Religion and Love
This article started with a simple question. Is love a religion? In mathematical terms, I am trying to equate love and religion. Therefore, I must define then attempt to quantify both. Then once having established love as a religion, i will try to establish the number of its followers.
Religion by various dictionary definitions means the following:
- Belief in supernatural beings (gods).
- A distinction between sacred and profane objects.
- Ritual acts focused on sacred objects.
- A moral code believed to be sanctioned by the gods.
- Characteristically religious feelings (awe, sense of mystery, sense of guilt, adoration), which tend to be aroused in the presence of sacred objects and during the practice of ritual, and which are connected in idea with the gods.
- Prayer and other forms of communication with gods.
- A worldview, or a general picture of the world as a whole and the place of the individual therein. This picture contains some specification of an over-all purpose or point of the world and an indication of how the individual fits into it.
- A more or less total organization of one's life based on the worldview.
- A social group bound together by the above.
- Love has its gods, usually a male and female. They rule and they judge – the Supreme Beings that exist undoubtedly. In this case, the Gods are more Greek-like, fallible and imperfect. It might be necessary at this point to define lightly on what constitutes as a god. God rewards, punish, set out codes of conduct, inspire awe, act as an object of worship, and an object of supreme regard. Indeed, the gods in the religion of love fit all these descriptions. You might argue god must be responsible for the creation of life, universe, omnipresence, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. For one, love is definitely and greatly responsible for the creation of human life if not all life. There are many other established gods recognized historically that is not responsible for the creation of universe. In fact, many religions doesn't even offer explanation of where the universe came from. Buddhism, a major world religion with 350 million followings, is just one of the examples. Rather, some religions act more like philosophy of life. This single point probably merits another post all by itself. Also, not all gods are omnipresence, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. Omnibenevolent is the easiest one to argue. If you won't take the pain and suffering in this world as a first hand example then I would recommend you look into Greek and Hindu religion to find evil gods. If fact, just looking at Greek gods you can find that they are not all wise, all together, or all powerful. This one single point probably merits another whole post or two just to sort out a general outline and lay down the most basic examples. We will stop here for now.
- While in love, some object are more sacred than others, examples includes pictures of relevant god and goddess, correspondence letters, relic seasonal offerings (past gifts), perfumes associated by gods or goddesses, and sometimes clothing.
- Some ritual acts associated with love focus on sacred objects might include prayer and meditation. One might also carry the sacred objects (picture) for good luck and for spreading the message (showing pictures to other people exclaiming how great he/she might be). At the very least, carrying the sacred picture is a way of proudly proclaiming your faith. Some more examples might include offerings on valentine's day, birthdays, major holidays, plus anniversaries. At later stage, some rituals include marriage ceremony, wearing a metallic ring for life, and sleeping in the same bed. Although rituals are not universal, we can certainly see the connection and agree that rituals do exists in love. In fact rituals in other religions are not performed universally either, followers sometimes pick and choose which ones to adhere. Examples from other religions include dietary restriction or going to church on Sunday. Not everyone follow all the rituals. The above listing is just a brief and general ritual from love.
- Moral code believed and sanctioned by the major branches of love includes some of the followings. Faithfulness, intimacy, passion, adequate communication, anticipation of god's and goddess' needs. Cheating is frowned upon by followers of love universally. Other offenses might include spending too little time worshiping, too little time communicating, lack of offering during major 'religious' holidays. More serious codes might include that child birth would be better when done under marriage with both couples present...although that code seems to be broken more often than not these days. Other more controversial codes involves genders of the couples, male male gods, female female goddess', and male female goddess ideology is responsible for many branching of the religion of love.
- Love inspires awe, sense of mystery, adoration, guilt...just take it word for word, it fits.
- Prayer and communication is very very important in the religion of love. In fact, without a standard sacred writing oral instruction is what spread the religion since the beginning of human history. The lack of standard sacred writing does not mean the lack of writing. In fact, love is a factor and subject in most non-scientific research article and sometimes even in some. Studies on chocolate, hormones, color associations, facial reorganizations, are some of the interesting scientific research done on love. In fact, the lack of communication is usually the first sign of losing faith in the religion of love.
- Does love provide a general worldview? I think it does. It preaches how people should behave. In fact, other religions often use love as one of its tool. "Love one another" is a common saying and an encouraged worldview. "Love makes the world go around". "All is fair in love and war". The list goes on and on and on.
- A more or less total organization of one's life is resulted from love every hour. People move their living locations for love. People changes job for love. People give up food, air, money, physical comfort for love. People die for love. People change their belief systems for love. I think "total organization" is a slight understatement.
- A social group bound by love. Family for one. Couples for another. Love of the country. Love of the justice. The saying even goes, "love binds us together and make us stronger".
Now a very very modest estimate of 50% of people gets marry (i can't find a stastic on it). That would put 3 billion people as baptised follower of Love walking around earth. The second largest religion would be christianity at 2 billion.
Now you might argue, then divorce would constitue as giving up your faith in love, then those numbers must be subtracted. I argue that love is a polytheistic religion. There are multiple gods. Just because you give up faith on one doesn't mean that you stop loving period. It is very similar to asian religious philosphy like hindu. You may choose to ignore or disbelieve one of the many god or goddess and still be a practioner of that faiths..
Another problem that may be raised is the issue of monothestic religion co-existing with polythestic religion. How can a religion that claim to only have one (or 3, if you think trinity) god co-exist with a religion like love which allows multiple gods? Now let me explain the logic. The key issue here is how all the monothestic religion defines god. The way monothestic religion define god is different from the general defination of god. Monothestic Gods are generalily flawless, all powerful...basically omnipresence, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. The reason being there is only one god, so he have to do all the work and be that much more powerful. Yet, I have already stated not all god must necessary be that (think Greek gods). Therefore, there is no conflict of ideology, because the gods and goddess of Love are not omnipresence, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent so they do not fit the defination of monothestic religion. Therefore they can co-exist with monothestic religion.
You see how this works? In fact, monothestic religion not only not recognize the gods and goddesss of Love, they don't even recognize any other religion's supreme being. However, there are now branches of Christianity and people who claim to be christian who adhere to polythestic belief. In fact, if you claim science as a religion, that number is even greater. There are now debates on whether science is a religion and frankly looking at the way people trying to fight the theory of evolution with theory of intelligent design it would seem at least some of the religous people are equating them as equal. So that would mean, if they are right, science is religion and religion is science and they should be taught side by side. This could be another post all by itself.
If you can point out anything that needs clarifation or just tell me why this line of thought is flawed, I would be glad to listen. If nothing else, it is an interesting line of thinking and deserves some further research on my part.
since it is such a long post i am going to recap.
1. I defined religion by dictionary definations.
2. I equated love with religion, checked them point by point to validate love as religion.
3. I estimated conservatively 50% of people on earth gets marry which puts Love with a modest following at 3 billion. Second largest following of religion is Christanity and came in at 2 billion.
By step 1,2, and 3 i hope i have established how "Love is the most widely followed religion on Earth." Now feel free to flame away, pick at the holes, comment, let me know if you agree or disagree.