When I say, “I love my family,” most people respond, “That’s wonderful!” When I say, “There is a God,” many people demand, “Prove it scientifically! You now bear the burden of proof!” Yet, there is more empirical evidence to support the existence of God than my love of family. Why such doubt and skepticism about God?
It is complained that “Religion has caused wars, deaths and oppression.” Has not love triggered the jealousy of many a murderer? Has not love broken the hearts of people and led to crimes of passion? Was it not love for a beautiful woman that launched a thousand ships and led to the destruction of Troy? Isn’t it love that people seek after, often to the point of despair and anguish? Isn’t it really a longing to love and to be loved that imprisons and oppresses many a heart? Why do we not hear anyone demanding that the existence of love be proved scientifically? Why has the burden of scientific proof not been placed on those who love?
Can love ever be scientifically proven to exist? Is it simply a chemical reaction or a firing of nerves? Where does love come from? What exactly is a “broken heart?” How many people would be satisfied by a scientific explanation of why their lovers were unfaithful to them? Is love simply an evolutionary adaptation for human mating? Why am I able to love people that I cannot or will not mate with? Why am I able to feel love, or affection or sentiment towards a childhood toy? Why form attachments to inanimate objects or places? When I say, “I love being here,” no one responds, “Prove it!”
A woman may want a man to prove his love for her. He may try with all his might to no avail, or he might succeed. The outcome depends on the woman and her level of trust. Different people will draw different conclusions. Does he love her or not?
It has been hypothesized that there is no such thing as pure altruism. Every good deed has an ulterior motive no matter how generous or self sacrificing it may be. A good deed is partly done to make the doer feel “good” in even the slightest way. Hence, the act is not purely altruistic, since it contains the least bit of selfishness. So, can love really exist at all? Are we all just walking around foolishly believing in something that does not even exist? “No,” says the lover. “My love is real.”
The belief in love is not based on science but on faith. We give and receive love in good faith, all the while risking the possibility of a broken heart. Why is it so hard, then, to believe in God? The poet who writes, “I’ll say goodbye to love” has done so from a broken heart. Those who reject love have been hurt. I think the same applies to God, for God is love. God does not cease to exist, but, in our wounded state, we may reject his existence. Science cannot resolve such a dilemma any more than it can conclusively determine if, or exactly how much, I love my family.