Thursday, July 16, 2009

American Rights and Unconditional Love

I'm beginning to wonder if God's love is truly unconditional, for all of us. And how incredibly stupid it would be if it was- for in modern America at least, one cannot sin if one is loved unconditionally. Unconditional love erases sin.

I prefer a loving father to that- and as a father, my love is NOT unconditional. My child experiences discipline from me at times, when necessary, and thus, my love is not unconditional. But I'd suggest that the discipline of conditional love is closer to the Greek of Agape, than the uncritical, unconditional love of modern America, where, to paraphrase Pope Benedict XVI in his latest encyclical, we have rights but no duty- and thus, have reduced right to mere license.

Far too often, we go beyond forgiving sin, to encouraging sin, in modern America- and eventually, we all pay the price of that, economically and spiritually.

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After a couple of comments on facebook, I realized that this might actually be a translation problem from the Greek- that perhaps a better translation of Agape is unENDing love, not unconditional love. Which makes me wonder what else we've mistranslated in modern American English- for instance the French concept of Liberty, what would it be without the duties of Patriotism? Sure might look a lot like what the libertarian party stands for- every man his own island.

3 comments:

ConceptJunkie said...


I prefer a loving father to that- and as a father, my love is NOT unconditional. My child experiences discipline from me at times, when necessary, and thus, my love is not unconditional.


How is disciplining a child not an act of love? If you are disciplining a child in order to teach the child a lesson in morality or to correct the child's behavior because he or she has done something unacceptable, this is truly an act of love.

As a father as well, I consider my love of my children to be wholly unconditional. That doesn't mean I accept their bad behavior, and that I will act accordingly. This is an act of love. It would be an act of indifference were I to neglect my duty as a parent to teach and correct and punish my children as needed. I would love my child no matter what he or she did, but that doesn't mean I accept his or her behavior when it is wrong.

It is most certainly not an act of love to tolerate bad behavior, so I think your definition of "love" is a little skewed.

Ted Seeber said...

But by the American ideal of "UNCONDITIONAL" love- or at least, the version that most state child welfare programs and several liberal adult groups seem to be preaching- intolerance is the only sin. Thus, by not tolerating your child's bad behavior you are setting conditions on your love for your child, from their point of view.

That's why I say we've been translating Agape wrong- it's not unconditional, it's unending. We'll love our children no matter what they do- but a good part of that love is indeed conditional, dependent upon their good behavior.

ConceptJunkie said...

I think I see where you're coming from. It's a matter of semantics.

And there's no doubt in my mind that the "liberal" version of love is blind acceptance and tolerance of any behavior, except for acting conservative of course.

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