My gf is refusing to speak with me. After an entire day of silence and crying she handed me this note...thoughts?
She wrote the following:
The whole store about the dragon in the garage could theoretically disprove anything that could not be proved, like human relationships. Whit if I were to say something like, "My parents love me?" You might ask for evidence: have they told me so? Have they taken care of me? Have they been to my sports games, plays, graduations? You then could present concepts like the biological impulse to breed, societal pressure to partner and breed, birth control failure, sense of duty and reciprocation - the idea that if they care for you now, build up a bond now, you will be in the physical and mental condition to care for them later.
Or what about your friends, or romantic relationships? Do they really think you're interesting, or are they afraid of being alone? Remember, humans are social creatures. Does your partner really love you, can that be said objectively, or is the relationship based upon their decision that you are a decent option to provide for them and any possible children?
It could be said that because it cannot be proven with logic, love as we think of it cannot exist. Emotional bonds serve the purpose of social order, and any ascribed meaning beyond that is all in our heads. When we die, the concepts of love and caring die. Aesthetics and philosophy are also the product of human minds and nothing more. None of these things existed before us, like gravity or mitosis, and they will not exist after us, which means that we have made it up. We have imagined these wonderful ideas that someone on this earth "loves" us and that the art we view offers insights into humanity, but they do not exist in reality. They are not real, no matter how much we beg and plead and pretend they have lasting significance.
Do you see how your argument plays out in reality? According to this line of logic, something cannot have significance - nothing can have significance - just because we have deemed it so. If it does not exist before we are borne/can formulate thoughts, and dies when we do, and cannot be proven by science or logic, then it is not viable, but useless.
I have no problem with beauty, art and love as things defined by humanity.
Love is different things to different people. So is art, or beauty. These variations, it seems to me, are best explained by viewing them as of human origin and derivation. As an example of art, a lot made up of bundles totalling $20,000 in ordinary bank notes was auctioned as art, see: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/cash-art-by-denis-beaubois-sells-f... . An art commentator, when asked what made it art replied: "When it makes more at auction than it's face value of $20,000".
So much for art! My own taste in art is not very hoi polloi. As well, what constitutes love? Well it's certainly not a fixed thing. The thing with love is that the love given dies with the lover, (as far as we can tell by corroborated evidence). But I am willing to accept that someone can tell me that they love me. But even as they do so, I don't really know what it means. They would have to expand, and say what it is like, for them, to be in a state of loving towards me - what it feels like, and how their behaviour registers the truth of their claim of having love for me. Once they do that, I have evidence, if I choose to accept the truth of it, that they do love me. But unlike 'God' or Jesus, when a person claims to love me, I have the evidence of a real person before me, telling me of their internal self.
For love to exist by logical derivation, you would need some premises about it which could be checked against reality. But the fact that even when someone tells me that they love me, and how they know that they do, I might find their premises for concluding that they love me to be invalid or lacking in merit.
So there is a basis for looking at love, and deciding if it exists, however one might justify it. Art on the other hand seems to me to be much more a matter of opinion. Beauty too can be a matter of opinion - I recall that when I was in high school I wrote an essay with the title "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". Some things are intangible - we can't really say why we find them to be beautiful, or of artistic merit.
I've been saying in all of this, that love beauty and art, and maybe some other things in human experience are just that human experiences, categorised by humans for individual's satisfaction. Groups of people with like minds can no doubt agree, and others can disagree. Yet in all of this, I need not mention 'God'. I have the brain and body which can sense the world without and within, and can manufacture their own version of reality. Because of language I can express this in an effort to communicate it to others who 'know my language'.
I am OK with all of that, but when it to comes to the existence of 'God', I just don't find things the way that theists do. Theists come in numerous types, Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Ra-ists, Jainists, Christians etc. Their ideas vary, and again, this is like beauty or art or love. What 'God' is, is in the 'eye', so to speak, of the beholder. So it's something derived within the brain, so suit the needs of the individual. I can accept or reject the claims made in support of an external and real god, and I do indeed reject them.
I understand religious claims to be products of brains, those products being inventions to suit individuals, and I reject them as reflections of a reality which would remain true, were all of humanity to be wiped out of existence. Like love, I am saying that as far as I am able to tell, love by the lover dies with the death of that lover, so the reality of the existence of 'God' dies with the death of the believer. If all of humanity were to be wiped out of existence, then there would be no god.
This whole scenario portends an ill wind.
Explain yourself clearly and kindly, and then, run away!
This is likely not the woman for you, Cut your losses early in the fray.
I agree with what's already been said but would just like to add:
I hate Mr. Spock for perpetuating the myth that logic and emotions are in opposition to one another (which, it sounds to me, is a notion that your girlfriend might be falling prey to here). They can, and do, peacefully coexist!
Love may be subjective--sometimes very subjective--but in many ways, it can be quantified. One person may believe themselves to be loved/feel loved because their spouse doesn't force them to adhere to antiquated notions of monogamy, while another person may feel unloved/disrespected because their spouse cheated on them (for one example, anyway...the list could be endless, really). They are both quantifying love, but in entirely subjective ways. No, it isn't like applying the scientific method to something (sorry, I'm having trouble articulating this as clearly/accurately as I'd like), but I think there's a certain amount of logic involved in saying, "My partner does xyz for me; therefore, he/she must love me," or the reverse, "My partner does xyz; therefore, he/she must not love me."
It strikes me as being logical, because there are criteria involved in the assessment. Whether or not a person's measures of love are rational or irrational, though, is entirely dependent upon their own personal subjectivity, though. It seems to me the best relationships would be the ones where both parties' subjective measures of love mesh well, and I think that's the trickiest part when it comes to relationships (of any kind, really, not just romantic ones).
I feel bad for you, though, Dustin...it does definitely sound like your questioning of god has resulted in your girlfriend questioning the love and commitment between you. I don't get the logic of it, but I'm sure it probably makes sense to her. It might be time to reassess whether your subjective measures of love will mesh well or not.
someone who is not willing to entertain the idea that there is no god is not a good fit in a relationship with someone who is an atheist.
move on buddy.
She seems to be drawing a false equivalency between "god" and love. Love is an intangible, non-self-aware emotion whereas the asserted "god" is a self-aware being who has a tangible effect on real material.
Love can inspire people to take actions which have a tangible effect, but love itself cannot pick up dirt and create Earth and make a human being from a rib. A self-aware being =/= a feeling.