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:
Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends
First, it must be realized that even if you are not a Christian, understanding love in its context takes away the claim that God is not loving. So, whether you believe in God or not, I am merely showing why the post-modern view of love is wrong when it is applied to the Christian perspective.
One of the key descriptors of love is that it is not selfish. Selfishness is an inward “expression.” Love is an outward expression. So, the idea of “self-love” is perverted. Self-love focuses on self instead of others.
An important aspect of love is the idea of “tough love.” Tough love is an expression of love that is done for the well-being of another—even though it will bring short-term pain. For example, disciplining your kids. No one wants to discipline their kids, but you do it for their future well-being. Solomon expands on this and says, in Proverbs 13:24, “The one who will not use the rod hates his son, but the one who loves him disciplines him diligently.”
If your parents never punished you when you hit someone—how much longer would it take you to realize that humans deserve respect and should not be hit because you feel like it?
If your parents never punished you when you ran around a restaurant—how many times will it take before you realized how disrespectful and inconvenient you are being for the workers and owner of the restaurant?
If your parents never punished you for talking back—what type of person would you be now?
The point being, your parents must either hate you or believe in this false “love” about peace and no-violence if they do not punish you for the wrong actions you commit as a child. This can be extended past the family unit and to friends. If your friend is doing something self-destructive and you do nothing, then you do not truly love him. No one wants to cause pain to another or themselves even if it is for the better, which is why this love is described as being “tough.”
What about war?
Can love and war coexist? If someone broke into your house and proceeded to shoot at you and your family, is it loving to make yourself and your family better targets so as not to inconvenience the shooter? Of course not. John 15:13 says: “No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.” The loving thing to do would be to risk your life to save that of your family’s.
This is where the idea of a “Just War” comes into the picture. What is the point of going to war? If it is for your own selfish gain, then it is not just. However, if it is to protect, then it is just and even loving—to lay down your life for another’s.
I think it could be asked: “Why then did God tell the Israelites to conquer the inhabitants of Israel?” This is another form of justice in which God used the Israelites to carry out His divine justice on the inhabitants of Israel.
The Hero and the Villain
Now, what about the superhero not killing the villain? In some cases, the villain should be thrown in jail—if possible—so that he can be dealt with by the governing authorities. However, that is not possible with some villains and—much more—if you do not kill the villain many more are bound to die by his hand. The villain is not loving others by hurting and even killing them. The hero is loving others by trying to protect them from the villain. There are some cases in which the only way to stop the villain from killing again is by killing him. Just like war is sometimes the only option in which to gain peace and to protect the innocent. It is selfish to not do so—simply because the hero does not want to kill. By not killing the villain, the hero is, in a way, toying with the lives of others. The loving thing to do is to kill the villain—when justified—to protect others from his grasp.
Another aspect of killing the villain is that you are affirming the sanctity of human life. This may seem absurd, but if you do not kill a mass murderer who is also likely to murder again, are you not proclaiming—with your lack of action—that human life is not valuable? Is the punishment for mass murder jail? How is that just? Are you not devaluing the lives that were lost by saying that their death is only worth jail time? If you were to kill the villain, are you not honoring and upholding that the lives that were lost were worth more than the villain’s life—therefore, the villain must die? The loving thing to do is to honor the lives that were lost by upholding their value.
What about sex?
Why can there not be free sex, or free love—as the hippies would call it? Sex was made as a way to procreate and as the physical oneness that happens between husband and wife. It is therefore sacred and should not be taken advantage of. Since sex was made to be meaningful, free sex destroys that meaningfulness and intimacy meant for the husband and wife. It also devalues the other person in that they simply become a vessel for your pleasure and vice versa. You become, in a way, an animal. By devaluing another and God’s creation, you are not being loving.
What About My Happiness?
How can a loving God not care about my happiness? This is a misrepresentation of God in that He does care about your happiness—as long as it is real and right. This concept can go back to the “free love” idea in that you are acting against God’s design by having sex outside of marriage. God, being the God of love, knows that the best course of action for you is to follow Him. This could be described as “intolerance,” but a more accurate description is: “tough love.”
Love, from a Christian perspective, is different from that of this new love of post-modernism. This new love confuses those who hold it and blinds them from a fuller understanding of who God is. Post-modernists take their view of love and apply it to the God of love. In so doing, they note contradictions in the character and actions of God. However, once one has a better understanding of what love is, the supposed contradictions of God’s character and actions melt away.
Vienna Circle Constituents. “The Vienna Circle, The Scientific Conception of the World.” 1929.
 Vienna Circle Constituents, “The Vienna Circle, The Scientific Conception of the World,” (1929), p. 10.