Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Truth Is Beautiful

"Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out."
Proverbs 20:5:

"They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search: both the inward thought of every one of them , and the heart, is deep." Psalms 64:6:

In 1 Samuel 6, the Philistines set up a little truth test. They were suffering plagues, they thought it was a result of the presence of the ark of the covenant. While this is their suspicion, they want to check it out for sure, so they tied a cart to cattle who had calves. Cattle who have calves will not normally wonder far from their young. They put the ark on the cart. If it returned to the Israelites, the God of the Israelites was the cause of their trouble. If it did not, there was another cause. In this way they tested their theory.

While the Philistines in this passage are evil examples for the most part, the principle of cross checking really isn't a bad one. Our hearts are complex and we really don't understand them. Instead of juxtaposition our thoughts and emotions we should see how they fit together. We do this with our senses all the time, we hear a noise, we look to see what it was. Our emotions and thoughts should cross check each other also. My friend the Jollyblogger talks about the complexities of mind and emotions in our experiences and the validity of each. I encourage you to look at his article. In response to the old Campus Crusade illustration, I say that it fit a particular problem, emotionalism being used to judge facts. For that particular problem, the illustration fit, but the illustration breaks down, as all illustrations do. (Or else they would not be illustrations!) The illustration does not address the whole of emotional life, nor does it address the complex and sometimes baffling relationship between emotions and thoughts.

Some Observations (or Opinions) On The Subjective experience

1. In a court case, the verdict is often an extremely emotional experience for the accused, but the verdict is based on the facts. The New Perspective on Paul criticisms the Reformed View by saying that the legal language used to explain a right standing with God is too sterile, too tied up in legal language. I actually think they are thinking of hypothetical courts, not the kind where you or I actually receive a verdict. Courts are an excellent way to explain our position with God. We will be judged by the facts not a mere feeling or thought. God judges rightly. I wanted to write more about this in my paper on the New perspective on Paul but it did not fit my thesis.

2. The fact that Jesus died on the cross is true whether my thoughts or emotions acknowledge it or not. In this sense, both my thoughts and emotions need to recognize the fact. Who would go to a concert and not want watch the movements of the orchestra as they play. Their movement and expression are displayed as they express the whole of the piece.

3. In our education of our youth (and ourselves) we must train their (our) affections. Post-modernism says that anything I (or someone) likes is ultimately unarguable. While most youth who argue from this position would not recognize the statement, what they are saying is that ascetics is more important than epistemology. In reality, our emotions and affections are sinful and must be trained, just as our sense of morality and our minds must be trained. The big flaw in our post-modern world is that we stopped training our sense of morality and our affections and let them run ramped. (I am making an artificial dichotomy between the three for the sake of discussion. Integrating the three in discussion makes discussion messy.)

4. For the existentialist, creating valid subjective experience through acts of the will is an important goal. While there are some positive things going on here, I see it as too self-centered to be Christian.

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