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Don Ruch

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Unconditional Love.

Is there such a thing as Unconditional Love? Love that is not subject to any condition? I will love you no matter what. It is not conditional that you should love me back, indeed, you could hate me and that would not change my feelings for you.

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    Apr 27 2012: To me it's clear there is something like unconditional love eg. the mother who forgives all the things her son the criminal has done and will keep forgiving him.

    When talking about unconditional often, if not every time, the love of mothers and fathers is brought in as an example. However, unconditional love isn't restricted to that relation. Personally I'll do everything for everybody and not expect something in return. To me that's a form of unconditional love as well. I believe in karma, all the love you give will come back to you in some form.
    In my opinion the problem is that people are expecting, in need of, confirmation of their goodness. If that's not rewarded at some point they'll stop loving because they don't see the fruit of it (in their eyes a thank you, a gift back, the -overrated- words I love you...).

    Unconditional love isn't for everybody and often it scares the ones who receive the love I have noticed. Sometimes people ask me why I'm so nice or why I'm always doing some things for them. They don't know how to react to it and sometimes it frightens them and they run away, too bad for them.

    Point is: There is something as unconditional love but not everybody can love unconditionally and not everybody can be loved unconditionally.

    With love,
    Pascal-Xavier
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      May 1 2012: "In my opinion the problem is that people are expecting, in need of, confirmation of their goodness"

      Aha!!!

      This is very insightful, and also very true!!

      Now here is my question.

      Do women have a bigger issue with this than men?

      In my experience, women need the acknowledgement/confirmation, or they withdraw, whereas this is not necessarily the case with men.

      "Unconditional love isn't for everybody and often it scares the ones who receive the love I have noticed"

      This is also very true Pascal. I believe that in our loveless world many times people are on the look out for those who are shallow minded and are kind because they have a hidden agenda. So many, naturally are scared when others are kind to them, they don't know how to react.

      So, sometimes we have to ease them into knowing just the kind of person we are.......before we can shower them with unconditional love.......it is like the Chinese water torture of unconditional love......one drop of love at a time, if you will.

      Really enjoyed reading your insights.

      Be Well,
      Mary
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        May 1 2012: Dear Mary M,
        We are all people, first and foremost. I do not percieve women to have a "bigger issue with this than men". I know LOTs of both women AND men who are willing and capable of giving and receiving unconditional love.

        I also do not agree that our world is "loveless". I DO agree that sometimes when people are unconditionally kind, some folks are skeptical, and do not know how to react. Believeing that the world is "loveless", would reinforce the skepticism...would it not?
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        May 1 2012: Thank you for your reply Mary.

        I wouldn't say that women have a bigger issue with confirmation than men. But I do think that the issue of receiving confirmation is different for men and women.

        Men, I think, are more likely to let go and carry when they don't receive the confirmation they expect. They would maybe be sad for a moment but eventually they would carry on living their lives. While women, being more sensible than men, would be (more) sad for a longer period and would ask themselves 'Why, what did or didn't I do?'.

        Like Colleen I don't agree on our "loveless" world. At most the love is harder to find and expressed in different ways but it's still there and in the same amount. Because acts of love are harder to find these days the smallest acts of love have a big impact. People really lighten up when confronted to random acts of kindness.

        Love,
        Pascal-Xavier
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          May 1 2012: I agree Pascal-Xavier, that people often react differently, and sometimes the programming that we recieve can color our actions/reactions.

          Thank you for saying that women are "more sensible than men", and I say that we all have the same ability to be 'sensible" AND unconditionally loving. Men and women in our world have been given different programming and we sometimes follow that programming. I agree Pascal, that the actions/reactions may be different.

          I agree that sometimes the smallest acts of love have a big impact, and random acts of kindness are contagious, so be a carrier:>)

          Love you too Pascal-Xavier:>)
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      May 1 2012: Oh, and here is the link to another conversation we had on unconditional love.

      You might find it interesting, because it brings out how unconditional love is not solely familial.

      Here is the link:

      http://www.ted.com/conversations/9565/can_we_get_unconditional_love.html
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        May 1 2012: 'm aware of the conversation :) I wanted to write something but is was closed before I could do so.

        Thank you.
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          May 1 2012: As always dear Adriaan, your comments are upbuilding and help me to continue meditating and reflecting.

