Updated: Feb 26
One of the great deceptions in America is “love.” The true meaning of love has been hidden away and replaced with something new. Because of this, it is hard for Americans, and probably westerners in general, to understand God as being love. This is the enemy’s work who sought to blind the western world from God’s nature. It was an ingenious plan.
First, during the enlightenment era people rejected God and replaced Him with reason. Without God, a void had to be filled in various areas—like morality. This is where philosophers came in with different solutions. For example, Kant came up with his deontological ethics in which the “good will” is focused on. He taught that it is the intention and volition of the will behind the action that matters. However, this system lacks a foundation—God.
Second, romanticism came into the picture which rejected the enlightenment era’s focus on reason. Instead, truth is based on emotion and is therefore subjective. Our longings are what define us—not God.
Third, he brought post-modernism in which takes the best of both the enlightenment and romanticism. After World War 1, a shift in thinking occurred. This shift was from philosophy to science. Science became the source of truth. The best example of this shift happened in 1929, the Vienna Circle—a group of philosophers and scientists—saw empiricism to be the best method of coming to the truth. In their words: “The representatives of the scientific world-conception resolutely stand on the ground of simple human experience. They confidently approach the task of removing the metaphysical and theological debris of millennia.” Post-modernism also embraces romantic views in that the individual is all there is. You are the determiner of your truth. This is best seen with the rise of gender identities and “love.”
Fourth, within this post-modernist movement, everything was centered around love. However, this love was the love of eros (romantic love) and philia (brotherly love). Agape (the love of God) was no-where to be found. The devil focused everyone on these two types of love but made sure to leave out agape. In doing so, he, in the minds of man, distorted who God is.
The New Love I would argue that the hippy movement helped create this new love. The hippies were against war and for love—which assumes that war and love are opposites. They took the idea of philia and assumed that war is the opposite of loving your “brother.” It assumes that love is peaceful—regardless of the circumstances. The hippies also believed that love was accepting of all—hence the idea of “free love.” The idea of free love embraces a subset of eros—venus (sexual love). So, love is always peaceful, and love is sex.
The “love” of today follows the hippies in that random sex is encouraged as a natural part of our existence and even as a way to “love yourself.” This is because you are not at peace with nature when you act against your sexual desires. The idea of self-love is also popular in today’s culture. Self-love is doing what makes you happy. This is where romanticism comes back into the picture—in that your longings define you and therefore should not be ignored. If something makes you happy, and you do not do it, you are at war with yourself. Discipline and love are seen to be opposites.
Lastly, a more recent change in love is the idea of death. Is it loving to condemn someone to die? Popular TV shows and movies tend to show superheroes struggling to choose “love” and not kill the villain. The common reasoning behind this is something like: “You should not kill the villain because—in so doing—you become like him.” The villain is the antithesis to love and to kill him is to become anti-love.
Now, people wonder why this so-called “God of love” condones just wars and even execution in some cases. They wonder why He is so intolerant in the area of sex. They wonder why He does not seem to care about their happiness. So, they reject this so-called loving God on the grounds that He does not live up to His own nature.
Since a true understanding of love is lost from many in America, God is too. God is love, if you do not know love, you do not know God. In this sense, God is dead among many in America. Instead of seeing God, they see something else—a misrepresentation of God. This is not to say that they are hopeless, just that they cannot hope to clearly understand God—as far as our minds are able.
What is Love? In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 love is described: