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Love, Can You Define It? (A Special Edition of WWYT, #2)

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Old 11-18-2012, 06:09 PM
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Default Love, Can You Define It? (A Special Edition of WWYT, #2)


Love, Can You Define It?



A Special Edition of What Were You Thinking (#2)!


There are three words for “Love” in the Greek language. They are: Agape, Eros and Philia. Agape is the type of love used frequently in the Bible and especially in what is known as the Love Chapter, (1Cor: 13). The kind of love that is sacrificial and all encompassing. It is also the kind of love God has for His children, actually shown by God to His children by example. Keyword: Charity.

Then there is “Eros”. Eros is the Greek word for a desirable affection. The type one would have for a spouse in love making. The most famous ancient work on this subject would be that of Plato’s Symposium which speaks to the students of Socrates on the subject of Eros. Plato also thought that Eros did not have to be a sexual kind of love but still passionate. In otherwords, a sexual relationship is not necessary but aside from it has all the passion of love that married people have, but not the only love they have. Keyword: Passionate.

Finally, we have the Greek, “Philia”. Developed by Aristotle and meaning a friendship type of love (Modern day Greek), it includes loyalty to friends, family and community. It’s also, a very virtuous type of love. And now that we have defined love, let’s take a look at what is inside us. Keyword: Platonic.

*****

If one has to choose but one kind of love, it should be Agape love. This is the love that all others should be based on. So now that we have the definitions, can we spot the love in our own lives? If you are in a relationship, how many of you can say honestly that you have all three types of love? For your children, can you honestly profess that you give them all three types of love? Is it the sacrificial type? Do you put your needs and wants above your children’s?

Would you lay down your life for your spouse, your child, a friend or even a neighbor? How about someone you don’t even know? Who loves us this deeply; our parents or a brother or sister? Don’t you know that we cannot love like this unless God shows us how? Since we are talking right now about the Agape love, the love that is actually God given to the world at large, we must include what the Bible says about this kind of love. It actually speaks volumes to the subject, most by example. In John 3:16 it tells us that “God SO loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life”. God didn’t kill His Son, He gave Him up on the cross and Jesus went willingly to save us from our sins for all time.

Why would Jesus do that? Simply, after the fall in the Garden, we have all taken a walk on the wild side and are now born with sin in us. The wages (payment) for sin is death (of the body and the spirit)! It requires a sinless blood sacrifice to take away our sin (which I’m sure a lot of you will not understand) but, animals could not provide this. So What Were They Thinking?

Again, I advise you to read 1 Corinthians, Chap. 13 and find out what God has to say about true Agape love. This is the type of love we are told, that comes from God, Himself. If you haven’t already read what is commonly referred to as the “love chapter”, you will find that it gives the best definitions of what love is and what it is not than anything I have ever read, by far.

*****

Now let’s talk about Eros. This is the passionate, sensual kind of love one would have for their spouse. A desire to be united with the person you have a wonderful affection for. Generally speaking, the desire is in us to procreate, to make life after ourselves and to essentially prolong our existence through another. It is the original desire of the world. This desire is in our genes. It has been with us since mankind first appeared on the world scene.

Yet, this is the only sense in which it lasts. The love of Eros being a physical love, does not last. It changes in intensity and frequency according to the will of the mind and body.However, in some cases, it looks nothing like what it started out to be. What interests me is how someone can be so passionately in love with another and in a short time later, become disrespectful and hateful to the same person they avowed their undying love to, resorting to name calling, emotional and physical abuses. Why…? For whose sake do they do these things to one another? It certainly does not make the other person feel better about their self nor is it of any benefit to either party.


In a sense, there almost seems to be some kind of vengeance thing going on. What kind of hatred wells up inside a person to make him or her do this to another person? What Were They Thinking? If people enjoin in a relationship basing that relationship on this kind of love, there is no reason to believe it could last. Because it is a temporal and physical love, it’s easy to turn sour. People need to base a lasting relationship whether it’s marriage, or friendship on something more substantive. Not doing so is perhaps why the divorce rate in this country is between 50 and 60% at any given time (sometimes higher).

