I believe in yada yada yada …


“A creed (also known as a confession, symbol, or statement of faith) is a statement of the shared beliefs of a religious community in the form of a fixed formula summarizing core tenets.”

The Apostles Creed (120-150 AD)
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.  On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
Amen.”

“A creed is defined as any system of principles or beliefs, a statement of belief, or the ethical standards that guide one’s life.  In other words, a creed is a commitment to one’s beliefs and values.”

The Nicene Creed (381 AD)
WE BELIEVE in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.”

“Unconditional love means loving another in their essence, as they are, no matter what they do or fail to do.  You must choose to love unconditionally.” 

Why never “love” …

So why not this “creed”? (Matthew 22:36-40)
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

– – – – – – – – – –

Unconditional love means loving another in their essence, as they are, no matter what they do or fail to do.  You must choose to love unconditionally.  Parents might counter that they had no choice but to love their children from the moment they laid eyes on them, but that initial flush of attachment is, perhaps imperceptibly, replaced by an ongoing decision to love the child regardless of circumstances.

“Unconditional Love is not the case of being blinded by love but rather the resolution that nothing is more important than love.” – Talidari

Unconditional love is the action, the choice to strive for the well-being of another.  The feeling you derive from acting with love is your reward, the return you “get” from your own action. To love unconditionally is to act with love under all conditions.

Unconditional love starts at home, with oneself.  You know your own flaws and shortcomings better than anyone else, and better than you can ever know anyone else’s.  Being able to love yourself despite this unsurpassable awareness of your own faults puts you in the position to be able to offer the same to others.

Thus, you must be able to recognize, accept, and forgive your own imperfections in order to do the same for someone else.  If you cannot deem yourself worthy of being loved unconditionally, you’ll never truly be able to deem yourself worthy of offering it.
How to Love Unconditionally

Why never “this creed” … ?

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25 thoughts on “I believe in yada yada yada …

  1. But you’ve already argued vehemently that love is a choice, and so I’ve pointed out you are advocating and trying to advance as fundamental a conditional love… because it is based not as you argue here about an unconditional love but one based wholly on choice… to offer or withhold based on how much or little trust and confidence – faith – you are willing to invest.

    I keep say, Paul, you can’t have it both ways and maintain a coherent creed.

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    • tildeb, just in case my cnfusion isn’t clear: “… you can’t have it both ways and maintain a coherent creed.”

      What is it you think I am trying to maintain in this post?

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      • The creed of love that is both conditional yet unconditional (” You must choose to love unconditionally.”). You want it both ways. This is impossible: for if you choose then it’s not unconditional but if it’s unconditional that it cannot be chosen. Eat cake, still have it. No. One or the other.

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        • thanks for explaining tildeb. Odd how we keep finding stuff wherein I am wrong and you are right. So – I am curious – you are stating that where one loves another unconditionally (or where many love each other unconditionally) there is no choice involved in that for any of them?

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          • Consider the meaning of ‘unconditional’, Paul. No conditions. Inserting choice makes a condition. Hence, you cannot have choice in unconditional love. You just love. Period. Whether that love is reciprocated makes no difference. How that love is received makes no difference. You just love. No conditions. You can no more choose to love unconditionally than you can choose to age. You just age. Period. There is no consideration of reciprocity. You just age. You just love. It’s a biological bond.

            What you’re talking about is not unconditional love but a decision to offer or grant affection towards an object real or imagined. It is very much based on conditions, based on you choosing to offer this affection… but with as few conditions as you can. It’s still conditional ‘love’ and we know that because you absolutely insist this granting is a choice.

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        • tildeb, Even to love conditionally is a choice, we are speaking of our love of others and that is something we decide to do.
          Our loving someone despite their faults and actions is unconditional love. We choose whether or not to do so.
          God’s love, unlike ours is God’s expression by God’s essence, no choice, When God loves it is unconditionally so, God didn’t set the bar and say ‘I will only love if…’
          We set a bar when we love, our life with God is to learn to remove the bar.(conditions).

