God's Love:Meaning and Verification


On our comment section  Skeptical and Px began saying that the phrase "God is love" was meaningless because love is an emotion and a person can't be an emotion. Of course i argued metaphor. Come to find out they really didn't care about that they really wanted to argue that if there is something we can call "God" it's not loving, at least they see it as such, that is a totally different kind of question.

Holly is an old friend from the CARM days she came by to take up the issue:

Holly Amelia Pond said...
Interesting conversation, JH.
My problem with the phrase "God is love" is still I don't know how to make the leap from seeing evidence of love to the assumption god exists and IS this love.
I have to consider all possibilities, (yes skepticism requires that), and how could we prove that love is not a human construct?
Before I answer that I have to say something about the nature of God's love, I believe that God is the source of love, There is no reason why he would be loving any more than there is a reason why we should be-conscious, If the universe were absent God then we might just as well be like ants and we probably would be, It would be more efficient, why should we be free moral agents or have a concept of the good and be able to destroy the planet?

Perhaps God's love is not on a par with Your parents in every respect. even though there are aspects in which it is. The metaphor is used in the Bible. God is the father and the mother. But all religious language is analogical, Analogical language has both a like and a not-like dimension, There is more at steak in loving everyone in  the world than in one couple loving one child,

Yet if nothing else the loving nature of God makes it possible for us to have loving natures.We can express Gods' love through our own love for each other. Why God allows pain has to be part of this use and at that point I can only recommend that you read my soteriological drama argument,[1]

Holly asks "and how could we prove that love is not a human construct?: Well you can't prove that iot is a human construct. We are humans and we understand love our own way,But there;s no reason to thin it;s merely an accident of brain chemistry that produced some feeling and we are just playing with a feeling, It's a whole philosophy,Anyone who studies theology and tires to understand Christian Agape can see there's a lot more to it than just an emotion,It's like asking how do we know mathematics is not a human construct? We don't/ I would argue David Chalmers' explanatory gap argument, It's analogous to the issue of consciousness.

Philosopher Joseph Fletcher argued that justice is a function of love enforcement mechanism, So now you have a philosophical concept of love that contains all of justice and ties in with ethics and jurisprudence, Why do we have this kind of thinking when all we needed was an emotion?It's clearly more than that,

Holly says:

I cannot say it is nonsensical, only unverified. Which makes it meaningless as a standalone argument to the skeptic who does not begin with any premises such as "god exists" . So first steps in such a conversation would indeed begin with a definition of love, and then why does one conclude that god exists and that god is indeed love.
In this context the term is agape we have Greek definition:   the will to the good of the other. which includes to accord the other the basic dignity to to which humans are initialized,As for arguing about the existence of God read my book, The 200 studies on religious experience I amassed back up the argumnet I make for God.[2]

To verify you have to know what you are looking for, One thing we night look for is a feeling of being loved, Every study that tackles religious experience and deals with the sense of the numinous finds that people who have that experience overwhelmingly experience a keep and all pervasive sense of love, a presence of love,

We have good reasom to believe the experiences are experiences of a reality because the effects are real and I have eliminated counter causes, so no reason to think it;s just naturalistic. These people feel abiding overwhelming sense of Divine loves o strong it is not uncommon for them to lose the fear of death,people suffering chronic pain feel their pain is a gift because it allows them to have thesense of love, [3]



[1] "Soteriologiocal Drama" religious  a priori
http://religiousapriori.blogspot.com/2011/04/answer-to-theodicy-soteriological-drama.html

[2] Joseph Hinman, The Trace of God: Rational Warrant for Belief. Colorado

Springs,Colorado: Grand Viaduct 2014

[3] Joseph Hinman,,"Empirical Study of Mystical Experience, Religious a priri

http://religiousapriori.blogspot.com/2016/10/berninis-ecstasy-of-st.html



Comments

Anonymous said…
JH: In this context the term is agape we have Greek definition: the will to the good of the other. which includes to accord the other the basic dignity to to which humans are initialized

What makes you think God has this love? If he did, then why does he not do good of others, for example cure cancers and stop murders?

