Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 January 2014
Those who study, teach, and write about orthodoxy typically omit almost entirely any explicit consideration of human emotions. It is not surprising, then, that theology can seem an abstract activity without much effectiveness either for inspiring ritual and moral practice or for fostering attachment to Christianity. Similarly, church leaders, in their concentration on orthodoxy or orthopraxy, pay insufficient attention to the affective alienation occurring within and among Christians. This article brings to bear on theology the burgeoning philosophical and psychological research on emotions. It develops the cognitive and participative nature of emotions; their role in forming both an existential faith and community; the legitimacy and independence but also the inadequacy of conceptualist theology; the conflicts, tensions, and mutual contributions of intellect and emotion; and, finally, the role of emotion in moving ideas to practice.
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6 Libraries of books have been written on how emotions can function badly in our lives. It is well beyond the scope of this article to treat those aberrances. One mistake to avoid, however, is to assume that our intellectual or volitional activities are always in themselves perfect and that therefore whenever they malfunction the cause lies in the emotions.
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16 “Object” is here an epistemological category—namely, the referent of our cognitive acts. It extends to anything that can be known, including persons, and even God.
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66 Clore and Gasper, “Feeling Is Believing,” 28–29. This process carries danger too, since conflation can lead to mistakes; for example, reverence for God and the Church leads, all too frequently, to ecclesiolatry.
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