Love?

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Love?

Postby PLCDreamcatcher14 » Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:43 am

Ok. So I once, not too long ago, heard somebody say that the modern day romanticizing of love leads people to believe we are all incomplete and that we need to fall in love and get married in order to be complete and how people striving for this are practicing false idol worship. Well, when you fall in love with somebody, you love everything about them, their smile, looks, heart, etc. You get to where you can't live without them. So that got me to wondering, is loving somebody so deeply like that a form of idol worship? Because you're practically 'worshiping' them? And what about when you love your friends and family and even your pets so deeply like that too? And what about other things you may love too like your job or the place live or your hobbies that bring you joy? I know this probably sounds stupid but I was just curious. I appreciate the help. Thank you. :angel:
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Re: Love?

Postby Midori » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:00 pm

I think that in some ways, our love of our families and spouses is supposed to be similar to God's love for us. Like, it's supposed to be in some sense unconditional and complete. You don't love your family because you like them, for instance; they could have some really annoying habits or some huge disagreements with you, but you're supposed to love them anyway. They shouldn't have to earn your love in any way, just like we can't earn God's love. Perhaps some of these passages from First John can illustrate where I'm coming from.
1 John 4:7-12 (NIV) wrote:Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
1 John 4:19-21 (NIV) wrote:We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

These are mostly talking about loving our metaphorical brothers and sisters in Christ, but it should apply equally well to our literal family, with whom we can share a unique sort of love because we're related. If you're interested in the subject of love I highly recommend all of the books by John.

On the other hand, this person you were hearing from isn't coming out of nowhere when they talk about love and idolatry.
Luke 14:25-27 (NIV) wrote:Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple."

What!? Isn't this, like, the complete opposite of the John passage? Well, if you take it literally, yes. But surely Jesus doesn't literally mean you have to harbor hatred for your family. I'm pretty sure he means that if you hold them above God you can't be his disciple. After all, he could tell you to abandon your family for his sake, like he told the Twelve. That doesn't mean he will, but he could. He could even tell you to lay down your own life for his sake. To answer that criticism of over-romanticization, God does call some people to remain unmarried their whole life, like Paul and most of the other apostles. It is probably incorrect to believe that everybody is incomplete until they find somebody to (romantically) love. And if you feel like you cannot live without a specific other human, that is probably false. No matter how strongly you feel about somebody, if it comes down to them versus God, you must follow God.

So yes, it's entirely possible to elevate interpersonal love, or other things we call love, to the point of idolatry. But if that's the only conclusion you come to, you're missing a large part of the picture. Coming back to the stuff John says, if we are truly in God's love, then we will love one another. The way I think of it is that God always has to have the highest place in our life, as well as our most important relationship. However, our relationship with God is such that if we love him then we will love other things as well. So our relationships with our family, spouse, pets, job, hobbies, entertainment, favorite pizza topping, etc. all have to be placed within the larger context of our relationship with God.

Actually, I suspect that the kind of love that is properly within the love of God is a much more powerful and fulfilling love. Without God, our "love" becomes selfish and idolatrous. If you love a thing or a person with the kind of love where you're expecting it to make your life complete, where you're just sitting back and hoping that merely experiencing it will make you happy, well, you're never going to be satisfied. But the love that is God is not about taking and expecting. It's a giving and accepting sort of love. For instance, when you say you love your pet, you probably don't mean that you like feeling its soft fur and receiving its loyalty. You mean that you care for it and give it food and shelter and attention. You don't keep pets to make yourself happy, you keep them so you can make them happy. And that sort of love, paradoxically, is much more satisfying in the long run.

I hope this sheds a little light on the subject. I didn't get into all the details that I'm thinking about, but I don't think you need me to ramble on even longer than I already have.
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Re: Love?

Postby Nate » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:53 pm

The idea that you need to get married to be complete is actually mostly prevalent in denominations (or ofshoots, if you don't feel comfortable classifying them as Christian) of Christianity that put emphasis on having lots of kids, such as the Quiverfull movement or Mormonism. There is a real fear (mostly rooted in racism) that the current generation's declining marriage rates spell doom for the country in one form or another. It would absolutely be safe to say that to these groups, marriage is a form of idol that they hold as more important than God...because obviously, it's perfectly possible, even suggested in the bible itself as preferable to be a single person fully devoted to serving Christ.

That said, as Midori mentioned, love and marriage are not bad things and are actually good things. Just don't let the idea that you have to get married or have kids consume you and you'll be alright.
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Re: Love?

Postby Xeno » Tue Apr 14, 2015 2:51 pm

PLCDreamcatcher14 wrote:Well, when you fall in love with somebody, you love everything about them, their smile, looks, heart, etc. You get to where you can't live without them.

That is a very one dimensional view on what love is and how it works. I love pretty much my entire family, there are a couple exceptions but that's irrelevant to the topic, and I certainly don't love everything about any of them. Romantic relationships don't work in a fashion where you love everything about your partner, its more about having a strong enough connection on enough things to get passed th bits you don't like as much.

