Love vs Holiness

treeplanter

Well-known member
The biblical God is presented, primarily, as both A GOD OF LOVE and A HOLY GOD


What is love?

Love, in short, is wanting what the other truly needs

To love is to place another ahead of one’s own self

To love is to value what is in the best interest of the recipient; above and beyond what is in the best interest of the benefactor

Love is outwardly directed

Love, by definition, is selflessness


And what, then, is holiness?

Holiness, in short, is ‘set apartness’

To be holy is to be separate and special and unique and one of a kind

To be holy is to be exalted, atop a pedestal, and praised as an unswervingly righteous object worthy of complete and unwavering devotion

Holiness is inwardly directed

Holiness, by definition, is selfishness


Many Christians with whom I have conversed would have me believe that God is equal parts loving and holy

That God is every bit as much concerned with us as He is with Himself



Is this true, though?



God may well be LOVE and we may well be the recipient and intended executor of this secondary and outwardly directed nature of God, but there is no denying that, first and foremost, God regards Himself as HOLY

{i.e. 'set apart' and of an inwardly directed valuation demanding absolute primacy}



The fact, per scripture, is this:

God created us, the earth, the universe, and the whole of existence itself FOR HIS OWN GLORY!

See Isaiah 43:7
“everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”

Clearly, God’s holiness, AND NOT His love, is emphasized

“Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty”
{Revelation 4:8}

Holy, holy, holy
NOT love, love, love!

Nowhere does scripture take such care as to thricely ascribe, to God, the attribute of love – just holiness!



And as if we needed any further confirmation that God’s holiness trumps His love, we have the words of Jesus Christ, Himself:

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
{Matthew 22:36-39}

FIRST AND GREATEST!

That we love Him {i.e. satisfy His holiness} is FIRST AND GREATEST!

Loving our neighbor is, by definition, of secondary importance
Loving our neighbor, while GREAT, is NOT AS GREAT as loving God!


I have a hard time reconciling, as morally deserving of devotion, ANYONE who is more concerned with his/her own glorification than they are with the ultimate welfare of others, but I find it especially difficult to do so when said being is reputed {AND personally claims} to be perfect...

Is there anyone who can and will argue that selfishness is a morally superior position to selflessness?
 

Dizerner

Well-known member
When you make mutual human valuation the source of all meaning and worth, you essentially move the creation into the Creator position. God should bow down to us, do exactly what we want, and apologize to each and every one of us for violating our innate sense of what we deem good and evil. But the problem with this is, that God is the source of our own sense of entitlement, and the only true source of infinite worth and power from which all beings came and are upheld, and all things are owed to him by virtue of coming from his supply. As the old joke goes, "Get your own dirt."

But we have no dirt. Logically we can see God is the 900 pound gorilla, so then the only claim that can be made is not what is owed from God, but that God should be beholden to a set of virtues to claim them. If my definition of love, goodness and justice, is violated, than God has no right to use them! But if we can come up with a definition of these that are different than what I think, yet coherent and meaningful, we still have a love, goodness and justice that is admittedly different than my intuitions, but not incomprehensible or conflicting. If we are in fact, born sinful in some sense, it would be strange if we understood what love even is.

In any act, it is the invisible motivations that matter, when one cares about character, which is why pushing someone off a cliff could be a morally bad or good act, depending on the intended results. But to define "selfless" or "selfish" requires complex paradigms of analysis, to determine what we actually mean. When we use it in a moral do-goodery sense, we generally don't literally have to become entirely selfless to be moral, and only care about other people ever, to the sacrifice of all we have. After all, we could define loving God completely as selfless in that sense. No, what we mean is a superimposed particular and contextual method of mutual valuation that we deem acceptable and noble.

You currently right now giving me all the money you had could be "selfless" in one sense, but you giving me enough for a life-saving operation if it doesn't hurt your economical situation too much, is the kind of "selfless" that is meant here, and that is arbitrary and particular to the amount of mutual valuation deemed acceptable. But again, I can do a "selfless" act just to feel good about myself, or just to extol the virtues of a fellow human being above myself, or just because I was programmed to do that... or even to please a Deity.

Without God as the currency and source of all value, everything is completely cheapened through the deflation of having no sustainable, adequate and appropriate source. The reason modesty is even thought a virtue for people, because, and only because, we intuitively don't think people are God; that is, it would be valuing a person "too much" if they were to not be modest. We don't consider praising someone who actually deserves the praise to be a necessary vice. We might deem someone a "nice guy" that goes "aw shucks, ain't no thing," but the kind of praise that is truly eschewed is the kind in which we feel a person takes more value than they are really worth. And that value is only sourced or attributed by the ideals of each individual and what they think is worthy.

