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Are atheists less likely to fall in love?
Love has been described as "unconditional positive regard". Not very romantic I grant you but accurate to a degree.
Theists open themselves up to "gods love" without question. It is a matter of faith. We are sceptical, questioning and more logical. Does that mean that we carry the same mindset to relationships or is there more room? A void to fill, a desire to believe in someone instead of something?
Thoughts?

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By 273kelvin8
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27 comments

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5

We're not fucking automatrons! I believe unconditional romantic love is very, very rare. Christians as far as I can tell don't really love God as much as they fear his wrath. That ain't love. Take the threat of eternal damnation out of their beliefs and see how many of them drag their asses out of bed on Sunday morning and go to church.

Sticks48 Level 9 Dec 6, 2018

Many churches have softened their positions on hell. The Anglican and catholic to name just 2. It seems that the US and African churches are some of the few remaining that still stick to that old time religion

@273kelvin In regards to religion and its place in society, it seems Europe has been way ahead of the U.S. for quite awhile.

4

All love has conditions. The margins are wider for some than others but it's all semantics.

Qualia Level 8 Dec 6, 2018
4

Intelligent people are less likely to fall and stay in love.

Paracosm Level 8 Dec 2, 2018

Fools rush in....?

Do you have a paper to share? I would like more information. I have known many intelligent people that are very capable of love.

@alanalorie That's the problem, I don't think this question can be answered with taking polls and doing experiments. I can say that when I was religious I believed that everything happened for a reason, and so did love. As a faithless person now I know everything is random and I'm more skeptical about true love.

4

"Theists open themselves up to "gods love" without question."

Except that isn't love, its a self-imposed endorphin-fueled delusion.
Being open to imaginary love from a figment of your imagination sounds more like the behavior of someone who is deeply insular, who would have trouble forming connections with real people. Which I think is related to the high statistic of theist divorces.

MLinoge Level 7 Dec 2, 2018

Imagination is a powerful force. An amputee feels the pain of their phantom limb. The limb is not real but the pain is. Just because something is not there does not mean that someone can't love it.

@273kelvin All true.
But my main point is that there is a difference between loving real people, and opening yourself to love someone/-thing you have pictured in your head; someone/-thing always refereed to as perfection.

We like the heroes in the movies we see and we hate the villains. They are not real. I do not believe holding strong emotions for fictional characters who are literally too good (or too bad) to be true, make it easier to form real attachments in the real world.

@MLinoge It is not imaginary to the theist, they believe it to be real. Plus they are reinforced by the communal gatherings and history of the church. You can call that mass hysteria if you like but it makes no difference emotionally. Someone with a mental illness who hears voices in their head may even intellectually know they aren't real but they feel real. The hurtful things those voices say still hurt.
Also is that not the point of the post? To give yourself completely on blind faith is an extreme form of love. I am not talking "emotional attachments" but full on, balls deep, head over heels, "I would drink your bathwater, sniff your farts and worship the ground you walk on" love. No rhyme or reason, illogical and unconditional love.
It is interesting to note that from the poll so far. Most have voted no difference, some have said less likely but no one has said more likely. The fact that we see clearer does not seem to make us more susceptible to rose glasses.

@273kelvin Most of what you are saying is true. It misses the point I'm trying to make about the difference of loving real people and something in your mind, but it's mostly what I would agree to be true.

"To give yourself completely on blind faith is an extreme form of love"
This is where we part ways. Giving yourself on blind faith is not love, any more than you can love someone you have never met, and we're back to my key argument.

You can blindly surrender yourself to a god; that's devotion. Arguably a part of love but not all form of devotion is love.
Surely you have a cause or ideal which you are devoted to. Do you "love" it the same way you love your family?

"Most have voted no difference,"
So did i, because I hesitate to generalize about something so vague as 'theists'. I think most believers, those with healthy relationships, are devoted and not head-over-heels in love with their imaginary gods.
Putting them on an even field with atheists on matters of the heart.

@MLinoge They say that love is blind. We even use the same terms such as "faithful". No one can ever know someone else completely and yet we can love them completely. Is that not a form of blind faith?

