Emotionalism

I think I need to be blunt – say it straight out – There is absolutely nothing wrong with emotions!!!!!!

There is this idea that has snuck into the Lutheran circles that emotions are “Bad”, emotions are not to be trusted. I tried to explain this in a couple of posts and also in a few comments, but it is falling on deaf ears.

I personally think that if we were around in Jesus’ time, the Lutheran church would be the only ones that wouldn’t acknowledge Him as the Son of God. “He speaks in stories…and he tugs on the emotions – you can’t trust emotions!”  “When he talks to us with a proper exegesis we will listen to him….although Lutheran pulpits are for Lutheran Pastors only….sorry Jesus your not Lutheran”

I was told that I was wrong in playing to the emotions and that God does not operate like this. From memory I was a bit abrupt and said that “if you can coldly ignore people that are hurting and suiciding…good on you.” While we are busy with our noses in between the pages of law, real people are suffering and dying. But its OK we have the law and the prophets on our side.

Just a quick side note on emotions: Imagine your wife is in tears and tells you she feels alone, feels that you don’t love her and tells you that you never hug her. You respond by saying, “You can’t trust your feelings, they are invalid. You know I love you because we have a marriage certificate.” I would say your wifes feelings are probably valid and you are being a prick! We are not called to live in relationship without feelings. It seems that this is how we view Christianity – your not a mature Christian until you are devoid of all emotion. The only emotion that is of value is the cringing “I a poor miserable sinner” emotion. I would go so far as to say that the reason religion is a source of such harm is because it refuses to feel. How long do you think we would have beat our slaves if we had a sense of empathy?

I would ask that you read my short “exegesis” on the gay clobbering passage in Romans and think about the question I pose at the end, it can be found here – “Which of these children upset God so much that he decided to punish them by making them gay? Our commenting Pastor says that it is the wrong question because it tugs at the emotions. He says I am twisting scripture to suit my own agenda. Dear Pastor I wish you had chosen the anonominity that I offered you because your cold heart is laid out for all to see. There is absolutely no twisting done here – the words of scripture are clear and to apply them to gay people is morally wrong and theologically stupid. We have had our spines twisted for so long it feels normal.

As for your accusations of emotionalism – Jesus uses emotions to make a point in just about all of his stories. Jesus also tells us to discern false teaching by its fruits. The fruits of this doctrine are emotional by their nature, this is unavoidable. Fruits such as bullying,depression,suicide,loneliness,despair,drugs,alcohol are all a direct result of societies attitudes towards gay people – and guess what, the church is doing its best to uphold these attitudes.

I leave you with this rather morbid quote:

“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

Steve Weinberg

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Comments
10 Responses to “Emotionalism”
  1. Wally Schiller says:

    I don’t really have time to answer this – but answer it I must.
    I make one comment on emotions, but nothing like you have described, which I can only conclude is a raving rant because you obviously realise that your argument is going nowhere.
    My comment was simply in relation to this: That you use an example such as in your question about a child: show me where in Romans 1 it talks about a child. Any issue put in the context of child involvement will evoke a stronger emotional response. My accusation is that you have brought in the child context knowing that it pulls more weight. I am not denying any other aspect of emotions – I haven’t talked about anything else!! But, on the basis of your false assumption, you have gone off your tree to the extent of suggesting that the Lutheran Church would not have acknowledged Jesus as the Son of God. How bad can you get? How ever could you arrive at such an unconnected point unless you had some other motive? It is so patently ridiculous that it is pointless me making much further comment.
    It is not my cold heart that is laid out for all to see – I have a warm heart eager to bring the message of the Gospel to every sinner in my hearing, as I will again do in the morning. I suggest it is your heart and your motives that are laid bare – and I think I don’t have to explain what they are because you have done a good job in exposing yourself here. Do some soul searching as to what you are really on about, especially as you add that unhelpful quote at the end. And I make no apologies whatsoever for not hiding behind the anonymous card. I am prepared to stand up for Jesus and for all people whom he loves, regardless of who they are and I am more than willing to call this terrible response for what it is.
    And now, back to my closing preparations for tomorrows worship. Good evening.

    • Tapman says:

      Thankyou for calling my concerns a raving rant. Thank you also for explaining why you thought I was using emotionalism. You are 100% right, the Romans passage does not talk about pre-adolescent children or babies – that is exactly the point. The Romans passage is talking about adult men who are engaged in idolatrous practices, following their lusts and generally behaving like heterosexuals. It is not talking about those that have been born gay like the children I am talking about. You know the rules for exegesis – the most obvious translation is often the right one. Let me explain this – You sent me an article which I haven’t approved/published yet. The writer suggests that Gay people are lustful creatures that hate marriage and family, and you recommend this reading. If you read Romans with this kind of belief in your mind it is no wonder you jump to conclusions. If you read it with the intention of hearing what the text actually says, in its context – historical and within the context of his whole argument, the most obvious conclusion is not a damnation of gay people. The religion of the region that Paul speaks to involved all sorts of orgies, gender swapping, drugs, alcohol, temple prostitution – don’t you think that this is the most likely thing that Paul was writing about?

