Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why you can’t believe in Dandelions (Part II) - True Love

I thought this would be a simple task, but it's turning out to be a lot longer than I first expected. So what was going to be a 2-part post will be significantly longer. I'll post as I finish sections.

In case you missed the first part, I'm claiming that a Christian worldview is most consistent with Humanity. That is, it allows for things which are integral to our being human. Belief in Please, Soup Kitchens, Science, True Love, and Dandelions are all explained best by Christianity. Naturalism, the belief that nature is all there is and all basic truths are truths of nature, offers an inadequate explanation for all these.

And without further ado, here is the first part.

True Love
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
– God, Genesis 2:24
You have ravished my heart, my treasure, my bride. I am overcome by one glance of your eyes, by a single bead of your necklace. How sweet is your love, my treasure, my bride! How much better it is than wine! Your perfume is more fragrant than the richest of spices.
– Solomon, Song of Solomon 4:9-10
That what seemd fair in all the World, seemd now
Mean, or in her summ'd up, in her containd
And in her looks, which from that time infus'd
Sweetness into my heart, unfelt before,
And into all things from her Aire inspir'd
The spirit of love and amorous delight.
-Milton, Paradise Lost V:472-477
My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep; the more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.
-Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II
There is no basis for true love or romance apart from God.
You can’t believe in love. Or at least in the way that it has been understood by humanity.
As an Naturalist, all you can believe about love is chemicals. Never mind about all the human things that happen when one is in love. The risk and terror of asking a girl out? Chemicals. The inexpressible joy of relationship? Chemicals. Lovesickness? Chemicals. How you felt after your first kiss? Nothing but chemicals. The terribly cheesy poetry in love letters? Chemicals for sure.
The theme of romance has inspired the greatest poets and authors throughout history. From the love of Perris and Helen through Romeo and Juliet and continuing today in terrible supermarket novels, we have been enraptured by this idea of love and romance. It has inspired the greatest works of our race. And we want to say that we’re on the verge of the answer? For the great observers of the human conditions (playwrights and authors), love was a transcendent, and only through their wonderful ability can we understand a glimmer of it. Romeo’s words resonate in some special way with those of us who have looked across a room to see the most beautiful woman we thought ever could be.
But as it turns out, it’s not a transcendent. It’s chemicals. Your happy relationship? That was just good deterministic luck and the action of chemicals. Neither of you really had a choice in the matter. There’s a bit of work left to be done as to which unpronounceable chemicals it is, and when one bounces off the other. But that’s the answer.
And we’re supposed to be satisfied with it? You know what love is. All 6.5 billion of us do. And it’s not what’s written about in scientific papers. Shakespeare’s a lot closer to being right. Who are these ‘scientists’ who would contradict the observations of the rest of the race, including the precedent of 3000 years of publications supporting an opposite view?
It is utterly un-scientific to explain away 6.5 billion (plus all the dead observer who wrote about it) without powerfully compelling evidence. And what is the evidence? Because we know chemicals do some of the things in the human experience. Therefore they must also explain all the things. Convincing?
But what is Christian love? It is a major theme of the Bible, and many words have been written on it since then. Christian love is that which we received from God, the ability to choose to care more about another than we do for ourselves. Being from God, it is higher than just another biological instinct. And love depends on freewill; we must of our own volition choose to love for it to have meaning. But all of my rambling cannot compare to Paul’s wonderful description: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…” (1Cr 13:4-8).
If you allow for God and souls, you can have love. Love remains transcendent, something above us which like the stars which we look towards, but its transcendence is founded in God. We receive the holy gift of love from Him. And regardless of our acknowledgment of the gift, we are able to express it and experience it with the will that we each have. When humans make love, it is not two animals procreating by instinct; it is two people uniting in body and soul.
When I choose to ask a girl out, I choose. My soul, and the freedom it has, chooses to love. And it is in this way that love becomes real; it is in this way that love rises above instinct. And it is this which we have all felt, some higher thing, sitting on top of our instinct.
We would not express our humanity if we were driven by chemicals alone. It is only when we transcend the physical that we express our humanity. It is when we choose whom we love that we act as humans.


  1. What makes an explanation inadequate or adequate?

  2. Adequacy follows if one's explaination has one or more of the following (the more the better):

    1) Explanatory strength
    2) Explanatory scope
    3) Not being ad hoc
    4) Inherent rebuttal or refutation of competing theories
    5) Internal consistency
    6) Homiletic application
    7) Consistency with other facts or forms, known or assumed to be true.