Nate and Midori had good posts about this. That Jesus guy said a lot of stuff about how and who and why we should love, and I think he was probably more onto something than your friend was. Plus, as Nate mentioned, there are denominations that put heavy emphasis on the "need" to get married and have children, but there is no real biblical basis for that mentality. Just like with "not being complete until you're with a partner", its a load of hogwash, you shouldn't even be looking for a partner until you feel complete on your own.
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Re: Love?

Postby PLCDreamcatcher14 » Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:47 am

Ok. Thanks guys! That does help. Personally, when I was younger I used to feel this desperation to fall in love and get married in my early twenties and have kids and how my life would be perfect then. But as I've gotten older (I'm only 20 btw,lol) I've...matured? I guess. So now I'm more content being single and I would be fine getting married in my late twenties or later (if at all) and as for kids, I could always adopt.

Midori
Actually, I suspect that the kind of love that is properly within the love of God is a much more powerful and fulfilling love. Without God, our "love" becomes selfish and idolatrous. If you love a thing or a person with the kind of love where you're expecting it to make your life complete, where you're just sitting back and hoping that merely experiencing it will make you happy, well, you're never going to be satisfied. But the love that is God is not about taking and expecting. It's a giving and accepting sort of love. For instance, when you say you love your pet, you probably don't mean that you like feeling its soft fur and receiving its loyalty. You mean that you care for it and give it food and shelter and attention. You don't keep pets to make yourself happy, you keep them so you can make them happy. And that sort of love, paradoxically, is much more satisfying in the long run.


You know, in more recent years, I've noticed how many people will fall in love with somebody and then want the other person to love them back and if not, they figure there's no point anymore and I always thought that that was kind of stupid. Like, shouldn't you fall in love with somebody and even though they may not feel the same for you or they do but you can't be together and though it may hurt, you could still be content just being their friend? Being able to enjoy their company and always be there for them, you know. If they'd be happier with someone else or some place else, let them go. To be honest, what you said kind of reminds me of the anime Sailor Moon during the Makai Tree arc. These two ailens An and Ail claim to love each other but they feel like they should take love and demand it of each other. But then of course they learn their lesson about what it really means to love. I think I understand Midori. Selfless love over selfish love.

Nate
The idea that you need to get married to be complete is actually mostly prevalent in denominations (or ofshoots, if you don't feel comfortable classifying them as Christian) of Christianity that put emphasis on having lots of kids, such as the Quiverfull movement or Mormonism. There is a real fear (mostly rooted in racism) that the current generation's declining marriage rates spell doom for the country in one form or another. It would absolutely be safe to say that to these groups, marriage is a form of idol that they hold as more important than God...because obviously, it's perfectly possible, even suggested in the bible itself as preferable to be a single person fully devoted to serving Christ.


Yeah, that's true. But I think that even Christians in other denominations want their kids to get married and have kids because of the family unit. My mom says that she'd like it if I got married and had kids one day too, but in good time after I've worked on a career first. Our next door neighbors who are big Christians really want grand-kids even though most of their kids aren't willing anytime soon.

Xeno
That is a very one dimensional view on what love is and how it works. I love pretty much my entire family, there are a couple exceptions but that's irrelevant to the topic, and I certainly don't love everything about any of them. Romantic relationships don't work in a fashion where you love everything about your partner, its more about having a strong enough connection on enough things to get passed th bits you don't like as much.


Perfectly imperfect and all that stuff...

Xeno
Just like with "not being complete until you're with a partner", its a load of hogwash, you shouldn't even be looking for a partner until you feel complete on your own.


I love that line.

Seriously, thanks guys! This really did help. Hopefully I can love others purely and sincerely just like God and the right way too. God bless! :angel:
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"Man: What surprises you most about mankind? God: That they get bored with childhood, they rush to grow up, and then long to be children again. That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health. That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live in neither the present nor the future. That they live as though they will never die and die as though they never lived."
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Re: Love?

Postby Kaori » Wed Apr 15, 2015 7:12 pm

PLCDreamcatcher14 wrote:So I once, not too long ago, heard somebody say that the modern day romanticizing of love leads people to believe we are all incomplete and that we need to fall in love and get married in order to be complete and how people striving for this are practicing false idol worship.

Everyone above has already said some good and sound things, but I'll chip in too just in case it's helpful to hear some similar things from a slightly different angle.

So, there are a couple of things wrong with the kind of thinking you're talking about. (From here on out I'm going to use the generic "you" a lot; I don't think that you, PLCDreamcatcher, have these kinds of problems.) First off, the idea that you need another person to complete you is very unhealthy. For one thing, some people have a mentality that there is someone out there who is "perfect" for them, who fits them in every way, who is their soulmate, and so on, and that can lead to an expectation that if you meet and marry your "soulmate" then you will always get along perfectly, you won't have to put any work into the relationship, and everything will always be sunshine and roses. This is false. There are no two people who are alike in every way or who are perfectly compatible; no matter how many similarities two people might have, there are still going to be conflicts and disagreements, and they will still have to put work into the relationship. From married people I have always heard that marriage is hard work, and I have never heard any married person say otherwise.

