Jason B. Ladd

Ask the Questions. Embrace the Answers. Make the Leap.

Love: An Amusing Illusion or God’s Greatest Gift

love jason b. ladd fighter faith

What is love?  Here are two possibilities:

  1. chemical reactions in your brain perceived as feelings of loyalty toward a single co-parent for the purpose of rearing a child together, at least until it’s weaned
  2. the ultimate good, a reflection of the image of God upon humanity

Arguments often arise by using the same words to mean different things.  One worldview (Christianity) views love as the ultimate good in the material world and beyond.

Let’s look at how love is viewed by two different worldviews: Christianity and naturalism.

On Christianity, love is ultimately:

  • the state of affairs existing prior to the creation of the universe, flowing between the Father and the Son via the Holy Spirit, the vehicle of love
  • the highest good
  • the ultimate goal, an act of worship.

On naturalism, love is ultimately:

  • the evolutionary mechanism to ensure the survival of children and the propagation of our species
  • a nice concept, something to distract you from the depressing thought of a meaningless existence
  • an amusing illusion

Your worldview will shape how you understand the concept of love.

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Is our brain wired with “irrationality mechanisms . . . built into the brain by selection for falling in love”¹ like biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins suggests in is book the The God Delusion?

Should we describe amorous behavior in the same manner Dawkins describes religious behavior, as “a misfiring, an unfortunate by-product of an underlying psychological propensity which in other circumstances is, or once was, useful?”²

Or is love in all its forms a gift from God?

Should you:love

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”

as commanded in Matthew 22:37?

Is loving your neighbor as yourself a holy commandment, or an optional attitude?

Jesus tells His disciples in John 15:13 :

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

In this context, sacrificial love is one of the highest virtues.

On naturalism, sacrificial love should be selected for extinction.  Only the less self-sacrificial should survive.  Eventually the gene for self-sacrifice would be gone forever.

But it’s not.

Medal of Honor recipient Corporal Jason Dunham jumped on a grenade to save his fellow Marines from immanent death.

District Court Judge Mitchell McLean gave his life while trying to save a woman from drowning.

Nineteen brave firefighters gave their lives fighting an Arizona wildfire to protect others from harm.

After all these years, the spirit of love is well intact.

You don’t have to be able to explain love in order to give it.

But if you understand it properly, you might want to give a whole lot more.

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What’s your conclusion?  Greatest gift from God, or amusing illusion?

Related Posts

¹ Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006), 185.

² Ibid., 174.

Photo credit: mark sebastian / Foter / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: Dustin J McClure / Foter / CC BY-ND

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About Jason B. Ladd

Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.

7 Replies

  1. Betsy Borchardt

    Jason,
    I love your post. You make it clear that love originated with God. He intended for us to reflect His image in the love He made possible for us to experience and share with others, especially, our spouses Also, since sacrificial love would be weeded out by the actions of theories of the naturalists if evolutionist theory were true, the world would have lost the most virtuous and beautiful individuals of mankind. This certainly would have been a tragedy. God’s ways always triumph over any evolutionary belief because He is the author of life and the source of truth. He hard-wired our brains to search until we find Him.
    I admire the work you are doing with your blog. Sometimes controversy is the best way to find truth. I hope readers of your blog will find the truth God wants them to have.
    Thank you for dropping by my blog, liking what I posted, and for the follow.
    Betsy

    1. The author of life and the source of all truth–let us never forget!

  2. Ray McClendon

    Great post Jason! Thank-you. Here are two links you and other apologists like you would surely find useful on the ‘chemical reactions’ discussed by Dawkins and others of his ilk. Let me know what you think. God bless, and thank-you for your service to both our country and our Lord!

    http://www.jimmcguiggan.com/nonbelievers2.asp?id=79

    http://www.jimmcguiggan.com/nonbelievers2.asp?id=59