Disclaimer First: This is a ramble, a struggle to understand with no conclusion to the journey.
As much as we might believe it is possible to separate our logical selves from our emotional selves, the evidence is otherwise. Research continues to present evidence that emotion, and the unconscious parts of the mind, determine the values that serve our needs.
In pre-school, we learn to discern patterns in shape, number or color. Long before that mathematical kind of pattern search, we learn to discern patterns in very complex behaviors around us. From birth, we build our values based on emotional responses, sorting the structure of our values, not opposing reason, but melding.
Mr. Spock of Star Trek did the mind meld as if Vulcan’s alone had that ability. Not so. Again, from birth we enter the minds of those around us. We meet our needs and build our value system by staying tuned.
Equally important, as we mature,is the monitoring of our minds as we correct for prejudices and mistakes. We reconstruct our values, our emotional responses, our ability to live within a social group.
Finally, motivation completes our package, tying together what we have structured as our logical set of values and our emotional response to any given situation. In those times of exquisite moments, immersed in love of another person, caught up in a joy of challenge and even in our search for God, we taste the hunger. We know the motivation that goes so far beyond material success.
Recently a number of events have gifted me with the awareness that it is time for yet another restructuring. Recent church related blogs have skirted the issue of responsibility and expressed values opposing perceived values.
Continuing generosity of family, neighbors and friends are both amazing and comforting. My blessings are people who cover all the visible bases while understanding the more difficult needs.
Far too often we handle difficult issues by dumping at the gates of a higher power to which we have assigned attributes build on an emotional need to explain what has no satisfying explanation.
Attempting to comfort, standard expressions give God the credit and reserve the pain for those unwilling to accept God’s offering.
When God closes a door, he opens a window.
God never gives us more than we can handle.
God reached out and saved (a name) when others perished.
There are no atheists on the battlefield.
God is trying to tell us something by the destruction of nature.
God spoke to me and showed me the way.
Pray, and God will answer…maybe not the answer to the prayer, but God’s answer to the need.
Why me? God is trying to tell me something.
The church is God’s emissary on earth, leading us to eternal life.
For the sake of communication, let’s accept that God is…that God is in a place, in the lives of people.
Why is a tsunami allowed to destroy a huge section of a country? Why do earth quakes strike down life without regard? Why is one family’s child less valuable than other children and signaled for early death? Why do the deluge of prayers for peace seem impotent? Genocide? Aids? Cancer? Addiction? Prejudice? Governmental dishonesty? All the mistakes of humans and not correctable by the powers of God?
Of course I know that these are questions from my late teens and early twenties, years of searching followed by years of diligently toiling. (Thanks, Mark.) I know that these are the questions of depression, sadness and grief, questions that are very easily answered by blindly believing, by giving God the design manual.
Perhaps an equally important question is How. How do the beautiful, caring and generous men and women continue to live their values in a culture that mocks, satirizes and bullies? How do people, with no reliance on god-rules do that diligently toiling thing while giving up chunks of self to care for those around them?
Could it be that humans have taken characteristics of those beautiful, caring and generous men and women and designed a power in that image and likeness.