Re: Love, kids, consistencey, and all that

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From: Ernest N. Prabhakar (
Date: Fri Sep 15 2000 - 08:16:08 PDT

This is so cool - I think (by artfully mischosen words) I actually have Jeff
arguing my point of view. :-)

> More or less. The statement as formulated doesn't make much sense --- how is
> itliterally possible to "accept" the "intolerable?" But riffing off what I

When I said "accept an intolerable point of view" what I really meant for
"accept" was "condone and adopt." For the "cohabitation and backpacking"
vs. "marriage and service to others" - I'm not saying you should impose
your values on theirs, but neither should you let them impose their values
on you! And certain strong lifestyle choices (e.g., settling down vs.
backpacking) are mutually incompatible, and I think it is simple honesty to
recognize that.

> that. But on a personal level, I think you've got to accept that money
> grubbing
> capitalist (or that tree-hugging greenie, conversely) if you really love them.
> You
> may not agree with them, and you may argue with them, but you've got to accept
> and
> respect them.

Oh, definitely, in the sense of accepting "persons". I perhaps didn't make
that distinction clear.

 In principle, I consider, e.g., homosexuality a moral abomination (along
with lots of other things, but this is a nice juicy target:). On the other
hand, I have several very close friends who are full-blown out-of-the closet
practicing, cohabitating gays. One was an usher for my wedding. I fully
accept them as individuals, and respect them for their many valuable
character traits. On the other hand, that doesn't mean I accept their
worldview as valid.

Love the sinner, hate the sin, and all that. :-)

> First, love --- real love, true love, at least the kind Cindy and Tom and Jeff
> Barr were talking about vis-a-vis kids --- is unconditional. Anything else is
> either lust dressed up or an arrangement of convenience or mutual benefit.

Amen. Preach it! That's actually *my* biggest beef with 'mere'
cohabitation. At least in a cultural context where marriage is associated
with long-term enduring love, I see the avoidance of marriage as saying "I
will love you as long as it is convenient, not unconditionally."

If you're arguing in favor of unconditional love, then I think we're on the
same side.

>Interestingly, the Xian notion
> "love thy neighbor as thy brother" is actually a mistranslation; the right
> phrase is actually "love they neighbor as theyself."

Um, unless you know some in-depth theological secret I don't, I've *always*
heard it as "love thy neighbor as thyself" not "as thy brother."

> IMO, when we talk about "true love,"
> we're talking about agape, even if it happens in the context of an erotic or
> philial relationship.

You took the words right out of my mouth!

> Second, I don't think it speaks to weakness at all to accept something purely
> based
> on love. Quite the contrary, I believe it takes a *strong* mind and will to
> actually accept that which, in your heart, you don't understand or agree with.

Like I said, "accept" in the sense of "endure/respect/agape love" -
absolutely. Accept in the sense of 'condone' or 'conform', absolutely not.

> Side note: I'm amazed to discover in all of this discussion hints that I
> believe
> something I didn't know I believed in. Apparently, I believe that "true love"
> can
> be a rational, intellectual choice. That's a pleasing notion, don't you
> think?

Absolutely. If I helped even a little in that direction, then the whole
conversation was worthwhile. In fact, "agape love" is the one thing I
believe is a personality invariant, and the level of maturity required to
make lifelong commitments (vs "expiring marriage licenses"). Which is why I
consider divorce a tragedy because it implies 'true love' failed to achieve
its full potential.

To your point of "minimal axioms" - I think I've found mine. "That human
beings are capable of conscious moral choices, and the best one they can
make is agape love."

Ernest N. Prabhakar, Ph.D.
II Cor 4:5

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