Unconditional Love – An Oxymoron

According to the Wikipedia Encyclopedia, Unconditional love is a concept that means showing love towards someone regardless of his or her actions or beliefs. It is a concept comparable to true love, a term which is more frequently used to describe love between lovers. By contrast unconditional love is frequently used to describe love between family members, comrades in arms and between others in highly committed relationships. It has also been used in a religious context to describe God’s love for mankind.

Authors Kramer and Alstead assert that the concept of unconditional love, is false, misleading, and a pervasive cause of authoritarian control in religion, relationships and families. They believe that unconditional love, along with what they perceive to be the closely related religious concept of ‘unconditional forgiveness’, are false concepts used to perpetuate ongoing cycles of injustice and abuse. To them, the entire concept of Christian unconditional love is embedded within one of the “most authoritarian, thus conditional, structures on the planet” and is therefore far from condition-free.

Being born and raised in the Jehovah’s Witness “faith”, I have learned all too well the conditions of “Love”. To make the decision to leave the religion of my birth, equally means leaving your family and friends. There is a long list of “Do’s and Don’ts” associated with being a member of this religion, and any wavering from this list inevitably leads to being “Disfellowshipped”. To be disfellowshipped, members of the religion can no longer speak to you, including members of your own family. If they were to see you on the street or in the grocery store, for example, they will likely turn and go the other way.

That is why it dumbfounded me when I recently received a “Thinking Of You” card from my mother, on my Birthday. This was no ordinary thinking of you card, for her personal note inside made note that it was my Birthday, and how my father was so proud to now have a daughter after having had four sons before me, etc. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate Birthdays, as they believe it has Pagan origins. Celebrating Birthdays would lead to being Disfellowshipped. This card was a Birthday card in disguise.

Despite being Disfellowshipped, I have on occasion sent my parents flowers for their anniversary, or a card with money for them to buy themselves something. I also have written them occasional brief notes asking genealogy questions, as this is a popular past-time of mine. I received prompt responses in regards to my genealogy questions from my mother, answering each of my questions. Shortly thereafter, I received another note from my mother saying she appreciates my “wanting to catch up on things in the past, your present situation of still being out of favor with Jehovah does not allow me to continue communicating with you”.

This is love? Love for a daughter? Her only daughter? Love has it’s conditions when you are a Jehovah’s Witness. If you are in “good standing” with the religion, the flood gates open with family and friends swarming around you, “loving” you. To leave the religion means you do not exist. If a disfellowshipped person did the various things required to be “reinstated” into the religion, once again the flood gates of “love” open up upon them. I prefer to continue being “dead” in their eyes. Conditions of love is too high a price to pay. It’s been twelve years since I’ve heard my father’s voice. I guess he prefers it that way. Since I’m dead, you see.

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2 Responses to “Unconditional Love – An Oxymoron”

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  1. Steve says:

    While Kramer and Alstead have good intentions in the Guru Papers, it is obvious that a subtle socialist view of religion is present.

    They even attack Eastern religions, and thus ultimately diss the Buddha.

    And that’s why I responded to your post.

    If the Buddha was originally authoritarian at the start of his popularity, he was not when he died.

    At first, he refused to allow women to join, due to misgyny he inherited from his Hindu roots.

    Then he has a change of heart when he realized that gender does not truly determine who reaches Nirvana.

    I know several sutras sound misogynist, but they may have been written by Hindus because by thetime most sutras were written, they were written at the school at Nalanda and mainly were written by Hindus. The school at Nalanda was a a Hindu-Buddhist school.

    Thus, any Oneness religion from India is authoritarian because Hinduism is an authoritarian religion.

    For Buddhism is a lot more unconditional that Hinduism is.

  2. Telling It Like It Is says:

    Hi Steve, thank you for taking the time to comment on this topic. I really appreciate it!