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          • This creed of love is a facsimile of honest human emotion towards others, towards seeing the Other as one’s self. That’s why it’s a ridiculous commandment to include a god in this one-to-one relationship. Inserting an overseeing third party you call ‘God’ is not an improvement but a complication in the same way a love triangle is much more difficult when one has no choice but to consider two other parties rather than one, and this can lead to emotional incompatibility of concerns that can then lead to emotional dysfunction. Each love relationship must be one-to-one and, to be honest, unconditional.

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            • tildeb there are times you drive me nuts and times you capture something – a shaft of light with dust motes. This time for me it is the latter 🙂

              There is one thing niggling in my mind at all of this. It is your presumption after presumption – this “overseeing third party” – that ” ‘God’ is not an improvement but a complication” – that “a love triangle is much more difficult when one has no choice” – that “this can lead to emotional incompatibility of concerns” – that “can then lead to emotional dysfunction.”

              All “love relationships” come with risk. Does that mean we should avoid them because the potential consequences we imagine may mean we live to rue our choice to love? Or might it mean that some love relationships come with better guarantees of success than others – so these are the ones we should pursue?

              My wife loves our children. She loves her own family. She loves friends she has made over the years. She will love others he has not yet met. She loves me. Each relationship of love is “one-to-one and, to be honest, unconditional.” I suspect you are no different. Nor me. Nor most.

              Yet you take God out of that not because I see a risk, but because you see a risk. You seem to see risk because you see my having “no choice” in (having) to love “God”.

              I see choice. No different to any other relationship. I see invitation. (I think) you see command. I see a living and changing relationship. (I think) you see static controlling religion.

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            • Ever read Gawain and the Green Knight?

              It’s an excellent myth and we get it from the 14th century poem. Like all myths, it’s a teaching tool about how to live an authentic life… for anyone anywhere at any time. It presents us with a moral dilemma, one that Gawain fails in his quest to use the rules of chivalry to be the perfect knight but later is taught by King Arthur how to turn what appears to be Gawain’s failure into a deep and essential understanding of what it means to be human. To this day, the highest honour in the British Empire/Commonwealth relates to this myth: the Order of the Green Garter. It represents the choice to embrace life and its experiences over belief in perfected meaning.

              A bit weird at first blush, I’ll grant you, but relevant to the question you raise about having a willingness to love even with risks. You seem to think I’m averse to risk in the pursuit of love but this isn’t the case. What is the case is my awareness and unwillingness to supplant real life, filled with real people – with the Other I see and treat as a reflection of me – with preconceived, artificial symbol and group identities and think a ‘personal’ relationship with the latter is equivalent with the former. This common mistake is how people fool themselves into believing the most absurd things, believing in self-created relationships with self-appointed agencies and ideas and notions and imaginary figures, believe that these creations are somehow equivalent if not superior (and ‘pure’) to honest relationships with real people in real life who offer real love and not a conditional facsimile of it you choose to accept or reject.

              Our real choice, the myth teaches us, is clear: we can choose to hide from real life, real love, seeking meaning in place of experience and refuse to engage with the ground of our own being – refuse the reality and the warts and pain and bonding that comes with unconditional love – or follow Gawain’s exciting advice that “whether fate be foul or fair,/ Why falter I or fear?/ What should a man do but dare?” That advice is as relevant today as it was in the fourteenth century and just as important for all who have the integrity to own their own lives, their own morality, their own ethics, and be responsible for them combined with the courage to experience their own heroic journies of transformation. And one of the most transformative experiences one will have is engaging life on its terms and experiencing the triumphs and tragedies that come with unconditional love as part of an essential ingredient to a life well and wisely lived.

