Ramon Arias | October 13, 2014
No doubt, emotions are part of our make up. When we analyze human emotions from the psychological and philosophical perspective, we learn how they leave deep and destructive effects, which can impact generation after generation when they are isolated from the true biblical perspective.
The most well-known of the Greek philosophers, Plato and Aristotle, had very defined views about emotions and their effects. They interpreted life, the world and the universe through the spectrum of their acquired beliefs, which were based upon emotions. Others have built upon Plato’s and Aristotle’s worldview as well but have added theology into the mix. For example, Augustine (354-430 A.D.) influenced Christianity for centuries by mixing it with Plato’s ideas. His most famous writing is The City of God. Then came Thomas Aquinas (1225 or 1227-1274) who is recognized as a great theologian and philosopher. His leanings were more towards Aristotle’s philosophy and his explanation of the universe is not from a Biblical perspective but from observation and reason. What Thomas Aquinas did was to elaborate by extracting from Aristotle’s writings the concepts that agreed with Christianity. He wrote a voluminous work titled Summa Theologica (Summary of Theology). He stated that even though there is a difference between philosophy and theology, and between reason and revelation he did not see any contradiction. He attributes the source of knowledge to God.
By mixing Greek thought into Christianity, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas couldn’t make their generation and succeeding generations any better. Some have taken advantage of this mixed worldview to consolidate their brand of Christianity.
The writings of the Greek philosophers have not only influenced well-known Christians, but have caused many others to elaborate on the theory of emotions and their reaction to different events, which relate to their lives and society as a whole.
As a carry-over from the 19th century, the 20th century reaped horrible human destruction due to the manipulation of emotions as they played out in different ideological disciplines based upon evolution and economics. For instance, Socialism, Communism-Marxism, Fascism and other ideological “isms” have effectively used emotions to manipulate the masses in their quest of reaching a utopian society. These worldviews continue to blood-soak the earth, enslave billions of people and prolong human misery; no nation is out of their reach.
Moving the masses through the manipulation of the emotions is easily attainable when ignorance is a dominant factor in society. The overwhelming majority of the world’s population is not being successful in defending itself against this poisonous indoctrination. The problem has always been on how to identify what is emotional manipulation and when it is being implemented.
Two thousand years ago Paul addressed the issue of emotional manipulation in his letters to the new Christian population. To the Colossians he wrote:
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
Philosophy is a Greek word to express “love of knowledge, pursuit of wisdom.” That desire for knowledge and wisdom has been with the human race from the dawning of creation, and it has not stopped nor can anyone say, “I have arrived.” Paul was not against all philosophy, only the ones whose source is diabolical.
Paul warned the Colossians to be on guard against being fascinated by human philosophy; this is the same wave of ideas sweeping the world nowadays.
Regardless of all the technological advancements of our time, the same old lie from Satan (Genesis 3:4-5) infects humanity through those who proclaim to be more knowledgeable than anyone else on how humans should live. The big problem is the disregard of God’s moral law as revealed in Scripture.
For thousands of years, man continues to offer the same rotten solutions to the problems of his own making. Society falls into an unnecessary permanent state of social sickness generation after generation. The Colossians were warned of deceit and dishonesty, which is the outcome of human tradition. This is no different than the result of secular humanism and religious mix of contradictory doctrines that plague God’s people in our time.
When people do not know or rebel against God’s plan, they find themselves dissatisfied with everything in life and get tired of chasing after the winds of materialism and empty promises.
Notice Paul’s warning to young Timothy:
“O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge,’” (1 Timothy 6:20).
“But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness,” (2 Timothy 2:16).
To the Christians at Ephesus he wrote of the importance for leadership to train and disciple in the way God expects:
“…until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (Ephesians 4:13-14).
The manipulation of emotions is evil, regardless of its source. How do we know a person and a society is being manipulated? The quality of life or lack thereof is evidence enough. It is up to you to know and discern everything you see and hear if it is good or evil. Beware of babblers; preachers and politicians are no exception.