If God is willing to suffer infinitely, to humiliate and condescend to such extreme and unnecessary lengths, to redeem something that has no inherent worth other than his decision to value it; and do such a "selfless" act without violating his own holiness, as is appropriate for him; then we can truly equate his love and holiness as both all-encompassing and complete within his being. This is a love not based in the foggy idea of "promoting human flourishing," which is a product that could very well enable evil, but rather the source of "desiring the well-being of others without sacrificing essential values to do so." As I assume even you would not think it virtuous to suffer and die for a child molester to continue to enable his "flourishing" in his desire to molest.

This topic is exceedingly more intricate and complicated than just throwing some half-hazard objection, like spaghetti at the wall hoping it sticks, could warrant.
 
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Whateverman

Well-known member
[...]

Is there anyone who can and will argue that selfishness is a morally superior position to selflessness?
I think most Christians would have issues with the definition of holiness you've used here.

It's not that it's wrong, per se, but that "holiness" can mean other things too.

I left religion in part because I recognized the way believers molded language; they change the meanings of words to suit whatever they want to convey. Holiness can mean completely different things to each of two theists, but since they're emoting (rather than communicating) when they use it to praise something, both will agree.

Get a bunch of Christians together in a room, and praise of God/Jesus will fly fast and furious. For the most part, it doesn't matter too much which words are used, but instead, the emotion being conveyed is what they're echoing amongst themselves. This happens with all religions in which rapturous worship of a deity is encouraged.

For this reason, it's common to have theists literally contradict each other (ie. "God is perfectly Good" and "God is perfectly Just") and yet agree with each other at the same time. The words don't actually matter; only the praise does.

Anyhoo, I think a thoughtful Christian could disagree with your strict definition of holiness for this reason. They probably have used the word in ways that don't align with yours.
 

Algor

Well-known member
The biblical God is presented, primarily, as both A GOD OF LOVE and A HOLY GOD


What is love?

Love, in short, is wanting what the other truly needs

To love is to place another ahead of one’s own self

To love is to value what is in the best interest of the recipient; above and beyond what is in the best interest of the benefactor

Love is outwardly directed

Love, by definition, is selflessness


And what, then, is holiness?

Holiness, in short, is ‘set apartness’

To be holy is to be separate and special and unique and one of a kind

To be holy is to be exalted, atop a pedestal, and praised as an unswervingly righteous object worthy of complete and unwavering devotion

Holiness is inwardly directed

Holiness, by definition, is selfishness


Many Christians with whom I have conversed would have me believe that God is equal parts loving and holy

That God is every bit as much concerned with us as He is with Himself



Is this true, though?



God may well be LOVE and we may well be the recipient and intended executor of this secondary and outwardly directed nature of God, but there is no denying that, first and foremost, God regards Himself as HOLY

{i.e. 'set apart' and of an inwardly directed valuation demanding absolute primacy}



The fact, per scripture, is this:

God created us, the earth, the universe, and the whole of existence itself FOR HIS OWN GLORY!

See Isaiah 43:7
“everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”

Clearly, God’s holiness, AND NOT His love, is emphasized

“Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty”
{Revelation 4:8}

Holy, holy, holy
NOT love, love, love!

Nowhere does scripture take such care as to thricely ascribe, to God, the attribute of love – just holiness!



And as if we needed any further confirmation that God’s holiness trumps His love, we have the words of Jesus Christ, Himself:

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
{Matthew 22:36-39}

FIRST AND GREATEST!

That we love Him {i.e. satisfy His holiness} is FIRST AND GREATEST!

Loving our neighbor is, by definition, of secondary importance
Loving our neighbor, while GREAT, is NOT AS GREAT as loving God!


I have a hard time reconciling, as morally deserving of devotion, ANYONE who is more concerned with his/her own glorification than they are with the ultimate welfare of others, but I find it especially difficult to do so when said being is reputed {AND personally claims} to be perfect...

Is there anyone who can and will argue that selfishness is a morally superior position to selflessness?
This is a horrible strawman of holiness.

Holiness has two elements: sanctity and purity. They refer to something set apart, and kept free from defilement . In our culture there is a significant aspect of constancy and changelessness to sanctity, and in many there is the isea that nobody intervenes to make a change: that the holy should remain inviolate. If there is a principle associated with holiness, then that principle is shown deference and respect in the locus of the holiness. This brings one to the idea of sanctity: that the pure space, condition or object brings with it a space that has power to save, calm, give refuge, or manifest psychical or physical attributes.

All of this is off the top of my head. I suggest you do some reading in cultural anthropology. Holiness is a universal human idea: you don’t have to think God exists to understand that sanctity is a positive value and respecting it is a virtue. You don’t have to like one idea of holiness, or even any of them, to understand that it connects to basic human needs and values, and isn’t selfishness.
 

treeplanter

Well-known member
This is a horrible strawman of holiness.

