Love's in Need of Love
I started a new book today, Religion for Atheists, by Alain de Botton. Now, I am not anatheist, but I learn more about the God of my understanding from lots of sources and faith traditions, so I figured that atheism might have something to teach me as well.
Mr. de Botton’s premise is that, while he cannot bring himself to believe the far-fetched-sounding occurrences upon which religions are based, he cannot deny the good that is accomplished by the practice of those religions. In fact, he believes that the world would be a much better place if we all behaved a bit more like believers and a bit less like, well, atheists. And, the tenet that has been the most powerful force of good – one shared by so many religions – is unconditional love.
One of the way-stations on my ongoing spiritual adventure was several years of attending a Unitarian Universalist congregation. Among other things, I was drawn there by my sense that what mattered most for UU’s was not what an individual specifically believed, but the way in which he or she lived out those beliefs. Perhaps therein lies a significant challenge for atheists and secularists – how does one live a moral life in the absence of a moral code to follow and/or a God from whom to draw strength in the face of life’s challenges?
Where am I going with this, you ask (I’m asking myself the same thing.)?
When I returned to college not so long ago, I wrote a paper on morality and, as I learned in the process, the extent to which it is not taught in our institutions of learning today. I discovered that we have removed religion from our education system and have not replaced it with any other code of ethics or morals. Is this the malaise that prompted Mr. de Botton to write his book or me to write this Daily Cup?
I don’t know the answer to the first half of that question, but I do hear a call to action. We have an endless supply of God’s love to spread in a world that needs it, now, more than ever. One of my musical idols, Stevie Wonder, says it well – “Love’s in Need of Love Today.”