Do You Want to Know Goodness and Love?

How many of you who deny or reject God would want, if it were possible, to know, love, and serve a Being who not only loves but was the very incarnation of Love, a Person who not only was good but was goodness itself?

If you’ve read other writings of mine, most of the time when I use the word ‘God’ I do not mean an exceptionally powerful creature with an ego problem or anything like that. Perhaps, it will make things clearer if, in this post, I don’t use the word ‘God’ or any words associated with that word at all to describe the thing of which I am thinking and which I am putting forward for your consideration, but I’m not sure how to do that. There’s only so many words in the world, or at least in any given language.

If there were, not only an abstract ideal of goodness (or maybe a relative idea of goodness; I really don’t care about the relativity/objectivity discussion here, though if you are interested in my thoughts on it, see this) but a concrete, living Person who was Goodness – if Goodness were a real Person – would you want to find this Person and swear your complete and undying allegiance to this Person, to Goodness, to do whatever Goodness wanted or desired, without any hesitation? Of course, I don’t mean without verifying that the commands came from Goodness and not from some pretender, some rebel, claiming to be Goodness, or from someone who misunderstood Goodness and so, while he might be trying to do right, could not be trusted.

How many of you, who reject an idea of God or the existence of God altogether, reject and deny God because he is not good enough? Perhaps, he hated people simply for not having heard the right historical facts; perhaps, he created people for the purpose of throwing them into hell; perhaps, he demanded worship because he was insincere and needed his ego and pride, his self-image, stoked; perhaps, any number of other things more or less of this order. Or, perhaps, you reasoned that any God in whom you could not believe if you held a particular theory of how the world had been made, or how it functioned, could not really be God at all. I’m not going to try to give the whole list of reasons to reject ‘God’; I could not ever hope to think of them all!

But what if Goodness asks for your allegiance and tells you that it is evil to refuse to give Goodness your allegiance? After all, this is Goodness! This is not a being, different perhaps from you as you are different from animals, or trees, or even rocks, but more or less of the same substance as you. This Person does not ask for your allegiance out of a need for subjects; this Person asks for your allegiance because this Person is Goodness and it is good to do and serve Goodness, and it is bad to reject Goodness. If there is a Person who is Goodness or who is Love, then the very categories of self-interest and egotism (self-love, self-exaltation) versus humility and altruism (love of others, unselfish love) break down. If there is a Person who is Love, then, for that Person, the distinction between doing something for oneself and doing something for others becomes nonsense, because to that Person to Love is self-fulfillment, to do and be for Love is at once to do and be for oneself and to do and be for another.

It is then this, a Person who is Love, Love and Goodness as real, living, concrete, and Personal, rather than merely an impersonal abstraction, whom I offer to you as worthy of your allegiance. It is this which I invite you to come and see, to get to know.

Essentially, this is what and in whom I believe. From infancy, I have known that Love is real. From earliest thought, I have known that the greatest manifestation or glory of Love – if not the greatest, then the greatest which can appear to my eyes in this world – is when Love freely submits to suffering and torture to save or be with the Beloved – for in the language of Love, to save the Beloved and to with be the Beloved are not distinguishable. It is in this that Love most fully and truly shows itself to be Love. I was already enthralled by Love.

Thus, when I heard the story of the God of Love (the God Who is Love) who came to earth to be united with His creatures, who took to Himself all their suffering and sin so that He could be with them and be one with them in everything, and give to them Himself – Love, and the joy and peace which is in Love, I knew it was Truth. It resonated with everything I had always known. It was not, in fact, different from what I had known: it was what I had always known taking a concrete form within human history.

This, then, is why I believe that Jesus Christ is the incarnate Eternal Son of God, who lived a perfect human life, died a human death upon a cross, bearing the sorrows and transgressions of the world, and rose from the dead. It has nothing to do with the Bible or anything else. If there is anything in the Bible, anything in the teaching of Christians, which runs counter to the Love I adore, then I do not believe it – without it ever affecting my belief in Jesus Christ, my belief in Love, for I do not believe in Jesus Christ because of a Bible, or the teaching of some Teaching Authority, or anything like that. I believe in Him because I have always known that Love of which His story is the incarnation. If you say, “But if not for the Bible – or whoever it was that told you – you would not believe in Him,” I answer, “You are correct, if you mean I would not know the details of His life and death and would not be able to say anything about them. But if you mean that I would not know that something like Him has to be true, that I would not believe that Love is real and shows itself to be supremely Love in suffering to be with the Beloved, then, no, you are not correct. I would indeed have believed that. I believed that before I knew the details. I recognized the details as truth because I already knew that of which they are the details, the literal embodiment in our world.”

But if you do not see how Jesus Christ, how the Crucified One, is the supreme manifestation of Goodness, Love in a human body dwelling among us, then it is probably better for you not to try to believe in Him until you do know Him as very Love and Goodness. To deny the Truth we know, to refuse the Love we have found, to reject the Goodness we see, is a grave evil. Even if something is true, if we do not yet know it to be true, then trying to put it in the place of the True is in fact a lie – which is, in essence, to deny the Truth we know. We should always be open to seeing more of the Good, to knowing Love better.

