What Is The Difference Between Emotional and Intellectual Faith?

by Robert Driskell

emotional-and-intellectual-faithDoes how we believe make a difference?  Is there more than one kind of belief?  The answer to both of these questions is ‘yes’.  It does make a difference how we believe something and there is more than one way to believe.  This article will contrast and compare intellectual belief with emotional belief.  We will look at the strengths and weaknesses of both.  We will also discover how these two different means of believing affect our relationship with God.

The two types of faith [belief] defined

An emotional belief is a based on feelings instead of facts.  Many emotional beliefs are based on feelings alone, apart from reality.  As children, we sometimes feared what was hidden under our beds.  However, for the most part, the only things under the bed were harmless dust bunnies.  As adults, we may misunderstand someone or some issue and become agitated, only to find out later our agitation was unfounded.  Nevertheless, in the both situations, the feelings were real.  The fear that something was under my bed definitely caused me to break out in a sweat several times during my childhood.  And, how many marital arguments have ensued simply because of a misunderstanding?

We believe something intellectually when we accept its precept in our minds as being true.  This intellectual belief may or may not include acting upon that belief.  It may merely be a mental assent to a fact without doing anything about it.  An example of an intellectual belief would be that I believe an airplane can fly.  I may or may not get into that airplane to have it fly me somewhere.  Nevertheless, I believe in my mind, that it is capable of flight.

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It definitely makes a difference whether we believe something intellectually or emotionally.  These two different kinds of belief (also called ‘faith’) play important roles in our spiritual lives.  The kind of faith we have means the difference between eternal life and eternal punishment.

Emotional faith: Working hard toward the wrong goal

… emotional faith is based on a feeling, or an assumption, or even a fantasy, but it is misguided because it is not based on truth.

A biblical example of an emotional faith can be found in Paul’s epistle to the Romans.  The apostle Paul, speaking of his fellow Jews, said this, “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (Romans 10:2 ESV).  Paul was saying that these people were very active in their religion, but it was a religion that was not based on truth…

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The Poached Egg ApologeticsWhat Is The Difference Between Emotional and Intellectual Faith?

 

RECOMMENDED APOLOGETICS RESOURCES FOR FURTHER READING:

The Faith: What Christians Believe, Why They Believe It, and Why It Matters

Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul

 

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