I'm sitting in church (still haven't come out to people) and the preacher is declaring that love is not real without God. My question is, How would you respond to "You can't have true love for people without God"?
I would bluntly state: What utter nonsense. That assertion makes as much sense as stating, "You can't swim without learning to ride your bicycle." them ask them to try to define the characteristics of "true love" and have them justify why this condition is dependent on the existence of a god.
I would say, "I know my own mind and myself, and I know what I feel for others is real."
That is a hefty egotistical proclamation to say that a person's emotional side isn't real without god. He's just another preacher/minister trying to control people, and trying to get them to buy into something that isn't true.
Here's some (a drop in the bucket I'm sure) of the science behind our ability to feel empathy and compassion for others. [psychologytoday.com]
I wouldn’t waste my breath talking to someone that ignorant unless it were perhaps my mother, but hypothetically since another non believer is asking: I’d say you can’t have true love with god. If god is always first then you can’t love a person more than anything else, like I’m free to do. It’s also impossible to have true love for god. Your primary reasons for wanting to love god are always going to be that you’re afraid of eternal punishment if you don’t, and/or you’re convinced he made some kind of incredible sacrifice of himself for you. So you’ve been coerced and/or guilted into the feeling. Doesn’t sound like any true love I’d want to be apart of.
The even more objective standpoint is that no one thing called true love exists for anyone. It all has a selfish imperative as the end goal no matter how selfless the feeling seems. There are many kinds of love, and they all have a biological imperative. Agape, the loving kindness we have toward others, is apart of our instincts as social animals to cooperate and want to see each other do well because it’s good for us. Romantic love is a chemical trick of the brain to make you stick around and care for your partner and young as a smaller scale version of the cooperation needed to survive.
We are wired with an endogenous chemical reward system to give us a hit of the feel goods when we do something that promotes our survival. The same way exercise feels good, love is a function of our reproductive instincts. When some of us lose interest or cheat those are functions of our reproductive instincts just the same. No type of instinct is morally superior to another. They just are what they are. Religious people just like to think they have the only valid reason for fucking: to make more soldiers of the cross, which they so willingly like to rush to the front lines. Make sure to keep having those babies, cause it’s not love if you aren’t photocopying your mediocre ass.