Testing Truth Claims: Thinking versus Feelings

by Rob Lundberg

Thinking about how we come to know what we know (epistemology[1]), and seeing the condition of the church in America operating more on a level of feelings and experiential ministry, I am reviving a post, or should I say refreshing a post from the other blog, that I have moved from.

Someone once quipped, that culture today “listens with its eyes and thinks with its feelings.” With the Millennial and Gen Z generations reinterpreting their self-identification in their identity, we see the church having its work cut out for her in reaching the culture.  Suffice it to say, we are living in a culture driven by emotive self-identifications.

Take this kind of culture, and take the average believe having velcro’d static of the culture invading their lives; and then bringing it into the church, how can we turn the tide.

In this posting I want to address five caveats which surface from emotions based spirituality and living.

Caveat #1:  Emotions can be good or they can be bad.  They can be good when it comes to anger at sin or bad when the anger is manifested in things like bitterness. As with good things, emotions must be kiept in their proper context. But in our culture, we see feelings overstepping their God intended bounds because we put those feelings ahead of reason.

There are many ways that people determine truth, but emotions should not be one of them. Emotions also do not determine right from wrong.  Just because one feels good does not suggest that those feels are interpreting rightly that something is true.

The same is true about feeling bad determining something to be false. In fact, emotions contain no content, and no information by which to evaluate truth from falsehood. Our reasoning capacity performs that function.

Emotions are a part of the soul that appreciates and responds to life. Expecting them to identify truth is like asking your eyes to taste and your ears to smell. Each sense has their respective functions; and emotions and reasoning capacities are no different…

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Testing Truth Claims: Thinking versus Feelings