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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Blog: Re­a­son or emo­ti­ons

Päivämies-verkkolehti
Vieraskieliset / In-english
22.7.2019 6.02

Juttua muokattu:

23.12. 02:44
2019122302443120190722060200

”Pe­op­le have a per­va­si­ve il­lu­si­on that they make their de­ci­si­ons ra­ti­o­nal­ly, alt­hough their li­ves are of­ten do­mi­na­ted by emo­ti­ons”, says a well-known Fin­nish brain spe­ci­a­list Lau­ri Num­men­maa.

He quo­tes Jo­nat­han Haidt, an Ame­ri­can psyc­ho­lo­gist. Ac­cor­ding to Haidt, re­a­son and emo­ti­ons are like an elep­hant and its ri­der. The ri­der, rep­re­sen­ting re­a­son, ima­gi­nes that the elep­hant, or the emo­ti­ons, will go whe­re­ver the ri­der wants. But in ac­tu­al fact, the elep­hant will go exact­ly where it wants, and the ri­der can on­ly hang on and stay on the ride. The prob­lem is made more se­ve­re by the fact that the elep­hant and the ri­der do not speak the same lan­gu­a­ge.

”This is a known fact in ad­ver­ti­sing and po­li­tics. It is much ea­sier to inf­lu­en­ce pe­op­le by ap­pe­a­ling to their emo­ti­ons than their re­a­son.“ Num­men­maa quo­tes the con­fu­si­on about child­hood vac­ci­na­ti­ons as a good examp­le. The count­less stu­dies that have shown vac­ci­na­ti­ons to be safe are not enough to con­vin­ce wor­ried pa­rents, when an on­li­ne ru­mor about a sing­le child get­ting sick be­cau­se of vac­ci­na­ti­on goes vi­ral. Emo­ti­ons beat re­a­son ten to zero.

Ac­cor­ding to Num­men­maa, the ba­sic emo­ti­ons – an­ger, hap­pi­ness, fear, dis­gust, sad­ness and surp­ri­se – are ba­sed on bi­o­lo­gi­cal pre­dis­po­si­ti­ons com­mon to all pe­op­le. Re­gard­less of their cul­tu­re, pe­op­le feel dis­gust at see­ing blood or a pu­ru­lent wound, are af­raid of the dark, and feel more sad­ness or hap­pi­ness for those dear to them than for comp­le­te stran­gers. ”It is as­to­nis­hing how lit­t­le we can mo­di­fy these ba­sic emo­ti­ons. When a per­son at­tends pi­a­no clas­ses for a ye­ar, he or she le­arns to play the pi­a­no. But if a per­son has de­ve­lo­ped a pho­bia or an­xie­ty, it is very hard to un­le­arn it.”

How do re­a­son and emo­ti­ons af­fect faith? I have of­ten been as­ked how I can be­lie­ve the way I do when there are so many dif­fe­rent kinds of faith. Our re­a­son fo­cu­ses on facts. Is there proof that one faith is the cor­rect one? Chris­ti­ans say that we have God’s word and his­to­ri­cal in­for­ma­ti­on about Je­sus’ life. But no mat­ter how much in­for­ma­ti­on we have, it can­not arou­se faith is us.

Apost­le Paul wri­tes that we can­not know God by our own wis­dom, ”For sin­ce, in the wis­dom of God, the world did not know God through wis­dom, it ple­a­sed God through the fol­ly of what we pre­ach to save those who be­lie­ve”(1 Cor. 1:21).

Mar­tin Lut­her, in his exp­la­na­ti­on of the third ar­tic­le of the Creed, says, ”I be­lie­ve that I can­not by my own re­a­son or strength be­lie­ve in Je­sus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has cal­led me by the Gos­pel.”

When Apost­le Paul pre­ac­hed the gos­pel in Phi­lip­pi, there was a God-fe­a­ring wo­man cal­led Ly­dia among his lis­te­ners. ”The Lord ope­ned her he­art to pay at­ten­ti­on to what was said by Paul.” (Acts 16:14). Faith is comp­le­te­ly a work of God and a gift of God. He gi­ves us the strength and en­ligh­tens our un­ders­tan­ding to comp­re­hend the mys­te­ries of God’s king­dom. ”By faith we un­ders­tand…” (Heb.11:3).

Yet know­led­ge and in­for­ma­ti­on do play a role in re­li­gi­on. When Chris­ti­ans do mis­si­on work, they exp­lain to their lis­te­ners what is me­ant by God’s king­dom and sal­va­ti­on pre­pa­red by God. In ot­her words, they give ra­ti­o­nal­ly comp­re­hen­sib­le in­for­ma­ti­on to pe­op­le who have ne­ver he­ard about sal­va­ti­on. When we te­ach our child­ren about faith at home, in Day Circ­le, Sun­day School or Con­fir­ma­ti­on Class, we give them in­for­ma­ti­on about these mat­ters. Yet, faith is not me­re­ly know­led­ge, re­a­so­ning or in­sight.

Some pe­op­le feel that their per­so­nal in­ter­nal ex­pe­rien­ces and fee­lings have led them to faith. They base their re­la­ti­ons­hip with God on their emo­ti­ons. We may hear them say, “My God is not so strict about this.”

Re­li­gi­ous mo­ve­ments com­mon­ly ap­pe­al to emo­ti­ons. I ex­pe­rien­ced this per­so­nal­ly when I se­arc­hed for God’s king­dom. Some pra­yer mee­tings were high­ly char­ged emo­ti­o­nal­ly: many pe­op­le pra­yed aloud and down­right pres­su­red one to make a de­ci­si­on. Some said, “Lis­ten to yo­ur in­ter­nal voi­ce and fol­low its ad­vi­ce.”

Li­ving by one’s emo­ti­ons is like being on a rol­ler co­as­ter ride for great ex­pe­rien­ces. It is cer­tain­ly true that God can grant a be­lie­ver warm fee­lings of grace. They rise from faith when God’s grace warms the sin­ner’s he­art. God al­lows such fee­lings ac­cor­ding to his will. They do not give rise to faith, nor are they ne­ces­sa­ry signs of faith.

Both re­a­son and emo­ti­ons give us poor ad­vi­ce con­cer­ning faith. Faith is a gift of God gran­ted and main­tai­ned by God through His Holy Spi­rit. God en­ligh­tens us through His Spi­rit and gi­ves us the ne­ces­sa­ry un­ders­tan­ding for tem­po­ral mat­ters. He al­so gi­ves us gra­ti­tu­de, con­tent­ment and hap­pi­ness along with our faith as well as joy and love of ot­her pe­op­le. Be­lie­vers can se­cu­re­ly trust in God’s gui­dan­ce in their life.

Text: Ola­vi Val­li­vaa­ra

Trans­la­ti­on: Sirk­ka-Lii­sa Lei­no­nen

You will find the ori­gi­nal Fin­nish blog post here.

28.5.2020

Kun To­tuu­den Hen­ki tu­lee, hän joh­taa tei­dät tun­te­maan koko to­tuu­den. Joh. 16:13

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