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Religious Love  ●  Love of the Divine

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Lao Tzu advice quotes teachings

Love the whole world as if it were your self; then you will truly care for all things.

Lao Tzu

Confucius advice

Lian is a virtuous benevolent love.

Lian should be pursued by all human beings, and reflects a moral life.

Confucius

Buddha teachings

Conquer the angry man by love.

Buddha

Jesus quotes

There is only one love that loves unconditionally ‒ the love of the Divine.

Love your neighbor as yourself.  >>>

Jesus

Rumi quotes on love

The way of God's Messenger is the way of Love. We are all children of Love.

Love is our Mother.

Rumi

Dalai Lama advice

Love and compassion benefit both ourselves and others. Through kindness to others, your heart and mind will be peaceful and open.

Dalai Lama XIV

American Indian proverbs

It makes no difference as to

the name of the God, since

Love is the real God of all the World.

American Indian

proverb

  

   

 

Mythological Definitions of Love

Different cultures have deified love, typically in both male and female form. Here is a list of the gods and goddesses of love in different mythologies.

  • Amor or Cupid god of passionate love in Roman mythology

  • Aphrodite goddess of passionate love in Greek mythology

  • Eros god of passionate love in Greek mythology

  • Freya goddess in Norse mythology

  • Kama god of sensual love in Hindu mythology

  • Rati goddess of passionate love in Hindu mythology

  • Venus goddess of passionate love in Roman mythology

  • Xochipilli god in Aztec mythology

Cultural Differences  Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book

 

Most religions use love to express the devotion the follower has to their deity who may be a living guru or religious teacher. This love can be expressed by putting the love of God above personal needs, prayer, service, good deeds, and personal sacrifice, all done selflessly. Reciprocally, the followers may believe that the deity loves the followers and all of creation. Some traditions encourage the development of passionate love in the believer for the deity.

 

 

Religious Views

Christian

Christians believe that love to God and to other people (God's creation, as they see it) are the two most important things in life (the greatest commandment of God, according to Jesus. See The Gospel of Mark chapter 12, verses 28-34 in the Bible). Saint Augustine summarized this when he wrote "Love God, and do as thou wilt". Christians also believe in the love of God for man so much that he would sacrifice his son for them. Many Christian theologians see God as the source of love which is mirrored in humans and their relationships.

  • Agapē. In the New Testament, Agapē, is charitable, selfless, altruistic, and unconditional. It is fatherly love seen as creating goodness in the world, and is reciprocal between believers and God.

  • Phileo. Also used in the New Testament, Phileo is a human response to something that is found to be delightful. Also known as "brotherly love."

  • Nomos. Nomos is devotion to God, and the subjugation of the will before Him and His divine law.

Buddhist

  • Kāma. In Buddhism, Kāma is sensous, sexual love. It is an obstacle on the path to enlightenment, since it is selfish.

  • Karunā. Karunā is compassion and mercy which reduces the suffering of others. It is complimentary to wisdom, and is necessary for enlightenment.

  • Advesa, Maitrī. Advesa and maitrī are benevolent love. This love is unconditional and requires considerable self-acceptance. This is quite different from the ordinary love, which is usually about attachment and sex, which rarely occur without self-interest. Instead, in Buddhism it refers to detachment and unselfish interest in others' welfare.

Hindu

Hindu writers, theologians and philosophers have distinguished nine forms of devotion that they call bhakti e.g. in the Bhagavatha-Purana and according to Tulsidas. The booklet Narada bhakti sutra written by an unknown author distinguishes eleven forms.

  • Kāma. In kāma is pleasurable, sexual love, personified by the god Kama. For many Hindu schools it is the third end in life (artha).

  • Prema. In contrast to kāma, prema or prem refers to elevated love.

  • Karunā. Karunā is compassion and mercy which reduces the suffering of others.

  • Bhakti. Bhakti is a Sanskrit term from Hinduism meaning loving devotion to the supreme God. A person who practices bhakti is called bhakta.

Islamic

In a sense, love does encompass the Islamic view of life as universal brotherhood which applies to all who holds the faith. There is no direct references stating that God is love, but amongst the 99 names of God, there is the name Al-Wadud or "the Loving One," which is found in Surah 11:90 as well as Surah 85:14. It refers Allah as being "full of loving kindness." In Islam, love is more often than not used as an incentive for the sinners to aspire to be as worthy for a God's love as they may. One still has God's love, but how the person evaluate's his own worth is to his own and Allah's own counsel. All who holds the faith has Allah's love, but to what degree or effort has he pleased God depends on the individual itself.

  • Ishq. Ishq, or divine love, is the emphasis of Sufism, Sufis believe that love is a projection of the essence of God to the universe. God desires to recognize beauty, and as if one looks at a mirror to see oneself, God "looks" at itself within the dynamics of nature. Since everything is a reflection of God, the school of Sufism practices to see the beauty inside the apparently ugly.

Jewish

Judaism employs a wide definition of love, both between people and between man and the Deity. As for the former, the Torah states: "Love your neighbor like yourself" (Leviticus 19:18). As for the latter, one is commanded to love God "with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your possessions" (Deuteronomy 6:5), taken by the Mishnah (a central text of the Jewish oral law) to refer to good deeds, willingness to sacrifice one's life rather than commit certain serious transgressions, willingness to sacrifice all one's possessions and being grateful to the Lord despite adversity (tractate Berachoth 9:5). Rabbinic literature differs how this love can be developed, e.g. by contemplating Divine deeds or witnessing the marvels of nature. As for love between marital partners, this is deemed an essential ingredient to life: "See life with the wife you love" (Ecclesiastes 9:9).

The Biblical book Song of Songs is a considered a romantically-phrased metaphor of love between God and his people, but in its plain reading reads like a love song. The 20th century Rabbi Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler is frequently quoted as defining love from the Jewish point-of-view as "giving without expecting to take". Romantic love per se has few echoes in Jewish literature, although the Medieval Rabbi Judah Halevi wrote romantic poetry in Arabic in his younger years (also he appears to have regretted this later).

  • Hesed. Hesed, which basically combines the meaning of "affection" and "compassion" and is sometimes rendered in English as "loving-kindness". Hesed describes God's mercy.

  • Ahava. Ahava for 'affection' or 'favor'. It is not as widely used as 'hesed'.