Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

Patrick H
Gormley


"Love Neighbour As Self" - Too Vague

 

To make it simple, respect your neighbour is better than love your neighbour for it is clearer and easier to do. Life is hard enough without being self-defeating.

 

Christianity and Judaism command that love for others must totally depend on love of God and therefore belief in God. That is an added burden. Instead respect your neighbour not for the sake of love or God but for the sake of respect. Respect for respect’s own sake. God is clearly an attempt to make what seems to be a good command hard and impossible. It is hard to love enemies and strangers. If love the bad person but hate the bad in them is very difficult then God being brought in as the main consideration and the reason you have to love enemies and bad people only is an added difficulty. So if it is hard just to love a bad person and hate their bad it is impossible if you feel you must do this for God and not yourself or your life.

 

Why did Jesus and the Bible say, “Love your neighbour as yourself” and not, “Walk in the other person's shoes and help them the way you would be helped"?  Or even why not say, "Love anybody you meet as yourself?” Or better still, "Love the person who needs your help as yourself."  If it is just about the person you come across then the implication is, "Don't love Maisie in the next country for you have no connection to her."  And you are saying, "I will only love Maisie if I meet her."  This is really about you using the other person as a project to help.  It is not really about the other person at all.

 

Neighbour definitely is chosen for a reason. It essentially means just love people in your community or religion. People largely do choose their neighbours in a very general way. The neighbour is the person living next to you.

 

Love is too subjective as it is which is why it causes more problems than you would expect.  Vague things like love thy neighbour only add fuel to the fire.

 

Love does not have to be a thing or power or substance to be real. In a sense it's more real than the ground under you. It is real in how an action can be real.  Christians say God is love which shows they hate that teaching.  Love as in attitude to another is too subjective but so is love as in action for you need subjectively to assess what the person needs.  That is the difficulty and nothing changes the fact that only John knows what John needs and how much and in what way.

 

Peter Vardy, The Puzzle of Christianity, "The first and most important command which Jesus affirmed was the absolute centrality of the love of God. Secondly came unconditional love of neighbour. The first command every Jew would recognise and accept, but Jesus taught that the second should be taken literally: that is, it did not apply to Jews alone."  Why do people need commanding or to be told even to help others?  To feel I need to be told is me telling myself, "I don't want to do it but am only doing it for I am told to."  That kind of outlook is going to lead to you failing - a lot!  Is that what our passive aggressive Jesus actually wanted?  Vardy notices that the first command is the one that has to be kept if - hypothetically - the other cannot be.  The two commands allegedly go together but that depends on you being able to keep them both.  Religion is clear that few keep the first properly and some say nobody keeps it.  Notice how it is absolute and the other is not.  So assuming you need the two then unless you see God as absolutely important and central you do not truly love your neighbour.  Fake love is worse than hate.  In a sense Christianity would prefer you to hate than be subject to that. 

 

Jesus admittedly did tell the Jews, according to the Luke gospel, that neighbour meant even the enemy Samaritan who needed urgent help.  That looks like a fabrication from Luke.  Jesus could command love of neighbour and still be an insular racist bigot for he knew that in reality people will be careful which neighbour they will love.  They will be selective.

 

Jesus might have thought that if you calculate that doing something shows as much concern for yourself as others then you have a clear mathematical principle for determining right and wrong. The principle is dangerous. Its trouble. Interfering mothers-in-law think they are loving their son and their son’s wife as themselves when they interfere. The principle only encourages well-meaning interference.
 
Love your neighbour is vague for few people agree on how to work for the real wellbeing of others. Love your neighbour as yourself is bigger in what it demands. Thus it worsens the problems. For that alone, it is not the kindly doctrine it appears to be.
 
Do you love your neighbour as yourself when you know three dying people who will survive if they get your organs and you won’t kill yourself to make sure they get them? You are loving yourself more than them. Do you love them at all when you put one life before three?
 
The principle of loving neighbour as yourself is vague and therefore useless. It’s just for publicity. Jesus knew how to get people’s attention – duly and unduly!
 
Suppose my friend has a family and I am single and childless and always intend to be and one of us has to be murdered. Suppose also that I am left to choose who must die. It is best if my friend is the one that lives and I choose death. If I love my friend as myself then it doesn’t matter which of us dies. If my friend is younger than I then I should choose to die for I have had a longer life. If he is a better person than I, then I should choose to die. It might seem I must consider his family too. I should die so that they might have a father. So the more people involved the less I have to love myself. Because if I love myself as much as I love them as a group I am keeping more love for myself than I am giving to them individually so if I love myself that much I should really be choosing the other man for death. The commandment serves no practical purpose. It is manipulative and a smokescreen intended to make people feel safe and drawn to Christ – and lulled into a false sense of security they become new victims of the Church.
 
If it is equally good for me to die as my friend then if I choose death I am making a sacrifice of love that I am preventing him from making so I don’t love him at all when I am doing that. Enabling a person to love is the greatest love of all according to Jesus Christ. So I am in deadlock. If I choose death I prevent him from the love sacrifice. If he chooses death he prevents me. The commandment just isn’t sensible.

 
Jesus when he said to love your enemy meant more than just not to hurt an enemy. You are not to be indifferent to the enemy or hateful. So you are meant to reward them with love for what they have done to you. When you don't care if everybody in the next town drops dead or not, you are to make your enemy important just because they are your enemy! Enemies are enemies simply because they think you consider them important or should.  His absurd doctrine shows his idea of love is twisted and passive aggressive so whatever love of neighbour means it is not what you think.  Loving neighbour means encouraging the neighbour to love enemies so you see where that leads.

We are not talking about civil laws but moral laws. Jesus, the average Christian just like Immanuel Kant must ask this question that came to Kant.  Kant asked how morals can be turned into laws. Laws are stronger than mere rules. His answer was that a moral way to do things becomes law if it can be applied universally. For example, if all people on earth stole life would not be functional so stealing is morally wrong by law. At first glance this seems to give certainty. It seems to give you an ethic that has nothing to do with religion or God. It is so certain that it does not need God to shore it up. The reasoning is that a rule must work the same for each person who is alive and who has ever been alive for it to be a rule.

This scheme backfires. All you end up with is vague rules that we must respect each other and be fair which in practice are very messy things. Somebody called this a few vague generalities posing as practical wisdom. However you cannot say something is rubbish just because it is too hard to get it to work. One thing is for sure, it cannot work well unless the world agrees to streamline more and be more simplified – eg no languages but one, no religion or at least one religion and so on.  By being religious, Jesus was innately a disaster.  His religion must go.

 

Utilitarianism does not care who is made the happiest as long as somebody else and this is the greatest happiness that can be aimed for. It asks you to work for the greatest happiness possible even if that means you giving up happiness. This approach has a personal side and a legal side. The trouble is that the state cannot find you guilty of murder if you proved that you increased happiness by killing some scoundrel.  So whether you try a fixed rules approach such as Jesus and Kant would want or a looser one based on consequences such as Utilitarianism problems will surface and cause a lot of hurt.  Love of neighbour is just an idol and a smokescreen.  We need blunt statements of the problems instead of religious platitudes.

 
The commandment of love cannot help isn't intended to help.  All it is good for is encouraging people to manipulate one another, "Oh if you loved me as yourself you would do this for me!"  It is bad enough that it is vague and hiding things but to pose as a commandment is just a disgrace.
 
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