Feelings and God

Are there such things are feelings? If feelings are random neurological changes and chemical reactions that happens to our brains how do we reconcile that with God? God created us so he created these systems which we cannot control. So is morality non existent?

They did a few psychology podcasts a while back that covered this that you may enjoy.

We are earthlings made of flesh. Feelings are not fake. They just also are not magic. They gave a biological foundation because we are biological beings.

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Why would you assume they are random?

I don’t follow the logic at all. If someone hits me in the face, I can’t necessarily control my biological or emotional reactions to the event (pain, adrenaline, shock, anger, etc.) but I have plenty of moral agency in choosing whether or not to hit them back.


Also through emotional intelligence, cognitive thinking skills, and being humble through experiences you can even develop a pattern of less intense reactions inside. You can cultivate a mind of peace to where you don’t let things get to you.

10 years ago if someone showed me and spit on me I would be super angry and react violently. I would fight back.

5 years ago I would have got really angry, but most likely not reacted violently. I would have cussed probably.

Now when these happen most of the time my heart rate barely even jumps up and sometimes I even forget to respond to them period.

Few nights ago I was at the beach just relaxing watching the stars. Some drunk guys walk buy ant step on me. Then laughed about it because they stepped on someone. I did not even feel angry. I just thought to myself, “idiots” and “ hope they don’t try to swim drunk at night “ and accidentally felt asleep for like an hour.

Driving back home i thought to myself they are lucky because several years ago I would have attacked them and it was one of those moments I get sometimes where I realized I feel mostly so much more at peace that I did not even get angry. Not even on a biological level. I had no racing heart or clinched feasts or bad mood. It was just nothing.

Your choise hitting them back i think its also not your choise. If the correct “things” happen in your brain you cant control it. Thats why i asked. Because i have heard feelings are just chemical reactions in the brain. But we cant control something like that that happens in our bodies

Of course we have feelings and they are not random. Our neurological system is primarily a means of communication and the medium of that communication is electrochemical. Does the fact that telephones use electrons in wires mean that communication is random or does not exist? Of course not. Feeling are a part of us. Talk about not being in control of them is as nonsensical as talk of not being in control of any other part of us such as reason, choices, and morality.

To be sure, a lot of what we think, feel, and do is not a matter of conscious deliberation. A great deal, if not the majority is a matter of habit and choices we made much earlier in life. The problem isn’t that our thoughts and feeling are always beyond our control but that our bad habits (sins) have taken a lot of the control away from us.

We are both biological and psychological beings. Feelings have both biological and psychological components but as psychologists have long known the causes for most feeling are primarily psychological. Not always. Various physical conditions such as a brain tumor and chemical imbalance can make our feelings go a bit haywire. But for the most part our feeling are strongly influenced by the things we hear, remember, and the things tell ourselves. Thus psychologist often seek to help us get a better handle on our feelings by examining these things we tell ourselves (or are told by others) and ask if they are really true.

Why you may ask, do feelings have a biological component? Because we are not products of design like robots or NPCs. As evolutionary psychologists are discovering, most of our feelings have roots in a long history of evolution in our ancestors with neurological systems. Certainly there are a number of feelings which are important for the survival of other animals such as fear, compassion, and desire. These are a crucial foundation for our own development, but I think it is foolish to think that it stops there. Human beings change how they live far far more rapidly than you can see in any organism by mere evolution. This is the speed of memetic evolution which isn’t hampered by nearly no inheritance of acquired characteristics that we see in genetic evolution.

As for God… The only impact I see is the need to discard this misguided notion of God as a watchmaker implying we are nothing but clever machines. Instead I think His role is that of shepherd, teacher, and parent, participating in our life as a source of inspiration, rather than the mechanistic Deist conception of designer, winding it all up, and sitting back to watch it go.

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Yes but from a biological and evolutionary perspective feelings are just random chemical reactions in the brain right? So how can we control something random?

Thanks for recommending, @SkovandOfMitaze

Here are our psychology podcast episodes that might interest you, @NickolaosPappas:


No. That is incorrect. But you give me insight into the discussion I am having in another thread. You and them are at the opposite end of the spectrum. You saying evolution is all random and them saying none of it is random. Both extremes are wrong. Randomness is certainly part of the process and the result is far from deterministic, but the random part is largely just a searching technique to find superb answers to different challenges, better than anything human engineers can produce. So while the fact that these systems exist is certainly one of many random possibilities, the result is actually far from random – rather they are highly tuned solutions. Both of you guys need to study the basics of the evolutionary algorithm!

Not only is it not simply random but the question of control is nonsensical. These feeling are part of the controls and motivations we have. Talk of controlling our desires and motivations is ridiculous – like a toddlers games of endless “whys.” The chain of causality ends in our own internal workings.

