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Protestante Digital


Love is love – right?

For the most part, when the word  ‘love’ is used in the West today, it refers to a feeling, and in many cases the feeling that can be described as ‘falling in love’.

EUROPEAN PERSPECTIVES AUTOR 241/Olof_Edsinger 21 DE MAYO DE 2024 10:25 h
Photo: [link]Jose Pablo Garcia[/link], Unsplash, CC0.

One of the favourite slogans of our time is that ‘love is love.’ Or as it is usually expressed in Sweden: ‘all love is good love.’

This is a bold proclamation that most modern people can sympathise with.

In the vast majority of cases, it should probably also be assumed that it should be interpreted as shorthand for: ‘all love between adults and equals is positive and good, and should therefore be affirmed and recognised by those around us.’

On the other hand, that is not what the slogan says. Nor can the slightly longer interpretation be regarded as entirely unproblematic.

[destacate]This motto points to a radically different definition of love than the one provided in the Bible [/destacate]Most importantly, of course, the word ‘love’ itself needs to be defined. So let’s take a closer look at this wording, and for the sake of simplicity, let’s start from the end.

1) What does ‘love’ mean? For the most part, when this word is used in the West today, it refers to a feeling, and in many cases the feeling that can be described as ‘falling in love’.

It is therefore a romantic, and normally also sexual, love that is referred to. Love between friends, or to (or from) God is not included in the calculation.

That ‘all love is good love’ means in plain language that ‘all romantic and/or erotically charged love is good love’.

And in addition to leaving out much of what we would normally call love, it points to a dramatically different definition of this concept than what the Bible provides us with.

To quote the Swedish author Magnus Malm:

‘[We cannot] simply talk about love and assume that we understand what it means. We are so thoroughly infected by our society’s view of love that we are often very far from what God means. When the word “love” can be applied to a car or a bun and is synonymous with sexual intercourse and intense infatuation, it is no wonder that even Christians are confused about what it is all about. The word has been twisted 180 degrees: from the original meaning of giving your life for someone, to the feeling that arises when something fulfils your own life.’

2) However, even if we limit ourselves to romantic and/or erotic love, it becomes clear that this slogan carries deep inherent contradictions.

Is erotic love directed at a child, a sibling, a parent, a minor, several people at the same time or perhaps the neighbour’s husband/wife ‘good love’?

This is not just a hypothetical question. In Sweden, more and more people – even within the former state church – are speaking out in favour of polyamory.

[destacate]In Sweden, more and more people, even within the former state church, are speaking out in favour of polyamory[/destacate] A few years ago, the Liberal Party’s youth association in Stockholm announced that they wanted to legalise necrophilia and sex between consenting siblings!

And taken on its own, this is precisely the meaning of the phrase ‘all love is good love’.

3) Finally, we must recognise that even the longer version of this slogan contains serious problems.

After all, love between adults and equals is only positive if it does not harm a third party (such as one’s husband or wife, and any children who would be affected if I were unfaithful or contributed to a divorce).


More questions

As a slogan, we must therefore conclude that the motto ‘love is love’ is nonsense. Better to say what is probably meant in 99 cases out of 100: homosexual and bisexual love is just as good as heterosexual love.

Of course, this statement also needs to be qualified: Do we mean that the feelings between heterosexual and homosexual couples are equally strong? That homosexuality and bisexuality are as natural as heterosexuality?

That society should give the same support to gay and bisexual couples as to heterosexual couples? That biological and reproductive complementarity is irrelevant?

That all people, regardless of orientation, should be allowed to marry? The answer to some of these questions is obvious – but certainly not to all.

Perhaps it is precisely because this slogan can simultaneously mean ‘everything’ and ‘nothing’ that it has proved so useful? It simply leaves it to those who use it to define what they really mean.

Olof Edsinger, secretary general of the Swedish Evangelical Alliance.


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