The evidence suggests indifference or apathy, rather than love.

Pix
Holly Campbell said…

Thanks for taking the time to reply, Joe.
You begin by saying, “I believe that God is the source of love, There is no reason why he would be loving any more than there is a reason why we should be-conscious, If the universe were absent God then we might just as well be like ants and we probably would be, It would be more efficient, why should we be free moral agents or have a concept of the good and be able to destroy the planet?”

When we examine facts skeptically, we start with what we can know to be true by observation. Those things we can both agree to be facts. For instance, we ARE conscious. We aren’t like ants, we are free moral agents and have a concept of good, (even if some may argue on a precise definition of that) and we are able to destroy the planet. Those are all observable facts. The question lies in the how and why.
You BELIEVE that God is the source of love, and the only reason that we are conscious etc. But what exactly is the evidence for that? Without believing in a god, or seeing evidence to justify a belief in a god, I find myself conscious, and have a system of morals I follow, and choose not to live like an ant, or destroy the planet. I can speculate that without a god, we could/would be exactly as we are. I cannot prove or disprove either theory.

While you attribute our ability to love each other to God’s nature, I wonder how I can love without belief in such a being? My love is grounded in empathy, and compassion for my fellow man. The realization that we are all we have got, and that we affect each other, that we need each other…that we are better because of each other is all a part of social constructions that include love being an important factor to humans, with or without a god.
Holly Campbell said…
I have read your soteriological drama argument in the past, and I must say, I do like it. (it is better than most answers I have seen). If my reason for not believing in a god rested entirely on the PoE argument I am quite sure your argument would have won me over. (I have recommended it to others on multiple occasions.) The PoE however, is only one facet of the issue. The others being that I see no evidence of an interactive personal relationship kind of god. At some point for me, there was a realization that when I prayed…nothing was happening except that I was talking to myself. This scared me. It was a weird “ Emperor’s new Clothes” kind of moment. One in which I didn’t understand how everyone else made these claims of a “personal relationship” with god/jesus. One in which I even wondered if it was just me. If perhaps god made me unable to see /feel/experience him. If Calvinism could be true? If I could have been created as the chaff to the wheat? Was this a possibility?
Yes, I was willing to look at every angle, question everything and consider every possibility. (and remain so)

You next say that I cannot prove love is a human construct. This is true. No more than you can prove that it is not. I can only say that as humans we can love. I do not say it is an accident of brain chemistry, or feelings. However, Just because a thing can be philosophized or even theologized, doesn’t mean it is not a human construct. Justice and love could both be human constructs that developed along with music, art, math, communication, language, etc.

For me love is an action, a path, a journey. How we choose to live with others. I said in the other thread and stand by it, I love Paul’s description of Love in Corinthians. He uses several words to define it. I think love as an action embodies all those things, the emotion of love is more flimsy and can come and go, and is more affected by our physical body (hormones etc). But the choice to live in the path of love, and act in this way to those we choose to love, is an entirely different thing. (that is as close to agape as I can get from the atheist perspective. ;) )

As to your book, I suppose I shall have to eventually bite the bullet and buy it in order to read it.
I think you will not argue further on such issues with me unless I do. (I saw it on the other thread…
READ IT…lol)

I do not feel a fear of death, (only sadness for those left behind, that it might cause them pain).
I know people who struggle with pain and also others who overcome it, some claim god gives them the power, others don’t seem to need a god, but claim family, love and other things help them.
Your final comments on the sense of the numinous. I find interesting, but still not something that is universally true for everyone. Again, as I look at possibilities, I have to wonder about why some have them, and others not. (like me.) So the possibility that if a god exists, a god of love as you describe, would create some who could not feel/sense/experience him like me, what is your thoughts on this?