Also, it is unhealthy to think that you need a relationship to be complete, and this has a couple of components to it. One is that, yes, it can be idolatrous if you think that you need a relationship to be complete and are seeking complete personal fulfillment in another person. No person can completely fulfill another person, neither as a friend nor in a romantic relationship. We desire perfect good, and that can only be found in God. And of course if you are putting anything above God, that is idolatry. Besides, it is too demanding to expect any one human being to be everything to you and to meet every one of your needs, and that's unfair and damaging to the other person. The other component to this is that it's unhealthy for you as a person to think of yourself as being incomplete without a partner. People who are desperate for a relationship and see themselves as being incomplete without one tend to come across as needy and desperate, and this sort of person is less likely to have a healthy relationship even when they do get into one. The best way to have a healthy romantic relationship is to be content as a person without one. If you're lonely, then seek happiness and enjoyment through volunteering, or a sports club, or learning a new language, or creating something, or whatever kind of social activity or edifying pursuit brings you joy. It's not that it will make loneliness or desire for a romantic relationship go away, necessarily, but you are most likely to have a happy romantic relationship if first of all you are happy with who you are and what you do (even if you still have a desire for a relationship).

Well, when you fall in love with somebody, you love everything about them, their smile, looks, heart, etc.
Some people might feel that way in the first stages of infatuation, maybe. But hopefully that would progress to a more realistic view of knowing that the other person is a human being who has faults and being willing to care for them anyways. Married love entails things like a commitment to the other person, willing what is good for the other person, and self-sacrifice. It is the giving sort of love that Midori was talking about.

About marriage and the view of the Church towards it, from a historical standpoint I find it really interesting that in the early centuries the church had more problems with some people thinking that virginity was superior to the married life and taking that to the point of denigrating marriage than the other way around. In response, the Church had to uphold that both marriage and virginity are good, and neither one should be exalted to the disparagement of the other.

Also, I've recently been reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and although I don't agree with absolutely everything the RCC teaches, I do think that their teachings on chastity, marriage, sexuality, and so on are extremely sound and good teachings. (BTW, Unlike the stereotype some people have, the Catholic Church does not teach that you should have as many children as possible but that you should responsibly plan your family.) The relevant section is paragraphs 2331-2400 (in a physical text that's about 16 pages long), and you can read it here (just keep hitting the "next" button until you get to paragraph 2400). I'd highly recommend it. Unlike the Quiverfull Movement, which is based on horrible exegesis, is lacking in common sense, and doesn't hold up to intellectual or philosophical scrutiny, older and more forms of Christianity have been around long enough to have a more balanced approach and have more philosophical and intellectual coherence. Actually, I think a lot of recent movements and trends in Christianity have that problem of being unbalanced or distorted and end up being inconsistent and/or intellectually untenable, but that's a digression. In short, that chapter from the Catechism of the Catholic Church is really excellent reading, and I think you would find it very interesting and relevant for you to learn about that viewpoint even if you don't end up agreeing with the perspective of the Catholic Church on these issues.

Lastly:

PLCDreamcatcher14 wrote:You know, in more recent years, I've noticed how many people will fall in love with somebody and then want the other person to love them back and if not, they figure there's no point anymore and I always thought that that was kind of stupid. Like, shouldn't you fall in love with somebody and even though they may not feel the same for you or they do but you can't be together and though it may hurt, you could still be content just being their friend?

Absolutely, and this applies to all sorts of things, not just to romantic love! To choose to will the other person's good and work for it as much as possible (even if it's just in being friendly and kind to them) regardless of whether they like you or not is a very mature attitude.
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Re: Love?

Postby Nate » Wed Apr 15, 2015 8:36 pm

PLCDreamcatcher14 wrote:You know, in more recent years, I've noticed how many people will fall in love with somebody and then want the other person to love them back and if not, they figure there's no point anymore and I always thought that that was kind of stupid.


This is because those people are not viewing the other person as a person, but as an object, and when they feel they can no longer possess it, they lose interest in it.

Like, shouldn't you fall in love with somebody and even though they may not feel the same for you or they do but you can't be together and though it may hurt, you could still be content just being their friend?


Yes, and this is why "the friend zone" is a stupid and hateful concept. I will say however from a bit of personal experience that it can sometimes legitimately be difficult to remain friends with someone after romance has happened/been brought up. Admitting to someone that you have romantic feelings for them very much can change how the friendship works, and especially after a failed attempt at a relationship, stress and bad memories can play a part in it to the point that the friendship just can't work out anymore.

And that sucks, but it's a far different thing than "This girl turned me down now she just wants me as a friend this is stupid I put enough friend coins into her why won't she give me a relationship?"

Yeah, that's true. But I think that even Christians in other denominations want their kids to get married and have kids because of the family unit. My mom says that she'd like it if I got married and had kids one day too, but in good time after I've worked on a career first. Our next door neighbors who are big Christians really want grand-kids even though most of their kids aren't willing anytime soon.