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            • tildeb, never read that one, but know of the Round Table and King Arthur and his knights. What makes me chuckle is your “rightness” … “it’s a teaching tool about how to live an authentic life.” This “Other” that bothers you so (or at least you write that way) is just that to me. An “other”. I have lots of “others” – I think we all do. Our own personal world that we create and inhabit with those we allow in – or disallow. But I have learned that we all filter our world. So my “Other” doesn’t get through your filter. I have to say some of your “science” doesn’t get through mine either. So I will tell what i do sense in you. I sense a poet and romantic. I do not say that as an “authentic” poet or romantic. I say that in the sense of someone who sees good in others and this world, and wishes to prevent others seeing good in the wrong places. And when we meet my “Other” gets in the way. I see you use loads of “objectivity” all of which – seems to me – boils down to gut instinct, experience, belief – which could be called your own filters.

              Why do I spend so many words on this? Because I remain convinced you and I are opposite sides of the same coin (not a great example – but it will do). I don’t think we should ever become the same side of the same coin. Nor do I think being on different sides makes us much different. Your “other” – your own world view – gets in the way of us connecting as much as the “other” you see in me. I don’t see that as a disconnect. But what I do see is this.

              Learn how to connect with those who seem to be disconnects and that is a game changer. Learn how to move beyond the “authentic” to the “it is” and there is much energy to be harnessed. I have no wish to change you and I am happy to be changed where it seems cool to do so. But it is not a balance wherein you have to match my changes or vice-versa. My other is me. Your world view – you other – is you. We all do that. Yet we have so much in common – and so much in common that we might agree on. I just cannot see the point of wasting all that.

              🙂

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            • I think you missed my gist. Myths are the teaching tool. And that they never go out of timeliness. Genesis is a myth, for example (actually a combination of two). But because it is presented as ‘religion’ it is entirely useless when interpreted as a backwards justification for the need for redemption. It’s a rather silly and gross perversion of a perfectly good myth.

              When it comes to love, and the risk to one’s well being this essential component of life contains, then a myth like Gawain and the Green Knight is an excellent teaching tool, which is why I mentioned it. Risk – especially emotional risk – is the necessary cost to living well, and accepting its companionship and dealing with it wisely is a necessary ingredient to living wisely, so that it is in experiencing life willingly an aspect that we cannot avoid and so we must include the inherent pain and suffering it involves and come out a better and wiser person for it. To intentionally choose to avoid this emotional aspect out of fear and trepidation – especially of rejection – is really a choice to intentionally avoid the other, avoid living well, and that accepting how reality really is – including this two-for-one condition of living fully that possesses both highs and lows, joy and suffering – is therefore a necessary understanding to develop into a mature, wise, and life-embracing responsible adult.

              This lesson is taught in Genesis but, again, a lesson – at the very least – obscured by the ridiculous religious interpretation of it… if not supplanted entirely with a demand for a life-denying servitude and sacrifice of this life to seek some next life. And poorly educated people – poorly educated in the sense of regarding myths as the timeless teachers of wisdom – go along with this religious interpretation because they simply don’t know any better, don;t understand that the myths have been co-opted for other purposes, religious purposes. This ignorance masquerades in the disguise of selling piety to the foolish, and the cost to these real people in real life who could be living so much more wisely and responsibly rather than stupidly in their chosen bovine state of religious herding mentality is a very sad commentary on just how easily so many people fool themselves when they presume their religious belief is in fact a life-affirming teacher of wisdom rather than what it actually is in practice: an emotional shackle that perverts, pollutes, and undermines recognizing, accepting, and being responsible for one’s own autonomy.

              Liked by 1 person

            • If myths are a “teaching tool”, then why not a book full of them – why not a “life-affirming teacher” as well?

              My thought is this: for each “Christian” to have their own imaginary and personalised “God” may well be better “teaching tool” than to have a distant and corporate “third party agency”. A personalised “God” allows Genesis to be fiction. Allows death and destruction to be imagery, allows miracles of feeding and healing to be subjective, allows the “corporate literal” to become the personal teaching tool you talk of.

              THAT is where my GSHJ comes from. And with it my absence of need for the bible to be inerrant and all that … for institutional church to be obligatory … for worship and praise and servitude and bondage (and all that burden) to be self0impoed … for original sin to be another invention .. for so much of the “religion and religious” static and lifeless tradition that can and does become an “emotional shackle”.

