2 readers online now  |  69 million page views

If you love your enemies, can you sincerely love your friends?

Reader comment on item: Insight into Obama's Middle East Policy?
in response to reader comment: Ianus's response comment to "love your enemies"

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Jan 8, 2009 at 14:33

Hi, June !

I liked your reply very much and indeed there is no reason why you should be so modest or suppose I am such an interesting man. I am not. Perhaps I just still have some curiosity and doubts. That's all.

>I would think the doctrine of "Love your enemies" is a direct knock in the nose of any hate monger. especially those who have deemed themselves superior to all and any.<

Seen this way you may be right. But to me Jesus seems to have applied this saying not generally, but to the Jewish community only which he was addressing. He didn't mean originally those outside that community who didn't live by the Mosaic Laws but rather those hate mongers among the followers of Moses themselves. So - I presume- to the listeners on the Mount his sermon sounded more like "Stop hating other members of the community of Jehova! Love them!"

And if so , then mutatis mutandis I'd agree with him. We have to stop hating people that belong to our own culture, share the same -Western- values, agree with us on what constitues a 'crime' and a virtue (or good and evil). But we mustn't go further if we are not going to ruin and betray our culture. Those who don't share our values and call a virtue a crime are our enemies. Nowadays Moslems are such implacable enemies. It would be irresponsible and suicidal to preach "Love thy enemies" and mean them! Frankly, June, could you really love Ata and the 9/11 Islamic murderers?

> Have you noticed how just the simple statement of, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you ticks off a lot of so called good people even to the point of hate and angry rage?<

This highly paradoxical statement produces both a sort of therapy among those who believe in it and at the same time provokes rejection among those who don't. Evidently, here we have a clash between experience and theory. I admit Jesus was a good theoretician. But when unpleasant things happened , he somehow forgot his saying and showed no love towards Judas Iscariot, did he?

>My My. I think you may be right. That idea is out of the bounds of "reason" therefore takes a thinker over and beyond his understanding.<

Let's consider it for a while then! There is one important point Nietzsche underlined : If I have to love my enemies, what feelings shall I have towards my friends? If you were my friend and came to me with this message, I'd feel betrayed and treated unjustly. If you love your enemies, can you sincerely love your friends? To earn someone's love very much is needed - sincerity, sacrifice, empathy, goodwill, help etc. etc. Can you seriously argue that you can earn someone's love by being his or her enemy , i.e. displaying the opposite qualities?

And another - even more delicate - problem would be that of mutuality. You may love thy enemies, but will thy enemies love you for that? Won't they despise you beside hating you? Love is not like corn. You can sow corn and yet harvest tares. One should be quite judicious about whom one loves, I presume.

> Yes Jesus did it and look what it got Him. I am sure the stoned out her mind Oracle of Delphi did challenge Jesus on "Love your enemies." >

For Greeks that idea would never come to their mind...unless in a comedy perhaps. They were too rational and realistic not to demand too much from humans. In a world where gods lived in a permanent strife and feud, how could humans demand from other humans what they couldn't demand even from gods?

> Nietzsche would love to think Jesus would have changed His over the top parables because it agrees with his validation of self. But He (Jesus) did not did he? <

There is a long way from His grand promises of the imminent Kingdom of Heaven on earth where he was about to feast together with His Father to His last cry of desperation : "Father, why hast Thou forsaken me?". I have always seen this as an obvious indication that Jesus realized at that moment that he was fundamentally wrong in his teachings and admitted that. Had he been right he would have exclaimed : "Father, you are coming! Thanks!" or something similar. But it was too late. He could tell no parable any longer. His life story was taken over by others and moulded in their hands into something Jesus himself had no longer control over. In deep despair Jesus went the way of all flesh. His disciples made imperishable God of him. He admitted his mistake. They didn't.

> The unconquerable wise was a serpent i read.<

It's hard to describe him in a parable. His "Last Man vs Overman" at the beginning of "Thus spoke Zarathustra" reveals much of the goal of his philosophy.

> Now let me say this. Yes for a time and a season we Christians and Jews will be rolled over and squashed helpless but after all is said and done, at the end of the matter we will all grab at the coat tail of a Jew and say let me go with you because The G-d is with you! I bet more on it than i would four aces.<

I do hope you are right. As far as history is concerned the victory of the implacable enemies of Christianity in the 7th and 8th century and later on meant only the end of Christianity in its very cradle. Asia Minor once upon a time the splendid centre of Ecumenical Synodes is today but a huge cemetery of Christianity with the Islamic crescent triumphant , while Spain was saved with the sword.

Fine as "Love thy enemies" may sound , being rolled over and squashed by the enemies is a very dangerous perspective. The worst thing is that there is no guarantee that recovery from this state will take place at all. As to God , let's first do what we humanly can (and we can quite a lot if we are determined ) and then and only then ask for the supernatural assistance for whose very existence despite rumours no one has yet seen a sure sign.

> PS I think you are a very very interesting person and i am honored you would take the time to respond to such as me. Thank you.<

Come on, June! Don't overestimate me! Anyway, if you want to see a line or two from me, write a short notice to surdiarius@hotmail.com . I'll be pleased to disappoint you. ;)

Best regards,

Jan

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to If you love your enemies, can you sincerely love your friends? by Ianus

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List
eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2020 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)