I will trust him", as Job did.

When I use the term love, I do not think of it as a feeling or emotion. I think those things come and go, and are affected by our hormones and chemicals. I have always liked Paul's use of many terms to describe love (in 1 Cor ) as I see it as a path, a way to act/live with others. Even when I do not "feel" lovey, I can choose to act in a loving manner to those I have committed to love, no matter what.

I have not felt this something from a being outside of me or seen any evidence of such a being having such a nature.
ah, thanks, Joe.
"everything I say is not an attempt to prove something to skeptics.I think christians need to know that we can feel God's love in a palpable way.If so that really strengthens faith and deepens commitment those are important for doing apologetic,I would urge everyone to stay away from arguing with atheists until they have a deep sense of 'God's loving them."

Fair enough. I do rather enjoy discussing it in a deeper fashion with those who have differing views/understandings than I. And I think it can be done cordially and respectfully.

im-skeptical said…
but of course you have not felt it so you don't know. You are at war with your super ego and you are bitter about aspects of life,we all are. The atheist movement teaches you to blame God for all ills and to reject anything good in your life as a mere accident and to disassociate it from God.

That's pure bullshit, Joe. I am an ex-Christian, and so are many other atheists. To say that we have never experienced what Christians experience is simply not true. The major difference is that we are able to see more clearly what the causes of our experiences are. And I am not part of any "movement" that teaches me to blame God for anything. I don't believe in God. I don't place any blame on something that doesn't exist, as best I can tell. Nor do I reject the good things in my life. Honestly, I don't know where you get these fantasy straw-man views how atheists supposedly think. All I can tell you is that those views are nothing more than fantasy.
Anonymous said…
Pix: How do you? The way we know is by observing that person's behavior towards us.

JH: not entirely. sometimes behavior can be confusing and misinterpreted; there are other aspects such as emotional vibes, that's the kind of thing emotionally shut down people don't like to hear.

Oh, good well poisoning there! Anyone who dares to disagree with you must be "emotionally shutdown". it could not be that you are talking bullshit.

So these "emotional vibes"... How do you detect them? I think it is by sight and sound (it is just possible that it is pheremones, but I doubt it). I think it is impossible to pick up these "emotional vibes" from someone in another room (assuming he or she cannot be heard). What about you Joe? Can you feel love from another person through a wall?

I suggest that these "emotional vibes" are our unconscious intuitions based on sight and sound. You seem to be suggesting there is some mystical power that we have to read other peoples emotions. Are we talking telempathy here?

Do you think we could build a device to measure love as it passes between two people? There must be some way for it to be communicated from the mystical to the physical, as you are doing just that - picking up the mystical emotional vibe, and then typing about it. Doyou think there is a part of the brain that is a love receiver?

The rest of your post is just a rant against a straw man version of atheism, so I will skip that.

Pix
Weekend Fisher said…
Oxford's definition of love is not adequate for what Christians mean by it, but we can start there.

https://weekendfisher.blogspot.com/2017/07/god-is-love-what-do-we-mean-by-that.html

Take care & God bless
WF
im-skeptical said…
Imagine that is why he created: out of love. Now imagine that God has a strong and immutable love for what he has made, that leads him to work for the good of all he has made, and for restoring things to their original glory. Imagine that strong and immutable love includes you. - from Weekend Fisher

Much better stated than anything I heard from Joe. This discusses the nature of god's love. But it still doesn't make the final connection. How do you get from that to "God is love"?
Holly Campbell said…
im-skeptical said...

" ... This discusses the nature of god's love. But it still doesn't make the final connection. How do you get from that to "God is love"?"

Exactly the issue for me. I can imagine a being of love, creating, and loving, but I cannot get from imagining to seeing evidence of such.
Joe Hinman said…
Exactly the issue for me. I can imagine a being of love, creating, and loving, but I cannot get from imagining to seeing evidence of such.

I don't think you want to see it, if i tried to show it to you you would resit it, you would fight to resist it.
Joe Hinman said…
ah, thanks, Joe.
"everything I say is not an attempt to prove something to skeptics.I think christians need to know that we can feel God's love in a palpable way.If so that really strengthens faith and deepens commitment those are important for doing apologetic,I would urge everyone to stay away from arguing with atheists until they have a deep sense of 'God's loving them."