Joe Hinman said…
What makes you think God has this love?

that is the Greek word used in NT whenever it speaks of God's love



If he did, then why does he not do good of others, for example cure cancers and stop murders?

everything good comes from God, Both the fact that good things happen and that we have the mentality to appreciate them as "good" set up by God to be part of the universe from teh beginning.


The evidence suggests indifference or apathy, rather than love.

disproved by soteriological drama you are too lazy to read it,iI linked you to it in the latest post on this blog,,




Joe Hinman said…
While you attribute our ability to love each other to God’s nature, I wonder how I can love without belief in such a being? My love is grounded in empathy, and compassion for my fellow man. The realization that we are all we have got, and that we affect each other, that we need each other…that we are better because of each other is all a part of social constructions that include love being an important factor to humans, with or without a god.

God gives us those gifts as free gifts and they re necessary to evaluate truth and seek Go anyway. The purpose of life is to seek God. God can only give us the clues we have to do the seeking.

you did not read the link in the essay and that is crucial to understanding all my answers



please read it
Joe Hinman said…
Holly Campbell said...
I have read your soteriological drama argument in the past, and I must say, I do like it. (it is better than most answers I have seen). If my reason for not believing in a god rested entirely on the PoE argument I am quite sure your argument would have won me over. (I have recommended it to others on multiple occasions.) The PoE however, is only one facet of the issue


you just got through indicating that you still use POE in your decision making you need to extract that, so that;s not a factor now,



The others being that I see no evidence of an interactive personal relationship kind of god. At some point for me, there was a realization that when I prayed…nothing was happening except that I was talking to myself.

that's like a snow ball it has to build because it's part of a relationship, you have to start with basics,are you even asking God to show you?


This scared me. It was a weird “ Emperor’s new Clothes” kind of moment. One in which I didn’t understand how everyone else made these claims of a “personal relationship” with god/jesus. One in which I even wondered if it was just me. If perhaps god made me unable to see /feel/experience him. If Calvinism could be true? If I could have been created as the chaff to the wheat? Was this a possibility?
Yes, I was willing to look at every angle, question everything and consider every possibility. (and remain so)

did you read stuff by other people about that did you study the bible for answers did you ask God to show it to you? what were you your expectations?

You next say that I cannot prove love is a human construct. This is true. No more than you can prove that it is not.

no that's not what i said,I said it is a human constrict, we think in constructs everything we think is a human construct that doesn't mean the constricts don't refer to reality. constructs are just thoughts.



As to your book, I suppose I shall have to eventually bite the bullet and buy it in order to read it.


I would send you a free copy but I can't get to them,


So the possibility that if a god exists, a god of love as you describe, would create some who could not feel/sense/experience him like me, what is your thoughts on this?

when I first began to consider the possibility of God being real I thought if he was he would never let me have such experiences, that;s what made it so neat when I did, the first step is to be open to God tehn start movimgin that direction.
Holly Campbell said…
Hey, Joe. Allow me to follow up on the PoE. (it had been awhile since i read it. So I reread it and found some notes on it)

Here is why it does not completely eradicate the issue:

Allow me to explain how it works (for me) a bit further:
The Soteriological Drama can work as a possible explanation for the PoE, but only when combined with some other theoretical possibilities. Such as reincarnation or multiverse, or holographic universe etc.

For the free will solution to work, we must factor in all the lives that are unequally effected by free will. To think that all this happens, (people suffering and giving up on live, and committing suicide because of to much pain and they can’t think straight, or people die in accidents and don’t get the chance to utilize free will, and children who die, who don’t make any free will choice, etc) for those who believe in free will and choose to use their suffering for good seems like a lot of wasted lives for the few who figure it out. Would a loving god be willing to sacrifice so many millions of lives, to help some of them…get free will?

If children and babies, and people who are mentally challenged, can go to heaven without free will choices, and suffering are their lives worse for it? Why did they not get a chance at free will too? Or is free will love only available to some?
Is this god of love fair also? Isn’t fairness an aspect of love?
So if we consider multiverses where every possible outcome is achieved, or reincarnation where multiple chances are given, until we “get it right” or a holographic universe in which we are put in these dramas to experience primarily free will and where suffering doesn’t actually affect others in the way we currently see things, etc. We see other possibilities to complete a system that could possibly explain why and how free will trumps pain and suffering with the entire outcome being LOVE.

