Faith and Emotions—Friends or Foes?
“James Abraham Garfield, our 20th president is credited with having said: “The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.” I (I/we will interchange singular and plural from here on.) think it is fair to say that the beauty of this is that we each set our own level of misery, thus we each have control over the same. Why? Because we each can and in reality do decide which has a higher priority, that of being “right” or that of being correct, and we each determine the precise emotional costs involved in this transition.
“Thus I might add, that an inverse relationship exists between the avoidance of misery and the acquisition of truth; and a direct relationship exists between the acquisition of truth and the acquisition of freedom. So decisions must be made regarding priorities; feeling good about ourselves; or knowing the truth and being set or made free. Again we ourselves individually determine the cost...”1 [Excerpt from the Preface of “MeekRaker Beginnings…”]
Here the emotions involved are those associated with the realization that the “truth” one believes to be so, may in fact represent at best doxa, (probable truth); or at worst complete falsehood. At this juncture two possible courses of action can be undertaken:
The first possible course is to adamantly resist accepting that which appears to be “more true.” This course of action is likewise often merely resisting epistēmē or “certain truth,” in order to preserve ones “pre-existing” doxa. And in direct proportion to the ∆, or difference between the “provability” of these “truths;” true delusional behavior becomes “likewise likely.” Delusion here meaning: the maintaining a belief despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Since it is extremely difficult to logically argue that that which clearly is “less true,” is nevertheless “more true;” the “argument” inevitably turns emotional, and generally according to the ‘Three A’s.”
“A1 is anger. This is the first response. This anger is not so much because there is a remote chance that they may be wrong, but rather when it is somewhat clear that they are wrong. This would be best illustrated as a line on a graph rising from left to right; with the level of anger represented by the vertical axis, and time represented by the horizontal axis.
“A2 is argument. This generally begins with emotionally (anger) driven arguments. As the arguments begin to fail, the level and usually the slope of A1 will increase. When all possible arguments, logical, relevant or otherwise have been proffered, the original arguments will then return. This would be best illustrated as a circle under the rising anger line referenced above. Often, what is just under the skin, (which is generally the reason for the pride and subsequent anger) will pop its “head” out; revealing things previously unknown about this individual.
“A3 is absconding. When all of the arguments and the repetition thereof have unquestionably failed, the hard person will generally abscond; or run away. This may be represented by actual physical separation, changing the subject or in some other manner. This could be perceived as the disappearance of the anger line, but is only subjective; as the true level of anger then becomes somewhat hidden.”2 [Excerpt from “About the Title” “MeekRaker Beginnings…”]
Should one in any way doubt the veracity or applicability of the above “Three A’s,” all one need do is to spend some time on “social media,” reading the various arguments over Biblical or religious doctrine. These are the very people who claim to be Christians, and thus by their own admission should be behaving in a “Christ-like.” manner. Many have no interest in learning or intelligent discourse, but only in revealing their own mind; and are in no way shy in revealing their opinion of the “character and characteristics” (euphemism); of any who might even or could even possibly disagree with them. These “Screaming Christians” do nothing to advance knowledge or understanding.
There often seems to be no proportionality or gradation of response. If another disagrees, or even merely appears to have a different viewpoint; the level of invective goes “full tilt.” This is the type of behavior that stereotypically considered more demonic in nature, rather than that considered as typical by seekers of God’s wisdom. And of course for anything to “get out,” it must first be “in there.”
The weapon of choice is generally an out of context Bible verse; often from one of the "Made in China" versions; that if and only if taken alone, may seem to substantiate a position. This technique seems a bit familiar, as it seems that someone else already developed this technique and tried it on a carpenter's son after he had been fasting for a while. It didn't work out very well then; and these "Screaming Christians" "aint exactly no carpenter's sons." "A Bible verse out of context is merely a pretext," is not news to Bible students.
It is truly sad that so many “Christians” treat what appears to be epistēmē, in a manner more consistent with the Sadducees and Pharisees, than with any semblance of the behavior of Jesus.
The main reason for this is precisely the opposite of what God asked man to do when He handed down the Commandments. Most believe that God requested obedience to these Commandments, with the understanding that man's translation of “keep” being a reasonable synonym of “obey.”
But what God actually asked was more akin to the common understanding of “keep.”
In Exodus 20:6 God the Father tells us:
“And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” 3
The Hebrew word here translated as “keep” is: “8104 shâmar; a prim. root; prop. to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard; gen. to protect, attend to, etc…”4 Here God asked not that we obey His commandments, but rather that we keep and protect these commandments and call upon them when decisions need to be made. The same can be said for the rest of His Word. To require man’s actual obedience would go against the free will given by God to man.
