Love is a verb that presupposes the existence of two human beings who think and act in such a way that to both subjective individuals the phrase “I love you” comes to mind upon the mere sight, thought, or mention of the Other. The act of loving the Other is holistic in the sense that both intention (i.e., the human will) is perfectly in tune and in harmonious relationship with the consequential act. When a human is in such a relationship, his or her thoughts and actions are subjectively loving and are interpreted—in most cases—as such by the Other (i.e., the one being loved). Such “loving acts,” as they are normally called, are usually self-sacrificial and reflect selfless behavior, immediate care, and concern for the well-being of the Other. Love, by this definition, may include other related acts (such as sexual expression, friendship, care, etc.) but does not inherently need to. In sum, in order for an act to qualify as being “loving,” the act must (a) be seen as loving by the subjective individual committing the act; (b) the act must be loving according to intent—and consequentially; and, finally, (c) the act must be interpreted as loving by the one upon whom such “loving acts” are acted upon. As a side note, it must also be noted that, at times, when the fruition of intent is impossible (e.g., a wounded soldier wishing to help another wounded soldier in enemy territory but inhibited to fulfill his intent due to his present paralyzed condition) such “acts” of love—though they have not been acted upon—are, nonetheless, to be considered acts of love.
Sin—and its ugly cousins, guilt and atonement—are not very popular topics. Christopher Hitchens called the atonement—that “ancient superstition”—Christianity’s most immoral … Read More “Sin, Guilt, and Atonement in Judaism: Why Jesus is Not the (Jewish) Answer”
I am thoroughly convinced that Kierkegaard is right in arguing immediately that love is subjective. That does not mean that love is not absolute. It is absolute, and has its grounding in an objective God. However, love is subjective in the sense that we can all be hearing the same thing from a particular person and only one of us may react in a loving reciprocal manner. That is, only one may actually subjectively feel love being conveyed. Romeo may objectively be verbalizing feelings of love—feelings which none of us could subjectively relate to. An objective event may be taking place (in fact, it is) but not all of us have subjective access to that objective reality. We all know that Romeo directed his loving words, carried on sound waves, to one person and one person only: Juliet. While those sound waves could have been recorded and examined objectively by a team of empirical scientists, love would never be conveyed in their thorough analysis. Not a single scientist would fall in love with Romeo. Not a single scientist would intuitively and subjectively know and experience the love contained in those words. In this sense—in this thoroughly Kierkegaardian approach—the love which is ejected from the innermost part of a human being is specifically directed, like a beam of light, at a particular person in a particular moment.
People the world over like to know about ultimate meaning in life. They want to know whether God exists, whether … Read More “Predestination and Free Will in Islam and Christianity: A Comparison”