              You may disagree. But my terms of reference may be a tad different. My preferences and world-view may be form a different angle. But much else is the same. And I would – and do – be constrained by your way (as you are constrained by mine). That I also think entirely normal.

              Emotional risk? Anyone who thinks a religious belief makes them immune from risk and insulated form life has indeed missed the point. But that delusion applies to people and not “religion”. And that is why I still see you not as the enemy but as a brother by another mother. We all are (leaving aside the “sister” PC need for a minute).

              (opening new thread with a copy/paste – this is getting teensy on my screen)

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  2. Indeed, why never this creed? This creed speaks of the love exchange, love for one’s self and others. We cannot have the one without the other.
    Of God in action, we are his presence, unlike those “creeds”,which seek to describe why who and how of God, this one releases us to love the Esse.
    To love the One without splintering and boxing the One, the One that loves through us, in us without reservation and calls us to follow.
    In interacting with that One we come to love ourselves as we are loved, and to love others as we love ourselves, with the love of God who first loved us.

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    • Each time I look for love in organised religion, I wonder why it is so hard to find. I wonder why the written words of organised religion are excused as something “we have to have” and of which no one takes much notice of (unless wishing to control others, decision making, conversations, suggestions, etc).

      Against which the bible (we have to have) is held up as The Word, as Holy, as revered, as inspired (but – perhaps – often used much in the same way).

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  3. “The feeling you derive from acting with love is your reward, the return you “get” from your own action.”

    Love this. Same with hate I suppose. One adds too you life the other takes from it. Seems like we feed off we either grow or decline. we choose to go. Living off the flesh till this is nothing left of you or changing from glory to glory becoming more like Him.

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  4. Well, I hear this from people but I don’t believe it’s really the case because – a poor example but relative nevertheless – it’s like believing one can choose to love this flavour but not that one. I think one either does or does not and that there’s no choice in the matter no matter how fervently one wishes to like something one does not. And on the flip side I also think this is so when it comes to my own experiences of wishing for all the world I didn’t love someone and utterly incapable of choosing to stop. C’est impossible. One either loves or one does not. I do not see any opportunity to choose. And I think if you honestly recalled your own unconditional love for another and reviewed when you chose to begin that loving, you – like I – would come up empty. You did not sit down, I suspect, and review this choice – considering the pros and cons, the benefits and the costs, the timeliness and event, and then dive in. I think you – like I – marveled that you could feel such overwhelming concern for another’s welfare and then feel obligated to act in ways that demonstrated this overwhelming concern even if it cost you… a rooted feeling you could not wish away. At no point did I make this choice and I suspect no matter what you might say to another you didn’t, either. That’s unconditional love.

    I think what you’re talking about is the biological feeling of reciprocity, the decision to treat others as you would wish to be treated. But you do something I do not; elevate this feeling (and the actions derived from it) to be outside of yourself, to be motivated and/or directed by agents and agencies outside yourself. This is a very dangerous condition, this willingness to be used on behalf of this outside agent or agency. I think that placement of choice on behalf of this outside agent or agency for personal action unjustly cheapens and diverts responsibility of your own role in doing unto others… in that it allows you the emotional flexibility to act as you decide, you choose, but to then act and avoid taking full responsibility for doing so.

    In my experience, this is a fundamental and necessary one-step-removed emotional condition – shamelessly used by often nefarious agents and agencies – to allow people to do things to others, to treat others as objects rather than as one’s self, a means to negate the feeling of one-to-one reciprocity (sometimes for very good reasons but sometimes for very bad ones, too). There is a role for doing so (surgery, defense, the court system) that can be very beneficial but also a role for tyranny and totalitarianism. Keeping responsibility personal, one-to-one without any outside agencies – is a primary defense against abuse.

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      • You noticed. How very perceptive of you.