These “Screaming Christians” will often rely on their own interpretations of what God actually said, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The most notable is the conflating of the Hebrew word bârâ’; which is the bringing into existence of a thing without the use of anything material; and The Hebrew word yatsâr; which is the forming of a thing utilizing matter. Why do they do this? Because man was originally created via bârâ’; but Adam was formed (yatsâr) from matter (ʻâphâr). Thus these cannot possibly be the same event, and this disagrees with what they want to believe. [see our blog “Adam’s Peculiarity; or for more detailed analysis, see the first four chapters of “Meekraker Beginnings…”]
Thus it would be prudent to see what Jesus said about “obeying” the Commandments:
In John 14:15 Jesus tells us:
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.”5
The Greek word here translated as “keep” is: “5083 tērĕō; from tĕrŏs; (a watch; perh. akin to 2334); to guard (from loss or injury, prop. by keeping the eye upon…”6 This sounds suspiciously like the Hebrew word shâmar, rather than “obey.”
Thus it seems that these “Screaming Christians” have simply fallen for that very old trick of the enemy. That is; changing that which one either shâmar or tērĕō. It is themselves and their opinion of themselves, that has supplanted that which God asked we “guard.” Thus when confronted with any Bible based but different viewpoint; they react in a manner to protect themselves, and their opinions of themselves. This is why they consider anyone who may disagree with them not as a student seeking truth; but rather as an enemy, and react in the aforementioned “full tilt” manner.
Ironically; although the atheists without exception also ultimately abscond or “run away” when confronted with the logical necessity of a primum movens or a prime mover; they generally are at least polite and leave quietly, and without any fuss.
The second and rare course of action is an intellectual and fact based discussion. This is what Jesus engaged in, often using agricultural parables to illustrate principles. But of course this can only happen if discussion remains in the “third person,” and has not been changed to the “first person.”
But there is also another type of “emotion” connected with “faith:”
“Now precisely what is a talantŏn? It cannot be looked up in an English dictionary, as it is not a word in English. The best one generally can do is to find an explanation related to the Bible that is often quite misleading, and quite incorrect.
“Talantŏn is often considered to be the root of the word talent. Talent as used in the Biblical sense is generally considered to be a Hebrew unit of weight; with there often being differences between a common talent and a royal talent. However the root of talent is the Greek word talantŏn, and is not a Hebrew word. Thus this relationship to a unit of physical weight was inserted later, with talent proffered as a Hebrew word; which it is not, and never was.
“But it cannot be overemphasized that a talent or talantŏn is not a mere unit of weight such as an ounce, a pound, a ton or a kilogram. These are mere objective units of measure for the “quantity of a thing.” A talent or talantŏn is much less objective and much less quantifiable than this. A talent or talantŏn is a subjective weight that is a balancing weight, or a weight to be carried.
“A talent or talantŏn is thus a balancing weight for something else; but whether or not it is ultimately actually carried is a matter of one’s choice. That “something else” or balance for a talantŏn is known as dunamis; and in the New Testament dunamis is used to indicate and is properly translated as “supernatural power.” This is in comparison to the Greek word dynamikós, which is natural power.
“There is a Hebrew word which indicates the presence of both this supernatural power (Greek dunamis), and this weight (Greek talantŏn); and this Hebrew word is massâ’. It is for this reason that massâ’ is sometimes translated with words such as “oracle;” and is sometimes translated as some type of “weight” in the Old Testament.”7 [Excerpt from “Donald Trump Candidacy According to Matthew?”] ”
True seekers of God’s wisdom often have a talantŏn. This is sometimes described as “heavy on my heart.” One simply will have “no peace” until this talantŏn is “worked,” and the result achieved.
The corresponding dunamis can manifest in different ways. It can be rhēma, or something spoken by God directly to the seeker. It could be Lŏgŏs, or something written by someone else. Logos begins as rhēma, but to someone else, and becomes lŏgŏs when recorded—such as the Books of Mosaic authorship regarding events long before he was born. Here opening that Bible “randomly” and somehow finding the answer immediately is dunamis.
Christians should be able to “reason together.” Opposing viewpoints reasonably backed by Biblical evidence should be respected and taken seriously. And the more questions that are answered by a different viewpoint, the more likely it is that that viewpoint is the “more correct” one.
But instead it is far too often that anger and invective supplants rational discourse. When those seeking information about Christianity see what “Christians” preach; and then see how these same “Christians” behave toward each other, it is no wonder why today Christianity is on the decline.—QPG Staff
“Faith and Emotions—Friends or Foes?” Copyright © 2018 Quadrakoff Publications Group, LLC, Wilmington, DE all rights reserved.
Distribution of this blog in its entirety with attribution permitted.
1 “MeekRaker Beginnings…” Copyright © 2016 Quadrakoff Publications Group, LLC Wilmington DE p. i)
2 “MeekRaker Beginnings…” Copyright © 2016 Quadrakoff Publications Group, LLC Wilmington DE p. 267
3 King James Bible Exodus 20:6
4 Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of The Bible © 1890 James Strong Madison NJ p. 118 (Hebrew)
5King James Bible John 14:15
6Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of The Bible © 1890 James Strong Madison NJ p. 71 (Greek)
7“Donald Trump Candidacy According to Matthew?” Copyright © 2016 Quadrakoff Publications Group, LLC Wilmington DE p. 2-3