*****

Finally, what about Philia love, the fraternal, brotherly type love that we give, or do we? If we are to consider what the Bible says about who is our brother or neighbor in these instances, we must also consider whether or not we are responding as we should. I believe this is one of the most difficult kinds of love to achieve. The Bible again states plainly these words, “He who hates his brother, has murdered him in his heart”. These are fairly strong words. Just who is your brother or your neighbor? The Bible also speaks of the Golden Rule…”Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. How many of us can say we can abide by this 100% of the time? “To love those who love you is easy, the hard part is to love those who curse you (Matt. 5:43-46, Luke 6: 27-35)”. This is truly tough love!

*****

Now that you are a little more informed as to what love is and what it isn’t, What Were You Thinking it was? Do your ideas and beliefs line up with what is shared here today with you? Do you love others as you love yourself? Do you love yourself (and I don’t mean pamper yourself or take pride of yourself) I mean really and truly for your benefit, love yourself? Do you think of what is beneficial for you rather than, demanding the things you think you want? I don’t ask these questions because I have a need to know, I ask because YOU should know how and why you love and are loved.

It isn’t an easy thing at times, to love yourself or others. In fact, it’s probably the hardest thing you can do but is it worth the effort? You bet it is! “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach” (Elizabeth Barrett Browning). And this is the way I love people, myself and my God. If everyone would strive to love this way, do you think we would have a better world or a world that is worse than we have now?

Please feel free as always to comment on what is written here. Be assured, I will return to you the most thoughtful, kind, truthful and loving answer I can.

*****
End

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Last edited by Gritsy; 11-18-2012 at 06:19 PM.. Reason: spacing
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:32 AM
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Gritsy,
I can see this as a great segue to future articles, a foundation establishing piece.

It's interesting how great thinkers recognized that the definition of love was a dynamic thing, not confined to one rigid perspective.

This reminds me of how we tend to grab one particular scripture to utilize as a hammer, bringing home whatever point it is that we are trying to establish.
One has to take the whole body of work, the Bible in this instance, into consideration if we are to gain a full grasp of what it is trying to convey.

As we hear so often, some things aren't just black and white. Indeed, there are many shades and colors, but it requires viewing every subtle nuance to see the reality of a subject.
Sadly, love is often the most myopically perceived element in the life of mankind.

To better days and clearer heads,
Abdula
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Old 11-23-2012, 12:26 PM
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This is interesting, detailed and well-thought out from a Biblical perspective but I'm not convinced that the Greek language has the corner on defining love – there is an abundance of other cultures and languages that also offer interesting insight to what it means to love. In this regard, your definition seems a bit limited in the way that you have done a bunch of research to support a point of view you seemed to already hold. I think because of this, the result comes across as preachy and a little bit insincere, or contrived. It would be much more powerful if you did start out with an actual question about love and your research took you on a journey that questioned or challenged what you already believe and you were able to share with your readers what discoveries you made.
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:45 PM
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Courtney,

I appreciate your input and thank you very much for posting it. I must tell you however, that I do not "challenge" things that are true on their face. There is no point to challenging things that are true as truth, doesn't change regardless, of the opinion of it. Everything that is written here is true and not an expose' of what love means, but what love is.

If you have surety of truth in these other "means of love", I'd be happy to see them and take them into consideration. By the way, Greek is one of the earliest forms of communication and by scholars, one of the easiest to translate into other languages. It preceeds Latin, coincides with most middle-eastern languages and is second only to the Mesopotamian languages. Again, thank you for your post.

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Old 11-23-2012, 10:56 PM
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Dear Abdula,

Thank you so very much for such an introspective post. I see that you understand the 3 basic types of love that exist and that love itself does not exist on 'feelings' alone. To bring only emotion into an act of love, especially these days when people cannot separate their feelings from what is true, only seems to cloud the issues.

In a lot of cases, if not all, feelings must at least be overridden to see the truth of love.

As far as being a segue to other such expositions, I agree and intend fully to do so. It is a good thing when you can write something that can educate and that is deeper than a common fiction love story. However, if a fiction love story contains the truth about love, it would certainly make for a better, more well-rounded and deeper read.

Perhaps someday, I could even write such a story, instead of making a report of what love is...we'll see. Thanks again! If you have anything else to remark, I would be glad to hear it.

Always, Gritsy
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:37 PM
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Hi ... I'm new .. and so am unsure whether to remark on the prose or the content.

But if content, then the piece seems to be contradictory.