Fair enough. I do rather enjoy discussing it in a deeper fashion with those who have differing views/understandings than I. And I think it can be done cordially and respectfully.

not a dig at you or anything,I just have seen people go on carm they don't really know what they think or why but they to defend their beliefs then they get rattled and give their faith because they were not secure in it in the first place,
Joe Hinman said…
I have taken the discussion to a new thread in answering some of Holly's questions,

God's Love: meaning and Verification
Anonymous said…
JH: not entirely. sometimes behavior can be confusing and misinterpreted; there are other aspects such as emotional vibes, that's the kind of thing emotionally shut down people don't like to hear.

Further to my earlier reply, here is a little experiment you can try, some time when you are with other people, such as on a train or bus. Close you eyes, and try to reach out with your emotions to sense the emotional vibe of the people around you. It does not count if you can hear them talking, by the way.

My position is that you will not be able to; that you need to see or hear a person to gauge his or her emotion. Clearly Joe thinks you will be successful.

Sorry, did I say "try"? There is no "try". Only do. Or do not.
Joe Hinman said…
urther to my earlier reply, here is a little experiment you can try, some time when you are with other people, such as on a train or bus. Close you eyes, and try to reach out with your emotions to sense the emotional vibe of the people around you. It does not count if you can hear them talking, by the way.

My position is that you will not be able to; that you need to see or hear a person to gauge his or her emotion. Clearly Joe thinks you will be successful.

Sorry, did I say "try"? There is no "try". Only do. Or do not.

do you really think that proves that we are not feeling the presence of God? that is so stupid it;s worthy of Trump,

that;s like saying I jump off a cliff i can't fly that proves birds don't fly,

there are studies,I';e seen them that show 60% of the time when we think some one is looking at us and we have our eyes closed we are right,
Joe Hinman said…
in your little experiment you didn't give any way verify or falsify your results,
Anonymous said…
The claim is that we can sense an "emotional vibe". That claim will be falsified if you cannot, in fact, feel the emotion of people around you, when you cannot hear or see them.

What I described is a rough experiment to do that; ideally you would have proper test conditions, but the experiment is certainly feasible, and in its rough form can be done by anyone.

When you do the experiment, and fail to sense other people's emotions, it will show that we sense love via what we see and hear, rather than through some mystical sense.

It will show that this feeling you have, this thing that is not seen and not heard, is something else altogether.

JH: there are studies,I';e seen them that show 60% of the time when we think some one is looking at us and we have our eyes closed we are right,

Does the accuracy go up when that person loves you? If you are right, then it will do, because we will be sensing the love.

Go find the studies that offer any support for your claim that we can sense love. Or just close your eyes and see if you can sense anyone's emotions.

Pix
Joe Hinman said…
Anonymous said...
The claim is that we can sense an "emotional vibe". That claim will be falsified if you cannot, in fact, feel the emotion of people around you, when you cannot hear or see them.

that would not prove that you are not feeling God's presence we can logically assume that if God exists and if he created us he could put it in us to feel his presence but not necessary that of others,not feeling the presence of other people is not proof that one doesn't feel God's presence.


What I described is a rough experiment to do that; ideally you would have proper test conditions, but the experiment is certainly feasible, and in its rough form can be done by anyone.

thee is no logical reason to assume it would prove anything,

When you do the experiment, and fail to sense other people's emotions, it will show that we sense love via what we see and hear, rather than through some mystical sense.

wont prove anything aboiut sensing God's love


It will show that this feeling you have, this thing that is not seen and not heard, is something else altogether.

something other than what? where did I ever claimant thing about it other than that its God's presence?


JH: there are studies,I';e seen them that show 60% of the time when we think some one is looking at us and we have our eyes closed we are right,

Does the accuracy go up when that person loves you? If you are right, then it will do, because we will be sensing the love.

Now you are trying to treat love like its some kind of special substance, such that there's no difference in God's love and human love.If you can feel God's presence you can feel God's love even if you can't feel the presence of human love

Go find the studies that offer any support for your claim that we can sense love. Or just close your eyes and see if you can sense anyone's emotions.

it's in this book

Edward F. Kelley and Emily Williams Kelley, et al, Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century. Boulder, New York, Toronto: Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Inc, 2007/2010.

you have most of the 200 studies against you, they all show that most people who have mystical experience experience God/s love.

pay attentions to the argumemt that proves it is real.

