Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Make Your Emotions Be Based on Your Beliefs Not Vice Versa

I've met countless number of people who have beliefs based on their desires.

What I mean by this is when it comes to believing in something, whether it be a religion or lack thereof, the criterion for them embracing the belief is whether or not it agrees with their emotions and desires, regardless if it is the truth or not.

Like if a person has their beliefs refuted in front of them and there is no possible way for an intellectual rebuttal to respond to the refutation and this person continues to live in a world of denial of reality and truth, then he is basing his beliefs on his desire, not truth nor reality.

A person who used to be a drug addict, gang member, prostitute, suicidal, and so on now is a "born again" whatever will preach to you to death, and when you refute his beliefs, it doesn't faze him because he believes not because of intellectual reasons but for emotional reasons. In other words, his beliefs are based on emotions and not his emotions are based on his beliefs. Truth to him is what makes him happy not what is based on irrefutable reality.

Emotions change. It can betray you. It doesn't explain anything to you; it just makes you react. Reaction without thought is not what you want to base your beliefs on; it is thought that drives the reason to believe: only thought can process reality, emotions can only respond (not process) to reality.

So if I confused anyone of you, let me break it down in simple terms and you then think about what I meant by the words I am typing right now:

Base your emotions on beliefs and not your beliefs on emotions...


At 1:05 PM, Blogger Rashad said...

Assalaam alaikum,

Very Zen of you Grasshopper. And no, I am not mocking you. Good post. Wasalaam

At 9:16 AM, Blogger DXB_Muslim said...

Good post mate!
I agree, it seems a lot of people base their beliefs on their emotions.
It causes people to blow up things, unfortunately.

At 12:44 PM, Blogger nazali said...

(religious) 'Beliefs' themselves are propositions to the truth, as such they are completely influenced by feelings and emotions. As they cannot be verified, they are reasoned through a person's emotions, and feelings to what is their version of 'truth'. A belief itself is born in the psyche, where it is completely susceptible to that person's emotions.

This also coheres with Islamic ideology,

"O mankind! It is you who stand in need of Allah, but Allah is Rich, free of all wants and needs, Worthy of All Praise."

"It is you who stand in need of Allah" -- 'need' is a feeling that results in a neural impluse (emotion) to seek our creator.

Truth itself is another abstruse matter. Many theories try to define what 'truth' actually entails. The closest relationship between 'truth' and 'beliefs' lies in the coherence theory of truth; the truth of a claim can be verified only if it is consistent with a set of beliefs.

At 12:49 PM, Blogger Mahdi Ahmad said...


There are many ayaat in the Quran ordering manking to "ponder" or think about the Signs and creation of Allah. We are ordered to think to reflect and understand intellectually the truth without using our emotions and "impulses" to follow whatever we *feel* is the truth.

Allah also says to "Know that [there is] Allah" and the verb used comes from the word `ilm which means knowledge. We can't know with emotions but rather we know with intellect.

At 7:23 PM, Blogger nazali said...

You changed your argument..

'beliefs' and 'truth' are not synonymous.

Interesting, but consider this: the type of 'truth' you are talking about is a religious _belief_ that is unverifiable and unempirical (you cannot observe God). And beliefs are succumbed by emotion.

That argument isn't strong enough, I know, but consider it. I'll ponder on this more later.. when I don't have to worry about a microecon exam that I have barely studied for :). Salaam.

At 8:31 PM, Blogger Mahdi Ahmad said...


What argument did I change? Islam is truth not because it is a belief but because it is a belief that can be intellectually proven to be true.

If you said you had a dream that doesn't mean since I cannot see your dream your dream cannot be proven. It can be proven to the one that experienced the dream! In other words, I don't see God does not mean that God cannot be proven.

At 10:25 PM, Blogger nazali said...


I didn't start this debate to irritate anyone.. I will just leave my last two cents and disappear ! :)

Beliefs are merely an attempt to arrive at a conclusion as to what the ‘truth’ is. Beliefs are themselves formed by our sensory and intellectual experiences. It shouldn’t be the case that beliefs are based on only emotions or only intellect.

I agree that beliefs should be justifiable through intellect.. Beliefs should have some sort of logic and one should be able to give reasonable arguments/substance as to what their beliefs entail. However, beliefs cannot be formulated without any emotion, as they are derived from the totality of our minds – comprised of both intellect _and intuition_.


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