Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Definitions of Love and Love Paradox

News update: I am writing a book collecting and organizing various essays and letters I have written over the years. To be fair, it's been mostly complete for about 3 months now and I am currently just doing the polishing process as well as collecting opinions before I publish it. The project started while I was writing the series on True Love and I realized I would like to make it easier for my children to read what I have written. The result was that many of the letters I have published have been slightly modified versions of letters I have written to my children for this book, including what I'm sharing with you now. 

Dearly Beloved,
I often preach that True Love is an act of the will. The primary definition I use is “Love is to will the good of another.” I like the definition as it covers action, choice, desire, mind above emotion, and selflessness. However, one more definition is “Love is a great admiration of something.” Similarly, love can also mean “a strong like of something.” In addition, another definition some people love the most is “Love is a great desire to be united to something.”
If you study language, you may find what are called homonyms, “words with same spelling and pronunciation, but different meanings.” Some are completely unrelated such as a “bat” being a flying mammal or an object to play baseball with. However, many words are derived from the original word. In fact, when the connotation becomes the definition, it goes through this process. Love is one of these words.
Consider the first and second definitions. If you greatly admire something, it means you are more likely act on behalf of it. Consider a priceless jewel. If you don’t care about jewels, you’ll simply toss it away. If you greatly admire jewels, then you’ll take care of it. Same applies to people. If you greatly admire people, you will even perform some sort of sacrifice for their benefit.
Now consider the second and third definitions. You tend to greatly admire something you strongly like. Then take that “like” is derived from the same word which means “similar.” You like things that are similar to yourself or who you want to be.
Next up is the third and fourth definitions. A synonym for like is “desire” so naturally you can see how they link. When we think of desires, we tend to think of them as uncontrollable passions. And that is how you get the same word meaning an act of the will to meaning an act of passion. Is this believable? Certainly as we do this with language all the time. Words “evolve” as long as there is something to link it to the older meaning, including sarcasm. After all, antonyms can swap meanings just as “awful” and “awesome” did. 
If you look up synonyms for “love,” you will find “passion” among them. This is what I meant by “Love is a great desire to be united to something.” This is the emotional definition of love that many people love. You want something so much that you can’t imagine being without it. This is the explanation for what I consider the Love Paradox. You love someone so much that you want to be with them, but at the same time, you want him/her to be happy, even if that means he/she is not with you.

Now there is nothing wrong with any of these definitions. The biggest point I would like to make is of all of them, the first is the most pure and admirable. That is the one that makes use better people and is the secret to morality. The key here is that it’s the only one that works perfectly with humility, service, and every other virtue. The other definitions open the door to being selfish and therefore conflict and tragedy. As long as they are bounded by the first definition, they are fine. However, you generally cannot have all of them and therefore only the first is essential.
Consider what it means when you have the others, but not the first. Perhaps the best example is a teenage boy who tells a girl he loves her so in order to have sex. He might greatly admire her, but if it’s only her beauty he admires, he’ll dump her when he finds someone else he considers more beautiful. He might hold a lot of things in common with her, but that is very fickle especially for teenagers. Even if they maintain common interests, the importance of them will change as life changes. Lastly, he certainly wants to be united with her, but it’s to satisfy himself.
The boy is speaking the truth, but he doesn’t care for the girl. He doesn’t want what is best for her. He only cares about himself and heartbreak is going to happen. It’s often the case that a couple will have sex only to part that night. The common scenario is the girl is hoping he means the first definition along with the others, but if a guy can’t wait until marriage for sex, it’s most likely he doesn’t mean he cares. If anything, it shows he doesn’t have the willpower to make many sacrifices for her.
My hope is that by showing you this example, you may see that selfishness produces pain, sadness, and ultimately victims. Let the first definition rule your life so that you may become a great hero. When you abide by the pure definition of love, you may recognize when it is lacking and therefore be able to avoid the unnecessary heartache. That is my wish, because I do indeed care for you.

With Love,

N. D. Moharo

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Listing why a Person Might or Might Not Believe There is a God

To the Atheists and Apologists,
    The debate over the existence of a god is a very interesting one. One reason is that not everyone have the same reasons for his or her belief whether there is a god or not. There can be any number of reasons and those can determine how firm one will stand when debating. To help, I've compiled two simple lists and done my best to provide a brief explanation. I won't address the flaws or either here, but perhaps another time I will try that.

