Do You Love People?

The Talmud (Shabbat 31a) tells a story about a gentile who came to Rabbi Shammai, requesting that he teach him the entire Torah while standing on one foot. The "standing on one foot" idea was this individual's way of saying, “I am not asking for a seven-week intensive on the Torah but a compendium.” As the story goes, Rabbi Shammai, a builder by trade, pushed him away with a builder's cubit. 

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Easier said than done.
What about when you’re rudely awakened in the wee hours by your neighbors’ mufflerless motorcycle, or the pigsty he has erected along your fence?
Or the more subtle ones like the multi-racial woman in line ahead of you at the supermarket paying for her groceries with food stamps? Or you get a new boss and find out face to face he has brown skin?

Thank you so much for including the prayer I need so much:

Everyone has hopes and dreams.
Every one matters or no one matters.

A simple question should reveal the pitfalls of idealism on this article, which is…

Do you and should you love some people more and love other less?

How about asking God? Does He:

Is there/should there be a different standard for the church?


We are not unlimited beings. Do you think it’s possible to love everyone the same way in context of resources we have as individuals, or do you think love is merely about intent?

Fair question.
We don’t “love” everyone the same.
But then perhaps that requires some definitions.
What is love?

In the most direct way I can put it in human context, love is an action that results in meeting someone’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, and beyond that … wants … if these are of developmental benefit. Of course one has to understand what these are in order to act adequately.

In religious context, love is a righteous behavior toward other people.


I tend to agree. In this context it’s not emotional. So what prevents us from treating everyone the same?

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It’s a malformed question imo, which assumes that such is the desirable outcome for love.

Weak and dependent need more love and care than strong and independent. Women have different set of needs than men. Children different needs than adults… sick more than healthy… etc.

So, it’s a misplaced expectation imo. The only way it would be viable if we were all the same. We are not. In fact we are not even the same as individuals through the course of our lives. Our needs change and so do our wants… Year to year, day to day, and even hour to hour.

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What I hear you saying is describing a quality/quantity relationship of care.
In health care, the sick require more (quantity) care (love) than those who are well. But the same quality of care is available to all.
My neighbor with the loud motorcycle therefore requires more “love” than the one that observes all the proper rules of being a good neighbor. But I should love them the same. Even though I like the good neighbor more. Quality/quantity.
But it is I the sinner that needs a quantity/quality of God’s love to handle the situation correctly when I want to punish the first neighbor by withholding my love.
Does this work?

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No, I’m not. It’s not an issue of availability.

Our semantics can get very generic and lack precision when it comes to meaning. And we forget that whatever meaning we derive is always an approximation.

Sameness is only for conceptual communication, and that’s the way you use it… as a concept that communicates a template of and ideal outlined by principles.

What I’m talking about is a strict reality of behavioral expression. What’s in our heads is actually different from reality. It’s an interpretation of it.

So, if I give you two quarters that have the same look, are these the same quarters? No. You can see the semantic difference in a way I used the word “the same”. It may seem insignificant, but it matters. These are not the same quarters. These may be colloquially identical, but these are not identical. These are, ever so slightly, different. So, there is no sameness beyond the conceptual identity you are tracking through time and space … and even then you are tracking an increasingly different object.

So no. We don’t love the same way, because nothing is the same. Sameness is only a tool for us to track, identify, and categorize things and events.

So, if you are talking about sameness in conceptual headspace of broader category… I would say yes, you could identify some broader patterns in some behavior you consider to be the “the same”. In reality though… it never is.

So, accurate understanding of fundamental nature of our reality is important if we are to discuss “what is love”.

Thank you for your time.
That was the most blurry document I have ever read, second only to some 1st year Greek. You’re difficult to dialog with because of this tendency- to blur the issue. Why? I don’t see an apparent reason.
But what I’ve seen in my short time here is a pattern that always ends in what feels to me as obfuscation. It’s almost as though you begin talking down to your “opponent”.
Most are not trying to be your adversary. But they seem to end up there.
The end result is a tendency to give up.
Is this what you are striving for?

  1. I’m actually clarifying otherwise blurry language of “love”, which otherwise means a million different things in different places. Just because you can package it in one word, it doesn’t simplify it. It’s a category. Much like category “medicine”. If I ask you to go out and get my kid some medicine, surely you would ask which? And surely you wouldn’t get same medicine for everyone who needs some?

  2. I don’t consider you my opponent.

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The challenge in applying the concept of “love” is not the fear of loving. It is the fear that whatever application of what is understood to be “love” will fail in adequacy because “love” is perfect. It is important, therefore, that human imperfections be allowed to express its fullest understanding of “love.” With imperfection understanding will come imperfect application and conclusions of spiritual inadequacy. Love, needs to be translated into what is needed to strengthen our relationship with another not just contextually but with reference to the Messiah who demonstrated what we all have accepted to be the ultimate demonstration of love. Love is of God. God is Love.

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