The Truth About Love

love-2I’ve been thinking a lot about 1 Corinthians 13.  People, not  always Christians, use this part of scripture as a reading for weddings and other events, regularly. When I heard it the other day, I realized how profound it is, and of all the scripture I have read, 1 Corinthians 13 is actually something I can hold onto as a guideline for my life:

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails…And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Interestingly, these principles are the ones I have rarely seen in the Christians in my life, especially the ones that are closest to me. There have been a couple of times where I confronted my sister with these scriptures and let her know that when she says she loves me, but continues to be cruel and rejecting, she isn’t living out 1 Corinthians 13, which is part of her holy book.  Her response to me has always been the same; “I do love you, I just can’t be around you, or I don’t trust you, or I have a wall up between me and you,” etc., etc. Well, what is love then?  The apostle Paul seems to make it clear.  Maybe in “the original language” it means something entirely different.

I decided to look up the definition of love and here is a synopsis:  “Profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person, a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection; to take great pleasure in as for a parent, child, or friend.”

Most hard core Christians, my sister and mother included, do not exhibit any of the aspects of 1 Corinthians 13 love, at least not to me.  I’m not sure why.  It’s like the more you study the scriptures and the closer you get to god, the meaner, more judgmental, and more hateful you become.  I saw it in myself and I’ve seen it in my sister.  In fact, seeing it happen to my sister caused me to take a good hard look at myself.  I have to admit it’s easier to exhibit 1 Corinthians 13 love as a secular humanist than it ever was as a Christian. I wonder why that is?  The apostle says that it doesn’t matter whether you have knowledge, or have faith; if you lack love, you are nothing and yet, many Christians are great at attaining knowledge and going on and on about their faith, yet love, real love, is rarely seen.  At least I have not encountered it.

It’s as if knowing and speaking the laws of God, or trotting out the faith card are more important than simply loving.  It’s all so pharisaical and you know what Jesus had to say about them?  Let me paraphrase; they were gross.


14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. juliesamazed
    May 24, 2013 @ 04:21:19

    Hi NAB! Regarding your words above, “Most hard core Christians, my sister and mother included, do not exhibit any of the aspects of 1 Corinthians 13 love, at least not to me. I’m not sure why.” I have some thoughts. They claim that it is God within them who does this work, but you and I know that that is not true. They must be so exhausted, putting up this facade. I’m not excusing them here. Since they are relying on God to love others through them, and there is, in fact, no God in them . . .


    • notabarbie
      May 25, 2013 @ 02:02:11

      Hi Julie!
      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂 What you say is simple, yet profound. There is no god in them that causes them to be loving and evidently, they aren’t kind or loving people and yes, they are exhausted from keeping up the facade. That’s probably why they avoid me like the plague. It’s just too hard for them to be loving toward me, yet they know they should be… Oh well. I remember that exhaustion from trying to keep up appearances. So glad I don’t have to do that anymore. I’m still kind of shocked that I’m a kind and loving person without god…I was always so sure atheists were hateful and evil and that once I rejected god, I would be hateful and evil too. Hahahah, who knew? Have a great weekend!


  2. Margarita
    May 25, 2013 @ 01:17:09

    I’m so pleased to find this blog – and so agree with you about the kind of cognitive dissonance there is among card-carrying christians about this amazing passage of Paul’s: it is said to be totally believed to be the inspired word of God – but the opposite is done!


  3. juliesamazed
    May 25, 2013 @ 02:46:52

    Margarita – Stay tuned to notabarbie – you’ll always find thought-provoking narrative, and if you’re like me, so many ‘a-ha!’ moments that you’ll really feel like you’ve found a kindred spirit (as opposed to a ‘holy’ spirit – lol at my own joke!). We’re lucky that she shares her insights with us!


  4. ... Zoe ~
    May 25, 2013 @ 19:51:55

    You said: I decided to look up the definition of love and here is a synopsis: “Profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person, a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection; to take great pleasure in as for a parent, child, or friend.”

