Emotions and the Bible


I’ve been thinking about emotions lately. Why people I’ve been discussing with are admonishing more actions to obtain emotions, mainly “happiness” and “fun.” This, I compare and contrast with the logical self, the “Spock” who feels no emotions, or at least only acts upon what is logical.

Naturally, the extremes of the two are not considered desirable. Yet, I believe that Christianity has taught the latter extreme.

Consider the sermon on the mount: anger and hate is subject to judgement, as is lust. Don’t hate your enemy, and looking at another woman apparently is adultery in itself. Article after article with a simple search (or sitting in a conservative service) spreads demonizing the “harlot,” and the type of women who entice men.

Suggestive, seductive clothing is one of the traps she uses to lure the young man. I look around at some gatherings of believers and wonder, “Don’t these women realize what they are communicating to men by the way they dress?” An outwardly modest appearance reflects a modest and wise heart. Immodest dress suggests a foolish, immoral heart.

You know, cause a woman wanting sex is bad. But a man “courting” a woman and “wooing” her is a noble thing.

This seems very damaging to me. The extensive nature of Christian upbringing in America says to me that many of us have been indoctrinated in these models of thought and the tendrils may run deeper than we realize.

I could write more, but it would be excessive.

What are your thoughts, on any of it?


8 thoughts on “Emotions and the Bible

  1. As usual very thought provoking. I appreciate your willingness to discuss some of these thorny issues.

    I think there are several points that I could take issue with you, but rather than do that I think I would like to ask you a question.

    I noticed that you make many claims about Christianity so my question is how do you know what Christians think or believe? I would take it one step further ask could it be the case that you were exposed to one small particular segment of Christianity that doesn’t accurately reflect the true spirit of Christianity?

    • Christians will always think their interpretation is “true,” I see that word thrown around a lot.

      In brief: 1. I was a “true” Christian for 20+ years, 2. I studied Bible and Theology in a federally accredited Christian college for 5 years.

      I don’t know what ALL Christians believe, so pardon my lack of always applying the clarifier of “most” or even, “some,” but I know more than most.

      • Hi Nikeyo,

        That is “true”. I would take it one step further and say that everyone thinks their interpretation of reality is true, not just Christians.

        The point I was wanting to bring up in my post is that we tend to make Christianity into something it is not. In secular culture as well as Church culture for some reason there is this assumption that Christianity is about right living when the most fundamental tenant of Christianity is that humans are fallible.

        I have a few theories about this but i’ll leave it at that.

      • So your theory goes. πŸ˜‰

        Sure, many think our own interpretations are true. Little arrogant of me for just saying “Christians” when you are right, the “I have truth” believers are not exclusive to any people group.

        What I find important is open dialogue. Once someone makes a truth statement, and shuts the door to discussion, not much can be learned.

  2. In this case your post suggests a form of pietism that would be considered non Christian since in the creation account God created the whole woman with emotions and all.

    Having said that I think there is something to be said for emotions that are bridled by the intellect. We’ve all seen people who get caught up in the moment and driven by their emotions make some very irrational and damaging conclusions. I’ve probably made a few of those myself. Let me think of some other examples. Oh! indicting a woman for suggestive or seductive clothing. Often times that’s a symptom of another problem having to do with self esteem. But basing it on the reason that she might tempt a man is backwards thinking. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus puts this issue on the man.

    What I was getting at in my prior post is that many believers and non-believers make Christianity out to be something that it isn’t. The Bible as God’s word is the history of His redemption make the Bible and Christianity to be more about grace and reconciliation than about legalism, pietism, or moralism. I don’t fault you for attacking this issue because I know Christians can be moralistic in their presentations and you seem to have picked up on that and made it the basis for your critique. But as a Christian Theists id have to join you in that same critique because it doesn’t represent the true spirit of Christianity.

