Wednesday, March 3, 2010

You've hurt my thinking, forget about my feelings!

There's an interesting piece over at Bill Kinnons blog where he quotes the Bishop of Durham who says,

Part of our difficulty in the Christian world of late Western modernity has been that the mind, the faculty of thought and reasoning, has become detached. As happens if you have a detached retina in your eye, when you're thinking becomes detached you stop seeing things clearly. "Thought"and "reason" seem to have been placed to one side, in a private world reserved for "intellectuals" and "academics."(Note for example, the way in which sports commentators use the word "academic" to mean "irrelevant" as in "from now on the result of the race is academic.") Furthermore, we often speak of our thoughts as if they were feelings: in a meeting, to be polite, we might say "I feel that's wrong", because it sounds less confrontational than saying, "I think that's wrong". Similarly, perhaps without realizing it (which itself is a sign of the same problem!), we sometimes allow feelings to override thoughts: "I feel very strongly that we should do this" can carry more rhetorical weight than "I think we should do that" since nobody wants to hurt our feelings. As a natural next step, we allow feelings to replace thought processes altogether, so that what looks outwardly like a reasoned discussion is actually an exchange of unreasoned emotions, in which all participants claim the high moral ground because when they say, "I feel strongly we should to do this", they are telling the truth: they do feel strongly, so they will feel hurt and rejected if people don't agree with them. Thus reasoned discourse is abandoned in favour of the politics of the playground. (2010 SPCK, Virtue Reborn, Pg 134) [emphasis added]

What a helpful reminder of the way things are going in public discourse these days. Using feelings to address disagreeing with thoughts is really pathetic in that it leaves an argument floundering as a mere opinion instead of something requiring rational debate.

BTW, I do not agree with Bill's blogg assessment that Brian McLaren is not a wolf in sheeps clothing. I believe he is a wolf, a false teacher because of what he teaches given that the bible clearly refutes his "teachings". Perhaps he is now just a wolf and people have lost their ability to discern.


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