    I think passages like 1 Cor. 13 and other N.T. passages on love become null and void in light of the entire Bible, especially the O.T. and the book of Revelation. In my opinion this is why it is so difficult for people like your mom and sister to love you – love you. Think about it. We’re told God (Jesus) loves us but time and time again we see God wipe the face of the earth with natural disasters, genocide in war, killing of innocents, raping of women and it goes on and on. But Amen He loves us! If anyone in the Bible has a split personality is it not “God?” And I think this split personality carry’s over into Christians. They can easily say they do love you but just like God they must judge you and cast you aside because they believe in the God who proclaims that though He loves you you will go to hell.

    Looking at your synopsis on love, when has God ever been consistently tender, affectionate and warm? If God was ever a parent who took great pleasure in us it sure seemed short-lived . . . think The Garden. I think the very disastrous personality of God makes it easy for family and friends to turn their backs on us. Why not? After all God has done it and will continue to do it for all time.

    As you know I’m not defending your mom and sister but honestly when I look at the belief is it any wonder this type of stuff happens?


    • notabarbie
      May 26, 2013 @ 10:38:10

      So, so true Zoe. Yes, if we read the entire Bible it’s so clear that the god of the Bible is NOT a god of love. He’s more like a god of genocide, misogyny, and hate. I don’t see why Christians can’t see the disconnect, but then I didn’t either. I wish I could help them see, but I realize it’s a personal journey that I can’t begin for them. If they ever do start to open their eyes, I’ve blazed one heck of a trial 🙂 Good to hear from you lovely Zoe ❤


  5. Phil Ireton
    May 26, 2013 @ 02:01:27

    notabarbie: I attend a church that many consider to be apostate. (I didn’t even know was ‘apostate’ was until I was looking up the differences between PCUSA [the group that my little church belongs to] and PCA. Many Presbyterians who belong to the PCA feel that the PCUSA is apostate because they don’t believe that the Pope is the anti-Christ [He’s not], and the LGBT community is going to hell [they’re not, at least not simply because they’re gay], that abortion is a sin [and if it is, then that is the right of the woman to chose, not mine], and so on…)

    I find it interesting that scripture points out that the people that Jesus communed with would not be accepted in most churches today.

    We (humans) love people not because we are Christians, compelled by dogma, but because we truly love them. And if we truly love them (and they us) then we accept them as they are and are concerned about them, worried about them, and rejoice in their joys and accomplishments! They only thing that Christians can say about their uniqueness is that they are, almost without doubt, one of the most intolerant religions in the Galaxy!

    So, if you say that you will pray for me, I am going to accept that you do not have any other way, as a person, to offer comfort. . .

    Anyway, notabarbie, enjoy your blog, and go forth and do. . .


  6. karenloethen
    Mar 26, 2014 @ 11:03:04

    Hi, I am a secular blogger who started a blogging carnival for atheist parenting. I just stumbled upon your blog and I think that your writing would really contribute to the overall project.
    Would you consider checking out the carnival and possibly sending something in for submission for an upcoming carnival? Don’t let the word “Atheist” in the title put you off…many of the people who submit blog posts for the carnival are humanists, freethinkers, agnostic, and a myriad of other imprecise and inadequate words of association. 😉 Mainly I’m looking for posts about secular parenting, regardless of the label!
    Even if you choose to not participate in the carnival, I wanted to let you know that I am enjoying your blog!

    CAP: Carnival for Atheist Parenting

    Actually, you might also enjoy my personal blog: My Own Mind


    • notabarbie
      Mar 31, 2014 @ 00:41:51

      Thank you Karen! I apologize for taking so long to moderate, but I just started working a “real job,” full time and trying to work my blog into my schedule. 🙂 It’s been harder than I thought. First, I have no problem with the word “atheist,” not at all. That’s what I am 🙂 I know some do though. I will check out your blogs. I’m looking forward to reading them and thanks for reading and liking my ramblings.


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