Holiness has two elements: sanctity and purity. They refer to something set apart, and kept free from defilement . In our culture there is a significant aspect of constancy and changelessness to sanctity, and in many there is the isea that nobody intervenes to make a change: that the holy should remain inviolate. If there is a principle associated with holiness, then that principle is shown deference and respect in the locus of the holiness. This brings one to the idea of sanctity: that the pure space, condition or object brings with it a space that has power to save, calm, give refuge, or manifest psychical or physical attributes.

All of this is off the top of my head. I suggest you do some reading in cultural anthropology. Holiness is a universal human idea: you don’t have to think God exists to understand that sanctity is a positive value and respecting it is a virtue. You don’t have to like one idea of holiness, or even any of them, to understand that it connects to basic human needs and values, and isn’t selfishness.
I'm not suggesting that the concept of holiness is, in and of itself, selfish
{Nor do I, an atheist, deny that I, too, possess a sense of the holy}

The selfishness that I am referring to is a demand for recognition as holy
A demand, at the threat of eternal damnation, to be glorified as the inviolate locus of sanctity and purity

Strawman?
I think not
 

treeplanter

Well-known member
I think most Christians would have issues with the definition of holiness you've used here.

It's not that it's wrong, per se, but that "holiness" can mean other things too.

I left religion in part because I recognized the way believers molded language; they change the meanings of words to suit whatever they want to convey. Holiness can mean completely different things to each of two theists, but since they're emoting (rather than communicating) when they use it to praise something, both will agree.

Get a bunch of Christians together in a room, and praise of God/Jesus will fly fast and furious. For the most part, it doesn't matter too much which words are used, but instead, the emotion being conveyed is what they're echoing amongst themselves. This happens with all religions in which rapturous worship of a deity is encouraged.

For this reason, it's common to have theists literally contradict each other (ie. "God is perfectly Good" and "God is perfectly Just") and yet agree with each other at the same time. The words don't actually matter; only the praise does.

Anyhoo, I think a thoughtful Christian could disagree with your strict definition of holiness for this reason. They probably have used the word in ways that don't align with yours.
With allowances for individual interpretations, I think that most every definition of holiness {as pertaining to God} ultimately boils down to the idea that God is 'set apart from' {and above} His creation - i.e. us
 

Algor

Well-known member
I'm not suggesting that the concept of holiness is, in and of itself, selfish
{Nor do I, an atheist, deny that I, too, possess a sense of the holy}

The selfishness that I am referring to is a demand for recognition as holy
A demand, at the threat of eternal damnation, to be glorified as the inviolate locus of sanctity and purity

Strawman?
I think not
So a holy entity that demands that its followers recognize the truth (assuming for the sake of argument that it is the truth) is selfish.....dude. Holiness is an aspect of the truth system involved: no truth system says that it is ok to ignore the truth. You can argue that the punishment seems extreme but to say that holiness IS selfishness is just saying that you reject the system because you can’t relate to it: you aren’t actually commenting on what holiness and selfishness are to any adherent of the system, or to anyone who asks what holiness is to a Christian.

You might as well come here and yell in Martian that people should do what you tell them to, IMO.
 

treeplanter

Well-known member
So a holy entity that demands that its followers recognize the truth (assuming for the sake of argument that it is the truth) is selfish.....dude. Holiness is an aspect of the truth system involved: no truth system says that it is ok to ignore the truth. You can argue that the punishment seems extreme but to say that holiness IS selfishness is just saying that you reject the system because you can’t relate to it: you aren’t actually commenting on what holiness and selfishness are to any adherent of the system, or to anyone who asks what holiness is to a Christian.

You might as well come here and yell in Martian that people should do what you tell them to, IMO.
Yes, a holy entity that demands it's own version of truth be recognized {at threat of eternal damnation} IS a selfish holy entity!

I'm not talking about the ignoring of truth

I'm talking about those who {for whatever reason} innocently arrive at a different truth and are then burned and tortured for all eternity by a being who has come to the conclusion that the recognition of the sanctity of His own "set-apartness" {i.e. HOLINESS} is of greater value and worth to Him than is His concern and care for His creation {i.e. LOVE}

If this isn't selfish then I don't know what is...


That aspect of God's nature which we describe as LOVE - is the aspect of God's nature that would surely lead Him to compassionately offer salvation to those who die without having recognized {for whatever reason} His truth

That aspect of God's nature which we describe as HOLINESS - is the aspect of God's nature that would, due His insistence upon an inwardly directed valuation demanding absolute primacy, lead Him to send to Hell those who die without having recognized His truth

Christianity makes clear which of these two attributes of God takes precedence over the other


If God is, in fact, truth - then each and every one of us will ultimately know this truth when we die and find ourselves standing, in judgement, before Him

And Christianity makes perfectly clear that God will, at this point, cast into Hell those that died without having recognized Jesus Christ - even if and when they now desire {having come, in death, to recognize Him for the first time} to spend an eternity glorifying Him


What it all boils down to is this:

God cares more about an affront to His holiness than He does about the eternal destination of the souls that He purports to love
God puts Himself first

And again, if this is not selfishness then I don't know what is...
 

