Joseph Campbell is one of the most erudite and learned modern philosophers. I found this full length interview/show he did which covers love. I’ve been reading Richard Dawkins and recently watched a Daily Show interview with Sam Harris, both noted atheists. They much favor science over religion and posit the former as able to explain everything. For Campbell, however, the wonder of the Big Bang and the virgin birth are not far apart. I think this is correct in that any science which doesn’t include cultural and spiritual environment isn’t really describing lived reality. For all that some atheists say that science explains everything, that’s not really the need that religion serves. The explanation is almost coincidental. What Campbell actually says is that religions seek to address suffering and prescribe a way out. They are not so much literally explaining the world as promoting understanding through metaphor and belief.
In this video Campbell is talking about love, and the goddess. Specifically, he is talking about modern romantic love as a communion between two souls, not two bodies as in erotic love or two families as in arranged (historical normal) marriage. He discusses where this love is situated in terms of chakras (at the heart) and even how religious love can be romantic – how Satan (the fallen angel) is essentially the spurned lover of God, spurned because he would not bow to man. In the wrong hands these myths and stories can spin all kinds of bullshit, but it remains that similar themes and stories recur throughout history and across cultures.
None of this, of course, flies planes, but this religious and spiritual information can be priceless for regulating the internal lives of human beings, namely suffering. It is also quite interesting to watch and read.