 

Copyright 2019 Raina Nightingale

12 thoughts on “Do You Want to Know Goodness and Love?

  1. “How many of you who deny or reject God would want, if it were possible, to know, love, and serve a Being who not only loves but was the very incarnation of Love, a Person who not only was good but was goodness itself?”

    There is no evidence of your god, especially the Christian god. We also have no evidence that your god is “good” or “love” or anything else. Many of us folks who aren’t Christians have read the bible and we know what it claims this god did and will do. Your god can’t even come up to the modest definition of love in 1 Corinthians.

    We have love as much as any theist does, and it is always a shame that some believers try to pretend otherwise. Love isn’t creating humans and then either intentionally or stupidly allowing Satan into bother then, and then damning them for doing what you knew they would do; calling for genocide; calling for believers to kill their families if they don’t worship the same god; saying you should leave your family in favor of Jesus; picking and chooses who can and who can’t accept this god; killing all of the non-TrueChristians in the world and then working with your supposed archenemy to corrupt the people left, and love isn’t wanting people to be tortured eternally for finite “sins”.

    non-christians don’t reject love. They reject a god and religion that is violent and ignorant, and has no evidence to support its claims.

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    1. I didn’t ever say that non-Christians reject Love. Neither did I fault you for rejecting a ‘religion that is violent and ignorant.’ I think some of you have made a tremendous step in the direction of Truth by rejecting this ‘religion that is violent’.

      There’s a lot of other assumptions that you made about what I believe that aren’t true. For example, I think I was very clear that if something is said about God in the Bible that cannot be true of Love then it is not true of the One I worship (though it might be true of demons).

      I cannot make everything clear in a single essay. Perhaps you were confused by seeing the title “The Wrath of the Love of God” on my website, and thought that I think Love wants ‘people to be tortured eternally for finite ‘sins’.’ However, in that essay my main point is that the wrath of God is the wrath of Love, which means wrath that is opposed to those things which oppose Love and to which Love is opposed: the wrath of God desires not people’s damnation, but their salvation. In fact, I believe almost nothing of the things you said Love isn’t doing in your third paragraph.

      As for evidence, I’m not even sure what kind of evidence would be asked for? For one thing, I am not advocating that Love is a thing to be proven, but a Person to be known. One is no nearer to knowing a person for being able to prove his or her existence. Another thing is, I don’t know what kind of proof would be asked for the existence of Love and Goodness as a Person? Or as you suggesting that there is no proof that Jesus of Nazareth existed?

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      1. Raina, the term God is the judeo-christian-islamic god. You’ve invented one in your image, which is good since it’s much better than the other one, but you’re still stuck with your belief in something that doesn’t exist. Demons don’t exist either.

        You stick with the idea of the “wrath of God’ which is entirely a J/C/I concept. Again, you want to define “love” in a certain way, and wrath has nothing to do with love. It’s just another god that gets pissed if people don’t agree with it and no, that is not “salvation”.

        You seem to believe that there is some existential entity that is like a person. And yep, people are quite a bit more nearer to knowing a person by proving their existence. You just want an out for not being able to show that your claims are true and your attempt at making believe that not proving someone’s existence doesn’t allow you to know them is incoherent.

        There is no evidence for Jesus Christ, son of God as a real being. There is some probability, though no evidence, that there was a itinerant rabbi called Joshua Ben Joseph who thought he was the messiah. But if you think there is evidence for a god/man, I’d be happy to look at it.

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      2. Did you read the essay about “The Wrath of the Love of God?” I NEVER said “just another god that gets pissed if people don’t agree with it.” I never said anything remotely like that, even. (What do you mean “wrath has nothing to do with love?” If you love someone, do you not hate it when that person is harmed?)

        Can you tell me what kind of proof you would want for the existence of such a Being? What, in your opinion, would be proof of such a Being?

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      3. I might hate if someone is harmed. I wouldn’t make my wrath against someone I loved.

        As for evidence, how about your god doing what the bible says it can do. How about an amputee getting back their limbs?

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      4. It seems that we more or less agree about wrath and love.

        I intend to get back to the discussion of evidence later, but I will leave a parting comment: I don’t want to keep coming back to ‘what the bible says’. I don’t mean I don’t want to discuss things that are said in the bible, but I don’t want to discuss them because they are in the bible or with the idea that I believe them because they are in the bible.

