I’m a Love Atheist (Warning: Satire Ahead)

canstockphoto13083765When it comes to love, I am an unbeliever.

There was a time when I was young, naïve and uneducated that I believed in the existence of love. People talked about it all the time, songs were written about it, and in almost every movie and every novel love played at least a small part. In many it was the major theme.

Everyone around me just assumed the existence of love, so I did also. It never occurred to me to question love’s existence. Furthermore, those people who didn’t have love seemed at best pitiable and at worst evil. They were either sad, lonely people, or aggressive and often violent people. Not only did the existence of love seem self-evident, the malevolence that resulted in its absence seemed to prove its existence as well.

Besides, I had seen love and experienced love. I had seen my parent’s love for each other. I had experienced my parent’s love for me, and that of my grandparents. I also knew—or so it seemed to me at the time—that I loved them as well. I loved my brothers, even if I often argued and sometimes even fought with them.

And I loved my dog.

But then my dog died, and a girl broke up with me, and other things that happened to me or my friends made me realize that love could inflict pain as much as it could cause pleasure. Then I realized that many of the songs, novels and movies about love were about the pain and suffering that it caused.

Seriously, think about it. People have committed all sorts of atrocities in the name of love: they have murdered, they have raped, they have neglected families and abused children. Wars have been started because of love.

I began to realize that not just love’s absence but the very existence of love was the cause of much human suffering and, indeed, much evil. It was so contradictory: love was supposed to be a good thing, yet so much evil is caused by it. If it didn’t cause it, it at least allowed it to happen. That didn’t make sense.

It made me wonder if maybe this thing called love was just something that humans made up to justify their actions, good or bad.

All through my education I was taught science. In biology, of course, we learned that humans were animals, but in behavioral science we learned that animals didn’t experience what humans call love.

The protection that a mother pheasant provides for her chicks, for instance, was merely the instinct to preserve the species. Even the willingness to sacrifice her own life for the sake of her chicks is pure instinct.

So is the fierceness of a mother bear’s attack to protect her cubs. In humans we would say that she killed for love, but in the rest of the animal kingdom such killing is just the instinct to survive and propagate the species. So what if what we call love in humans is just the same thing?

Furthermore, there is no hard evidence that love even exists. You can’t see it, touch it, measure it, or weigh it. People say they feel it, but we all know that you can’t trust your feelings. Many people “feel” things that turn out to be false.

The “evidence” that people cite to “prove” that love exists—good works, nice things that people do for each other—these are just the instinct to survive on a societal level.

In other words, if we didn’t do nice things for others and help those who needed it, our society would be weakened and ripe for attacks from other societies, or our society would just implode as everyone only looked out for themselves until we ended up killing each other.

And in the end, no one can even come up with an adequate definition of love. “Enlightened self-interest”—is that the best we can come up with? Some would say, “You can’t put it into words, but you know it when you see it.” Really?

I’m sorry, but that might have worked in a world of superstition but not in our enlightened, rational, scientific world. I may be in the minority on this one, but it’s time someone just said it: love doesn’t exist. We are all just stardust hurtling through space.

Deal with it.

 

Okay, everyone can relax—if you haven’t already figured out that this is satire, let me clear it up: I don’t believe any of the above. But the same type of “logic” is used to state definitively that God does not exist.

“A God of love would never allow so much suffering, so if God exists, he isn’t a God of love.” “There is no proof that God exists.” “Belief in God is just superstition and has no place in a modern, scientific age.”

Such “logic” would also rule out the existence of faith, or hope, or beauty, or any number of other things.

Well, I believe that faith, hope and beauty exist, as does love. The things that make life truly meaningful aren’t subject to the scientific method or rules regarding courtroom evidence. Quite honestly, it’s illogical to think everything is and should be.

Maybe it doesn’t make sense to some people to believe in the existence of God without definitive proof, but I’m not much interested in a God small enough to be subject to human proofs or human reason.

A God who is beyond our ability to reason and understand is just the type of God who could create a world and then enter into it.

And maybe humans suffering and tragedy seems incompatible with a God of love, but that is precisely where the story of Jesus makes the most sense, for on the cross we see God, not ignoring our pain, our suffering, or our sin, but entering into it, bearing it himself, absorbing the full force of its evil into himself.

And even though I don’t really understand it, it makes sense.

Just as don’t understand love, but it makes sense. So count me as a believer.

Image ©CanStockPhoto

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