Again, I never said wanting to get married or wanting to have kids is a bad thing, just that it can quickly become an unhealthy obsession. I mean, just look at a certain CAA member who couldn't stop making threads about "WOE IS ME I CAN NEVER HAVE GF WHAT SHALL I DO." That kind of thinking is super dangerous, the thought that you must get married or have children. Getting married is nice, having children is nice, but it shouldn't be your number one goal in life.

As Kaori said, there's a difference between "I'm kinda lonely, it'd be nice to have a romantic partner" and "Oh god I need a significant other I can't go on without one once I have one all my problems will be solved and I will be happy for the rest of my life."

Kaori wrote:(BTW, Unlike the stereotype some people have, the Catholic Church does not teach that you should have as many children as possible but that you should responsibly plan your family.)


Right, they are against birth control and non-procreative sex, but they have no issue with the "rhythm method" which can help prevent pregnancies.
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Re: Love?

Postby Kraavdran » Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:45 pm

Wow, really interesting topic. I particularly appreciated Midori and Kaori's response. I'll try not to repeat a lot of what they said. I've had formal training in psychology (school), so this is a topic of particular interest to me. So, I'll share my thoughts as well.

So, here it goes:

I'd like to first clarify some terms. "Love" is a messy word that I dislike. People can "love" a wide range of things... pizza, a friend, a family member, or a spouse. These things should have different words, I think, because the concept is very different. Additionally, what most people consider "love" is more like infatuation (I appreciate how Kaori mentioned this). Infatuation is the initial "good feeling" reaction to someone you find attractive. It is a pleasent mix of several neurotransmitters and such that certainly change one's perspective. I don't want to bore you with the chemical component, so I will leave it at that. This being said, the infatuation stage will end. Once it does, real work is required to keep a romantic relationship afloat. As a few peple have said, this takes work. At the same time, it is extremely rewarding. After all, when it comes to love, there is no proper shortcut.

So, going back to the original post... Yes. I agree that the modern day romanticiszing of love has led people to feel incomplete. It says that we must seek the "right person" who will make us feel complete. It continues by saying that, if somebody does not make you feel this way, then you need to leave them and seek the person who is right for you to make you feel whole. After all, you don't need to work at it. If it is right, everything will fall into place. You just need to "fall in love with the right person." Like you mentioned, some might even say that you will get to the point where you "can't live without them"

Unfortunately, there are several reasons why this is not healthy (and, I think, doomed for failure). First, if you marry someone that you "can't live without," then why are you with them? For purely selfish motives? That sounds more like dependency than love. Dependency is a cynical use of another... while love is completely the opposite. A professor of mine once said a really great quote, but I can't remember the exact words. Basically, it explains how love is not selfishly motivated. Love is being willing to sacrifice something of one's own self for the solitary reward of watching another prosper/grow. Now, don't get me wrong, if you lose someone you love, it will be painful. But having a sense of dependency that is often summarized by "I just can't live without ________" is what I am trying to point out. Second, relying on infatuation alone for a successful relationship is bound to fail. Once the infatuation period ends (typically within 18 months), reality will set in... problems that were laughed at before become very active. It takes work to progress and to feel the true depth of a relationship. Third, the focus is on finding the right person and not on becoming the right person. I think that this can lead to stagnation of one's own growth. Additionally, a goal to "find the right person" may, inadvertently, replace the goal of trying to find security in God. I guess I'll leave that for now since I will probably get too off-topic if I continue.

So, and sorry if I am going on a little rant, where does false idol worship fall in? For anything (friendships, relationships, etc), idolatry is a possibility. Really, I think that this has to do with a matter of heart. As Midori mentioned, the Bible reminds us that we should love others just as God loves us. I do not believe that God loves us because He feels dependent on us (like the case of a dependent relationship), but because He cares about us so much that He would willingly sacrifice for the sole reason of seeing us grow spiritually. I think that this may be the distinction: What is our motivation for a given friendship or relationship? What void do I expect for this relationship to fill? Is it a social need or a spiritual one? A red flag would be if our pursuit of God becomes eclipsed by a given person. This, I think, comes back to the idea of dependence vs love.

You mentioned other things like love working at a job or hobbies or a place you live. Perhaps this goes more towards the theological grounds, but here are my thoughts on that (and, please note, these are my opinions... I'm sure that there are different and equally valid answers): I think that it is a matter of the heart. I think a good example can be found in the book of Ecclesiastes. As I understand this book, the author speaks about how stuff like work, food, and other things that can be enjoyed are good... essentially gifts of happiness from God. However, the author says, these things are "hebel". This, I think, means that these things are good to be enjoyed and take comfort in having. However, we should not see them much more than that. After all, they are fleeting and can not sustain a person in the way that God can. After all, delicious pie, no matter how delicious, can not commune with us or meet our needs in the same way that God can. It is here that I think that we can distinguish the difference between "worship" and "enjoyment." When a good job, money, food, or a relationship is sought with the same motivation/yearning that one would typically have for things of a spiritual nature, it may be a form of idolatry. After all, these things can not fill that part of our needs. Doing so is like chasing after the wind.

