Lovely synopsis. Many questions arise. What is meant by "neighbor" in the Bible and why is this rendered to "friend" here? That's a significant narrowing of the scope that may need some unpacking. Also one can ask why is this biblical sense of love rendered as a depletable or zero sum attribute? If, in a family, one loves sister Alice, does that lessen somehow the love available for sister Betty? That sense of love makes the latter, resemble water in a bucket- only so much to go around or ladle out. And what about then, all the other loves one is simultaneously possessing, such as for country, for mountains, for justice, for fictional characters? Perhaps the philosophy of love shows a complex phenomena operating? Lastly, we should look at what is the mind doing when love occurs? Is it filled with nothing but the experience of love or is love a background, horizonal condition that intensifies and recedes, is it a matter of focus? If one "has" love "for" some object, how then does one ever "lose" it? So many question!

The Bible is a recording of events, actors, and things said, not a philosophical treatise and so its language is terribly imprecise. Its writers assumed a general understanding of the terms used but when we examine them closely there are more questions raised than answers.

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All those questions are well and good, but it is interesting to look at the admonishment component of Christian friendship. There is something very similar in East Asian Buddhist meditation practice since the 11th century CE, both within the monastic establishment and the kyolsa groups of that era. The concept was established of a 'Spirutual Friend' usually a senior practicer who carried on a dual role of admonishment and encouragement.. vital functions in the spiritual life.

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Such a proposed conflict would seem to arise from an assumption that God and friend are two different things. What if a proposed gap between "me and friend" and "God and friend" is not real, but instead an inaccurate perception generated by the divisive nature of thought?

If I recall my long ago Catholic upbringing correctly (I may not) Catholics propose that God is ever present everywhere in all times and places. While I don't think that Catholics take it this far, to me that says that God _IS_ everything everywhere in all times and places.

Seen this way, the art of love taught by Christianity is not so much a method for finding God as it is a method for overcoming the illusion that "me" and "God" are two different things. When we love our friend we are helping to break down the thought generated ego which conceptually divides us from each other, and from God.

Given that language is built upon the assumption that the world is a collection of distinct things, it's difficult to impossible to discuss such matters without further fueling the illusion of division generated by thought.

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