All You Need Is Love

All You Need Is Love

I guess I’m going out on a limb and doing something slightly controversial here. I’m a writer, and normally I talk about writing, or books, or Sherlock (because who can resist?). But today I’m going to talk about something a little more personal to me, and that’s my beliefs.

In a YouTube video I took my few subscribers on a tour of my room and one commenter expressed surprise about the number of Christian books I had, as they hadn’t known that I was a Christian. It’s not a secret, but at this stage in my life it’s not the first thing I’ll tell you about myself. I think because I just have too many questions and because there is too much else which ‘defines’ me, so it’s not usually necessary.

I am not in a secure place about my faith. I’ll start with that. I am not in a secure place because a few years ago, when I was about twelve, I started to ask the tricky questions. No one has yet given me a satisfactory answer to them, so I’m still looking for them. But however many doubts I may have, the idea of this world existing if there isn’t a God is actually harder for me to get my head around, and so every time, I end up bouncing back to what I believed before.

The main question I’ve got is if God really loves everybody, where does hell fit into that? I can’t reconcile myself to the idea of an all-loving God who would do that. I just can’t.

Some people say that hell is just separation from God and people who hate God and faith and everything would be happier there. Other people say that as the only way is through Jesus, a lot of people aren’t going to get to heaven. And other people (known as universalists, I believe), say that God forgives everybody in the end.

There’s a line in the Bible where it says that “God is love.” It’s not saying that God is made of love or that love can exist separately from God. It literally says that God is love. They are one and the same.

There’s another line, that I can’t quote accurately, but which says something along the lines of, “Whoever knows love, knows God.”

There’s a lyric from a song in Les Miserables that says “To love another person is to see the face of God.” They got that idea from somewhere – and that somewhere is likely to be the verses I’ve quoted above.

God is love. People talk about the whole, “I never knew you, get away from me,” thing at Judgement Day. Some have analysed the ‘never’ – if you were Christian as a kid but lost your way, would it still ‘count’? – and others hunt for meaning in the context to see if it was literal. For me, though, the word that stands out is ‘knew’.

Not, “You never believed in me,” but “I didn’t know you.”

But if whoever knows love knows God, then surely the only people who don’t know him are those who have never loved in their lives?

In the youth group at church a few weeks ago we were discussing this issue, of whether or not some people went to hell and stuff, and whether everything could be forgiven, and this verse cropped up. And we were talking about whether or not people who had a limited ability to understand the message as it’s taught in churches – people with special needs, small children – would go to heaven when they died.

I think the general consensus we came to was the idea that those who responded to the message they were capable of understanding – as far as they were capable of understanding it – would be saved. And then we talked about love. Anybody can recognise love. Babies recognise love. They don’t necessarily understand it, but they crave it. Everyone is capable of understanding love and kindness and all that stuff.

Is that the beginning of them understanding God? Because if he is love, then they’ve known him since the day they were born.

I guess this is a pretty controversial viewpoint among Christians. I’m no theologian. I’m just saying what makes sense to me in my head. This is how I understand it. If people love selflessly then they are seeing God’s love inside themselves and they know him and that’s what matters, isn’t it?

I’m not suggesting that you need to agree with me. I’m pretty sure most people don’t. For a start, a lot of my readers here probably don’t even believe in God. I’ve therefore put you through unnecessarily theological ramblings, far too early in the morning, and you’re probably sitting here thinking, “Okay, Miriam, go back to the writing blogs. This isn’t meant to be a religious debate.

Just for the record, I hate the word ‘religious’. It sounds boring and traditional and full of rules and since I believe that Jesus was the opposite of that – he was a bit of a rebel, and got himself killed for it – I think it’s a stupid word. But whatever.

Anyway, here’s my viewpoint. All you need is love. What do you think?

15 thoughts on “All You Need Is Love

  1. To be honest, I think I agree with almost everything you say there – though I make differet points on this angle. Like you, I’m not terribly certain about faith in any respect, but after a long period of indecision I decided that there was far too much indicative to support a God than deny one.

    I also went down the route of reserving hell for people who deliberately do evil with the intention of creating suffering. Hitler, Mussolini, that Bering Behvik nut … people like that.

    Like you, I believe it’s the “God as omnibenevolent” that is really important – that’s what Jesus said was the most important commandment in Mark’s Gospel after all! It might just be that I’m a naturally tolerant person, but I reckon it’s a logical conclusion for God to come to that humans need to be loving above all else, or we’ll all eat each other :P

    A mon avis, you have the right picture – I reckon people who know love, irregardless of whether or not they’re sure of God, are probably people God respects. As we’re free beings and all, I reckon he can make concessions over people who aren’t so sure of his existence as long as they’ve been good … which is a whole nother debate in itself, but you get the idea.