As a side note, I'd like to reference Midori's use of John. If you are trying to understand what love looks like, that is a good place to start. I don't think that this love that John wrote about is that of dependence of idolatry. Like Midori said, I also recommend reading all of the books by John for this.

I should end with this: This is a rather complicated topic and I recognize that my use of words may not be the same as others use those same words. So, please let me know if I did not make something very clear.

By the way, a book that really opened my eyes to the confusion of love was a book called "Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships" by Chip Ingram. Chip is a pastor in California. In the book, he focuses on looking at relationships (and love) and sees what is the current problem (primarily from bad lessons from culture and media) and looks at what a more healthy approach might be. I read this when I was 18 or 19 and it really helped (along with a few other books for a particular class I was taking) me understand what a healthy relationship was about. I was looking at relationships in a negative, destructive manner. So, I would highly recommend it if some of the stuff that I've said has resonated with you.
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Re: Love?

Postby Nate » Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:28 pm

Kraavdran wrote:Dependency is a cynical use of another... while love is completely the opposite. . . But having a sense of dependency that is often summarized by "I just can't live without ________" is what I am trying to point out.


I'd like to make a note here that dependency, as Kravvdran is using, is different from actually being dependent on someone else. My grandmother for example had a stroke and could not live by herself any longer, as it would be dangerous for her to do so given her problems walking. As such, she had to live with my aunt. My grandmother was dependent on my aunt to be able to live her life, and this is not a bad thing. In fact, abandoning someone who is dependent on you would actually be the selfish act in a case like this. And again, dependent on is not the same as dependency. "If you leave me I'm going to kill myself" isn't the same type of situation at all, and abandoning that person would not only be a good idea, but the best idea.

Also note that "I just can't live without ________" is not necessarily a sign of dependency (which is why I'm glad Kraavdan used the qualifier "often"). My mother suffered a very damaging brain injury years ago which has messed her up pretty severely. When my dad died, it was really hard on my mom. Even to this day it still affects her, and she has expressed many times over the past decade how she doesn't know how she can go on living without my dad. My mom isn't cynically manipulating or using anyone, she has a legitimate medical issue that to a degree renders her incapable of acting like a functional adult. So, even though she uses the same phrasing Kraavdran mentioned, this is not a sign of dependency either, but rather the fact that my mom was very much dependent on my dad to help her live her life, a role which I've had to take to a degree after he died (even though I do an awful job at it I admit).
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Re: Love?

Postby Kraavdran » Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:48 pm

Nate, thanks for the clarification. I hadn't considered that "dependency" could be mistaken for "being dependent"... although it seems like an obvious thing now. Very well said, and thanks! Sometimes I use language defined in books without actually defining it.

I should further clarify that any ideas/examples I use have exceptions. Like Nate pointed out, medical conditions throw different variables that can't be properly addressed in general statements.

For the sake of what I said, this might be a better definition of dependence/codependence: "Codependent relationships are a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement. Among the core characteristics of codependency, the most common theme is an excessive reliance on other people for approval and identity." (wikipedia) Of particular importance is the "excessive reliance on other people for approval and identity." This had nothing to do with the medical world.
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Re: Love?

Postby Kaori » Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:15 pm

Nate wrote:Right, they are against birth control and non-procreative sex, but they have no issue with the "rhythm method" which can help prevent pregnancies.


Yes and no. They consider birth control a very serious sin, but although they might have endorsed the rhythm method in the past, that is not what they endorse nowadays. They have something called Natural Family Planning (NFP). The rhythm method is (as far as I have heard) counting days since the woman's last period and trying to guess from that when she is and is not fertile. NFP is much more precise and uses indications like measurement of cervical mucus and basal body temperature to determine when the woman is or is not fertile, with great accuracy. It apparently has an effectiveness rate of 99%, which is higher than birth control. (The two studies cited in the Wikipedia article on NFP show 0.2 pregnancies per 100 women and 0.8 pregnancies per 100 women, respectively.)

So as far as non-procreative sex goes, Catholics do teach that the couple needs to have a general openness to having children, but it is not the case that in order to have sex on any given day you have to desire for a child to be conceived from that particular act of intercourse. Having sex during times when you know the woman is not capable of becoming pregnant is part of the main point of NFP (it also works the other way around for couples who specifically are trying to have children).

I am still not 100% clear on what the philosophical difference is between NFP and other forms of contraception (other than that there are other morally objectionable things about some forms of birth control, like that the birth-control pill is an abortificant). It seems that one of the distinctions is that birth control is altering the sexual act (separating it from its procreative purpose) by rendering infertile an act that otherwise would be fertile, i.e. with birth control those days in the woman's cycle when she would be fertile are rendered infertile, whereas NFP does not artificially alter anything in order to render an action infertile that would normally be fertile. (NPF is working with the body's natural cycle and accepting it for what it is rather than imposing control on it and altering it.) The way that birth control separates the two meanings of sexuality--the union between the two people and the procreative aspect--is also part of the reasoning, though again I am not totally clear on how birth-control differs from NFP in this regard. And the advocates of NFP also say that it is beneficial for marriages because it fosters communication (spouses have to talk about things like where the woman is in her cycle, what is going on with her body, and so on, with great frequency, and also the desire to have intercourse on days when the woman is fertile leads to frequent conversations about why the couple is choosing not to have children at that time and whether that decision might be open to renegotiation) and better understanding of the woman's body and her hormonal cycle.

