Love is our life–Swedenborg famously writes in the first line of his work Divine Love and Wisdom. Turns out the same is true for theology and beliefs, too. We explore the pitfalls of being focused on truth without a healthy serving of neighborly love, kindness, and compassion to go with it right now Inside Off The Left Eye.
Featured quotations from Emanuel Swedenborg's Secrets of Heaven:
People who have no love for others cannot acknowledge the Lord, so they cannot acknowledge religious truth. If they claim to believe, they are being either superficial or hypocritical (2354). There is absolutely no faith without neighborly love (654, 1162, 1176, 2417).
In the church, though, there are more people who are not regenerating than who are, and people who are not regenerating draw conclusions on the basis of appearances. So there was a controversy going back to ancient times about the relative priority of truth and goodness. The prevailing opinion among people who had not been reborn (and among people who had not been fully reborn) was that truth came first. They were not yet able to perceive what was good, and as long as we cannot perceive goodness, we live in shadows of ignorance on the subject. People who have been reborn, though, are actually immersed in goodness, which brings them understanding and wisdom, so they are able to discern what is good. They can also tell that what is good comes from the Lord, that it flows in by way of the inner self into the outer, that it flows in constantly, without any awareness on our part, that it links up with doctrinal truth in the memory, and consequently that goodness by its very nature is prior, even though it had not seemed so before.
Here is the situation with deep truth that comes from the Divine and is wiped out by the people called Philistines: In the ancient church and after its time, “Philistines” referred to people who had little energy for learning how to live but a great deal of energy for learning theology. Eventually they even rejected life issues and acknowledged belief issues as the essence of the church, detaching them from life.