1 real effects have real causes

2 the effects of ME are real

3 therefore mystical experience is real(from 1-2)

4 mystical experience include a strong sense of God's love

5 i wont claim it;s proven but itis good reason to believe it's real
Anonymous said…
JH: that would not prove that you are not feeling God's presence we can logically assume that if God exists and if he created us he could put it in us to feel his presence but not necessary that of others,not feeling the presence of other people is not proof that one doesn't feel God's presence.

No it does not, and I never said it would. It would show that what you feel from God is different in nature to love, because the way we know someone feels love to us is via the senses of vision and hearing, and so quite unlike what you say you experience.

JH: Now you are trying to treat love like its some kind of special substance, such that there's no difference in God's love and human love.If you can feel God's presence you can feel God's love even if you can't feel the presence of human love

I am showing that what you call "God's love" is quite different in nature to what is usually considered to be love.

JH: it's in this book

Edward F. Kelley and Emily Williams Kelley, et al, Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century. Boulder, New York, Toronto: Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Inc, 2007/2010.


Really? So how was this study done? Who by? I assume this is a scholarly book with references, right? Give the reference for the study.

JH: you have most of the 200 studies against you, they all show that most people who have mystical experience experience God/s love.

How many of those studies conclude that the experience was God's love? How many even have the word "love" in them?

Pix
Weekend Fisher said…
Skep was saying: But it still doesn't make the final connection. How do you get from that to "God is love"?

Hey, thanks for taking the time to read and interact; I appreciate that. I want to preface my answer because I've skimmed through the various comments. I should be clear: I'm not presenting an axiomatic proof that God is love (though I'll show a couple of lines of reasoning that converge on that in a minute, they all have their premises). I'm also not trying to start from "God is love" (that his will and motive are love, that love is intrinsic to his relationship with what he has made) in order to argue that "all love is proof of God", so your mileage may vary depending on which parts of the comment thread you're following.

Here's a brief recap of some lines of thought that lead to the idea that God is love:

1) From the nature of morality. A) For Christians, the nature of morality is to be like God, & many commandments in the Bible backed with the reasoning to do a certain thing because God does it. B) According to Jesus, the greatest commandments are the commandments to love God and neighbor. C) It would follow that the greatest way to be like God is to love. D) So the action that most defines God is love.

2) From the nature of virtue. (Some people see this as the same as #1 morality, some don't, depending on their school of thought on morality and virtue. So to cover all the bases:) A) Virtue is to be like God; B) The greatest virtue is love; C) It would follow that the greatest way to be like God is to be loving. D) So again the virtue that most defines God is love.

3) From the origin of creation. This one takes as given that God doesn't hate himself; it is also informed by the book of Genesis regardless of how analogically you take it. A) As any creator or artist, or as any parent, God created based on his own thoughts and will and imagination, and his own being. Everything that was created was based on his own being, and was good. B) Everyone has goodwill and compassion towards what they have made that they recognize as good, because of the intrinsic nature of the relationship between the good in them and the good in what they have made. C) God's love is therefore intrinsic in his relationship with everything he has made.

There's so much more to be said but I'm pushing my luck in a comment-box already. Trying not to go on a link-fest to other things ...

Take care & God bless
WF
im-skeptical said…
Fisher,

I appreciate your response, and I suppose I couldn't ask for more than that. Joe calls it a metaphor, and it seems to me that you are not using the term as a metaphor, but really in a more literal sense.

I can't say that I agree, though. If God's love is intrinsic in his relationship with his creation, how does that comport with the evil and suffering his creatures experience? Many of those creatures never know anything but suffering. I know there are theodicies that attempt to explain this away, but I've never heard one that makes sense .
Weekend Fisher said…
Hey Skep

I have to admit, 9 days out of 10 I have no use for theodicy arguments. I mean, if it's set up as an exercise in us defending God on paper, instead of God defending us in the real world, then we've already ceded the most important point. And too many people play "Problem of Evil" like a parlor game. I've got too much skin in the game for that. I think most people do.

Take care & God bless
WF

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