I do not know what it is about the word ‘love’ which brings out such venom here. The idea that we begin by responding to God’s love is Johannine. John does not say we respond to threats of hell-fire, we respond to love. To mention that seems to invite the charge one is ignoring repentance, but repentance follows, it does not precede God’s love. But there is, in the reaction to the use of the word ‘love’ something very aggressive, almost fearful; I don’t understand it.
I come to God because I felt, and have always felt, his love. It is that which draws me. we live in a post-Christian society, which is not the same as the old pagan world into which the Gospel first came. This society knows little about it, but it hears the noisiest voices in the public square, and they seem to speak in words which mean nothing to those outside the faith, and in accents of self-righteousness. Yes, if we are convinced we have the truth, we preach it; but being right and being self-righteous though often confused, are not the same thing. Any Christian can understand the anger at the way the world goes, but to respond, as many do, with anger and scorn is not only un-Christian (I cannot recall where Christ said berate those who hate you, mock those who do not agree with you – burt mayhap I have a different Bible?). We are adjured to respond with love – but Christians find this too hard a saying, and too often respond as they would to a political opponent So often we compound for the sins to which we are inclined by condemning those to which we are not – so I am not really expecting anyone to say they think that their scorn for others is sinful.
If what appears in the public square for those outside the faith to see is the equivalent of watching the famed kilkenny cats, only those with a taste for bloodsports – atheists like Dawkins of Christopher Hitchens, will stay. A friend of mine who is interested in the faith looked in here this week – she’s told me that she has had all her prejudices confirmed and politely asked my not to talk to her about it again.
I think my continued presence here is deleterious to my spiritual life. I have no wish to be told I am a heretic and am going to hell. If I stay here, it begins to feel I am already in the latter. I am, to the Roman Catholics here, a heretic anyway, and have done my best to explain my position. But the recent comments have not engaged with what I have said, but with what some here think I must have said. Mansplaining becomes wearisome. I wish you all well, and perhaps will come back one day – but for now, I am off – so good luck all.