However, these are all theories only. No conclusive evidence to warrant faith or belief. Only enough to say, it could be a possibility. So the PoE remains also…as a possibility, considering that the solution for it is merely a possibility.
A better solution to the PoE, is atheism. Without evidence of a god, atheism do not see a problem of evil. There is just nature, cause and effect.
Holly Campbell said…
JH: that's like a snow ball it has to build because it's part of a relationship, you have to start with basics,are you even asking God to show you?

Holly: In the past, yes. When I was still actively seeking, and hoping I was wrong. I prayed, fasted, meditated, read the bible, hoped and hoped… and cried. I thought perhaps I failed in faith…or that somehow I displeased him…Slowly I came to wonder if it was possible he created me NOT to know him. Who was I to question? But, after years of such I slowly began to let it go and finally come to a peace with accepting there were “no clothes to see”.

JH: did you read stuff by other people about that did you study the bible for answers did you ask God to show it to you? what were you your expectations?
Holly: oh, yes. Loads. Read the bible several times, went to church, served as organist, pianist and singer. Served in any way I could. Hoping against all hope that by acting, and following, and living the word, through obedience he would reveal himself to me. My pastor even said he wished those who believed without doubts (knowing my struggle) would willing to to give and serve half of what I was doing . My daily prayer was , “Help me with my unbelief!” I tried claiming Thomas’ prayer as my own. But even Thomas was given something when he asked…
I wanted to believe SO much. It was very difficult to let it all go. It was a long , slow process. But yes, I read the bible multiple times, read others stories, and listened to others.

JH: no that's not what i said,I said it is a human constrict, we think in constructs everything we think is a human construct that doesn't mean the constricts don't refer to reality. constructs are just thoughts.
Holly: I think I should have worded that differently. I agree with what you just said. What I meant to say was how do we know it is not something of human creation?
Joe Hinman said…
Hey Anne great to posting along with you again thanks for coming by
Joe Hinman said…
Holly Campbell said...
Hey, Joe. Allow me to follow up on the PoE. (it had been awhile since i read it. So I reread it and found some notes on it)

Here is why it does not completely eradicate the issue:

Allow me to explain how it works (for me) a bit further:
The Soteriological Drama can work as a possible explanation for the PoE, but only when combined with some other theoretical possibilities. Such as reincarnation or multiverse, or holographic universe etc.

I certainly don;t see that, it has nothing to do with those,

For the free will solution to work, we must factor in all the lives that are unequally effected by free will. To think that all this happens, (people suffering and giving up on live, and committing suicide because of to much pain and they can’t think straight, or people die in accidents and don’t get the chance to utilize free will, and children who die, who don’t make any free will choice, etc) for those who believe in free will and choose to use their suffering for good seems like a lot of wasted lives for the few who figure it out. Would a loving god be willing to sacrifice so many millions of lives, to help some of them…get free will?

you are making the fallacious assumptive that some people have free will and some don't since all do we are not affects by others will.

If children and babies, and people who are mentally challenged, can go to heaven without free will choices, and suffering are their lives worse for it? Why did they not get a chance at free will too? Or is free will love only available to some?
Is this god of love fair also? Isn’t fairness an aspect of love?

who says they don't? some people are not mature enough to ever be accountable for their actions, that's thee roll of the dice,they are not blamed for their inability. But that is not to amuse that most challenged people lack free will.The whole point of the essay was to show why God can't fix all the problems like this so you should know the answer if you read it.


