Can True Love Be Rational?

The Rationalization of Adam and Eve
By J. Michael Sharman
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Valentine's Day is a good day to consider the question, "Can true love be rational?"
The first couple that tried to make love a rational exercise was Adam and Eve. We all know how badly that turned out.
Eve was aware of God's command not to eat from the tree in the middle of the garden, but after listening to the serpent, Eve considered whether, as a practical matter, defying God would be beneficial to her. She thought she had the necessary facts to make the decision to defy God, and based upon those facts, she made a rational decision to eat from the tree.
In a caring way, Eve offered to share the fruit with Adam, and advised him of the facts she had learned about the fruit: it was good to look at and it was good to taste. God had specifically told him not to eat that fruit, yet Adam made the apparently reasonable decision to accept his wife's offer rather than obey God. Nobody had ever disobeyed God before and so Adam had never seen the consequences of disobeying Him. On the facts as he knew them, Adam decided he would rather please Eve than obey God.
With their first bite of the apple, the serpent's curse that they would know good and evil became true. They noticed for the first time that they were naked and they now thought that what God had created was evil. They were ashamed and they hid themselves from each other and from God.
Their solid reasoning, based upon the best facts available to them at the time, had taken them from the peaceful existence of the Garden to a difficult life filled with self-hatred, secrets, and isolation.
Adam and Eve had both in their own ways decided that their own reasoning and their own limited store of facts would result in a more loving decision than God's illogical and uncomfortable command to not eat the good-looking and good-tasting fruit. Looking back, their idea of love was reasonable, rational, but ultimately, totally destructive to them and their children.
Thousands of years later, even though we've read the Book and know the ending, we still keep falling into the same trap of trying to think our way past God's directions for true love.
Upon our review of the facts, when we are very attracted to someone, we often think we can find true love with sex outside of marriage, as long as we keep it "safe".
But it isn't safe. Seventy-five percent of sexually active Americans have been infected with Human Papilloma Virus[1] (HPV) which is the primary cause of 99 percent of cervical cancers[2]. Condoms don't protect against HPV.[3] Condoms also don't protect against unplanned pregnancies. The World Health Organization says the use of condoms results in a pregnancy rate of 10-14%.[4]
When our best plans for sex safety fail, we rationalize that because of the problems a baby would create, it would be true love to have an abortion. But even though that may seem to be the logical, safe decision in the crisis of the pregnancy, it is a false refuge. For women who abort, deaths from suicide are 307% higher in the year following their abortion than for women who miscarried, gave birth, or didn't become pregnant, according to a 13-year study of the entire population of women in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Finland.[5] We don't know for sure, but we can guess that the statistics would be similar in the U.S.
Our idea of true love may be that we are attracted to a person of our own gender, and we decide that our emotions and our attractions know better than God what is good for us. Adam and Eve were not smarter than God, and neither are Bruce and Steve. The American College of Pediatricians cites four different studies for its startling statement that: "Violence among homosexual partners is two to three times more common than among married heterosexual couples."[6]
True love is essentially irrational. God exhibited true, irrational, love when He created us and later came to earth as Jesus, suffered on the Cross for us, and then went to make a place for us to be with Him in Heaven. The least we can do for the folks we say we love is to follow God's directions on how best we might love one another.
It may not appear to make sense at the moment, but anything else is guaranteed to result in a disaster.

[1] Koutsky LA, Kiviat NB. Genital human papillomavirus. In: Holmes KK, Mardh PA, Sparling PF, et al., eds. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill, Co; 1999:347-359.

[2] Walboomers JM, Jacobs MV, Manos MM, et al. Human papillomavirus is a necessary cause of invasive cervical cancer worldwide. J Pathol. 1999;189:12-19.

[3] Division of STD Prevention. Prevention of genital HPV infection and sequelae: Report of an external consultants' meeting. Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, December 1999.

[4] "Effectiveness of male latex condoms in protecting against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections",  Fact sheet No. 243, June 2000,

[5] Gissler, Hemminki, Lonnqvist, "Suicides after pregnancy in Finland, 1987-94: register linkage study" European Journal of Public Health,


[6] "Homosexual Parenting: Is It Time For Change?"  American College of Pediatricians,, citing: Gwat Yong Lie and Sabrina Gentlewarrier, "Intimate Violence in Lesbian Relationships: Discussion of Survey Findings and Practice Implications," Journal of Social Service Research 15 (1991): 41-59; D. Island and P. Letellier, Men Who Beat the Men Who Love Them: Battered Gay Men and Domestic Violence (New York: Haworth Press, 1991), p. 14; Lettie L. Lockhart et al., "Letting out the Secret: Violence in Lesbian Relationships," Journal of Interpersonal Violence 9 (1994): 469-492; "Violence Between Intimates," Bureau of Justice Statistics Selected Findings, November 1994, p. 2; Health Implications Associated With Homosexuality (Austin: The Medical Institute for Sexual Health, 1999), p. 79.

See also, Greenwood, Gregory L, PhD, MPH (et. al.), "Battering Victimization Among a Probability-Based Sample of Men Who Have Sex With Men," American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 92 , No. 12 , December 2002.


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