Passing Thoughts Of A MadPriest

My guess is that all of the big arguments among Christians, in the past and still today, and all of the bloodshed and pain and exclusion that has accompanied these arguments, are down to "believers" defining and attempting "faith" as an intellectual pursuit when, in reality, it should be an emotional one.


Passing Thoughts Of A MadPriest — 10 Comments

  1. And in the process of defining that “belief”, they have deliberately mistranslated the Bible so as to align often-conflicting verses with their view of the Bible’s inerrancy. The result is that people who use the NIV version of the Bible can never be sure that what they are reading is the same, or in some cases, even close to what the original Hebrew or Greek said.

  2. …or a behavioral one, as in the “leap” of faith. Faith as action (inc the action of worship, ala “lex orandi, lex credendi”). Just Do It (somebody said somewhere).

  3. I think that is not quite right.

    My reasoning is that faith based on “emotion” produces kooky charismatic nutcases. The fact is that neither intellect nor emotion is the agent for true faith—it is the intuition: the indefinable, un-feelable, inexplicable “sense” of what is true. Both intellect and emotion have their places and their roles to play in Christian life, but neither of them will provide the soul-deep reality of the intuition. (And that is why so many of the great mystics were contemplatives!)

  4. I’m with JCF – I don’t think either the intellect or the emotions are adequate. Jesus defines faith quite clearly in Matthew 7 as ‘doing the will of my Father in heaven’. Imperfectly, of course, but the attempt is what’s necessary. Or, as John has him saying, ‘If you love me, keep my commandments’. Paul’s ‘faith working through love’ is another way of saying the same thing (remembering that in the Bible love isn’t about emotion; it’s about washing stinky feet).

    Some of us are persuaded of this by intellectual argument, some of us are motivated by emotional appeal, depending on our temperament. But in the end, both the intellect and the emotions are only the beginning of the journey.

    • I have often been struck by how little Jesus has to say about dogma (which is what I am really referring to when I mention the intellect) and how much he has to say about what our emotional and practical response to a loving God should be.

  5. I wonder what Jesus would have seen as his major doctrinal disagreements with the mainstream Judaisms of his day? Not too many, I would think.

    • I think Jesus was from the prophetic tradition rather than the priestly tradition and his disagreements with mainstream Judaism would have been about the type of thanksgiving that is pleasing to God.

  6. Interesting thread, well done MP. My take is that we’re designed with different personalities and nobody is good at everything – the feeling, the doing, the thinking, etc. However a healthy community can sustain an adequate mix. Ultimately, the doing has to make sense as the right thing to do, and nothing would be right or wrong if we didn’t have feelings. It isn’t necessary for each individual to tick all the boxes, so long as the community can. So the community can distinguish between spiritually healthy and unhealthy emotions, sensitive & insensitive logic, etc.