So if we consider multiverses where every possible outcome is achieved, or reincarnation where multiple chances are given, until we “get it right” or a holographic universe in which we are put in these dramas to experience primarily free will and where suffering doesn’t actually affect others in the way we currently see things, etc. We see other possibilities to complete a system that could possibly explain why and how free will trumps pain and suffering with the entire outcome being LOVE.

who says we have to get it right? God does not hold people accountable for more than they can understand or cope with so that is humane and compassionate what's the problme?

However, these are all theories only. No conclusive evidence to warrant faith or belief. Only enough to say, it could be a possibility.

false I have way more evidence then I need to rationally believe. btw if you know atheists who will debate me send them over, I mean formal stricture like the one I am having on secular outpost,

So the PoE remains also…as a possibility, considering that the solution for it is merely a possibility.
A better solution to the PoE, is atheism. Without evidence of a god, atheism do not see a problem of evil. There is just nature, cause and effect.

It is a perinial issue

Joe Hinman said…
7/12/2017 03:46:00 PM Delete
Blogger Holly Campbell said...
JH: that's like a snow ball it has to build because it's part of a relationship, you have to start with basics,are you even asking God to show you?

Holly: In the past, yes. When I was still actively seeking, and hoping I was wrong. I prayed, fasted, meditated, read the bible, hoped and hoped… and cried. I thought perhaps I failed in faith…or that somehow I displeased him…Slowly I came to wonder if it was possible he created me NOT to know him. Who was I to question? But, after years of such I slowly began to let it go and finally come to a peace with accepting there were “no clothes to see”.

but you wont read my book

JH: did you read stuff by other people about that did you study the bible for answers did you ask God to show it to you? what were you your expectations?


Holly: oh, yes. Loads. Read the bible several times, went to church, served as organist, pianist and singer. Served in any way I could.

going to church was probably your problem, read some
Tillich and call me in the morning,




Hoping against all hope that by acting, and following, and living the word, through obedience he would reveal himself to me. My pastor even said he wished those who believed without doubts (knowing my struggle) would willing to to give and serve half of what I was doing . My daily prayer was , “Help me with my unbelief!” I tried claiming Thomas’ prayer as my own. But even Thomas was given something when he asked…


I wanted to believe SO much. It was very difficult to let it all go. It was a long , slow process. But yes, I read the bible multiple times, read others stories, and listened to others.

JH: no that's not what i said,I said it is a human constrict, we think in constructs everything we think is a human construct that doesn't mean the constricts don't refer to reality. constructs are just thoughts.


Holly: I think I should have worded that differently. I agree with what you just said. What I meant to say was how do we know it is not something of human creation?

first because religion is culturally bound not genetic,
if it is we have no evidence to that effect. Religious symbols are cultural are relative. yet mystical experience is universal and the experiences are the same,that indicates we experiencing a n objective reality,

I have eight tie breakers in the book that demonstrate mystical experience is not merely naturalistic, get teak book and read it,

22 studies from peer reviewed psychology journals



The Trace of God by Joseph Hinman

Holly Campbell said…
It's a logical issue regarding the PoE. Sure some people can't be held accountable for their lack of ability to choose. (which means they really don't have free will) And the level of free will afforded to all varies. (some of chemical unbalances, gene issues, etc). If a person with mental retardation dies and goes to heaven or a baby does, why is pain and suffering needed for anyone? couldn't we all just die and go to heaven without choice/free will too? If it is because to choose love is better, then why do some not get this betterness? unless god is not fair to all?

But I see you are not really interested in this type of discussion and prefer formal structure debaters. It's all good.


As too the "won't read my book" , I never said that. In fact I said I would have to buy it...which means I have to work it into the budget. I hope you understand that not all of us have money to spend on whatever we want whenever we want to. So please don't misunderstand my words when I said, I would have to buy it, I am hoping to in the future, as soon as I can. I am not saying "i won't read it".

Holly Campbell said…
Holly: I think I should have worded that differently. I agree with what you just said. What I meant to say was how do we know it is not something of human creation?

