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Universality of Love - Love in All Religions

by Dr. Neil Chadwick

Love in Christianity

Love is the central theme of the teaching of Jesus. For many people, I Corinthians 13 is one of the greatest chapter of the Bible. Because of its beautiful lyrical phrases in praise of love, it is frequently read, in whole or in part, at Christian weddings worldwide. In addition to I Corinthians 13, there is another great "Love Chapter" in the Bible, John 13. It was here that Jesus said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34, 35) In the three following chapters (John 14-16), we find John's concentration of teaching on the work of the Holy Spirit. Again in the middle of Chapter 15, Jesus reiterates the love command, "Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (15:12,13) This idea is repeated in the "other" John 3:16, "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."

It is noteworthy that this idea of the importance of love finds agreement among all of the large, popular religions of the world. Here's a brief sampling:

Judaism

"You shall not hate your brother in your heart . . . but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord." (Leviticus 19:17-18) However, for the Jewish people, this love was not restricted to their own people. "The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt." (Lev 19:34).

Islam

"Human beings can live in blessing and kindness so long as they love each other, show trust-worthiness, and behave according to truth and fairness. Love is enduring and patient and kind. It judges all things with the heart, not the mind. And love can transform the most common place into beauty and splendor and sweetness and grace. For love is unselfish, giving more than it takes, being unconditional and unhampered by environment. Love never forsakes, it is faithful and trusting, truthful. It is guileless and honest and never deceiving. Love is Allah's Divine Gift." ("Islamic Digest")

Hinduism

One of the four ends of life is Kama, which like Cupid, is a personalized god of love with flower-bow and five flower arrows, sending desire quivering into the heart. In general, love in Hinduism plays a determinative role in the whole religious practice; family love, married love and all secular forms of love are subordinate to the divine love.

Buddhism

"Never is this world appeased by hatred; it is only appeased by love - this is an eternal law." (Dhammapada, The Way of Righteousness - 3-5, 201).

Daoism

"There are three basic precious treasures which I would preserve forever: love, frugality, and humility. Love creates courage - love can win when fighting, and also can defend a position strongly. Heaven would save those who have love." (By founder Lao Zi, Ch. 67).

Confucianism

"Ren" (translated as love, goodness, heartedfulness, or humaneness) is a central concept and starting point. Ren is the determinative principle for the harmony, balance and equilibrium among human beings. Love is a duty, a virtue, a moral conduct, a rational choice, and a social responsibility.

Although we certainly agree that not all religions are created equal, we can point to the universality of this persuasion that love is championed worldwide.

See Also:

Forgiveness
God is powerful to convert even the most sinister plots of the unrighteous for the good of righteous.

Prayer Remembers the Truth
Prayer is what you do when youíre done struggling with a problem, and youíre ready to call forth its solution. Prayer is not about trying to get God to do something to you or give something to you. Itís about allowing God to do something through you.

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