Thursday, September 16, 2010

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue. I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

How would you go about communicating to someone who centers everything on the way one feels that basing our faith in God on feelings alone is problematic? And if you disagree that this would be a problem, please say why.


Living Spiritual Rhythms For Today

Living Spiritual Rhythms For Today

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Sisyphos said...

What is a feeling? An emotional state of sadness, melancholy, bliss, happiness etc. Our feelings are dependent on our theoretical pre-judgments: our values, our beliefs, our self-understanding.
Those theoretical pre-judgments -anon- are shaped by feelings but maybe primarily reinforced.

The circle of feelings and pre-judgments are due to our past experiences and our thrownness (our up-bringing, our cultural tradition, our language etc)

If one focuses too much on the status-quo feelings as the determinator for truth and relies on them uncritically one puts to much trust in oneself. A greater focus on contemplating about the world and one self can help transform our theoretical pre-judgments and our feelings.
But now I am more leaning towards the theoretical seid.

Maybe I could say that it is necessary to have a mindset of contemplative and emotional self-exposure to the world questioning one's own pre-suppositions and feelings. They come to light in the encounter of the other, of other books, opinions, people etc.

Now to the original question.
I guess highlighting the subjectivity of one's feeling is crucial. Showing examples were feelings are misleading and should be questioned and in doing so showing the relatedness of feelings to our opinions.

Also pointing out that faith in Scripture is not based very much on momental feelings, it often goes against feelings -like Jesus in Gethsemane.
I guess feeling-based Christianity is a child of the "relationship with God" theology in which God is my personal nurse and being paid by devotional time and self-centered prayers.

Greg said...

Thanks. Feeling? Generally, an interconnected sensation of being alive. Specifically, love, fear, guilt, anger, hate.

The feeling circle is probably due to more, but not less than, past experiences, tradition and so forth, as something or someone can break into the circle in a new and fresh way.

True, over trusting is a problem, perhaps, as much as over deception?

I like the notion of encounter with the other to put ourselves into question.

Sisyphos said...

I dont object against the change aspect. My future beliefs and feelings will be based on my present experiences which will then considered to be past experiences. So I wouldnt say it is a vicious circle.
Hence I find it important to make oneself vulnerable intellectualy and emotionally in the present in order to take care for the future.

Greg said...

Would you be willing to say it like this: future beliefs and feelings will be based on, but not limited to my present experiences?

Seems like one might be real'ly vulnerable, without having to make oneself so.

Nita said...

I entirely agree with you guys. I think Sisyphos's take on "feeling-based Christianity" as "a child of the "relationship with God" theology in which God is my personal nurse and being paid by devotional time and self-centered prayers" is an excellent characterization of most evangelical phenomena in our post-American world. It seems Greg's point is also somewhat a response to the Humean challenge of taking feelings (both cold and warm!) seriously whenever making a case for moral reasoning --motivation still plays an important role in most of our experiences and decision-making processes, even when we tend to rationalize them (theology is no less of a tricky form of rationalization, especially Calvinist, Westminster-like talk)

Greg said...

Thanks. I think that the role of suspicion is crucial. In the question today, I was hoping to get at how feeling based we all tend to be nowadays and as a result there is little room for suspicion when it comes to our feelings. My lament is, to trust feeling without suspicion, all too often ends discussion for both theists and atheists.

While I agree with Sisyphos on the inappropriate images connected to "feeling based Christianity," I also want to say that we are not closed into our present feelings merely being due to past experiences. Something beyond tradition is a possibility, be it through narrative, metaphor, renewal, someone, or something else.

Sisyphos said...

Hi Greg

What did you mean with being already vulnerable - not to have to make oneself so?

Greg said...

Good afternoon. Well, I meant that being vulnerable is already there in reality and selfhood. I don't have to see it as merely a choice, though sometimes of course, it will be. Even if we're arrogant (and maybe being arrogant is a sign of vulnerability), we can't escape the truth that we are vulnerable.