JH: first because religion is culturally bound not genetic,
if it is we have no evidence to that effect. Religious symbols are cultural are relative. yet mystical experience is universal and the experiences are the same,that indicates we experiencing a n objective reality,
I have eight tie breakers in the book that demonstrate mystical experience is not merely naturalistic, get teak book and read it,
22 studies from peer reviewed psychology journals

Holly: that is not proof that religion or love or any concept is not invented or originated by man and through man. Our ability to describe, define, and communicate what we experience is evident. Attributing them to something outside of human creation is an assumption. experiences being universal are also indicative that humans share similar abilities. Yes, yes, I am going to try to get your book as soon as I can. I suppose we shall be stalled on further discussion until that point as you prefer to refer to the book.

Joe Hinman said…
Holly: that is not proof that religion or love or any concept is not invented or originated by man and through man. Our ability to describe, define, and communicate what we experience is evident.

Yes it is, Being cultural means it's not genetic so it should not be universal,

Attributing them to something outside of human creation is an assumption.

No it's not, But you are not even listening to what I said. I said it;s cultural that means it is made up by humans, being made up by humans means it should not be universal because culture is not universal. The answer is they experiencing a reality that's objective and external. you don';t have any right to say the expertness are makeup- by man, because you have nothing to back it up


experiences being universal are also indicative that humans share similar abilities.

no its not, if that true all cultures would be the same all languages would e the same, also experiences are not made up, we are not talking about symbols or religious ideas. we are talking about feelings that are triggered by experiences.



Yes, yes, I am going to try to get your book as soon as I can. I suppose we shall be stalled on further discussion until that point as you prefer to refer to the book.

;-)
Anonymous said…
JH: I said it;s cultural that means it is made up by humans, being made up by humans means it should not be universal because culture is not universal.

It depends when it developed. If it appeared say 100,000 years ago, before mankind spread out of East Africa, then it would be universal, though it would develop in different directions - this is what we see with language afterall.

Burial rites started as earlier as 300,000 years ago, and perhaps even earlier, so this is entirely reasonable.

JH: we are not talking about symbols or religious ideas. we are talking about feelings that are triggered by experiences.

Or triggered by chemicals in the brain. Maybe the reason they are universal is that all humans have the same brain chemistry.

Pix
Joe Hinman said…
Anonymous said...
JH: I said it;s cultural that means it is made up by humans, being made up by humans means it should not be universal because culture is not universal.

It depends when it developed. If it appeared say 100,000 years ago, before mankind spread out of East Africa, then it would be universal, though it would develop in different directions - this is what we see with language afterall.

No you determine it's universality by how wide spread it is not when it appeared,

Burial rites started as earlier as 300,000 years ago, and perhaps even earlier, so this is entirely reasonable.

irrelevant

JH: we are not talking about symbols or religious ideas. we are talking about feelings that are triggered by experiences.

Or triggered by chemicals in the brain. Maybe the reason they are universal is that all humans have the same brain chemistry.

No they are not triggered by chemicals in the brain,when we speak of "niggards" in relation to this subject we not mean chemicals in the brain. that has a different terminology. there is no proof that genetic structure has anything to with mystical experience,
Anonymous said…
JH: No you determine it's universality by how wide spread it is not when it appeared,

Sure. But where it appeared is important when considering why it is universal. If it appeared before mankind spread out of East Africa, then the reason it is universal is that it became part of the culture back then, and spread as mankind spread.

So we have two competing hypotheses as to why religion is universal:

1. because there really is a god

2. because it was invented before mankind migrated across the world.

The fact that burial rites pre-date the spread of mankind indicates that religion probably pre-dates the spread of mankind across the global. That does not make the first hypothesis wrong, but it does mean that religion being universal is no assurance that the first hypothesis is true, that there really is a god.

JH: No they are not triggered by chemicals in the brain,when we speak of "niggards" in relation to this subject we not mean chemicals in the brain. that has a different terminology. there is no proof that genetic structure has anything to with mystical experience,

So cite a reference that states that these experiences are NOT due to chemicals in the brain. You have 200 of them, surely one...

Pix

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