Realize that these lists are not what all of either side hold, but instead are compilations of various reasons individuals might have.

Note: If someone has a strong opinion, it means they have deep concerns. We need to listen and figure out what they are.

Why someone might not believe in a God

  1. Problem of Evil: If God is so good, then why does he let us suffer?
  2. Parents: I knew a girl in college who surprisingly converted to a religion. Her explanation is that her hatred of religion was not her own, but her mother's. When she realized that, she found she liked religion after all
  3. Hypocrisy: seeing people who preach some values only to act against them.
  4. Doesn't Make Sense: Cannot grasp the various concepts of God and how they can tie together. How can a God of Love punish eternally? How can God be Infinitely Just and Infinitely Merciful? If he is all-powerful, doesn't that mean he can create something he cannot lift meaning he is't all-powerful?
  5. Misunderstanding of positions: Sometimes people have a hard time grasping one concept and once it's explained in a logical manner, they convert. For example, perhaps they were assuming a different definition of justice which opposes mercy completely.
  6. No Encounter: Don't believe to have had any miraculous events in their lives
  7. No reason to believe: Burden on proof are on the claimants, not the doubters.
  8. Evolution: 
    1. I'll be honest. I can't explain this one. I just know some people use it but I don't understand their explanation. So if you know how to explain it. Please share and I'll update this list
  9. Education/Indoctrination: Someone in a position of authority said there isn't a god
  10. Having to change my life: Realize that if they truly believe in a God, they have to change their ways and they don't want to.
  11. Too many wars because of conflicting Religious ideas

Why someone might believe there is a God

  1. Family tradition: one's parents promoted belief from an early age and to consider people you trust to be wrong on something important would make you question your whole life
  2. Can only see despair in a world without God: With all the evil and suffering in the world, they would only despair if there was no paradise.
  3. Too many coincidences: Seeing how one major event would have never happened if anywhere in a long chain turned out differently encourages belief there is divine intervention.
  4. Prayers: Might be marked as coincidence to some, but the fact that some people get what they prayed for makes them believe there is a God who is listening.
  5. Poetic Justice: In our world, too many criminals are able to get away with their crimes. A God who is just could issue perfect justice in the next life
  6. Someone they love is dead: They want their loved ones to be eternally happy and the idea of paradise is consoling
  7. They have heard or witnessed miracles concerning trusted sources: If you witness a scientifically impossible fact, like a 15-pound tumor disappearing within a night, an easy explanation is that there is some being who has power over nature
  8. Stories of saints inspire them: the testimonies of people who are highly regarded to be wise and virtuous act as highly trustworthy material. Since many of them cast away many worldly desires such as fame, fortune, and even sexual pleasure, they are not considered to be corrupted
    1. Some modern examples include Mother Theresa
  9. People with real faith become great people: The people who believed so much that it inspired them to act with great love and become saints act as a testimony to goodness. People who want to become better themselves see these saints and work to imitate them because they see their actions as good.
  10. The Martyrs, especially early ones: The death of people close to the time of the "revelation" because of their resolve in faith in their god makes people wonder about if it's true. Since they were willing to die for their god, there must be a strong reason why they believe it to be true.
  11. Evolution doesn't cut it: The idea that a single organism evolved into everything we have today is a bit far-fetched. Perhaps the biggest kink is the separation into sexes. Why go from self-replication to requiring a partner? Some things which became necessary had steps of evolution where it there was no point. An idea that there is design makes more sense to these people
  12. The universe is ordered: For physics and science to be possible, there needs to be order. For the variety of life, objects, and forces, things work pretty well together to the point that we can understand them
  13. Why believe Scientists?: It takes faith to believe what scientists claim is true, especially with the long track record of being wrong. Since they don't fully understand everything that's inside our own universe, how can they make a claim about something outside?
    1. Even the science community is at odds because their "discoveries" don't matter when it comes to proving there is a god or not. Hence some scientists believe there is a creator while others don't

These lists are not exhaustive and could use better explanations, but I hope they do help in some regard. If you have something to add, please comment below or tweet @ND_Moharo 

With Love,
N. D. Moharo