Weblog of a Christian philosophy student

Weblog of a Christian philosophy student. Please feel free to comment. All of my posts are public domain. Subscribe to posts [Atom]. Email me at countaltair [at] yahoo.com.au. I also run a Chinese to English translation business at www.willfanyi.com.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Friday, October 01, 2010

A God with emotions makes sense

Is it really a massive assumption to say that God can feel emotions?

It's true that God didn't evolve and has none of the physical components of emotion, like the release of certain chemicals in a brain, etc. That's true. But think about what emotions involve in terms of reason...

Can you feel anger without perceiving that someone has failed to meet an obligation? I don't think that you can. Can you do something on the basis of, "I will treat others the way I want to be treated," without feeling empathy? No - if you incorporate that value into your actions, then that = feeling empathy. Can you feel envy without perceiving a lack in your life? No, you have to perceive a lack in some area of your life to feel envy, etc.

So acting on certain kinds of practical reasons, or reasons to do with action = feeling certain emotions.

When you think about it logically, one would have to conclude that any kind of practical reason could probably be matched to an emotion. This would include emotions that humans have no experience of if you assume that there are practical reasons that humans never relate to but which other species do (uniquely alien or animal emotions).

So a basic emotion, a chemical emotion, like anger is actually an act of practical rationality or exercise of practical reason. In the case of anger: someone not meeting a perceived obligation.

And rationality is something that is very broad and goes way beyond evolution. Rationality is something not even restricted to the physical universe! It is something we could share with robots, aliens, and even creatures outside our universe.

So, at the end of the day, that's why I think that a God who feels emotions makes sense if you interpret emotion as rationality to do with action. Because a God who acts is a God with some understanding of emotion, of what it basically is, even if God's version of emotion is very different to ours.

And, of course, any creator God is a God of action, because God has proved He/She/It acts. Of course, a creator God has created the universe.

Going beyond this issue, a vague 'God who acts', who feels something like emotion, is different from a loving God who cares deeply about His creations, like the Christian God. But I don't see why God having no love is seen automatically to make much more sense than God having love. We probably feel that the existence of a loving God needs more of an explanation than a God of pitiless indifference. But if you, on the other hand, assume that finite reason cannot understand an infinite God, then how do we know an (infinite) God of love needs more of an explanation than an (infinite) God without love? If we can't use finite reason to understand what's going on when it comes to God?

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