God is agape

26 Nov

Now god is love but that is not the love that churchianity teaches. No that love taught by churchianity is just mushy sentimentality a form of theraputic magic complete with its own form of scam the Personal Jesus(TM) . That god that churches like to present is just a kind old useless grandfather that no one respects. A snake with no fangs, a lion without teeth or balls.

 

No the love of god is tough love:

A key difference in understanding the meaning of agape is to recognize that our culture is centered on the individual, whereas ancient Biblical society (and 70% of societies today) are group-centered. What is good for the group is what is paramount. Hence when the NT speaks of agape it refers to the “value of group attachment and group bonding” [Malina and Neyrey, Portraits of Paul, 196]. Agape is not an exchange on a personal level and “will have little to do with feelings of affection, sentiments of fondness, and warm, glowing affinity.” It is a gift that puts the group first.

 

With that in mind, what of the passage which tells us to “Love your enemies”? How is this reconciled with places where Jesus calls the Pharisees names, or Peter “Satan”? How is it reconciled with where Paul wishes emasculation on his Galatian opponents (Gal. 5) and shames the Galatians with his rhetoric? How is it reconciled with even confronting others with sin and error, for that matter?

Given the definition of “group attachment” above, it may be best to understand agape as a parallel to another known concept of today — not love, but tough love. For the sake of popular culture awareness I will allude to perhaps the most famous example of such “tough love” known today — the New Jersey high school principal Joe Clark (whose story was told in the movie Lean on Me) who cleaned out his high school and made it a safe place for those who wanted to learn.

Clark was no soft sentimentalist. He kicked those out of school who disrupted the learning of others. He used physical compulsion to do it as needed. He used a bullhorn to get people’s attention.

Is this agape? Yes, it is. It is the Biblical form of agape in which Clark valued what was best for his students as a whole versus what the individual wanted.

 

This is the love of the drill sargeant putting his recruits through hell hurling insults like gunnery sargeant hartman. This is the love of the men putting through the boys through a difficult process of initiation making them into men and wringing out weakness through trials and storms.

Since Agape is a group centered love that encompasses all of humanity and creation then what is best for humanity as a whole and creation is the purging of evil. Therefore when god hates individual sinners as mentioned multiple times in the bible it is not in contradiction to Agape.

 

Therefore it is wise to look at the scripture closely and in its historical context to wring the most accurate meaning out of the word of god. To just allow hollywood and churchianity to tell you otherwise is also one of the reasons why the church is falling today in the west.

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