This relationship survey is a snapshot of our present lost U.S. culture. It's both a reality check and a good segue. The question of love without truth knocks at the door of society and involves more than just romantic and physical relationships, but also relationships in general.
The 2017 annual Singles in America poll from the Match website, apparently the nation's largest and "most comprehensive" annual survey of single people living in the US, offers that 70% of U.S. singles approve of consensual polyamorous relationships, that is, sexual and emotional relationships with more than one partner at a time, while a cracked cell phone screen is considered a major social faux pas. It contrasts the approval of a sexual threesome with the fact that Millennials are the least likely to cheat on a partner.
This sex and love poll highlights a trend of relativistic hedonism that is not grounded in any logical framework, but there is hope when we consider the power of love and truth working together as a healthy alternative. And as we sift through some contrasting thoughts from key examples in this area, there is some metaphysical gold worth holding onto.
A Google search explodes with phrases about love without truth: "Love without truth is sentimentality, love without truth is blind, love without truth is hypocrisy, love without truth is enabling, love without truth is too soft, love without truth is heresy, love without truth is..." And Ammon Hennacy has offered some good insights into love and truth, showing that love and truth should be viewed as interconnected with wisdom and courage:
“Love without courage and wisdom is sentimentality, as with the ordinary church member. Courage without love and wisdom is foolhardiness, as with the ordinary soldier. Wisdom without love and courage is cowardice, as with the ordinary intellectual. But the one who has love, courage and wisdom moves the world.”
Ammon Hennacy showed that authentic love requires not just truth, but also wisdom and courage.
Wisdom is great, sure, but what is it actually based on?
As good as Hennacy's quote on love and wisdom is, the basis of his "wisdom" does not seem fully explored in his writings and in his life. While he seemed to be a sincere, open-minded thinker, he apparently did not come to grasp how love and truth reconcile at the deepest level in Christ. And this is a problem that we see with a lot of moral theorists. Hennacy seemed to follow the teachings and practises of Mahatma Gandhi more than those of Christ, while Gandhi had claimed that he followed Christ and followed Christ more genuinely than most Christians, with his political passive resistance. Jesus did describe the basis of objective reality, and I'll get to that shortly. But first, another example.
Compared to Hennacy's deeper understanding, Ayn Rand completely failed to reconcile love and truth. Rand to this day is highly respected as a pioneer of independent thought, but her ideas generally have not stood the test of time. Her "virtue of selfishness" ideology is considered one of her weakest premises: "No matter what corruption they're taught about the virtue of selflessness, sex is the most profoundly selfish of all acts, an act which they cannot perform for any motive but their own enjoyment - just try to think of performing it in a spirit of selfless charity!" Contrary to Rand's claim, it is in fact possible and healthy to enjoy sex by helping a partner enjoy it as well. Rand's extra-marital lover, Nathaniel Branden, later underscored that Rand's self-centered, hedonistic, "virtue of selfishness" is really no virtue at all, but actually reveals the importance of selflessness and kindness in relationships.
Ayn Rand embraced with Nathaniel Brandem a threesome open-sexual marriage agreement that ended up hurting Ayn emotionally. And with her two-pack-a-day cigarette habit and cancer, Rand refuted her own claim that smoking is a moral virtue. Rand's novel, "The Fountainhead" glorifies and romanticizes violent sexual date rape, as outlined at this link. She opposed mercy and kindness as immoral, and this highlighted her radically off-kilter ethics. But, unfortunately, some of her faulty premises are alive and well today.
In terms of sexual ethics, on the one hand Rand offered a view that moral principles should be firm and fixed, saying, “There can be no compromise on moral principles.” But on the other hand, the basis of her morals was merely subjective feelings: "But, in fact, a person's sexual choice is the result and sum of their fundamental convictions." In essence, Rand offers that moral principles should be resolute, but that they are based completely on you own personal and subjective feelings and convictions. Of course, subjective feelings are not an objective basis of morality, and Rand failed to logically reconcile fixed morality with individuality, and at best her life helps others to understand how not to live.
Ayn Rand's life was an object lesson, with no reconciliation of love and truth.
Rand's Objectivism is based on a dichotomy between the objective and the subjective, with a primary idea is that a mind cannot alter raw material reality, and therefore material objective reality holds metaphysical primacy over subjective experiences. While this may serve comparisons on a humanistic level, it fails as a solid basis of proving secular atheism. God in the Judeo-Christian explanation is a essentially a mind (subjective), but a mind that is eternally existent (objective). Because God theoretically cannot will himself in and out of existence, it is obvious that God's existence is both an (objective) eternal reality, and a personal mind (subjective) in accordance with Theist claims. For these reasons, Randian objectivists fail in defining Theism as a "subjective primacy of existence" as a means of trying to refute it. Both the subjective and objective are prime reality in Theism. In this sense, the apparent dichotomy between the subjective and objective is reconciled in God. And because God's nature is that of love, and God's eternal existence corresponds with the truth of God's existence, then love and truth are also logically reconciled.