Sorry, PLCDreamcatcher, if this is off-topic for your thread. But I just finished going through RCIA (without having the intention to become Catholic), so I happened to have heard a lot about this topic recently.
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Re: Love?

Postby PLCDreamcatcher14 » Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:51 am

Thank you SOOO much guys!

I just wanted to say that the whole reason I posted this to begin with was because I'm someone who feels guilty very easily. It's one of the reasons I've posted in Christian Growth Q&A so many times. I always want to make sure I'm doing the right thing, not necessarily to save myself, but because I...I want to make God proud. And I feel panicky whenever someone else has a different view then me and it makes me wonder if their right and I'm wrong. Then and only then, do I start to feel guilty. I'm somebody who also loves people and animals and nature and life and the world. I'll often watch other people and find myself adoring them, thinking that they're just so cute whether they're male or female, young or old, etc. And in some cases I've prayed for God to please bless them and I'll even thank him for having created such wonderful people and for having blessed me with their presence or their work or their companionship. So when I heard the whole love/idolatry thing, I got worried. I was afraid that I was loving other things more than God. That I was somehow betraying him. I even started to feel guilty over listening to sweet love songs for fear that they're idolatrous. So I started trying to, I guess restrain my love for other people and things so as not to let myself love others more than God but in the end, I felt further away from him and more resentful and bitter and more distant. I think I've kind of realized that I really don't have to worry too much. By loving other people, animals, nature, hobbies, things, etc. I become closer to God and more thankful to Him. Which I know is like, totally backwards from how we're supposed to be but I don't know. It works for me. And honestly, I like the romanticizing of various things. I'm a dreamier sort of person anyway and that's usually how I feel about a lot of things. Though I do wish that romance wasn't so highly valued because I've seen a lot of really awesome people who, for one reason or another, never got married or fell in love or anything and they seem happy.

Anyway, I want to say thanks again to all of you, Midori, Nate, Xeno, Kaori, and Kraavdan. This really was interesting topic and your answers were all very interesting and thought provoking. I think I need to just stop worrying so much and just love and live and try to make God proud. For me, that seems to make me the happiest. Thank you and I love (as interent friends, lol) you guys! God bless you! :angel:
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Re: Love?

Postby Xeno » Mon Apr 20, 2015 1:24 pm

PLCDreamcatcher14 wrote:Xeno...Thank you and I love (as interent friends, lol) you guys!

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Re: Love?

Postby Ante Bellum » Mon Apr 20, 2015 3:37 pm

He's in a committed threesome with me and DoZ and can't take any more blows to his dignity.
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Re: Love?

Postby Nate » Mon Apr 20, 2015 3:42 pm

PLCDreamcatcher14 wrote:I even started to feel guilty over listening to sweet love songs for fear that they're idolatrous.


Just do what contemporary Christian music does and replace the words "baby" and "darling" in love songs with "Jesus" and bam, suddenly you're listening to a Christian song.
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Re: Love?

Postby Kraavdran » Mon Apr 20, 2015 3:55 pm

Nate wrote:
PLCDreamcatcher14 wrote:I even started to feel guilty over listening to sweet love songs for fear that they're idolatrous.


Just do what contemporary Christian music does and replace the words "baby" and "darling" in love songs with "Jesus" and bam, suddenly you're listening to a Christian song.


It is true. haha, perhaps we should start a thread about how to fix contemporary Christian music..
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Re: Love?

Postby Anirac » Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:50 am

PLCDreamcatcher14 wrote:I just wanted to say that the whole reason I posted this to begin with was because I'm someone who feels guilty very easily. It's one of the reasons I've posted in Christian Growth Q&A so many times. I always want to make sure I'm doing the right thing, not necessarily to save myself, but because I...I want to make God proud. And I feel panicky whenever someone else has a different view then me and it makes me wonder if their right and I'm wrong. Then and only then, do I start to feel guilty. I'm somebody who also loves people and animals and nature and life and the world. I'll often watch other people and find myself adoring them, thinking that they're just so cute whether they're male or female, young or old, etc. And in some cases I've prayed for God to please bless them and I'll even thank him for having created such wonderful people and for having blessed me with their presence or their work or their companionship. So when I heard the whole love/idolatry thing, I got worried. I was afraid that I was loving other things more than God. That I was somehow betraying him. I even started to feel guilty over listening to sweet love songs for fear that they're idolatrous. So I started trying to, I guess restrain my love for other people and things so as not to let myself love others more than God but in the end, I felt further away from him and more resentful and bitter and more distant. I think I've kind of realized that I really don't have to worry too much. By loving other people, animals, nature, hobbies, things, etc. I become closer to God and more thankful to Him. Which I know is like, totally backwards from how we're supposed to be but I don't know. It works for me. And honestly, I like the romanticizing of various things. I'm a dreamier sort of person anyway and that's usually how I feel about a lot of things. Though I do wish that romance wasn't so highly valued because I've seen a lot of really awesome people who, for one reason or another, never got married or fell in love or anything and they seem happy.


