Christianity, Unconditional Love, and Absolute Tolerance: The Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7)

As I continue my review of the gospel of Matthew and what is says, and does not say, about what Christianity demands regarding unconditional love and absolute tolerance, I come to the sermon on the mount.  My motivation for this effort is claims that Christianity ought to be nearly a ‘anything goes’ religion regarding sinful behavior.  As you might suspect, I consider the sermon on the mount to be something of a ‘home run’ in making my point that Christ did not teach a ‘anything goes’ type of gospel.

Continue reading ‘Christianity, Unconditional Love, and Absolute Tolerance: The Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7)’

Christianity, Unconditional Love, and Absolute Tolerance: Matt 4

As I start my review of Chapter 4 to see if Christianity demands absolute tolerance as many seem to think it does, I wanted to explain a little what I mean by absolute tolerance.  I am all for tolerance which compels us to respect all people.  I am also all for tolerance which compels us to be kind to all people.  But in this context, absolute tolerance would mean that we must treat all beliefs and behaviors as perfectly acceptable in the eyes of God.  This seems to me to be what many advocates of various causes claim that Christianity demands.  And it is quite frequent that I see evidence that what many seem to want is an anything goes version of Christianity which I think is in complete opposition to what Christ actually taught.

Continue reading ‘Christianity, Unconditional Love, and Absolute Tolerance: Matt 4′

Christianity, Unconditional Love, and Absolute Tolerance: Matt. 3

In my introductory post I addressed what I feel is a misunderstanding by the general public about Christianity, namely that Christianity demands absolute tolerance for all behavior because it teaches unconditional love.  I refute the idea that Christ taught a ‘anything goes’ gospel.  I have chosen to do this by working through the book of Matthew with this purpose in mind.

Continue reading ‘Christianity, Unconditional Love, and Absolute Tolerance: Matt. 3′

Christianity, Unconditional Love, and Absolute Tolerance

I have been stuck in recent years about how there seems to be what I would say is a misunderstanding about Christianity in the general public.  This misunderstanding is that Christianity is all about complete tolerance of any behavior.  The argument might go something like this:

P1 – Christianity teaches unconditional love.
P2 –  To love unconditionally means you must be absolutely tolerant of all behaviors
C1 –  Christianity must treat all behaviors as perfectly acceptable.

For me, the disagreement comes with P2.  It is of course possible to love someone, in spite of their sinful behavior.  This is another way of stating the familiar ‘hating the sin yet loving the sinner’.  In this circumstance, I think it is important to keep in mind that love comes in many forms, and that at times loving the sinner may require speaking out against the sin.

Did Christ really teach a gospel that required followers to always show absolute tolerance in a way that demanded treating all behaviors as perfectly acceptable?  I would say the answer to this is a firm no.

Please feel free to share you thoughts on the above.  I am planning to go through one of the gospels, probably Matthew, to review Christ’s teachings and how they relate to claims of teaching absolute tolerance of any behavior.  Or put another way, did Christ teach an ‘Anything Goes‘ gospel.

Book Review: “Feast Upon the Word: 7 Effective Tips to Improve Scripture Study” by Jared Hansen

Jared Hansen has written a concise guide for improved scripture study.  His suggestions are very straight forward and practical, and have a very devotional approach.  51HGr34DXML._AA160_His goal is to help people have memorable spiritual experiences through studying the scriptures.

Hansen feels that reading the scriptures like novels can be a distraction.  He recommends studying with a purpose, prayerfully pondering each verse.  For Hansen, this feast is meant to be savored rather than gulped down.

Hansen exhorts his audience to pray, as they take on scripture study like they would an important assignment at work or school – writing down our experiences as we go – along with other valuable tips.  He includes touching testimony, particularly of the Book of Mormon.  This guide will help anyone who wants to pursue a serious and devotional study of the scriptures.  It is available at Amazon here.

Mormonism’s Truth Claims and The Claims of ‘Truth’ Seekers

Through the wonders of facebook, I was able to read some articles about the anniversary of the Kate Kelly excommunication, and what I assume is a recent disfellowship of a member of the Ordain Women’s board.  The term ‘truth seeker’ was a self description of both of these individuals.  I have also seen this term used by those who claim to be within the church and support this and other causes.

Continue reading ‘Mormonism’s Truth Claims and The Claims of ‘Truth’ Seekers’

On Unconditional Love

I have had a few thoughts lately on unconditional love that I wanted to share.

One thought is that if someone has unconditional love, then it must be universal.  It makes no sense at all to claim to have unconditional love for someone, but not have unconditional love for someone else.  If that were the case, then there must be some condition that the loved one met, that someone else did not.

Another thought is that unconditional love is entirely about the ‘subject’ rather than the object of the love.  Or put another way, it is about the lover, rather than the loved.  By definition the loved meets no condition for unconditional love, so there is no merit there whatsoever.  It is the lover that shows merit.

Yet another thought is that unconditional love does not necessarily imply anything more than love.  It does not include trust for example.  Unconditional love must cover both the trustworthy and the untrustworthy.  One could unconditionally love someone, yet not trust them in the least.  It also does not necessarily give license to the loved either – meaning just because one is loved unconditionally, does not mean that they are free from consequences of their behavior.  Unconditional love can remain in spite of consequences for poor behavior.  Unconditional love is not the same as unconditional tolerance.  To understand the implications and value of unconditional love (for the recipient of this love), one must know the type and definition of this love.


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