The MU SASHA Blog

The official blog of University of Missouri Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists, & Agnostics

The True Love’s Kiss Series: Ménage à trois with Mr. Invisible

Hey all! It’s been a while since I’ve gotten around to making you smile, so let’s hope I can make up for it here.

Shit’s about to get real here for a hot second, so hold on to your fannies. I recently got out of a three year relationship with the person I thought I’d spend my life with. It wasn’t a bad or messy breakup, and we’re still good friends after growing in different directions, but it got me thinking about what love is and what it means. Instead of writing sappy poems or drawing broken hearts, I decided to get cathartic in a constructive and intellectual way: thus, the True Love’s Kiss series, where I’ll explore the idea of love in a historical sense, how religions use it, and maybe even the science behind it if you’re very lucky.

I wanted to start off the series with this atheist’s perspective on love, or “The One,” or whatever particular term you fancy. There are few things in life I enjoy more than having that one person I feel incredibly in sync with and can count on to be there, the individual I devote significant time and energy to just because I want to. As we’ll get to in later posts, there’s a really cool evolutionary reason for that; I won’t go into detail here, but the point is that most normal, healthy human beings are capable of falling in love.

So what is it about religion that makes love so damn complicated?

Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

Well, I’d prefer not to, but it doesn’t sound like God is a requirement so much as a shortcut…

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

1 John 4:7

Ah, never mind.

And here we see the conundrum. I focus on Christians in particular because of their overwhelming majority in America, but in other religions we see the same idea: you don’t get to have the whole true love deal without God. We’re missing out, folks.

This is a problem for me. With relationships, romantic and platonic alike, playing such a huge role in my life, it kind of stresses me out to know that maybe half the country is considering me to be shooting for the moon and landing among the stars. This stems partially, of course, from a personal sense of desiring legitimacy, but mostly because I worry how social definitions shape lives on a broader scale.

Tending to believe that a true, full experience of love is impossible without also loving God is not a far step away from believing that those without God’s love shouldn’t and can’t have meaningful relationships. And we all know that when Christians in this country decide somebody shouldn’t be doing something, it can be like pulling teeth if you dare to challenge that judgment in a legal sense.

This doesn’t just affect us atheists who may want to be married someday, despite some Christians’ unfortunately ill-informed ideas on the matter. This has an impact on anybody whose morals and emotions don’t line up with those arbitrarily defined by modern Bible interpretations. And why? Because some ass-hats worry that our country’s moral fabric will unravel if God isn’t in our bedrooms?

For me, love is caring, it’s happiness. It’s laughing and crying and hugging and dancing, wanting to share the good and the bad because that bond is so strong. Maybe for you, it’s the can’t-eat, can’t-sleep, reach-for-the-stars, over-the-fence, World series kind of stuff. In any case, I don’t see God lurking around in my understanding of love, and that’s how I want it to stay.

And that’s really why I wanted to write this series. It’s important to me that safe, healthy, consensual love of all kinds is acknowledged and respected, and the only way to ensure that is to speak out about it. I don’t believe the person I’ll eventually settle down with was made for me by God, but that doesn’t mean I’ll feel any less love or devotion for them. There isn’t “The One” person out there, waiting for me to find them, but rather hundreds of tremendously compatible options (many of which I’ll probably explore).

In fact, Future Partner, I think it makes you pretty damn special; it wasn’t destiny or fate or God’s will that brought us together, but we chose each other out of 7 billion other people in the world. And anybody who turns their nose up at us because we don’t have a ménage à trois with Mr. Invisible can go have a circle jerk in church.

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About khuddlestonsmith

I'm a Mizzou student majoring in Biology and Psychology, minoring in Anthropology, and earning an Honors College degree.

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This entry was posted on June 9, 2013 by in Author: Katie Huddlestonsmith and tagged , , , .
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