Wednesday, September 16, 2009


One of the chief advantages of polytheism is that there are several gods which represent all the many aspects of our complex world. There are gods of land masses and bodies of water. Gods were said to control supernatural forces like destiny, weather, and the heavens.

Perhaps the most interesting were the gods who represented concepts which we still believe today. Take Aphrodite, the goddess of love. A monotheist or atheist would say that Aphrodite is not real, but most would claim that love exists.

Yet, love is no more real than Aphrodite. You cannot measure or detect love. Love is not a liquid, solid or gas. It cannot be isolated in any lab. One may be able to classify and name chemicals in the blood which trigger feelings we associate with love, but most would agree that love is something more than hormones.

By some, it is little more than a euphemism for the inter-dependency (or to a cynic, co-dependency) between two people predicated on sexual attraction. Another person may see it as the solid bond between two people who have shared the bulk of their lives together. For another, it is a night of fun. And still others struggle to feel it at all.

The definition is not even static within an individual. It often grows over time in reaction to events experienced by the individual, almost as if love were alive.

I think a person’s attitudes toward concepts like love, justice, freedom, and responsibility are a far more important thing than our feelings on gods. Love is not real, but like the gods, the consequences of human belief in it is experienced by all. And yet, love is not truly related to gods any more than the rivers, mountains, sun, moon or stars who had gods dedicated to them. This is great for us atheists, as disbelief in gods does not prevent us from feeling love, even if though it is as mystical as Aphrodite.

Love is an abstract concept. There is a power in the non-existence of love. For one thing, it is many different things to many different people, and none of them are wrong in their use of the term. Love cannot be something certain, and it is this gamble which keeps people coming back – even after losing their shorts the last time they played.

1 comment:

  1. love/love will keep us together/ something about the weather..

    I don't think love isn't real just becuase it's unmeasurable.


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