OK - question for Christians(23 Posts)
So this is my first OP on here so be gentle please.
To be clear from the start, I'm an athiest. I've recently came across this quote from the bible. Jesus says:
'He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me'.
Now, I have no intention of inflamming (this quote has probably been picked over before, no idea). I'm just curious as it just struck me that, as a mother of two young children, I just can't understand how a Christian could love Jesus more than their children. How do you reconcile this with your faith?
As another atheist, I can only add to the confusion without explanation.
Your quote is from Matthew 10.37. It pairs nicely with a quote from Deuteronomy 33.9
"He said of his father and mother, 'I have no regard for them.' He did not recognize his brothers or acknowledge his own children, but he watched over your word and guarded your covenant."
There appear to be many more examples of the same principle in the bible - all asking that the love of God is placed at least ahead of all else, if not in place of all else.
One thing I have learned about the bible is that it is full of inconsistency with what many believe to be "christian" and the only way Christians can reconcile with it is by "interpretation" or "cherry-picking". Not much a way of life by my reckoning.
I can understand that lots of the bible can be interpreted allegorically for example particulary the stuff from the Old Testement. But here, it's the New Testament and it's clear what the message is: love Jesus more than everything else. Do Christians really believe this? Will they get to heaven if they, for example, love their DC more than Jesus? I'm a bit confused by this quote.
I'm going to give your question ago but I don't post much and it's my take not the way every Christian sees things. It might not help at all!
First of all there aren't many Christians I know who read this and think "well that's easy then" and I know people who really believe but find this the most difficult verse in the Bible to reconcile with; especially when they have young children.
The way I see it is that God loves me and every person more than I can ever comprehend; enough to come to earth and to die for us. That sort of love is beyond what we can even imagine (although love between parents and children is the closest we come) and that in gratitude for that he deserves everything.
God has plans for people and if they hold back from following them because of what the world might say or how their family might be affected then they might go unfulfilled. Christianity is an evangelistic religion and so those plans being unfulfilled means the message about Jesus isn't being spread.
It's like Jesus' first disciples having said "I can't go because of my family" and then us never hearing about him.
I'm not trying to convince you at all. Just to explain a bit.
I would put this in the context of the time when the new testament was being written. When christians were being persecuted, there would quite often have been conversations like: "you drop this mad new religion thing right now or you are no son of mine" or "mum, if you keep on going to church you're going to get caught and executed - please for the sake of your children and grandchildren, give it up"
The line is saying that, as far as the early church was concerned, anyone who could be persuaded by family members to give it up and go back to paganism/whatever other religion they had come from, probably wasn't really wholehearted about their faith in the first place. The line is more for the benefit of those remaining in the church i.e. "let her go, there's no point trying to change her mind if she thinks that what her family thinks is more important than what God thinks".
In the modern world it is virtually unheard of for anyone to have to choose between their religion and a person they love, so the line is pretty irrlevant to almost everyone.
It marks out the love Christians have for God as different.
And love isn't limited to either/or. You can love your DCs every scrap as much, and still have all the space required in your heart to love God.
Love is not finite.
(edit to add ... In the modern western, liberal and democratic world ... - there are some parts of the world where persecution still happens so this kind of thing might well be relevant there)
There is a by of truth in all the above. The key point is that God is love. By lov
It's also rhetorical exaggeration, like a lot of things Jesus said.
There is a by of truth in all the above. The key point is that God is love. By loving god first you can love your children and parents rightly. The live of god is self sacrificial hence Jesus so to love our families we need to love that self sacrificial lce first and in that way we can love our families in a self sacrificing wholehearted gift giving way.
Sorry double post and typos :/
i am a catholic
however the book of custy says
"he who asks to be adored above all others can kiss my fucking arse, for he is an arrogant lord not worthy of the steam off my piss"
p.s. the bible was written by men
Thanks for the replies. That explains it more. I know some catholics who adhere tightly to the book of custy .
Refreshing Catholic views there. Respect.
Loving Jesus and making him a high priority in life is very rewarding. It in no ways detracts from looking after or loving your children but there might be times when you have to do what is right not necessarily what 'family' want to do. If you can love all your children equally, if you have more than one, and it does not stop you loving them, then why does it stop you loving your children or relatives if you also love God. I love my Mum and my daughter so much but would be delighted if they also loved Jesus as much as they love me.
Think I'm agreeing with what gruffalocake says kind of. In my limited experience when I'm making all the God/Jesus stuff in my life a priority then it seems to naturally follow that I'm a better mum/wife/friend/sisteretc. My head and heart are in a better place to relate to the people in my life then. So putting God first seems to create more love for my kids than I'd have had if I didn't put God first, iyswim.
Altho I'm probably not very good at putting Jesus first most of the time.
Matthew chapter 10 37-38 'Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.'
This comes at the end of a long section about sending out the disciples to the world in Jesus' name. He tells them that it will be very tough and that it may well lead to interfamily conflict. Most of the disciples named at the begining of Matthew chapter 10 were martyred so there is a reality about the costs of being a follower of Jesus which is hard for us to grasp today. It makes more sense for the people at the time who are being persecuted for their beliefs and we know from experience of civil wars that family does betray family.
My own take on this for my faith today is that following Jesus is the most important thing and everything else comes out of that.
The posts here do a great job in giving these passages more sense in historical context.
However, from an atheist perspective, the love of God is "noise" and a poor proxy for living a good and virtuous life.
I got all my morals, ethics and values direct from my parents. We had no God in our house - my parents had authority and my respect. An atheist view is as much about how superfluous the bible is as it is about a lack of belief.
It is, of course, a constant dialogue between theists and atheists. Much of the time people will respect but decline the others position. In the end, if it does good and makes you happy, then that's great. However, religion has got a pretty bad rep for doing bad too.
Sometimes, when people are talking about God, I don't know what they're talking about.
On this stuff about the historical context and interfamily conflict....a classic sign of a cult is that it encourages to you to place the cult leader at the centre of your affections, substituting for your family
I don't see loving God and loving my family as in any way incompatible. I do not, however, always love the things my family do, they are humans and so am I and inevitably sometimes we clash and disagree.
I suppose my relationship with God is different to this but it is the call to try and follow Jesus and mirror his love for all in everything I do. Easy to say and incredibly difficult to achieve. So I think that may be what this means by loving God above all others. I don't think it means that you shouldn't love others, in fact the opposite, but to universally apply that love is so hard.
Not sure I've explained that very articulately to be honest!
I think of it as this, to put Jesus first is the best thing for your children, husband or any other member of family.
I view God as synonymous with everything that is good. If any member of my family disagreed with what is right and good, I would be doing them no favours by going along with it.
Join the discussion
Please login first.