@273kelvin "Love is blind", as far as I know, refers to people with socially "unacceptable" qualities depending on the epoch and civilization. In historical dramas, love between a Caucasian and an African, marrying beneath your social status in life or wealth.
Not the utter absence of a human.

While we can never fully know someone; what we do know stems from observation and interaction. Not fiction.
Assuming you are married; do you love your wife/husband because of who you know them to be through experience, or by a completely different visualization you maintain in your head about what kind of person they might be?

3

Interesting, There should be no difference in romantic love. Love is an universal emotion. Atheists are diverse people. I think being over rational in anyone can prevent openess to romantic love. Please see below for theories of love. There are also types of love for children and others. Agape would be the closets to human love of other humans. "Unconditional Positive Regard" is a term used in the therapy style, it is valuing someone for who the are regardless of their actions. It is more caring for other humans, not love. Sorry, a darn psychologist can ruin anything with too much explaining. I think people will find the links below interesting. One is about atheists and love. The other explains models of types of romantic love and changes over time.

[strangenotions.com]

[psychologytoday.com]

3

Declaring love to a falsehood with no basis in reality is not somthing I see as supporting a heightened abilty to love. Atheists feel and love more deeply in my opinion because this is the life we get and we know it, no second chances, no illusions of an afterlife. Love now, eternity is not a viable option?

I see that you did not vote "more likely" as no one has so far.

@273kelvin correct, I did not vote. I prefer to let a comment stand on its own when no puplic office or prize is involved.

@ArdentAtheist The votes are there only to gauge opinions.

@273kelvin why? I don’t think enough people could be gathered in this forum to create an actual picture of public opinion so any data you collect would be inaccurate. It seems important to you? Well, off to make the coffee, cheers

3

You would think other atheist would be easier to be come by. It seems there may be less options as an atheist.

Daking Level 3 Dec 3, 2018
3

Interesting--I've never heard of this definition of love before. UPR is a term used mainly in the therapeutic realm--a precondition to set the stage for emotional/behavioral change in counseling.

Good point, Carl Roger is my favorite theorist. I was surprised that it was used as a term for love. I never loved my clients in any way. I cared for them as fellow human beings. Or when I could not do that I tried to have unconditional positive regard for the human that they had the potential to be.

2

Love is human. No god needed. And real love is not a romantic notion. Being in love may make you romantic on certain things. People need to stop equating love with childishness. It's a real thing that takes work once you decide you want to keep it. Getting rid of religion opens up all your true emotions. No more waiting for god. No more hating certain people. Real light lets you love more than you ever could when you believed sky daddy would take care of things and protect you from imaginary dangers.

2

Anyone can fall in love. An atheist might be more likely to use logic and plan rather than just throw things to the wind. I used to be impulsive and today I do more planning.

DenoPenno Level 8 Dec 18, 2018
2

I think falling in love is very much a human thing. Your beliefs don't enter into it. And yes, I was madly in love with my first wife.

Piscador Level 2 Dec 14, 2018
2

Unconditional love doesn't really exist despite popular belief.

JoeVZ Level 4 Dec 5, 2018

For you..........yet?

@273kelvin no, not for anyone in any realistic sense. There are always conditions. Everyone has their limits.

@JoeVZ You may quite well set limits on behaviour but not on love. I for one and I know many that leave someone due to their actions but still love them.

@273kelvin that just further proves my point. That person's conditions weren't being met so they left which the correct response. Romcoms, greeting card companies, and Nicholas Sparks have people chasing an unattainable, unhealthy, and idealistic view of love that simply doesn't exist. It's incredibly toxic.

Perhaps not, but the love of a mother for her children comes awfully damn close.

2

This is a tough question to answer... I think it's simply a normal human condition, like hunger or thirst, but can be experienced differently by different people.

2

It's possible that, since we aren't in the habit of "turning our decisions over to god," we tend to put more thought into the decisions we make. I suppose that could cause a bit of hesitation at times.

Deb57 Level 7 Dec 3, 2018
2

I fall in love, correction I jump head first into love. It's one of the greatest feelings I can have. It gives me a reason to devote myself to someone else's happiness ( which if it's appreciated , makes me happy in turn) . Being atheist does not change this.