          Yes, alot of people do not know what love is.

          A mere look can convey love. Some people will not look you in the eye.

          If you get the chance to go and see the conversation started on out tattered nets you might get the opportunity to share your views.

          Thank you so much Adriaan. You know, I like it when I find words that resonate with me, and if I can upbuild my fellow human I try to by letting them know their comment was valuable to me. When I disagree, I like to reflect, to see the other side of the coin, and I ask questions. Then I think some more.

          Comments make me think.......I like to think Adriaan, thank you for making me think. I'm glad you realized also the depth of Pascal's comments.

          Have a super day!!!!
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          May 1 2012: Adriaan, you might enjoy this video, a TEDster posted it in another conversation:

          http://vimeo.com/40979758

          Be Well, Mary
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      May 1 2012: Pascal,

      Here is a talk a TEDster posted on a conversation on kindness.

      I just watched it, and thought you might enjoy it:

      http://vimeo.com/40979758

      Some of the points he brings out in his talk address some of the things you stated in your comment.

      Heads up: He speaks for about 22 minutes then answers questions.....both the presentation and the Q & A are, in my opinion, worth watching.
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    Apr 30 2012: Unconditional love existed in the character of Jesus Christ.

    I believe that my father loved me unconditionally, but his belief in purgatory made his expression of that love pretty screwed up.

    The witch hunters tortured and executed people accused of witchcraft, believing that they were saving their souls from eternal damnation. To them, that was an expression of love.

    Unconditional love can only be expressed when the distortions in the mental field are all cast out. That is what casting out Satan from heaven is all about. It is all metaphysical, cleanse the mind of misconceptions, and then you can think clearly.

    As far as expressing unconditional love, it requires that we do not put ourselves first.
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      May 1 2012: Hi Roy,
      I don't believe torturing and execution of people for a belief that is different, is unconditional love. There are people here on TED who try to convert us to their religious beliefs under the guise of love and caring, while telling us that if we do not believe in their god and their religion, we are going to hell!!! That is unconditional need to CONTROL...not love. Unconditional love accepts and respects others regardless of who and what they are, regardless of beliefs. As you so insightfully say, "unconditional love can only be expressed when distortions in the mental field are all cast out". That being said, we can love a person unconditionally and NOT accept certain behaviors that adversly impact others.
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        May 1 2012: Colleen,
        I believe that you understand what I am trying to convey, that our conception of love cannot be unconditional if we have all these distorted beliefs in our head. And yet to those who hold such beliefs, they actually believe that they are expressing love when they try to instill these beliefs on you, including their belief in hell. They actually think that they are doing you a favor.

        I have seen many posts of those who claim that God is unconditional love, and yet they attribute qualities to God that are highly detestable based on their interpretation of words that they themselves do not understand. The scriptures are not about God, they are about us in our attempt to discover our place in the cosmos, and all the detestable things that we do because of all our misunderstandings.
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          May 1 2012: Yes Roy, I think I do understand what you are saying, and I'm saying the same thing. I totally agree that our conception of love cannot be unconditional if we have all these distorted beliefs in our head. And yet, to those who hold such beliefs, the beliefs are real. Yes, they may actually think they are doing me a favor, and it's simply annoying.

          It feels like they think/feel I am not intelligent or informed enough to make my own decision. And what it is actually showing me is that they are insecure with their own beliefs. Misery loves company?

          A god of love simply would not use some of the distorted propaganda to get folks into a religion. A god of love, if there is one, would be genuinely, unconditionally loving.
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      May 1 2012: You know Roy when you say Jesus or god loves us unconditionally I have to challenge that.

      I guess it depends on how you define unconditional love. And how do we know it is unconditional. Maybe god loves us just as a mother is hardwired to love their children, in most cases.

      I agree that hell and unconditional love seem incompatible.

      I agree love may involve rules.

      I suggest god views that involve god loving us unconditionally seem to be based on definition in scripture only. And if you look at the scriptures it is not that clear.

