Is Faith Emotional or Logical?
by Luke Nix
So many people, both religious and non-religious, believe that faith is purely emotional, and in most contexts people imply the word “blind” before “faith”. While few others believe that faith is logical- that it is firmly grounded on something. Lately, I’ve been reading the book “Emotional Intelligence” by psychologist Daniel Goleman and a few thoughts came to mind regarding this seeming dichotomy between faith being based on emotion versus being based on reason. Before I go into that connection or disconnection, though, I want to establish what I mean by “faith”.
Faith in Time
I hear people all the time say that they “have faith”. It seems to inspire them and those around them, but it often leaves me confused. Sure, someone can say that they “have faith”. But when I hear this, I am compelled to ask a few questions:
“What do you have faith in?”
“What makes you believe that thing is worth placing your faith in it?”
“Why do you need to put ‘faith’ in something anyway?”
Without answers to these questions, faith is empty, contentless, blind: merely a verbal platitude but ultimately vacuous. If faith is to be significant it requires content. From what I have seen, it appears that for faith to have content, three essential things must take place at three different points in
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time: the past, the present, and the future. All three are necessary; if one is missing, then we cannot say that someone has meaningful faith. So, if the “something” is identified at these three levels, this means that faith is not empty or contentless, there is something significant to it.
Past– Experiences with something or someone (foundation)
Future– The unknown (need)
Present– Trust (action)
Based on prior trustworthy experience, we must trust the person or thing in the present because the future is unknown. If we do not have any past trustworthy experience to justify trusting someone or something, yet we still say we have “faith”, then our faith is blind. If there is no future unknown, then trust is not really needed, thus any “faith” we say we have is imaginary. If we don’t actually place our trust in the person or thing with the unknown, yet we say we have “faith”, our words are not backed up by our actions. In all three of those cases, faith does not exist. All three -past, present, and future- are required for faith to actually exist in a person…
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