    And one last thing – sure, we don’t understand why God does some things. But hey, if we could understand God, what would be the point of a God at all? Mebbe we’ll get the chance to ask him in the afterlife, eh?

    1. True. I’m not sure if it’s in the bible or is just a quote from somewhere else, but someone said how if we could get our heads around God he would only be as big as our heads.

      Also, the whole “being good” thing, I think depends on reasons for being good. If you’re doing it because you want people to see you doing it and to respect you, that’s different to doing it because you truly love the people you’re helping. Does that make sense?

      1. Competely. All of it makes sense, and more sense than I’ve ever managed to get my head around and I’ve been here a little less than twice as long as you two.

        I’ve heard somewhere else that as we grow we move away from God and if God is Love that makes sense, because as babies love is what we know and it is unconditional. yet as we grow older we learn to give conditional love. But if you want, you can still find you have unconditional love to give. I feel it when snuggling with my children or husband at night the feeling that I’ll love them forever, that right there is where I am meant to me and I am content.

        The Beattles were right: “All you need is love.” :}

      2. Yeah, I see – I’m not going to try and explain my views on good, because that would be a bloody great essay, lol. But I htink we understand each other on that front :P

  2. Absolutely. Didn’t read much of this post except the paragraph mentioning Les Mis, but I think I got the gist of it. Good to know of another Christian writer around here.
    By the way, Charley needs a little bit of education on the works of Chris D’Lacey. Think you could oblige?

  3. God does not forgive murder, as I believe it. Forgive me for being kind of graphic here, but I don’t like the idea of walking around in Heaven with a murdering, raping psychopath abiding there with me. You come down here to be tested and to see what kind of person you are, so the person you are down to your very basis, soul level, is who you will be when you die as well. As my beliefs have it according to the gospel I go by (trying not to use the word religion because it irritates you – I don’t particularly like the assumptions that come with the word, so I’m with you there), if you do not murder or deny the holy ghost once you’ve been baptized, then you cannot go to Hell.
    Other than that, I believe there are three different levels of Heaven. Three different Kingdoms, and depending on how good of a person you were, what morals you acted by, and what you did while living, who you are inside and out to both yourself and others, will decide which level you end up in, in Heaven.
    Yes, if you love, you know God. But this love I think, is an unconditional one. One that doesn’t say, “yes, I love you, but I don’t really love you enough to sacrifice something for you”. Plus, the mobster who, again, murders people, and then comes home and loves his family, doesn’t love fully or know God, either. Because if he can show his children and wife that murder is okay, then he doesn’t love even them unconditional. Sometimes showing love also comes by denying someone something they think is okay, even if it makes them hate you, because you know it will make them a better person for it, and you want the best for them even if it means they no longer want to be around you. Until they figure it out for themselves and come full circle in that little bit of enlightenment I guess you’d say.
    But yeah, I’m with you, I don’t get into “religious” debates that often at all. People bring too many assumptions and close mindedness into it. They come for the reason of shoving what they believe down your throat and not listening to a word you say.
    But if you have a question that bothers you or is niggling at the back of your mind, definitely ask it. Someone who won’t freak out on you will answer eventually. Just ignore all of the mean people ;)

    1. Thanks for commenting. I’m not sure what I believe there. On the one hand, I think that no one’s beyond redemption, and the bible does say that blaspheming against the holy spirit is the only unforgivable sin (which is a weird verse; I only came across it recently). On the other hand, I can see where you’re coming from!

  4. The last thing I am is religious. Spiritual, yes; religious, no. If what you say is right, I actually think I’m sort of a universalist, because I don’t even BELIEVE in hell. Which means that by default, EVERYONE gets into heaven. :) The idea that God is love is something I think aligns with my beliefs well. And part of the reason I think hell is such a strange idea is because if God loves you, why would he damn you for eternity?

    My beliefs are really unconventional, but they’re hardly set in stone. I’m always open to the evolution of my beliefs. :) Thanks for sharing yours!

  5. This is now one of my favorite posts on your blog. :) (I’m reading through a couple of pages of it…) I don’t believe in any God and one of the main reasons is that I can’t get my mind around the idea of ‘a loving God’ who doesn’t always love and tosses people into Hell. Very interesting.

    1. Thank you! This was one of the posts I really hesitated to press ‘publish’ on because I was worried that it would have a negative response (it’s a pretty controversial topic), but actually everyone’s been really positive.

      1. It IS controversial, but stuff like this actually makes for really good posts, I think… when the writer is logical and not offensive.

        I’m assuming your profile picture is you… wow, you really look like one of my friends.

        What’s your username on NaNo YWP? (If you’re on there.)

        1. I’m on the main NaNoWriMo site, though I believe I have a YWP account that I don’t use – my username is “delorfinde”. Yes, it’s me in my picture :-)

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