Monday, February 02, 2015

"Knowledge becomes love": Part 1

I wanted to pursue in more depth the ancient Christian saying "knowledge becomes love". Its first use seems most suited to knowing God: it is assumed that knowledge becomes love because whatever we know of God, whatever we learn, is necessarily beautiful or holy or in some other way inherently good.

But thinking it over, notice the close links between knowledge and love in our human relationships:

  • But when someone asks if we like someone else or if we're friends, consider one traditional answer: "I don't really know him." It is understood that if you don't really know someone, you can't possibly love them. 
  • Consider the early stage of a growing friendship or relationship: we call it "getting to know each other". 
  • We consider this to be an offense when we have been familiar with someone for awhile: "She didn't even know my name." 
  • If someone has a gruff exterior but a good heart, his friends may explain, "You have to get to know him."
  • Of the people closest to us, we may say, "He really understands me."

Then again, consider that prejudice is often based on ignorance: on not knowing. And the traditional defense against "getting to know" someone is "why would you want to know someone like that?" But they may not actually be like that ... regardless of how hard we try to convince ourselves otherwise. In my own life, I know I was raised to despise political conservatives. Because one of my parents preferred liberal-style solutions to problems and did so out of good motives, she assumed that people who prefer conservative-style solutions must lack her good motives. (I expect that something similar happens with all kinds of prejudices, but in the current media environment, such prejudice and ignorance is particularly noticeable about politics, where it does seem that people on different sides assume the worst of each other, and make a point of not getting to know or understand each other.) 

Why is knowledge so related to love? One thing is the simple statement of value: if we get to know someone, if we take that time and effort, it shows that we value that person. And value is one of the main messages of love: that you are worthwhile.

More next time ...


Martin LaBar said...

I don't think most of us know God very well, but we should still love Him.

Weekend Fisher said...

How do you love someone you don't know? (That's not rhetorical.) Is there a way to be more than just pro forma about it, without knowing God?