Love is an entirely baffling concept to most people. Most people, although they may have felt it, are at a complete loss when asked to describe it.
According to Grant Naylor, "Love is a device invented by bank managers to make you overdrawn."
Medically and scientifically speaking, love and lust are devices that serve the genetic impulse to procreate and nurture children. Lust drives you to mate, and love drives you to stay with the person with whom you have mated.
The evolutionary upshot of which is that a couple will stick together while their newborn infant is incapable of looking after itself.
The process by which the mind loves another is a complex chemical cocktail of endorphines that acts as a reward mechanism for spending time with your loved one or offspring. The reward mechanism fills the lovers with a profound sense of peace and contentment. This essentially becomes an addiction, which is understandable.
Religion and love
There are essentially three kinds of love: love of family, romantic love, and friendship. The first ultimately comes from an instinct to preserve genes. The second comes from procreation instincts. The third is essentially a social pact that confers survival advantages.
Can you prove that love exists?
Sometimes love is also used as an analogy to demonstrate that it is rational to believe in things without evidence.
This is because one of the most common arguments against the existence of God is that there is simply no evidence that God exists, and since the burden of proof is on the person making a positive claim, it is reasonable to suggest that God's existence be demonstrated before belief is warranted. Theists respond by saying "You believe in love, even though there is no evidence that love exists."
- This claim is simply false. Love is an emotional state, and there is plenty of evidence that this emotional state exists. People who claim to be "in love" behave in markedly different ways from people who do not. Studies of the brain show that certain areas are activated by feelings of love.
- "Exist" is an ambiguous word, which lends this subject to the equivocation fallacy. When we say that an apple exists, we are speaking of a specific entity that occupies a position in space. But there are also abstract concepts that "exist," and the meaning is different. The color green might be said to exist. However, "green" is not an object; it is a name that we have chosen to give to a range of wavelengths in visible light. The color green "exists" only in the sense that certain real objects have the property of being green, which has meaning because of the definitions that humans have assigned. Love exists in this second sense: not as a standalone object, but as a property that appears in certain minds and has meaning to people due to common experiences.
- Given the above distinction about different definitions of existence, it is fair to ask: in which sense does God "exist"? Is God a real, physical object existing in some real universe? Or is God an abstract concept, like love, which exists primarily in the minds of those who feel it? If this is the second definition, then many atheists might agree that God "exists," but this is not an existence which would be satisfying to many theists. Few atheists would deny that the emotional belief in God exists, like love. But treating God as a feeling and nothing more does not give the notion of a genuine, physical God who commands power over the real universe.
Isn't love cheapened if it is scientifically explainable?
Some theists object to efforts to explain love in terms of science. They believe that explaining love makes it seem cheap and mundane by removing the mystery.
Many will tell you that that isn't the case. The fact that we can understand how love works does not change the fact that it is a powerful emotion that drives people's behavior. As a part of the human condition, it drives people to great acts of creativity and spurs people to monumental achievements.