In God, the subjective and objective are perfectly reconciled, along with love and truth.
Rand attempted to define God out of existence with her private definitions: "Everything which exists is finite, including the universe." Though Ayn Rand understood the importance of critical thinking, her apparent animosity against Theism did not allow her to approach this subject without a preconceived bias. Nevertheless, some good has come out of her errors. Edward S. Little II, for example, describes in his article, "Ayn Rand Led Me to Christ," how he went from being an agnostic to a Christian through reading Rand's works. Ayn Rand ironically employed the phrase "metaphysical primacy" to try to support her claims, when she did not actually believe in "metaphysics" as a materialist atheist.
Problems with Rand's philosophy are similar to those with Logical Positivism, a philosophy which proposes that only verifiable observable phenomena should be considered as a basis of truth. In positivism, the alleged-most-critical "principle of verification" cannot be used to test the theory itself, which is abstract and is not an observable phenomenon, so positivism is self-defeating. Therefore, observation cannot be considered as the primary element sufficient to support a valid philosophy. To merely offer claims that, "metaphysics is meaningless" or "philosophy is useless" or "science can explain everything" is simply to make bald assertions. Not good enough. The New World Encyclopedia summarizes, "Today, among most philosophers, positivism is dead..." If God exists, then God's eternal existence is the ultimate objective reality. No one has ever proved that God's existence is logically impossible, but many have shown that God's existence is logically preferable, such as William Lane Craig, perhaps the greatest debater of our time.
If you place too much importance in logic alone, you can run up against other problems. Quantum physics diffuses identity distinctions between physical matter and energy, and the law of identity becomes challenging at a subatomic level, as it is difficult to prove or verify identity and location based on mere observation. The MIT Technology Review summarized how there appears to be an underlying order supporting the material universe that science cannot quite explain: “it is not the laws of physics that determine how information behaves in our Universe, but the other way round.” - as elaborated on at this link. The implications of these types of phenomena and the failure of atheists to offer cohesive logical explanations to divergent aspects of reality all lead us to consider the greater explanatory power of a transcendent and metaphysical reality. Occam's razor leads us to the maxim: "Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity" - and for all intents and purposes, the God hypothesesis is the most elegant and logically cohesive explanation.
Faith in some degree is unavoidable, but this does not mean that it is illogical. The fact that we all generally hold to a strong sense of purposeful meaning and moral value implies that there is an common objective basis of purposeful meaning and moral value, something that Ayn Rand and many individualist atheists have staunchly denied with words, but could not deny with their actual lives. Jesus offered that the spiritual principles and truths outlined in scripture can be verified by simply practicing them.
Living an authentic life based on foundational spiritual truth confirms the reality of that truth.
This parable of the house built on a solid foundation is a good one because we don't actually see the foundation of reality, even with our most advanced scientific resources and observational tools, and yet all the evidence implies that the foundation is more substantive than the physical world we see with our eyes. The key to understanding the basis of this reality is to consider that it is based on the person of God and the spiritual relationship that we can enter into with God, and that this is most significant. I don't get the sense in reading about Ammon Hennacy that he understood the profound simplicity and necessity of our foundation in relationship with Jesus Christ as a personal Savior and Lord, though he was definitely on the right track in seeking to relate wisdom, truth, love and courage. The primary command of Christ is simply to receive Him and this is the essence of being "born again" - as Christ described as necessary (John 3:3). If the ultimate and commensurate love is found in the love of Christ, and the ultimate necessary truth is found in knowing Christ, then living a life of love and truth can ultimately only be found in Christ.
Christ's life and teachings exemplify the practical cohesion of love and truth.
The Apostle Paul emphasized that there is no other foundation but Christ ( 1 Corinthians 3:11) and that this is available through free grace and by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). The ultimate love and truth, the ultimate life and foundation of life, are both found in Christ. We see it here: "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1.14 NIV). And we see it here: "Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."" (John 14.6 NIV).
The "rock" solid foundation is not being joined to an organization, or even being baptized, it is being joined with Christ in person. This is the essence of the gospel message. Christ is the prime example of our objective moral basis in God's eternal unchanging nature, and he also exemplifies our heroic destiny. Any other foundation that this is metaphysical sand.
Love without truth is like a house without a foundation. If you haven't already, I pray that you receive this truth with a sense of love, by the power of the Holy Spirit, because ultimately love without the truth of Christ leads to eternal death and not eternal life. And any other foundation is merely metaphysical sand.
In personal relationship with Christ, we experience the ultimate objective reality of God.
Posted by Rick Warden
Relationship survey source at this link.
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