Furion

Well-known member
VERSUS, James, not VERSES!

And God has already decreed the winner...
Ahh shucks.

I think we should let God speak for Himself.

But what tree planter thinks is of more interest. Which one wins? Is it the right hook of love or the holy hand grenade?
 

treeplanter

Well-known member
Ahh shucks.

I think we should let God speak for Himself.

But what tree planter thinks is of more interest. Which one wins? Is it the right hook of love or the holy hand grenade?
God HAS spoken, Jimmy

He chooses to value His inviolate holiness at the expense of His love for us
 

treeplanter

Well-known member
What has He said?

I don't recognize that verse. Is that in the atheist bible or something?
He has said that those who were deceived into following false gods and die without faith in Jesus Christ will go to Hell even if and when they are now ready, in death, to accept Christ as lord and savior

And the reason He says this is because His inviolate holiness is more important to Him than is the love that He purportedly has for us
 

Furion

Well-known member
He has said that those who were deceived into following false gods and die without faith in Jesus Christ will go to Hell even if and when they are now ready, in death, to accept Christ as lord and savior
I don't recall that verse either.
And the reason He says this is because His inviolate holiness is more important to Him than is the love that He purportedly has for us
You make no sense. Maybe read John 3:16 again or something.
 

treeplanter

Well-known member
I don't recall that verse either.

You make no sense. Maybe read John 3:16 again or something.
Does Christianity teach that you have to accept Jesus Christ as lord and savior in order to go to Heaven?
Yes or no?

Does Christianity teach that those who die without faith in Jesus Christ are then condemned to Hell?
Yes or no?


In case you don't know, Jimmy, the answer to both of the above questions is YES!


PS
We don’t have to see a specific word {or string of words} in the Bible in order for the concept it describes to be true
 

Furion

Well-known member
Does Christianity teach...
I'm sorry, I did not attend the University of Christianity.

that those who die without faith in Jesus Christ are then condemned to Hell?
Yes or no?
No.
In case you don't know, Jimmy, the answer to both of the above questions is YES!
No.
PS
We don’t have to see a specific word {or string of words} in the Bible in order for the concept it describes to be true
Your "concepts" are half truths and straw.

You could quote Christ, in context and in view of the full counsel of God, then maybe you'll be cookin with peanut oil.
 

Bob Carabbio

Well-known member
The biblical God is presented, primarily, as both A GOD OF LOVE and A HOLY GOD.
And if you ever bothered to actually READ the Bible, you'd know that God is also a God of JUDGEMENT, a God of Vengeance, a God who not only KILLS, but Who also casts into hell, A God of LAW, and a God of punishment. He's a God Totally outside of YOUR (and my) ability to understand. And most importantly, He's God who sent his only begotten SON to be murdered by His chosen people, as a SIN OFFERING for humanity.

You "Moral arguments" are pathetic, since Human "Morals", and Human "Ethics" don't mean SPIT in the presence of God's ABSOLUTES. That you reject God, and parrot your pathetic reasoning for doing so is simply unimportant, and will come with a price.
 

Bob Carabbio

Well-known member
Does Christianity teach that you have to accept Jesus Christ as lord and savior in order to go to Heaven?
Yes or no?
Yes - no savior = no cleansing of SIN = rejection at God's final Judgement.
Does Christianity teach that those who die without faith in Jesus Christ are then condemned to Hell?
Yes or no?
YES - temporarily, and then The Lake of fire for eternity.

What you left off, naturally, is the infinitly more favorable experience of those who DO (under conviction of sin) REPENT of their sin, surrender to God calling upon Him in FAITH (that He gives) for salvation by the SIN OFFERING of Jesus on the cross.

Atheism (which is generally nothing more than common agnosticism) offers nothing during physical life, and a terrible penalty when physical life is over.
 

treeplanter

Well-known member
I'm sorry, I did not attend the University of Christianity.


No.

No.

Your "concepts" are half truths and straw.

You could quote Christ, in context and in view of the full counsel of God, then maybe you'll be cookin with peanut oil.
John 14:6
"Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me"

Unless Jesus was lying, Christianity DOES teach that one must accept Jesus Christ as lord and savior in order to go to Heaven

Which is it, James?
Are you right or is Jesus right?


John 3:36
"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him"

Hmm...once again we find James contradicting scripture

Are you going to double down and assert that you are right and the bible is wrong?
 
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