A comment made on my last post was rather interesting and is the inspiration for this one. In the last part of the comment she said:
But if i was going to compare God to something else invisible to prove a point it would be love, you can not see love, touch it, or prove it, but you know that its there.
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this argument made by a religious person.
However, when we look at it critically, God isn’t anything like love. Scientifically, we understand the biological processes behind those feelings fairly well.
Although people experience love differently, the chemistry behind the initial rush of attraction shows us that there are biological explanations to feeling giddy, for example, during those blissful early weeks.
To start with, dopamine, which is created in the brain and adrenal glands, enhances the release of testosterone. Dopamine affects various organs, including the genitals, the sweat glands, and also the senses. Have you ever noticed that when you are in the early stages of lust or love, you sweat more? Or that the sky seems bluer? Dopamine, in this context of arousal, is partly responsibly. As a consequence of dopamine being released, mood and emotions are also influenced, leading to feelings of excitement and happiness. Meanwhile, testosterone increases sexual desire, but also increases aggressive behaviour and behaviourally, may push someone to pursue the one who is fueling this intense response.
After this step, the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and PEA (phenylethylamine) lead to focused attention. Individuals start to ‘zero-in’ on the person they desire, and at the same time, often have a feeling of euphoria. Norepinephrine is a stimulant, so it also causes individuals to feel alert, potentially unable to sleep, and enables them to notice and remember even the smallest of details about their partners. PEA is responsible for the feelings of giddiness, and may cause the loss of appetite. If the relationship doesn’t last, and PEA levels fall and are partly responsible for the feelings of depression that can be experienced.
I know…it seems a lot less romantic when broken down scientifically, but the point remains the same – love isn’t a supernatural entity in the sky or a supernatural realm laid out for believers after they die. There are biological reasons for those feelings.
As clinical psychologist Sue Johnson points out in a recent article:
“I think it’s absolutely disastrous for us to keep defining love as a big mystery,” Johnson says. “We need to know about it, we need to know how to shape it. It’s now the basis of our families. Really, the family stands or falls on feelings of affection. … We are all longing for it, and it’s just kind of not so poetic and fun anymore to define it as slightly out of reach and sort of only magical.”
Even though we have a fairly good understanding of love from a biological perspective, we still try to label it as something magical and mysterious…kind of like our favorite myths about God.
In another article:
If you’ve ever been in love, you’ve probably at least considered classifying the feeling as an addiction. And guess what: You were right. As it turns out, scientists are discovering that the same chemical process that takes place with addiction takes place when we fall in love.
So unlike God, you can show evidence that it exists and you can test for it scientifically. It’s part of our natural world and has nothing to do with magic or the supernatural.
If you really want to look for a fair comparison between Allah, Yahweh, Jesus or Vishnu, you can find it in Odin, Zeus and Mithra.
In other words, the rest of the Gods you probably don’t believe in, which have been thrown in the dustbin of mythological history.