Why Does God Hate the Poor: Can God Love? Part III

As a result of our contemplation of the question of why does God hate the poor, we have been able to define love and to define hate. Self-love is an act of the will by which it states I want to exist; I want to continue existing; and I hope for meaning in my existence. Once meaning is found, love is the pursuit of that meaning, and it can negate the first two elements. Once we have self-love, we can love others or things: that is we want them to exist; to continue existing; and to have meaning in life. Hate is the opposite of love. Hate is an act of the will stating that someone or something should not exist; should not continue existing; and should not have meaning in life. In order to love others or things, one must first have self-love because our existence is the only certain existential knowledge, but self-love does not necessarily entail love of others or things. One can love oneself yet hate.

 
Does this result mean that living with love or hate are the only options for human life? Pull out one of the three elements of love and we no longer have love neither self-love nor love of others, but we do have something. We can continue to exist without love. The same is true for the elements of hate. Something of this existence can be seen in the character of Meursault in Albert Camus’s story The Stranger. This character has given up hope for meaning in life and, therefore, does not love either himself or others. At certain points of the story, he has given up on the second element of wanting to continue to exist and lives in the moment of existence. Thus, he is not bothered by the death of his mother nor by a murder he committed without thought and without hate nor about his own impending death. He does not have self-hate nor hatred of others. He does not go beyond the moment. He has neither love nor hate. He lives a life without passion we would say. It is an existence without passion. Many theologians say that such human existence is not possible: that he is the lukewarm of the New Testament. As Jesus said in the New Testament, “So then because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

 

It may be true that a Christian life without passion is not possible, but it is certainly possible for life overall. It is probably the way animals look at life, without love or hate of it, that is without passion. As long as Meursault is conscious and approves of his momentary existence — that is he is conscious and perceives what is necessary to live physically — he can continue to exist this loveless and hateless life. Such an existence in fact may make him closer to our God of the ontological proof than any loving or hateful human being would be. He has his own existence and is satisfied with it. This type of existence is what God is: Her existence is Her meaning. I have defined God as the reason there is something instead of nothing, but it may be that He is nothing more than that. The universe definitely exists in this way without need of meaning and without need of passion. By just existing with an indifference to all and to all he does, Meursault is more in one with the universe and more in one with the wholeness of the one or the oneness of the whole or whatever it is the Buddhists say than anyone who loves or hates. The problem with Meursault existing solely in the moment without passion of any kind is that his life cannot lead to love, morality, good, justice, or any normative statements. At the same time, however, it cannot lead to hate, immorality, evil, or injustice. Furthermore, this indifference has its own eternity:

Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present. Our life has no end in the way in which our visual field has no limits. — Ludwig Wittgenstein at §6.4311 of Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

 

Concepts such as morality and ethics only come into existence when we accept the second element of love by wanting to continue to exist, and thus we need to create social norms to give us power to protect our existence. Living in the moment, one would not need ethics. One would not need morality. One does not need love. One does really need anything except one’s own existence and the physical means to maintain it. There may still be the will to power, but that is an issue for another day. Both love and hate have three required elements. Pull any of these out and you no longer have love or hate. But, there is something. There is a passionless existence; it is an existence consisting solely of the individual and the will to exist. A passionless existence without love or hate is still an option for human existence.

 
But is it an option for God? In which one of these states does God exist: love, hate, or indifference? I have framed the question at hand as one of God hating the poor but if it turns out He cannot hate the poor because he does not hate, it seems that I may be asking a meaningless question. I do not think so. The facts of reality establish that God hates the poor regardless of what my ontological reasoning may imply because this may be a matter of which we cannot speak rationally. I will have to contemplate this issue further. For now, on the issue of humans living a life of indifference, I end with a quote from Buffy the Vampire Slayer made by Angelus during the time he lacked a soul:

Passion. It lies in all of us. Sleeping. Waiting. And though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir, open its jaws and howl.
It speaks to us, guides us. Passion rules us all, and we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments, the joy of love, the clarity of hatred, and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we’d know some kind of peace, but we would be hollow empty rooms, shuttered and dead. Without passion, we’d be truly dead.

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