We all know the saying, "Love can change the world." When science looks at love, it considers cosmology, sociobiology, evolutionary psychology, neurology, sex and romance, and the role of emotions as each relates to love. It also explores religious, ethical, and philosophical issues, such as virtue, creation ex nihilo, progress, divine action, agape, values, religious practices, pacifism, sexuality, friendship, freedom, and marriage. All affect the ways in which people understand each other and interact with one another. In this book, Oord explores these varied dimensions of love, illuminating the
love-science symbiosis for both scholars and general readers.
His definition of love is "to act intentionally, in sympathetic response to others (including God), to promote overall well-being. Love acts are influenced by previous actions and executed in the hope of attaining a high degree of good for all." He begins his study with an exploration of the role love plays in all major world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. He explains how divine love in action can be viewed as consonant with the big bang theory and the continual creation of the universe.
He looks at pacifism and concludes that nonviolence is not always the most loving thing (sometimes violence must be used to rescue victims or prevent holocausts). He explores the animal kingdom to see how creatures work together with the Creator to make the world a better place. And he analyzes the fundamentals of love, the basic characteristics of existence that must be present for love to be expressed. He concludes with the important argument that progress can best be made when religion and science work together to both understand and promote love.
Table of Contents
Preface / ix
1. Love in Any Language / 1
2. Love Makes the Cosmos Go ’Round / 13
3. Love on the (Triune) Brain / 23
4. The Altruism of Terrorism, the Egoism of War / 35
Thomas Oord, professor of theology and philosophy at Northwest Nazarene University (Nampa, Idaho), accomplishes principally two things in this brief but important book. First, he summarizes a variety of studies and theories, from antiquity to the present, concerning the nature and sources of love. Second, he develops his own ideas in critical and sympathetic response to the views that he discusses.
In his newly published book The Science of Love, Oord explores the connection between science and love to see how each contributes to the way we view ourselves and our world. According to Oord, love is something tangible, but it is more than a gift of flowers or the locked lips of a kiss.
Unlike many people who have only thought of love in terms of espousing their fondness for inanimate objects or searching for a partner, after writing several books and teaching numerous courses on the subject, Oord lays out what are for him scientific and religious certainties about love in the book.
Scientific and Medical Network, The—Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
The author's own definition of love runs through the book: to love is to act intentionally, in sympathetic resonance to others (including God) to promote overall well-being. Love acts are influenced by previous actions and executed in the hope of attaining a high degree of goof for all. Themes include the role of love in major religions, divine love in action, war and nonviolence, the science of sex and love, and the position of animals in the scheme of things. His chapter on the fundamentals of love contains a useful analysis that feeds into his final reflections arguing that love can make progress in a number of ways to which we ourselves can contribute.