      Yes, some of the things I said are disturbing. Are they ridiculous and unconnected? I don’t think so. Lets look at the embarrassing history of the church – I wonder how many people were killed in the crusades, I wonder how many Christian people fought against the abolition of slavery, I wonder how many Christian people regarded coloured people as inferior. It is disturbing….but good people were doing evil things, all the while feeling good about it because the scriptures were on their side.

      I have no doubt you have a warm heart for your congregation, but on this issue you are blinded by pre-concieved notions. You know as well as I do this is a difficult topic to talk about. One reason for this is that the church does not understand what it is dealing with and constantly changes its argument to suit. Is homosexuality a sin? Is homosexuality a condition brought on by a strong willed mother and an absent father? Are gay people born/created that way? The church is behaving like that guy talked about in the book of James that looks in the mirror and immediately forgets what he looks like. If homosexuality is a sin then treat it like sin. If it is a psychological problem brought on by abuse or poor parenting then treat it like this. The bottom line is the church jumps freely from opinion to opinion to avoid the obvious – God created them this way. Bottom line is, they are created different, they make us feel uncomfortable, they might even get into relationships and there HAS to be a law against this.

      Unfortunately there is a certain amount of truth to my dig at the Lutheran Church, and I acknowledge it in myself, I do not always recognize Jesus – I think it wise to do an inward search like you advise me to do. There are many things that happen today that we do not recognize as God because we as Lutherans already “know how to do church”. My statement is terrible but no more than Jesus parable about separating the sheep from the goats. Do we recognize Jesus? Do we see Jesus in the LGBTI community?

  2. Wally Schiller says:

    I think I am going to bow out of this discussion – you are fixed in your ideas and no matter what I say, you either choose to twist it or ignore it. Fine, if you don’t want to print that article – that will only reinforce my view that you are so engrossed in your view that you can see nothing else. I have been around, I have dealt with homosexuals and ministered to them – what you trumpet is not the answer. The article I posted shows that and you clearly don’t like it. What you are doing is pursuing a determination to rip the church apart, just like another blog. Thankfully, your audience is minimal and hopefully it won’t do too much damage. You are clearly quite happy to use all sorts of false accusations and when placed on the mat for it, you simply side-step it. May the Lord have mercy on you and I will continue to pray for you.

    • Tapman says:

      Thanks for dropping in. I will let the readers decide who is twisting and who is side stepping. I seriously do appreciate you having the courage to say your piece, cheers.

  3. stasisonline says:

    Tapman, where does Jesus tell us to discern false teaching by its fruits?

    • Tapman says:

      The principle is mentioned a few times in the NT Gospels – a bad tree will not have good fruit.

      • stasisonline says:

        I think you are most likely referring to Matthew 7:18, and may be accidentally repeating a mistaken understanding of that parable. There was a video which circulated around the internet a lot last year, that promoted various fallacies including this one. If you read the parable carefully, you see that it’s not about false teachings, but rather about false prophets. The fact that it’s about people, is a subtle but important difference.
        Verse 15 introduces the subject of the parable; false prophets. Verse 16 explains how to determine a false prophet. Verse 19 details what happens to false prophets.

        The parable does not explicitly tell us what is meant by “bad fruit”, but obviously it’s indicative of something unfruitful. Other passages about false prophets provide useful background for this verse, describing false prophets variously as deceitful and exploitative and tell us that sometimes their prophesies dont come to pass, and that a valid prophet will agree with Scripture (Deut. 18:22, Jeremiah 6:13, Ezekiel 22:28, 1 Corinthians 14:27 etc). Both Old and New Testaments warn that false prophets can be quite popular and that they deceive many people (Jeremiah 5:31, Matthew 24:11, 2 Peter 2:2).

      • Tapman says:

        So you think it is OK to teach people things that will harm them?

      • stasisonline says:

        Generally, no, I dont think it’s a good idea teach people things that will harm them. But this question not a simple one. EG consider the issue of driving. Do we stop teaching people how to drive, in order to avoid the potential for them being harmed in a vehicle crash. There are people who claim that there are teachings in the Bible that are harmful. Certainly I agree that there are cases where Christians have caused harm, as have atheists, as have agnostics, and as have members of other religions. But there is very little in the Bible that is purely harmful, and if taken in the broader context of the Bible, IE with due regard for the Golden Rule (Mat 7:12), loving your neighbour (Mark 12:31) and embracing knowledge and wisdom (Proverbs 3:21) it’s difficult for harm to arise within a balanced Christian community. In discussion about whether religion is harmful, there are often multiple sides to the story. EG some claim that belief in hell, is just negative and controlling doctrine that should be relinquished, but on the other hand … http://stasisonline.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/belief-in-hell/

      • Tapman says:

        Thanks for comment please don’t think I am ignoring you will get back to you when possible

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