I find it funny that your own signature says "God expects spiritual fruit, not religious nuts" yet you yourself were going nuts over the matter of love. I'm glad people here helped you sort it out!

I think there is nothing wrong in showing admiration or interest for things, animals, or people, as long as you give credit to God. I see it as God telling me "Hey, look at this rose I made. Isn't it beautiful? Do you like it? Am I not Good?" and I thank Him for showing me such beauties. Then I research more about how things work and I'm amazed at their inner workings. If it's nature, I thank God for creating it, if it's machinery I thank God for the intellect he gave us to build that. By doing this, I'm constantly amazed and constantly worshipping God!
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Re: Love?

Postby PLCDreamcatcher14 » Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:27 am

Anirac wrote:
PLCDreamcatcher14 wrote:I just wanted to say that the whole reason I posted this to begin with was because I'm someone who feels guilty very easily. It's one of the reasons I've posted in Christian Growth Q&A so many times. I always want to make sure I'm doing the right thing, not necessarily to save myself, but because I...I want to make God proud. And I feel panicky whenever someone else has a different view then me and it makes me wonder if their right and I'm wrong. Then and only then, do I start to feel guilty. I'm somebody who also loves people and animals and nature and life and the world. I'll often watch other people and find myself adoring them, thinking that they're just so cute whether they're male or female, young or old, etc. And in some cases I've prayed for God to please bless them and I'll even thank him for having created such wonderful people and for having blessed me with their presence or their work or their companionship. So when I heard the whole love/idolatry thing, I got worried. I was afraid that I was loving other things more than God. That I was somehow betraying him. I even started to feel guilty over listening to sweet love songs for fear that they're idolatrous. So I started trying to, I guess restrain my love for other people and things so as not to let myself love others more than God but in the end, I felt further away from him and more resentful and bitter and more distant. I think I've kind of realized that I really don't have to worry too much. By loving other people, animals, nature, hobbies, things, etc. I become closer to God and more thankful to Him. Which I know is like, totally backwards from how we're supposed to be but I don't know. It works for me. And honestly, I like the romanticizing of various things. I'm a dreamier sort of person anyway and that's usually how I feel about a lot of things. Though I do wish that romance wasn't so highly valued because I've seen a lot of really awesome people who, for one reason or another, never got married or fell in love or anything and they seem happy.


I find it funny that your own signature says "God expects spiritual fruit, not religious nuts" yet you yourself were going nuts over the matter of love. I'm glad people here helped you sort it out!

I think there is nothing wrong in showing admiration or interest for things, animals, or people, as long as you give credit to God. I see it as God telling me "Hey, look at this rose I made. Isn't it beautiful? Do you like it? Am I not Good?" and I thank Him for showing me such beauties. Then I research more about how things work and I'm amazed at their inner workings. If it's nature, I thank God for creating it, if it's machinery I thank God for the intellect he gave us to build that. By doing this, I'm constantly amazed and constantly worshipping God!


Yes! Everything is just so beautiful and amazing.

And yes...perhaps I was going a little nuts. lol. :sweat:
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Re: Love?

Postby LastLfan » Fri May 01, 2015 8:16 pm

Not too much to add except that yes that contempory music thread must happen soon as I feel between all of us we could fix that issue, and to add in my two cents on what I've seen growing up in Baptist churches. I'm not sure about other denominations, but in Baptist it's an unspoken rule(may be spoken even in some) that the pastor must be married. I don't know the reasoning for this entirely, but it's an interesting facet of marriage and Christianity I thought I'd add to the discussion, partly so someone can help explain the original reason for this. Also marriage was designed by God, all God made is good, ergo...
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Re: Love?

Postby Nate » Sat May 02, 2015 10:21 am

I have no idea why that rule would exist, but if I had to guess, it might be one of the following. Maybe there's distaste in the thought of the pastor flirting with or dating a member of his congregation, especially if the pastor is a woman (probably unlikely in a Baptist church but who knows) there might be a feeling that because she's single, that she's "tempting them into sin" or something stupid like that. There may be the idea that, given that many Christians view a marriage as representative of Christ and the church, a pastor needs to be in a marriage in order to understand how to treat a church. It might be that the pastor being married is seen as a sign of maturity and especially commitment; a single pastor could potentially be seen as immature or maybe even incapable of committing themselves to something. It could be that pastors are also supposed to be counselors, and a single pastor might have difficulty giving marital advice to a couple if he's single himself and hasn't experienced married life, whereas obviously a married pastor can relate to both married couples AND single people since he was once single himself. Could even be a fear that maybe they're one of THE GAYS since if they weren't gay why haven't they gotten married yet? Might even be a subtle rebellion against Catholicism which requires priests to remain unmarried, feeling that the further they get away from Catholicism the more correct they are or something.

