“Atheists believe in neither God nor Love?”

milehigh Says:

It’s my understanding atheistsr don’t “believe” in god because there’s no “scientific evidence” of god’s existence. Do atheists not believe in love since there no way to quantify scientifically it’s existence?

19 Responses to “Atheists believe in neither God nor Love?”

  1. The Atheist says:

    milehigh,

    I can’t speak for all atheists, but I can give you my personal take:

    I don’t believe in God because I don’t find compelling scientific evidence the God exists. I also don’t find evidence of God through my own personal experience. However, there is scientific evidence that love exists (depending on how you define love, of course). I feel love, the same way I feel anger, fear and a host of other emotions. I believe that love exists as a feeling that I experience. Does this make sense to you?

  2. milehigh says:

    Love is more than an emotion or passing feeling. Anger and pain come and go, but love must endure those feelings. People may experience jealousy when they feel their love is being threatened by another person. If you lose a loved one (to death) you may grieve their loss, but not ever lose your love. Moreover, you may not lose your love of a person to divorce or desertion although the other person has probably lost their love for you. There is chemistry associated with love in that certain hormones (testosterone and estrogen) and chemicals (pheromones ,dopamine ,norepinephrine , and serotonin) are released during an during courtship or lust, but may eventually taper off with time.

    Love encompasses more than chemical elements, it involves commitment, intimacy, and passion. For many people, love has a spiritual element, an ability to connect with their loved one’s inner self, their soul. It’s this innate ability to sense what your loved one is thinking, feeling, or about to say or do, that takes love to another dimension. This intense love is long lasting, even beyond death. This is where I think an atheist may have conflict. Can you not be “soul mates”without a religious connotation?

    When my wife died from pancreatic cancer, I didn’t lose my love for her. She will have a special place in my heart for the rest of my life, therefore, I submit to you that love is more than a feeling.

  3. ubuntusupport says:

    I believe that it’s kind of a bad assumption to think that atheists don’t believe in love just because they don’t believe in God. Love isn’t created by God, love comes from chemicals, and attachment to a person, your belief in a spiritual power does not influence your ability to feel emotions. You are sort of correct in assuming that love is more than an emotion, because an emotion is sort of passive, but love falls under the third category of relationships, if you want to read more about that check my blog on love.
    http://existentialmind.wordpress.com/2007/10/24/love/

  4. The Atheist says:

    milehigh, I’m not sure I follow your reason for needing to believe in a soul before acknowledging love. Could you elaborate a bit more on that portion of your statement?

    ubuntusupport, I think emotions are active by definition – the very root of the word connotes that which moves us to act. I agree, though, with the main thrust of your post: if I may take it to its logical conclusion: life itself is just chemical structure and interaction elements – even if it may seem like more to us who experience it (the experience itself is also chemical).

    By the way – ubuntu absolutely rocks! when is wireless going to get easy? (that’s another topic – please email me if it actually is easy and i just need to give it another try).

  5. ubuntusupport says:

    I’m not sure how to email you, but I can tell you this the new version of ubuntu released gutsy gibon, includes more support for wireless cards, if you have any issues, contact me via my ubuntusupport.wordpress, or any other medium you find on my page.

  6. Ohh! looking for theological questions and I ubuntu support! what a great website, I am going to ur site, ubuntu, I have issues with an an install attempt.

    I think it would be more easy to belive in love since it can be experienced, rather that God, Who is somewhat more problematic. :)

  7. The Atheist says:

    MIT,

    It is an interesting mix, isn’t it? I shudder to think what keywords someone would have to search on to find a discussion like this :)

    Good distinction between belief in love and belief in God.

    Also, good choice of operating systems :) I’m running 3 Linux boxes – currently all are SUSE but I’ve had Fedora, Slackware, and Ubuntu running on them in the past (I have played around with several other distros too). I’d be glad to help too if you run into any issues I might be familiar with.

  8. The Atheist says:

    MIT,

    Forgot to say – great to have you here. Welcome!

  9. Thanks for the welcome I feel it! I hope you don’t mind this message, sort of hijacks the thread, and I do NOT want to seem pushy, but.. oh well I am such a big mouth anyway, here goes. :)

    As a Christian, I feel the cosmos reflects God’s plan and Being. That being said, I have thought about how Linux reflects some of my spiritual values.

    One of the things about how I see God operating in the world is via community. And I think that is the clearest, most accurate way of hearing His voice. Being in God’s community keeps us balanced and prevents us from going off on wild tangents that damage the Kingdom, or our own spiritual lives. It also requires humility and honesty in our relationships, and lives.

    For me, Linux is a model of that, Kingdom spirituality being lived out in the software world. That is why I want to shift over to it and learn more about the methodology. Funny thing is, it is almost monastic in its self-correcting and collaborative creative process. I also like how it is free to the poorest among us, and offers them a leg up that the proprietary world never could.

    There is an ancient Latin phrase ;lex orandi lex credendi – literally “the law of prayer is the law of belief”. How that is understood is that, the way we pray and live not only reflects our beliefs, it also forms and creates them. So, using Linux would be one more way of incorporating Kingdom living into areas of life that we may have over looked.

