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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.

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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

5. Why Can’t We Be Friends? / 47

6. The Fundamentals of Love / 57

7. The Science of Sex and Love / 69

8. Can Love Make Progress? / 79

Notes / 91

Recommended Reading / 103

Index / 113

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