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      1. Short answer: Observed reality and statistical probability.
        Long answer: Holy Shit Batman, it has been a long time since I’ve read such an idiosyncratic piece of feel-good fluff as this. You can’t even make the Argument From Authority. This isn’t Christianity against Islam, or Catholics against Protestants, or even Religious against Atheists.
        Your position does not agree with dogma or tenets of any religion or denomination that I’ve ever heard of – and I’ve heard of a lot. You appear to just be making it up as you go along. You may believe it, and it may make you feel good, but you’ve disagreed with everyone from Atheists, to Evangelical Christians, to ISIS.
        You’re out there on your own – way out past the anti-vaxxers, the Flat Earthers and the Area 51 freaks. I can’t prove that any or all of it is false, but I can prove that it is a preposterous proposition that millions…. Billions of people don’t agree with. Peace and Love, and all that – don’t get lonely. 🙂

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      2. I don’t understand the Argument From Authority. In order to argue from authority, you have to argue TO authority, right?

        As for the charge that I’ve disagreed with everyone, first of all, it’s not true. There have been others who have believed and who do believe as near the same thing as I can tell. (Because of the very nature of this belief, those who hold it cannot do such things as Inquisitions or Religious Persecutions; I think the early Quakers believed something at least similar; I think some of those burned or otherwise persecuted by the Inquisitions likewise believed something at least similar; I know of several others, some of them alive right now, whom I’m rather certain believe something at least similar.) Secondly, even if I was the only person who ever thought or said it, does that mean it’s wholly untrue? Thirdly, I haven’t completely disagreed with everyone. I think we all come to the Truth somewhat differently, and therefore there are likely to be things that I see that no one else sees, and also every other person in the world is likely to see things that I don’t see. Fourthly, it can be really hard to say what one means. It can be really hard to be rightly understood. It can be really hard to know what other people mean by words and so which words you should use. Several years ago I would have phrased my belief much more after the way some Evangelical Christians do, but my belief has not changed (though it has grown) between when then and now. So, I may not be disagreeing with quite so many people as you think there either. (I never thought or said anything like what Ray Comfort says, though.)

        All said and done, I believe that ultimately Reality may be better than I can or do desire; but I cannot desire something better than the Real. (I may be wrong in that the Real is better than I imagine; I am not wrong in that what I imagine is better than the Real.) And my first question still stands: if such things are true, where do you stand in relation to them? Do you desire them? Would they have your allegiance? For, I believe the answer to that question is one of the most important in the world. More important even than what you think are the “facts”.

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      3. No! It is generally an argument to a smaller, dissenting group. There’s no sense arguing TO authority. Your own brand will agree with you, and competing Authorities will just present a mirroring view. It basically claims that a large number of people agree with your stance. It also helps if you can cite rich, famous, powerful, especially smart, people. It’s what marketing is based on.
        27 Million women use Kim Kardashian Butt Kreme. You should too!
        Like the Kardashian Kreme, the ‘experts’ often have no connection to the subject of discussion. Of the three “Doctors” on TV, handing out free relationship and lifestyle advice, only Dr. Phil is actually a psychologist. Dr. Oz is/was a heart surgeon. Dr. Laura (Schlessinger) is/was a dietician.
        To say that there are a few others who share your particular view only means that you are not one in a billion, but one in merely a million. Your perspective is beautiful. I only wish that it were true, but to try to present Love as some kind of deity, is less likely and believable than The Flying Spaghetti Monster.
        If, if if! If such things were true, would I desire them? I desire them, even (especially) if they’re not true. If they were true, I would be forced to accept them, whether I actively wanted to or not. I don’t believe that they will be true in our lifetime – probably never. Would they have my allegiance? Define ‘allegiance.’ Unthinking obedience and worship?? ‘Love’ would not need or want such actions, and I would not want to be forced to give them. Co-existence would be a good definition. 🙂

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      4. “It also helps if you can cite rich, famous, powerful, especially smart, people. It’s what marketing is based on.”

        What if the things marketing is based on are actually opposed to the belief you hold? If one is trying to follow Love, then how will one ever become truly rich? For if one is trying to follow Love, one will not hoard one’s wealth nor take wealth from others who are poorer and in greater need, and if one comes into wealth, one will use it for those who are in need. One definitely cannot take part in even the legal stealing of riches! So, we cannot be among the rich. It is much the same with the powerful. The power of this world is built on, or at least preserves itself, violence, and if, then more “civil” forms of violence: but if one is following Love, one will not retaliate, one will not go to war and kill people, one will not do any of a number of things that people do in order to become “the powerful.” As for the smart, who or what decides what is smartness? Success in the pilfering of wealth or the exercise of power? But we who serve Love cannot do those things anyways.

        I’m not sure what you mean by ‘unthinking obedience and worship’ in this context. Of course, obedience should be thinking in that you should think about, ‘Is this really good? Is this really loving?” but that is the same as trying to obey Goodness and Love, as asking, ‘Is this call really from Goodness? Is this really a way of Love?’ So I don’t understand.

        “If they were true, I would be forced to accept them…” If the best is always the truth, then perhaps this is part of why we live in a world where it is possible for us not to think such things are true – that we may freely and wholeheartedly (especially) desire them. (Though I don’t think I desire a thing any the less for believing it to be the truth.)

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