  10. The Atheist says:

    MIT,

    That’s interesting that you view Linux as an extension of the Kingdom. I think you and I both find Linux attractive for many of the same reasons, the sense of community being an important element. There are other reasons I like it too, not the least of which is its elegance, its technical superiority to Windows in many important areas (though admittedly not all). I also like it because it flies in the face of big corporations that prefer profit margins over craftsmanship. Linux has a heart. Like you already mentioned, it levels the playing field – anyone with desire, ability, and a little time and perseverance (who can also afford a cheap computer) can learn to use it both for fun and profit. I’m also interested in donating some time and Linux expertise to a charitable organization – I’ve looked around locally but was unable to find a worthy cause that I wanted to support and that seemed to be organized well enough to benefit from that kind of contribution.

    I like SUSE specifically because it seems to have the best mix of usability, hardware compatibility, security, and configurability right out of the box. On the other hand, I like Ubuntu because of it’s superior usability, and the dedication of its founder to accessible software to everyone.

    Other ways Linux might be like The Kingdom: they can both run forever without the need of a reboot, there is one and only one superuser who has the final word on who can enter into the system, certain incantations can perform miracles, at some point, every user prays :)

  11. larro says:

    Hilarious, all these nix users. I’m running Fedora 7 and am too lazy to do a back up right now for F8 install, lol. Hmm, anyone have any ideas about running Beryl with dual-head? Wondering if I need to edit xorg.conf in some specific way.

    Anyway…I suppose I should comment on the premise of this post.

    I will address it with a question.

    How would anyone explain a couple who lived all their lives never believing in a god yet had the greatest love for one another to live their lives together until their deaths?

    You don’t need a god to be in love or feel love for another human being.

    Actually this kinda makes me angry. It is really dehumanizing to atheists for theists to assume this.

  12. larro says:

    Microsoft = any mono-theistic faith
    Linux = any underdog “ism”

  13. The Atheist says:

    larro,

    Careful with the upgrade to F8 – I’ve had nothing but trouble with Fedora upgrades (granted, I set up a custom partition scheme in the initial install rather than accepting the default LVM scheme ;) ). But none the less, I always ended up having to reinstall from scratch. I’m getting ready to upgrade from OpenSUSE 10.2 to 10.3… we’ll see how it goes.

    I agree with your love comment – except that it doesn’t make me angry. Many theists seem to feel a need to grope for some (any!) distinction they can make between believers and non-believers to demonstrate that there is some divine quality bestowed on the believer by virtue of his belief. When they can’t find any, they have to invent them. The fact that they have to invent distinctions is reason to believe that there are no none in reality. By induction, there is no divine quality that distinguishes a believer from a non-believer. Then theistic beliefs does not change the believer as Paul incorrectly claimed

    …if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new.

    There is no supernatural change to behold.

  14. Geekwad says:

    Bogus assertion: science cannot address love. The only way that can be true is by careful definition of “love”, such that it becomes untestable. Given a reasonable definition, no one questions whether love exists because there is ample evidence that it does. Evidence that can be quantified.

  15. Datdamwuf says:

    Love is a human construct, defined by humans. What “love” means is highly variable between people and varies according to the type of relationship as well. After all, if you love your wife, you want to take her to bed. If you love your dog, you want to take him for a walk….

    However, at some level science can address love, see this recent research news for instance: http://www.webmd.com/balance/news/20061220/holding-hands-may-reduce-stress

    Here is your question again with a one word substitute in caps, and it is just as valid as the first:
    “It’s my understanding atheists don’t “believe” in god because there’s no “scientific evidence” of god’s existence. Do atheists not believe in HATE since there no way to quantify scientifically it’s existence?

  16. The Atheist says:

    Datdamwuf,

    Love is a human construct… What “love” means is highly variable between people and varies according to the type of relationship as well.

    I agree that interpretation of love and romanticizing it is a human phenomenon, but I think that other animals feel love also, even if they aren’t able to reflect on it or add additional meaning to it like we do. For example, mammalian mothers love their young. More advanced social mammals (bonobos, chimps, etc.) even love other members of their troupe as well. Like us, other animals demonstrate love by tender touching, selfless acts (even altruistic acts), etc.

    Excellent challenge to atheists’ belief in hate by the same logic!

  17. Simply because one can’t quantify something numerically doesn’t mean it isn’t knowable. Love is an idea — love is an act — love definitionally can’t be quantified. But if God exists, he can be. The bible does it all the time. One God.

  18. The Atheist says:

    Rational Apologetics,

    I agree – our inability to quantify something doesn’t mean that we can’t know it in other ways. It also doesn’t necessarily mean that the thing is unquantifiable. It may simply mean that we don’t know how to quantify it yet.

    To be sure, certain aspects of love are quantifiable. But quantifying love by examining brain scans and by documenting behavior may be a bit like quantifying Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 by measuring sound frequencies; it may teach us something useful, but it ignores the subjective beauty. Even if this is true, learning something important by quantifying a thing need not destroy our appreciation for the thing’s beauty.

    How is God quantifiable?

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