These are my best guesses honestly.
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Re: Love?

Postby Midori » Sat May 02, 2015 11:28 am

My denomination isn't Baptist, but I think we still tend to prefer married pastors over unmarried pastors. The reason for this is actually more practical than spiritual. Being a pastor is a commitment that requires you spend an amount of your life on the church. Marriage is also a commitment that takes time and energy, so it may or may not interfere with the duties of the church. If there's somebody who is already married and is being a pastor, we know that they are able to balance those commitments well, but if there's somebody who isn't married, we'd worry that if they become married while being our pastor, they might become unable to balance being both a pastor and a married person. It wouldn't be a problem if we took on an unmarried pastor who said they were never going to get married, but unlike Catholics, we don't require a vow of celibacy, so there's always the possibility of them changing their mind or something.

We feel similarly about pastors with or without children. Actually, we feel more strongly about that than about marriage, since having children is a larger commitment than marriage. If we're interviewing a pastoral candidate who doesn't have kids yet but plans to have them while he's pastoring our church, we want to be extra sure that they'll be able to manage the responsibilities well.
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Re: Love?

Postby LastLfan » Sun May 03, 2015 10:11 am

Thanks for the input guys, sorry if it detracted from the topic too far.
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Re: Love?

Postby Mullet Death » Mon May 04, 2015 3:44 pm

What is love?

Baby don't hurt me
Don't hurt me
No more
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Re: Love?

Postby Sheenar » Tue May 05, 2015 3:43 pm

Mullet Death wrote:What is love?

Baby don't hurt me
Don't hurt me
No more



That is exactly what popped into my head when I read this thread title. XD
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Re: Love?

Postby ClaecElric4God » Tue May 12, 2015 12:12 pm

To add to the off-topic topic of married and unmarried pastors, having grown up in a Baptist church as well, I'm fairly certain the reason is two-fold. Firstly for the practical reasons Midori mentioned, and secondly it's probably related to the passage in Titus 2 about being the husband of one wife. There's more to my point than that, but I'll leave it at that to avoid derailing the thread. I've never heard it preached or taught on, but like L said, it's an unspoken rule and I'm not certain a single pastor would actually be turned down in a church like mine. I'm trying to think if I know any single pastors...I don't think so, but I know a handful of single missionaries.
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Re: Love?

Postby Nate » Tue May 12, 2015 1:45 pm

I thought the "husband of one wife" thing was for elders, not pastors. Unless you want your pastors to be elders first or something.
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Re: Love?

Postby Jonathan » Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:26 am

As I'm someone who is 22 and never been in a relationship not even a date, I think that the idea that somehow people are incomplete without a spouse is something I strongly disagree with.
There's nothing wrong with being single, It can be better than being in bad relationships.
I don't know whether I will ever date or not, maybe I might eventually, maybe I won't.
I wouldn't want to get married if I was dirt poor like I am now. (I have always lived with my family and I don't drive. Plus I don't really go places that much.) Only after I go to a University and get a decent paying job I like would I maybe consider getting married. But it's not one of my top goals in life however.
So in short, People should stop pressuring others to get married and have kids and let people be single if they want to.
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Re: Love?

Postby SisterHipster » Thu Jun 04, 2015 12:17 pm

I had an issue one time where I visited my aunt and uncle who I rarely see. These two were asking me why I don't have a boyfriend or am married, yet. Now, these two were separated for many years and my cousin (their daughter) got divorced and then remarried. The husband cheated on her and she got divorced again and remarried. Now what kind of sense is that for asking me why I'm not married with kids, yet when they had problems in the past? Not only that kids are a chore and a burden. I would rather not work a job if I had to raise kids because I'm not going to do two things at once.
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Re: Love?

Postby Xeno » Fri Jun 05, 2015 8:26 pm

It's because for a long time there was concept that you had to hit certain life milestones by certain ages. If you didn't have a full time job by a certain age then you were lazy. If you didn't have a spouse by a certain age then you're a mess/gay. If you didn't have children by a certain age then you're selfish.

A lot of people still hold to these ideas even though they're ridiculous. This is a fairly recent image from a UK based company regarding life's milestones and when you're supposed to reach them. If you miss any of them, then I guess you're doing life wrong or something.

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Re: Love?

Postby Kraavdran » Sat Jun 06, 2015 5:17 am

Xeno wrote:It's because for a long time there was concept that you had to hit certain life milestones by certain ages. If you didn't have a full time job by a certain age then you were lazy. If you didn't have a spouse by a certain age then you're a mess/gay. If you didn't have children by a certain age then you're selfish.


oh, interesting. Growing up, I never felt like I was expected to reach certain milestones by a certain age. In fact, even at college, the only "expectation" that I saw was a general attitude that being married was an ideal to strive for with everything you have because being married makes you better. Kinda like what people have been saying earlier in the thread about expectations to pursue relationships/marriage with significant gusto. Which, I think, is an unhealthy view. But, perhaps, I am biased. According to that chart, I am significantly behind where I should be. haha.
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