Thoughts, Emotions, and Theology

This post is an introduction to the ideas and thoughts I have developed as a potential hypothesis for my masters work and research.

Preface: This is not the full articulation of my thoughts, this is a hypothesis that has had very little active research put into it. If any of my thoughts seem to reflect the work of a scholar, theologian, counselor, or pastor that you have read works by please let me know so that I can incorporate their work into my research process. This will likely turn into an academic paper that I attempt to publish within the next few years.

Cognitive thought is the final stage of thinking. It has two components, emotional and logical, cognitive-emotional thought is faster than cognitive-logical thought. Cognitive-logical is preceded by cognitive-emotional, which is concerned with community and identity. Sub-cognitive thought also has a logical/informational and emotional split. Cognitive-emotional thought is preceded by sub-cognitive-emotional thought and utilizes sub-cognitive informational processes to evaluate the security component of sub-cognitive-emotional thought. The security component of sub-cognitive-emotional thought is preceded by the attachment center, which might be philosophically most similar to Hume’s passions if one contradicts his lack of teleology.

Taking all of the above into account, one can then postulate that theological thinking is emotionally involved and is rightly recognized as having subjective input. However, subjective input does not necessitate the conclusion of relativism if one remains skeptical of the thought process involved in one’s theological thinking. Borrowing from the field of counseling and clinical psychology I would further postulate that there is such a thing as behavior that is purely cognitive and thus can be manipulated with tools from cognitive-behavioral therapies. This then brings about the final thought of this hypothesis: It is possible to rewire subjective theological inputs that arise throughout the sub-cognitive process through the utilization of Cognitive Behavioral Therapies in conjunction with Scripture.

I recognize that this hypothesis has many potential failure points when one considers the vast diversity of Christian Thought, however, if one considers a broader context of Historic orthodoxy and only seeks to rewire subjective inputs that are out of alignment with the major historical schools of Christian thought represented by the Global History of Christianity then I do believe it is possible for this Hypothesis to produce meaningful research in the intersection between Apologetics, Systematic Theology, Biblical Counseling, and Christian Philosophy of Mind.

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