JT EBERHARD (atheist blogger, What Would JT: Do?): Mark, last time Jason and I talked about love. Your turn. Ever been in love? Ever think you were in love when you weren’t?
MARK SANDLIN (Presbyterian minister, blogger at The God Article): Yes and yes. Next question. ; -)
JT: A very Trumpian answer to a question that demands details!
JT: Oh shit, Jason. Sorry about that. :- ( I was just curious.
Jason: No, it’s fine. My wife was impressed and horrified by my honesty.
JT: She needs some of this smoothie.
Mark: As far as I’m concerned “love” is like the force: it surrounds us and penetrates us and binds the galaxy together.
JT: Pretty sure you’re thinking of the strong nuclear force.
Jason: She’s doing just fine. I think she’s still drinking whiskey at our local bar. We are still technically on vacation, even though we’ve been back from the UK since Wednesday.
JT: Which I guess is a force nonetheless…
Jason: Nah, I’m with Mark. I think love is a very real energy and binds us with people and things.
Mark: I call it “God.”
JT: Hrm, just to make sure we’re not equivocating here, I think love is a neurological occurrence in the brain. Does that mean it’s not a force permeating all things, not god, or are they not mutually exclusive?
Jason: I don’t know if I’d attach a deity name to it, but it’s an energy that can be touched and felt. It has a “presence” so to speak that we can feel.
Mark: I’d say it is both neurological and an outside force (energy).
Jason: If this was Facebook, Mark, I’d “like” that comment.
JT: Ok, on the touched and felt part, can you give me an example? I mean, we can feel other states of the brain (happiness, sadness, etc.), but I wouldn’t say they exist anywhere else. Being an atheist, I have to ask: is there any evidence for love as a force? Or are we just using poetic rather than literal language?
Mark: The BIG problem, as I see it, is that we just have the one word for “love” when there’s so many types of love.
JT: Like, when Luke fought Vader, he wasn’t using love to move shit around with his mind, right? 😛
Mark: Is a metaphor dude, not a precise parallel. 😉
Jason: Energy is something that we can sense. It hangs in the hair, heavy like a cloak upon our shoulders. Go to a sporting event and you can “feel” all the passion and emotion that people are generating. Love can be like that too. Sometimes it’s like an electric spark, felt only when you touch another. At other times that desire, passion, and feeling for another can fill up a room.
JT: Ok, ok. 🙂 Sorry for trying to pin it down so hard, but I’ve encountered plenty of people who weren’t being metaphorical on such a claim (even in structured debates). Ok, Mark — details on your journey to a better understanding of love. Don’t make us play truth or dare (even though I’ve got the alcohol component going).
Mark: Are we talking romantic love, friendship… my love of ice cream with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in it?
JT: The first two, and how you learned to distinguish them. Although, the third makes me a little horny…
Jason: So many kinds of love, so much fear that one might be turned on by ice cream and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
JT: Dude, have you ever had Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup ice cream? If not, I’ll not be having your judgment!
Mark: I suspect not liking Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup ice cream is something that is punishable by the VOICE OF GOD. Careful, dude, he might smite you.
JT: He’s smote (smoted? smited?) for less.
VOICE OF GOD: I THINK IT’S SMOOT. ENGLISH IS NOT MY NATIVE TONGUE.
Jason: I’ve always believed in “gods” and not God. Though that higher power that watches these discussions is pretty omnipotent.
Mark: The things about love that I’m finding the most fascinating right now is how much deep it can grow when it isn’t saddled with so many expectations.
JT: How so? *intrigued*
Jason: I think movies and music creates false expectations when it comes to love. Not everything is an Air Supply song.
Voice of God: INCORRECT.
JT: Agreed, Jason. Side thought: Air Supply fucking rocks.
Voice of God: CORRECT.
Jason: Air Supply songs always make “love” feels like this huge draining moment. Like it slaps you in the face when you realize that’s how you feel, and it doesn’t always work with that way.
Mark: When relationships have too many expectations of the other person it is easy to fall into measuring the relationship and how well one are the other is doing in it. Which puts up some protective walls because one or both end up feeling like they are trying to measure up.
JT: *nod* Ok, question then: why the expectation of monogamy? (Admitted bias, being poly :P)
Jason: (And now I’m listening to “Making Love Out of Nothing at All.” No more day drinking, though I make no apologies for my love of Jim Steinman songs.)
Mark: I happened to think that we are all looking for a love that unconditional – it’s probably related to childhood and our expectations of our parents? I dunno – just a thought. Now, I must play Air Supply for the entire bar. I’m sure they will thank you.
JT: (Steinman is my favorite composer ever, Classical composers included!)
Jason: Because some people just aren’t capable of poly or open relationships. It takes so much trust and so much energy to have those types of relationships. To be one person’s source of support in this world is taxing enough, to extend that to another person is asking a lot. As I said last time JT, polyamory is exhausting.
And yes, Jim Steinman is f’ing awesome. He made me like Celine Dion for ten minutes.
Mark: I can just barely sort out one relationship and I can be a bit jealous — I don’t think I could ever do a poly relationship. Props to those who have sorted it out and have the energy.
JT: *nod* Mark, do you think your own religion necessitates monogamy?
Mark: Nope. Many of the stories in the text are about people God has “chosen” to lead the people and quite a few of them were not in monogamous relationships.
Jason: Jesus did love Mary Magdalene above all others.
Mark: For me, the Christian perspective is simply that everyone involved is cared for and not being put into a position where they are hurting (except, you know, unless that’s what they are into). ;- )
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