Nick, thank you for your question. There is much confusion over the question of emotions. The traditional Western of humans is mind and body. That really leaves little place for emotions Mind is the mind of rational humanity and body which is governed by basic needs as survival and sex. I think that it is this view that makes the mind the rational control of unruly urges which can be emotional.

Hopefully we are moving from this dualism to a tripartite view of Body, Mind, and Spirit. This is seen in the Freudian model of Id (body/basic needs,) Ego ((mind/thinking,) and Superego (spirit/emotions.) God gives us basic needs, but God does not put us at the mercy of these needs, but gives us ideas on how to best meet these needs and feelings of right and wrong which we need to carry our our plans.

I remember hearing a theologian on the radio warning people not to trust their emotions because they are inherently unstable, but to depend on logic and reason. There is come basic for this advice, but Christian theology is based on Love, not Logic.

Love is not really a feeling, although it can grow out of the feeling of gratitude to God and others. Love is a Relationship. It is the right relationship toward God, Father, Son, and Spirit, others, and ourselves.

In our relationship to ourselves we need to love and respect our physical needs, our minds, and our feelings. Our love for God is based on the fact that the Father so loved the World through the Spir8it that the Father gave His only Son so that whoever trusts in Him will not perish but have eternal Live with God, the Trinity. We need to love others as God loves us.

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i think what he is getting at is that even your choices to respond are similarly all based on those very electro-chemical reactions in your brain. also, your belief that you had a free choice in the matter, scientifically, was similarly caused by a previous arrangement of certain chemicals of your brain, reacting according to inevitalemlaws to the new chemical reactions caused by incoming stimuli…

every last chemical reaction that happens in our brain is ultimately the result of certain laws of physics, based on the previous arrangement, and chemicals doing what chemicals do. every chemical reaction in our brain, including those we believe reflect our “free” choices, must follow the basic laws of physics, we don’t choose our reaction or choices any more than iron “chooses to rust under certain conditions. the arrangement of our brains is so complex that no one can predict in advance what that choice is, but that doesn’t mean we were free to make it.

what choice do we make that is not caused by the inevitable result of a chain of various electrochemical reactions, each one of which was obeying not our will, but obeying the laws of physics,

i believe that is what @NickolaosPappas was getting at, did i understand correctly?

in other words, is there any particular arrangement of chemicals in our brain that are caused by our choices, or rather as science would demand, have those chemicals caused each and every last one of our feelings, reactions, and choices without exception?

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Regardless of whether this is what Nick is suggesting, it is incorrect or at least misleading. Every chemical reaction is according to the laws of physics but no they are not determined by the laws of physics. The advances in science since Laplace have shown that his demon argument doesn’t work. Even if you know all the initial conditions the most you can calculate is a probability distribution for possible results. This was very hard for scientists to accept and they suggested that there were hidden variables determining the outcome. But it turned out that this proposal could be tested and the results were negative… there are no hidden variables to determine the outcome (see Bell’s inequality), at least not within the premises of the scientific worldview. If these events are determined by something then it must be outside the scientific worldview.

So while this argument may have worked in the nineteenth century, the scientific discoveries of the twentieth century have proven the premises of this argument to be wrong.

Can you link the studies? Or suggest a book on the matter? I dont think many experiments have happend on the 20th century. Most of the studies come from the 19th so im kinda curious

Just google “Bell’s inequality.” All of this came from 20th century starting with quantum mechanics from 1900 on, then chaotic dynamics (starting in the 1970s) showed that this could not be restricted quantum events, for nonlinear systems everywhere in the physical world require the specification of the initial conditions to an infinite degree of precision and thus amplifying quantum indeterminacy to effect the direction of macroscopic events.

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Feelings are compressed thoughts, stories. There are reasons, stories behind and within them. They need talking, praying, writing out.

Another question i want to raise without making another thread that is similar to feelings is how do people with diseases feel about God.Like its easy for us to feel good about God because we are ok.I was born cross eyed.After the surgery my right eye is losing its vision as time passes .But thats nothing comparing to other diseases like progeria,or down syndrome or anything more severe.I have a friend with mild down syndrome and i love him so much.His parents raised him Christian and im glad for that.But what about the other people born with those diseases .Im sure some of them are mad at God for their condition.Does God understand that and is he accepting of some people beign mad at him?Does God unserstand where these feelings are coming from?

What sort of God couldn’t?

Yeah you got a point.I think my question is better putted as"It is a sin to be mad at God for these unfortunate things?

Er, what’s a sin?

By definition sin is faliure of ones goal.It comes from the hebrew word "Khata"meaning to fail.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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