        I rarely comment about what I think (I mean, seriously, who cares?); instead, I explain why I think what I do. I find this approach incredibly valuable as a reader so that I can consider the reasons for views and opinions and values that may be similar or different from my own. I reciprocate the effort and time. But if the length of my explanation taxes or overburdens your abilities to comprehend the series of built thoughts to show you why I arrive at a well thought out conclusion, then so be it. At least I’ve done my part and offered it free of charge. TL;DR is an excuse not to have to think. It’s not a criticism of the writer.

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    • tildeb, you offer much, thank you. You offer “in my experience”. Maybe that is all we have to go by. And maybe that is why these sharings have value. It adds to my experience – I can share yours and you can share mine.

      I have counted love as you measure it. I have weighed up the pros and cons, drowned in the wonder, seen abuse of one to another, seen self-centred obsession used to control others, seen the good and the bad of love, lived the good and bad of love. And I agree that religion is not the greatest creation of this human race I am part of – just as you are.

      I marvel at how we each create so much reality for ourselves based upon such a limited set of experiences, and how that limited experience set is so powerful. How our individual “learning” often dictates our whole sense of being – the world – the future and past – for so long – and with such force.

      That experience has made me much more aware of my choices, and of the consequence of my choices, and of my own ability to recreate my past and my future if I choose. And this “third party agency” is the figurehead of “religion”. And this “third party agency” is how I began my relationship with something very personal. I cannot love a distant agency. I cannot love a third party. I can be controlled though my choice to be controlled in order to receive membership and acceptance. But that is duty and burden and sacrifice. It is an accountant’s transaction count.

      Imagine finding within that – by choice – something personal and meaningful. A relationship of imagination certainly – but one as meaningful as any other. Imagine that relationship having no boundaries, demands or commands. Simply invitations. Invitations without much explanation. Invitations allowing me to find my own answers, make my own choice, and develop my own new experiences – guided only by unconditional goodness in response. A (healthy loving good) parent child relationship (or perhaps a healthy loving good grandparent grandchild) relationship is the closes I can describe that as. It is a relationship I chose out of this “third party agency” you see. And one I never expected to find.

      It has also alienated me from many in organised religion. It is a relationship that answers to something other than the creeds of belief, the commands of the bible (always interpreted by organised religion). It is not a relationship of compromise and membership, it is a relationship of love (that comes without the accepted labels others need to make sense of where this “fits”).

      Any relationship that is real and honest is hard to label – indeed often suffers from imposed labels for others to understand. So too this for me.

      (I saw your comment to Denine. Please treat her with affection “how perceptive of you” is not as kind as you can be – “offered free of charge” isn’t kind either. You have no need for that. Not if you truly wish to expand your experiences through sharing here. Or else you seem only to want to change her rather than you. And that is not explaining your thinking.

      So I have taken your comment about explaining your thinking – to expand my experiences and see more clearly why I think what I do – and to choose to change or not as a result)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. ** Same comment as upstream opened as a new thread

    If myths are a “teaching tool”, then why not a book full of them – why not a “life-affirming teacher” as well?

    My thought is this: for each “Christian” to have their own imaginary and personalised “God” may well be better “teaching tool” than to have a distant and corporate “third party agency”. A personalised “God” allows Genesis to be fiction. Allows death and destruction to be imagery, allows miracles of feeding and healing to be subjective, allows the “corporate literal” to become the personal teaching tool you talk of.

    THAT is where my GSHJ comes from. And with it my absence of need for the bible to be inerrant and all that … for institutional church to be obligatory … for worship and praise and servitude and bondage (and all that burden) to be self0impoed … for original sin to be another invention .. for so much of the “religion and religious” static and lifeless tradition that can and does become an “emotional shackle”.

    You may disagree. But my terms of reference may be a tad different. My preferences and world-view may be form a different angle. But much else is the same. And I would – and do – be constrained by your way (as you are constrained by mine). That I also think entirely normal.

    Emotional risk? Anyone who thinks a religious belief makes them immune from risk and insulated form life has indeed missed the point. But that delusion applies to people and not “religion”. And that is why I still see you not as the enemy but as a brother by another mother. We all are (leaving aside the “sister” PC need for a minute).

    Liked by 1 person

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