    • I understand your thoughts and interpretations. But again, everyone claims to have the “true spirit of Christianity.” Or at least know what it is, if they haven’t obtained it yet. A lot of such theories but heads and contradict.

      However, slut shaming seems to be in the majority of interpretations. So that was a fair one to go against in a post.

      It is also considered that the Bible is the foundation of truth and trumps all others. You seem to claim this as well, and that was also part of my critique.

      But, then again, I don’t believe in objective morality. Certainly not one to be obtained for a 2,000+ year old book translated from dialectics of languages no longer used.

      • Hi Nikeyo, hope all is well. Haven’t heard from you in some time. I appreciate your reply and can see that you have given this matter some deep consideration. I appreciate that about you. I don’t want to beat a dead horse so I hope you don’t feel obligated to reply.

        I would question several of your points not because I don’t think they have a certain amount of merit (keep in mind I have said similar things in my life) but because I trust you would like to hear the other side of things.

        Just to start off I’m going to have to back peddle on the “true spirit of Christianity”. While the true spirit of Christianity exists it isn’t fully realized by fallible women and men. That is the reason why you don’t find the historical creeds and confessions totalizing language claiming ownership of “the truth” as God would understand truth absolutely or universally. The best we as fallible people can produce is particular knowledge that is subject to error. However, this doesn’t make us vulnerable to the skeptical thesis the idea that one must know everything in order to claim to know anything. I can explain more if you want. All of this is to say that Christian’s shouldn’t be claim to be the repository of (T)ruth but more like fallible adherents to it. So what you will find in Protestant creeds and confessions is a qualifier of being close or closest expression of the true Christian faith but never the only expression of the true Christian faith.

        As for slut shaming. Here again I agree with you that I hear many attacks coming from believers who are well intending but missing the point. In fact when they slut shame they are engaged in a more humanistic form of judgment. Humanists do adhere to moral standards and will critique or shame those who don’t have the same moral standards. That isn’t (or shouldn’t be) the case with the church. The church as an institution of Grace admits that we ALL are flawed and in need of grace. That is the reason why Jesus didn’t slut shame the woman caught in adultery but rather indicted those who thought the lived above all known sin.

        As for the Bible being the “foundation of truth”. This is something that is said quite often but never expanded on. I think if we give it some thought we would agree that foundation of truth is the ontological Triune God who reveals Himself in creation naturally and through His Spirit.

        I thought it was interesting that you have a morality that says that slut shaming is wrong but because you don’t believe in objective morality I would have to conclude that this is only true for you which makes me wonder why you would express it if you don’t believe that it should be adhered by others.

        Please don’t receive any of this as a criticism of you. I’m just treating this as an exchange of ideas. I think you are intelligent and a very savey (sp?) writer and for the most part I have enjoyed reading your posts.

        Once again please don’t feel obligated to reply.

      • Boy have I been away from the internet for a while! I missed discourse, so this was a pleasure to see.

        I always welcome hearing the other side of things. πŸ™‚

        I do not agree with your designation of humans as “fallible” only because of it’s implication and religious usage. Naturally, we can fault. All creatures are capable of that. But I don’t follow that to any inherent implication. In see us as able to obtain, able to know, able to discover. Not as lesser. I do admire the humility of the perspective, but not the belief that we can never obtain truth. “We can never” s can be limiting.

        In need of grace is an interesting and foreign concept and phrase to the un-religious. I understand because of my background, but find no application for it in a nonreligious mindset. There is no concept of sin outside of religion.

        Individuals who see revelation as you described, are more lovely than those of the book.

        I argue it because I believe in a moral landscape that is subjective, but has the potential for communal growth. Slut shaming is an attempt to impose on another subject one’s own morality. Which is not their right. Subjects/individuals are free. Shaming is practically bullying.

        Even if was/is criticism, critiques are welcome when tactful and done in discourse and not attack. I welcome that. I’m glad you enjoy it as well. πŸ™‚

Penny for your thoughts....? Do share them here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s