John Branyan wrote a delightful post that seems like good fodder for discussion called, “I feel My Feelings are Rational”
Here’s the comment I left Him:
“Appreciate this, helps to clarify somethings. Feelings are clearly not a good standard on which to base morality. However, reason and logic are not either because we can rational-lies anything. That leaves us in a rather tenuous position of having to rely upon God rather than our own thoughts and feelings. It’s only tenuous on our end because it requires a leap of faith. God of course is reliable, real, and there to catch us.
Also, He will help you understand it, both emotionally and intellectually, but only if we let go of a bit of pride and stop trying to lean into our own understanding. Most atheists (and a few Christians too,) are all about trying to put all of their faith in their own capacity for reason and logic or weigh things exclusively by how they feel. Both approaches miss the boat, because our faith needs to be in the Lord and not in our own abilities.”
I’ve long struggled with this issue because by nature I am emotional, spiritually intuitive, all about the feelings. However, I am reason based too, practical, logical, and I think you can find clear evidence of that in my life. Chuckling here but you know what that “rational” part is? That’s usually the Holy Spirit leading and guiding me. Sometimes He feels really counter intuitive and irrational, but He is always right on target.
One reason why I sometimes have a disconnect with some approaches to classical theology, even with some other Christians, is because while our feelings can be all over the place, so can our own capacity for reason and logic. Leaning into our own understanding can leave us just as confused and lost as trusting our feelings and following our heart.
It is not about which tools you are using to perceive reality, it is about Who is driving the ship.
So both my mother and father were highly educated, very science minded, logical people, but they were also devout atheists, somewhat devoid of emotion, empathy, and feelings. Without even realizing it they totally lived, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick, who can understand it?” Apparently they missed the other part about how, that doesn’t necessarily now mean we should put all our faith, trust, and hope, in the human capacity for reason. In fact, to put all your faith in the misfirings of a random bit of biological goo that sprung forth from nothingness and to trust in its ability to perceive the world accurately, isn’t even rational.
For all I know you just evolved with some kind of regressive gene that makes your meaningless forays into intellectualism, pleasurable to you on an emotional level. You might just get a payoff, an emotional bliss hit from rationalizing away the existence of God. Regardless, a clump of pointless cells can not be trusted to perceive the truth accurately, especially when they sure appear to me to completely lack any self-awareness of their own behavior.
I love my parents now, my father has since passed away, so in all honesty, I don’t write these things to pick on them or to criticize. They actually taught me to think critically and they left me with a rich legacy. Did I mention the Holy Spirit? Well, it did take a Divine act of will to heal those relationships, to repair the years of dysfunction, to rewrite the whole story. I did not just spring forth magically from a garden of roses. It was more like a tangled mess of brambles and thorns.
Somewhat funny, I remember an old statue, “I think therefore I am.” But God actually says, I am, therefore you think. Tell them the The Great I am sent you. Love that.
So I’m curious about what people think and feel about faith and….. thinking and feeling? Lay it on me, spill the beans, tell the tale. I welcome your comments.