Originally Posted by Gritsy View Post
If one has to choose but one kind of love, it should be Agape love. This is the love that all others should be based on.
Originally Posted by Gritsy View Post
Now let’s talk about Eros. This is the passionate, sensual kind of love one would have for their spouse. A desire to be united with the person you have a wonderful affection for. Generally speaking, the desire is in us to procreate, to make life after ourselves and to essentially prolong our existence through another. It is the original desire of the world. This desire is in our genes. It has been with us since mankind first appeared on the world scene.
Firstly, it seems that no authority is quoted for Agape being the one we should choose, and secondly, without Eros, there can be no other. Ergo, it must follow that Eros must be the one of choice if only one can be chosen ?

Greg
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:33 PM
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Love is not a doctrine to be argued about by intellectual minds.

There can be no Eros if there is no Agape. Futhermore, there can be no Philia if there is no Agape. They are all interlinked and (should be) inseperable.

I can illustrate this by way of example:
However, in some cases, it looks nothing like what it started out to be. What interests me is how someone can be so passionately in love with another and in a short time later, become disrespectful and hateful to the same person they avowed their undying love to, resorting to name calling, emotional and physical abuses.

There was only Eros, nothing else. The one cannot exist wthout the other.
Once the physical lust was satisfied, there was nothing left but hate.

Married couples should ensure that their spouses are their best friends. That is the best weapon against divorce.

Well researched, Gritsy! Your topics are always thought provoking, even if the opinions differ.


Blessings!

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Old 11-27-2012, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Judith View Post
Love is not a doctrine to be argued about by intellectual minds.
Why ? I have an intellectual mind, altho only a small one, and I am arguing that without eros there is no life and hence no love. You have an intellectual mind too ? Iz that true ?

As to the rest ... without Eros .. procreation, physical love .. there cannot be anything .. let alone more refined versions of eros. (agape ?) First and foremost you have to have the continuance of life, before you can satisfy anything higher.

The presumption that if you have only eros then all else turns to hate .... where does that come from ? This is an incredible statement, and unsupported. You say 'well researched' ? but there is no evidence of any research, just personal hearsay ?

Eros is the building block, the foundation stone. The rock bottom base of Maslow's hierarchy of needs .. and without it all the higher intellectual planes of Maslow's pyramid collapse.

Here is research Maslow's pyramid


greg
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:08 PM
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I guess intellectual banter is okay, as long as knowledge is not your god.

You're right, Eros is necessary. It makes us feel like a part of us is filled; a longing or a yearning is satisfied.
Eros, however, is much more than just the primitive need to procreate. You were once a teenager? If you took a fancy to somebody from the opposite sex, were you eager to have a baby? I sure wasn't.

In some cases, people actually get together for the sole reason that they feel a strong physical desire for each other. Once the need has been met, they find they don't really have much in common and that they don't really like each other. Hate was a strong word to use, I apologise for that. What I mean to say is: An Eros relationship cannot be void of Agape love.

I don't know who Maslow is but I know Jesus.
Sorry, I don't have time to check out Maslow's pyramid.
Hope you enjoy all the forums on WB, hope to see you around the fiction section.


Blessings!
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:13 AM
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The ancient Greeks had a defined a fourth type of love. "Storge" which denotes the love of parents for their children. ( Can you believe I actually remembered something I learned in college? )
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Judith View Post
I guess intellectual banter is okay, as long as knowledge is not your god.
Thank you for being genuine. truly.

Greg
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:17 PM
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Thank you Judith for supplying great answers to Greg's question. Sorry Greg that, I didn't get back to you personally yet but, have been quite busy.

Thank you JP for your offering as well. Since I don't actually study the Greek language, I was typically unaware of other words that indicate a specific kind of love. It is my opinion though that Agape, encompases them all. I derive this from the facts of what Agape is and deduct from "uncommon" even common sense.

As a Biblical Counselor however, it makes sense to separate the emotion from the physical when it gets in the way of the action of loving. The action of Agape being that of a charitable heart. One that gives without expectation for the betterment of another person...which leads to both friendship and intimacy, which leads to long-term love and even sex, which leads to pro-creation anyway you look at it, but can stop anywhere along the way and still be quite successful and effective in its single application.

Always, Gritsy

PS...Maslow's pyramid is noteworthy but is not the end all be all when it comes to the definitions of love. Neither is Freud or Jong or the many others that came thousands of years after the originals. They did not improve of the definitions, only expanded on them, in my humble opinion. Frankly I prefer Erikson to the rest, but again, that's a personal opinion.
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