      How much did god love us when only the Jews were his chosen people. Who has a hissy fit the first time your child disobeys you and casts them out of the home (Eden). Who supports your chosen children over the others. Who needs a blood sacrifice in order to reconnect with their loved ones. Does it really gel. Actually it wasn't until after Jesus dies that they even started to include non Jews in a big way. How do we know the veracity of the words in the gospels attributed to Jesus. There are clues he wasn't that interested e.g. initial resistance to heal a gentile, only jewish followers etc. Maybe some of the verbal stories were changed before being written done. Why not include the Gospel of Thomas, Judas, Mary etc.

      I don't see an unconditionally loving god in the old testament and the new on adds hell. I don't see any evidence Jesus was more unconditionally loving than many other humans with love in their heart. Just looks like a man with a reasonable message in part and apocalyptic nastiness in the other.
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        May 2 2012: Obey,
        I understand your viewpoint. Hell is a misunderstood word. What religion teaches us about hell originates in ancient Egypt. It was not supposed to be carried forward by the Hebrews. You won't find it in Genesis. Hell is the pain and suffering that we create for ourselves. Much of it is avoidable, but we like to take chances, so we end up reaping its consequences.

        The chosen people were sent out to rid the world of idol worship. You have to understand what the people were doing in order to understand why it was so objectionable. We started a civil war to end slavery, and slavery was mild compared to what sacrificing your children to Baal was all about. The chosen people were equally targeted by their own god when they themselves succumbed to the practice.

        The Garden of Eden was a myth. The forbidden fruit is all the things that entice you but leave you destitute if you partake of them. It is a metaphorical tree, and it is just as real today as it was then. I know of people who are in the same boat as Adam and Eve because they allowed themselves to be enticed by things that would drain them of their life savings and leave them wanting. They have no life of their own. They are serving their addiction.

        The scriptures are not that clear? Of course they are not that clear. They are designed to make you think. That is the only way you will grow in spirit. Science is not all that clear either. You have to think about it if you are going to get anything out of it. You can't just say I believe in it, you have to search it out, figure out what it is telling you. Blind faith is rubbish. Blind acceptance of relativity is no better if you don't know what it means. Read between the lines.
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          May 2 2012: Thanks Roy. I also have a problem with blind faith.

          I still think there is an element of faith in anyone's specific religious interpretation, even those more considered. For example, you rely a lot on Judeo Christian scriptures. I see nothing divine in them at all.

          Then through a belief framework we come to conclusions. This framework may include assumptions that are deeply embedded and seldom called into question and used to assess other information e.g.
          - God exists or doesn't
          - God intervenes or doesn't
          - God has been revealed to us via a book etc or had not
          - God loves us and is interested in our personal lives or not
          - We can have a personal relationship with god or not
          - That a certain religious tradition points in the right direction etc

          So, I'm not sure if god loving us unconditionally is something you have embedded without much critical assessment, or something you have thought deeply about. I guess it is part of the Judeo Christian Framework. An assumption. A dogma.

          If there is a creator who say set off the big bang, I don't know it takes an active role in the universe, whether we can access it, or whether it is sitting back. Humans may not even be part of the plan. The creator may have just rolled the dice and we might be one of many life forms in the universe that evolved. This creator may not have created the universe with humans as the key focus. It may not love us. It may not even exist.

          One part of my argument is pointing out the issues from a bible or Judeo christian perspective. Another is that the bible is probably no authority on gods anyway in my view. Just one of many different man inspired religious scriptures.

          So how do you know the bible is pointing in the right direction. You may have had similar experiences if brought up in a Hindu world view, butwith different cultural details.

          So many religious and spiritual viewpoints. Nature spirits to polytheism to deism etc
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        May 2 2012: Obey,
        You have chosen to deny the scriptures on the basis of science. That is not out of tune with the scriptures themselves; "the truth will set you free". How you get to that truth is not written in stone. The scriptures were written to enlighten, not to provide cold hard facts. So to deny the scriptures because they have been presented to you in a blind faith scenario is a step in the right direction. Jesus had nothing good to say about blind faith. Anyone who rejects blind faith is following in the teachings of Jesus, even if that means rejecting Jesus himself. Eventually you may come to see that there is a lot more to this than just a lot of dogma.

        My faith began in a Catholic church. I was soon disillusioned by the teachings of the church. My search for the truth led me to a religious experience that equated God with the power of creation. And that power was not somewhere else, it was in matter itself. I kept this on the back burner until I came to learn of quantum fields. That's when I put the two together.

