by Rebecca Bynum
1) You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.
2) You must love your neighbor as yourself.
3) You must strive to be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.
The Father cannot be approached exept through love. Loving God leads to knowing God - God-consciousness.
Loving your neighbor, that is, the individual human beings around you - not an abstraction like humanity in general - is to serve God.
Striving for perfection is doing the Father's will -- the fount of all morality.
Striving to know God and to do his will leads to spiritual growth and is the path to eternal life.
Thanks, but I only asked which road to Valdosta.
How do you like them onions?
Anne Christine Hoff
These three are good, Rebecca, but I think keeping the Sabbath is also important. It is meant to be a time of separation from the world and its values. Some high school and college athletic teams compete or practice on Sunday these days. This to me is a very serious problem, especially if it is happening in the public schools. It is another encroachment of the schools on privacy/religious practices, and it is an attack on the faith of the youth who want to be on sports teams but also want to honor God.
Well, the idea of reducing religion to the bare foundational principles appears to be centuries old -- the Jews tell a story of Hillel (1st century BC) -- someone asked him to sum up Jewish religion while he stood on one leg, an Hillel replied "don't do to others what you don't want them to do to you. That's all there is to it -- the rest is commentary." Many centuries prior, Socrates famously waked around asking people to define "justice" in a single sentences (and than critiqued that definition) -- and he probably tried to reduce to essentials plenty of other key notions. Christians, I would guess, look at the Sermon on the mount the same way -- as distillation of principles. Nothing wrong with trying to remove the accretions and to get to the gist of it. I'd guess that the middle precept -- to love the neighbor -- is by far the hardest. I remember my Dad saying the same, "it is easy to love humanity -- but try to love the neighbor!" It may have been a quote from some poet he particularly admired -- I don't now remember...
Anne-Christine, Keeping the Sabbath comes under the idea of ritual. The purpose of ritual is to remind us of the spirit - to deliver the spirit to us. Though we mustn't become slaves to it, I do understand your concern. There are very few sacred spaces left to us. The secular has encroached on all of it.
Lev, Yes, I'm trying to find a simple formula that could be a basis for a new religion which could draw adherents from all the existing religions - a way out of the contradictions, paradoxes and errors that are present in all our inherited religions. Consider they were all developed under the Ptolemaic world model - with our world at the center of creation. Now we know that we're living on a planet orbiting a star at the edge of an arm of a spiral galaxy, which may itself be orbiting something else. How much larger is creation than was known when all our sacred books were written. We need a religion that recognizes a more advanced cosmology at the very least.
Forget trying to please the Father by loving It or by other means. If God the Father is not a moral imbecile It recognizes Its duty, obligation to protect, sustain, teach, train Its offspring images. Covering all other bases is ‘The Platinum Rule’ (TPC). namely: “ Do no harm, but if you must do some harm, do as little as necessary and repair the harm done, as necessary.” This permits human free will wisdom to be exerted. This assumes our godly wisdom obtained via the Tree of Knowledge is inadequate. This also corrects the defective aspect of The Golden Rule which orders the masochist to behave as a sadist. Imprisoning the sadist psychopath who maybe our neighbor or ourself, until his real rehabilitation, is fulfilled in “...but if you must ...done, as necessary”, as noted above in TPC. God does not need our love, It’s perfect and needs nothing except perhaps a time-limited course in image-making.
Dear Howard, God, the Father is a person and has given unique individual personality to each person. Personality is the one thing which does not change. The body goes through massive change throughout life, but the personality remains the same. It forms the basis of our souls. Does God require our love? Of course not, but does he desire our love to be freely given to him? Yes. Human things must be known to be loved, but divine things must be loved to be known.
Ah, Rebecca, my mistake for not noting previously that you are a unique, distinguished member of the SOS, the Society of Sweethearts. Once a Sweetheart, always a Sweetheart. Sweethearts are always the personification of love: loving, lovable, and thus loved. Please don’t tell more than 327 of your dearest friends of this open secret (knowing they are incapable of keeping this kind of secret, secret). Happy Thanksgiving and Thanksreceiving. Luvya. One more comment — no need to publish this viewpoint as it may ignite a love-riot for which YOU will be held and hugged fully responsible.
Golly Howard, I must be blushing through the computer screen. May the love of our Father touch you today. Behold, he stands at the door and knocks.