Tonight is about love.

Every month in house in Laguna Beach I sit down with a group of atheist friends. Fifth straight year. We read a book for a few weeks. Then we discuss it.

These men are sophisticated. Monied. Some professors. All gentlemen. All very liberal. And they don’t like religion. But they have that capacity to listen and accept me for who I am.

 Is it weird that atheist liberals would be better at listening and accepting than many religious conservatives?

Deep down, I feel that some of these men struggle so deeply with my faith. It’s nonsensical to them. I never ever bring up God or Christianity. Not there to evangelize no one. But God usually comes up anyway. Because how can thoughtful people get together and talk of the deepest matters of life, and have the issue of God NOT come up?

Tonight we will discuss love. Alain De Botton’s The Course Of Love. De Botton is an atheist. Yet he writes about love.

And I will find myself wondering how one who will only affirm that which science can empirically prove (verification of what can be seen) can conclude the existence of love. Because love is the INVISIBLE force, not reducible to what the microscope can tell us.

And atheists usually don’t believe in invisible things — not God, spirits, not souls.

Love is part of a different realm of truth.

 Science and social science can tell us lots of vital things.

But they can’t define love.

But I’m not even sure that religion can say much about love.

I once thought that Christians had the corner on love. But as I get older, it’s clear to me that they don’t.

 Two of the men in our group were recently married. Watching their love for each other is beautiful to watch.

 I do think the Greeks did a service in creating the categories: familial or affectionate love (storge); friendship (philia); romantic love (eros); and spiritual love (agape).

I don’t think I know much about love, so I’m looking forward to learning more about it tonight.