        What religion says about God, and what I have come to know about God are two different things. I believe in God even though I reject what religion says about it because the experience I had pre-dated my scientific journey. I understood intuitively what science later confirmed logically.

        My journey led me into Eastern philosophy. That is where I began to find correlations to scripture that gave them a new meaning. I never took religion for face value. I always had the notion that religion was missing something. Eastern philosophy provided information that was missing. It opened channels of understanding.

        Nature spirits, to polytheism, to deism is the associative path to unity. A respect for nature, to an understanding of the forces of nature, to relativity, to the unified field theory is the logical path to unity. They both came to the same conclusion, but took different routes. Learn to read between the lines.
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          May 2 2012: Is this discussion about scriptures and religion, or unconditional love?
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    Apr 24 2012: Yes, unconditional love exists, and human beings are capable of expressing it... No... They shouldn't!

    Put conditions on your love. Love people who treat you, and the people you care about with respect. Love people who are kind and generous. Love people who love you back... Tolerate everyone else : p
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    May 1 2012: Hi Don,
    Yes, unconditional love that is not subject to any condition is possible and pleasurable here and now:>) It frees people from their own expectations and from having expectations of others. It frees all of us from trying to control others. To experience unconditional love, we suspend our need to impose our preferences on others. What often happens, is that when we suspend our need to control others, it opens up the pathway for others to suspend their need to control us as well:>)

    Unconditional love of all people means we respect, have compassion and empathy. It does not mean that we accept abusive behaviors or agree with them all the time......acceptance, respect, compassion, empathy:>)
  • Apr 26 2012: Yes. Our love of our children is usually unconditional, especially when they are very young. My children's ages span several decades and I love them all; unconditionally and without question.
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    Apr 25 2012: If it does not exist something very close to it probably does.
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    Apr 23 2012: Are you asking if Man is capable of exercising unconditional love? Or are you asking if unconditional love exists in the Universe? If the former, no. If the latter, yes. The Holy Bible reveals the one, true God whose love is unconditional.
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      Apr 24 2012: Perhaps the god of the bible might show unconditional love if there were not conditions, if there were not a chosen people, if there was no hell.
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        Apr 24 2012: Take that up with God. He is there and He hears honest, humble, sincere inquiries about His ways. I will tell you that His chosen people includes non-Jews like me. You may be among His chosen people, in fact, so may every living person on Earth. That is unconditional love. As for Hell, its awfulness is based in the realization, by each of its residents, that God's unconditional love was offered, ignored, ridiculed, rejected, and lost forever when Death came calling. He gave his only Son, Jesus Christ, to save from perishing (Hell) all who believe in him. Good news Obey!
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          Apr 25 2012: Hi Edward, you have probably been taught that god loves us unconditionally. Please look at the facts - what the bible says and mainstream Christian dogma.

          Can you set aside this Truism for a minute? Is it unconditional if I say to my children my eldest son must die in order to forgive you, and you must obey me or I will torture you for the rest of your life?

          The Christian god is somewhere between tough love and tyranny depending on which verses you look at. But not unconditional. We must obey.

          You can love a child as close to unconditionally as a human can and still discipline them. To set things up so that if they disobey they are killed or tortured for eternity is beyond the pale. A being that creates the conditions of Hell to punish our disobedience is anything but loving. That is more brutal than Aztec human sacrifice. It is twisted.

          You tell me to take it up with God. With respect, that is a cop out. You are the one making the claim that god loves us unconditionally. Yes, technically we all have access to the get out of hell card, if we accept his conditions and submit. That is by definition conditional.
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        Apr 25 2012: OK Obey. I get it. You don't think the Holy Bible presents God as one whose love is unconditional. I also get that you feel you are well qualified in knowledge of the Holy Bible. Will you permit your claim to be tested? Answer these seven questions from this wealth of Bible knowledge you have stored in your mind. . . no Cliff Notes or Bible For Dummies: 1). Where are the original texts written by the attributed authors? 2). Does the Holy Bible claim to prove God's existence? 3). How many books make-up the Bible? 4). For how long have you been a serious student of the BIble? 5). How much time each week do you spend studying the Bible? 6). Which book of the Bible contains the Ten Commandments? 7). How many separate, individual, distinct beings make-up the God of the Bible? I am implying that you are unqualified to speak authoritatively about the Bible. Prove me wrong by honestly answering these questions without looking up anything. I will apologize and respect your opinions on this subject if you do.
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          Apr 25 2012: Really Edward?