1

I'm a UU'er and an atheist. My minister (who is pretty damned cool) asked me what my 'higher power' is. My response was (and is): "Love. Love is my 'Higher Power'. There's not enough of it going around that is real and sincere. I feel that if everyone everywhere had REAL connected and great love in their life, we'd all be a little more of a peaceful bunch of hairless apes (no offense intended towards the very hairy apes reading this!).

Love is the vaccine for what ails me. Hook me up with that shit!

1

Well, i think most atheists are more measured in their decision making. I feel like the answer depends on the person ( yes, a very skeptical approach, i know), but perhaps we are more likely?

We are less likely hate outsiders, more likely accept them. We are less likely completely write someone off. We are also getting married later in life, but perhaps dating more before hand... does that count as loving many more people?

I think, perhaps i've delved too deep... me thinks the question is incomplete or flawed. Why can't my brain just let things be simple?

Drazezard Level 3 Dec 23, 2018

Perhaps because we are non-believers. Therefore more analytical

1

As my pool of potential (atheist) partners is severely limited, I have no anticipation of finding a significant other. If I were a theists, I would have a much larger dating pool.

1

If love is really "unconditional positive regard" then I've never loved and never will. Conditions are placed by me on all my interactions with everything/everyone my world. Just as I am incapable of positively regarding unconditionally, I lack the ability to understand or believe that there is any person place or thing that regards me in the same way (e.g. god). Even my own mother was probably only strongly biased towards that condition but if conditions were different (to circumvent the unconditional part of the positive regard) that bias would have been overcome.

1

Atheists, for the most, in my experiences 'fall in love' just like everyone else does.
After all, we are simply just Hominid Primates driven by emotions that are triggered by hormones and the internal reactions caused by those self-same hormones.
But, Atheists being rational, logical people, for the majority part, much prefer to 'fall in love' with something/person that is tangible, visible and verifiable, i.e. an ACTUAL human being, etc, than something that exists ONLY in the mind and requires unquestioning FAITH such as a God/Deity, etc.

Triphid Level 8 Dec 2, 2018
1

I think so. I know for me I tend to be very skeptical about new people. You can't just say anything to me and I'm gonna fall for it. As an observer I see people fall for bs right in front of there face and those are usually the people who belong to a religious organization.

1

I have been an atheist basically my whole life. I have had long term and short term relationships. I maybe a bad example though as I'm not sure exactly what "love" pertains to. I mean I cared for the people I was dating and felt bad when things didn't go their way. I would say I was mostly infatuated with them though rather than being in love. I have never wanted kids and maybe that has something to do with me not truly "falling in love". I said the words "I love you" to a few of them and I feel as if I meant it at the time. Who knows, I'm not exactly sure if I answered your question or not lol. It seems more like I'm just rambling on, I guess I would say yes, it's harder for atheists to fall in love.

0

Meh. It is biology.

0

My POV is we don't really get a choice and depending on the person ymmv as some truly don't seem able to love, in any kind of discernible way. This isn't belief or lack thereof specific.

I don't think love is a decision or I would have decided many moons ago to fall for a rich guy back in the day.

Qualia Level 8 Dec 23, 2018

I don't think its a decision rather than an inclination. For example they say that sales people are the easiest to sell to

@273kelvin I've never "set out" to fall for someone, ever. Believe me I've tried to "will" it when younger, for 4 years in vain.

@273kelvin K, the way I see it, everyone has a certain kind of "surface texture". Those with little bumps fit well with those with dimples, but not so well with those with tetrahedral peaks. You can't force this part, it just happens through interaction.

The decision to consciously, actively love only comes after a certain threshold of togetherness exists. And people have different thresholds, which makes it....interesting.

@Deveno I don't think its always a decision. Just once it happened to me almost instantly. That willingness to acept it was almost an act of faith.

0

As usual if the initial premise is faulty the whole argument falls apart. Somehow not believing in an imaginary being correlates to not trusting a real person? Not sure that love has to be unconditional in the first place.

lerlo Level 7 Dec 8, 2018

Not all love is balls deep. head first, devil take the high road but thats maybe what we dream of? My post was are we more or lees likely to be accepting of that idea if we already have faith?

@273kelvin yes, if you want to ignore believing in an imaginary object versus a real person, people who believe in irrational things will believe in other irrational things.

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