          Is this how you respond to avoid accepting the obvious - its not unconditional if there are conditions.

          We all have these catch phrases from one place or another, so don't take it personally. God is love etc.

          Now you are reverting to question my authority to comment on such matters rather than address my core arguments.

          I usually don't respond to these tactics. It shouldn't matter if I'm illeterate or a phD in theology if my argument is sound. Anyway...

          I was a church going, bible studying earnest Christian for years. I've read the bible through a couple of times cover to cover, and many parts many times over. I will admit to rushing through some of the genealogies. I've had a deep interest in related matters and read widely most of my life.

          Actually, my recall is the 10 commandments shows up in a couple of books - Exodus and Deuteronomy. My recall is a couple sets of tablets were made because Moses smashed the first set - something to do with some Israelites building a golden calf idol. I think the Levites killed a few thousand of these on instruction from Moses. I think Jesus mentioned some of the 10 in the gospel of Matthew. The trinity is debated amongst some believers too.

          The number of books differs between the Western and Eastern churchs.

          Most denominations include the doctrine of Hell. I think the church of England is moving away from this. I note they and the Catholics more or less except evolution.

          Do you accept that there are instances in the bible where Yahweh does things that would be considered cruel if done by humans. The great flood. The slaying of neighbouring tribes in Isaiah. That the god of the bible seeks to moderate slavery rather than oppose it.

          Is this consistent with unconditional love. You know you can believe in god and accept the good and the bad about him noted in the bible - there is both love and tyranny. But when you say unconditional love it should be consistent with the the general meaning.
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      Apr 25 2012: Requiring obedience with the threat of eternal punishment is not unconditional.

      The Muslims see more clearly that the Abrahamic god requires submission.
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        May 1 2012: This is so true Obey! Requiring obedience with the threat of eternal punishment IS NOT unconditional love. It is amazing that folks continue to talk about their "god of love", who will send us to an eternity in hell if we do not embrace a particular religion.

        That is the most unkind, unaccepting, non-compassionate or empathic CONDITION we can ever imagine. It seems contradictory and hypocritical to say that the god of love would send us to an eternity of suffering for not agreeing with him!

        Unconditional love is not about god or no god. It is about accepting and respecting each other with compassion and empathy. That is truly unconditional love. If there is a god of love, he/she/it TRULY loves and does NOT require obedience because of threats.
  • Apr 23 2012: Don,
    I suspect there is, but not being raised in such a house hold, it is not right for me to offer much. I would offer this: if a parent loves a child so much as to forgive its errors and misjudgments, then could this be an example of love without condition? If we as adults could love one another without condition, then we must learn forgiveness when we human, imperfect persons err or do harm. Unconditional love means we have to let go sometimes and also to persevere when we have solid conviction we are right on a relationship issue and such conviction actually brings benefit to all parties.

    Unconditional love is like loving as a father or mother. Give love as you would want to receive love. Each of us who realizes we erred and hurt someone, and who also desires to repair a relationship, would want unconditional forgiveness and love. No religion owns this concept and science cannot measure such love with formulas or machines. It is experienced! Love is the desire to do good for one another. How strong or real is this desire in unconditional love? Let's grow with it!

    Others have more wisdom on this topic, a very good one for all to consider.

    Peace,
    MK
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      May 2 2012: I agree Mark,
      "Give love as you would want to receive love. No religion owns this concept and science cannot measure such love with formulas or machines. It is experienced!" We can each ask ourselves..."how strong or real is this desire in unconditional love?" And we all have the opportunity to "grow with it".

      We are HERE...NOW...on this earth, and it is a perfect opportunity to learn, grow and evolve with unconditional love....acceptance, respect, compassion, empathy....

      Worth repeating...No Religion owns the concept of unconditional love.
  • Apr 23 2012: My dear friend,
    The love for yourself is unconditional! All other love are conditional and one finds materialism in that. Your mother's love is conditionals because you are her part initially and separated later on.
  • Apr 26 2012: Yes, there is for sure. It depends on the moral of the other person