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Leaders today are urged to trust their feelings more than their rational thinking processes. I say this advice is devastating to leadership effectiveness. I do, however, believe in spiritual leadership as opposed to the cold and calculating leader who uses his or her logic to trample the emotions and needs of people only to acquire their personal goals. It’s important for leaders today to be both logically and emotionally intelligent.
I often hear people setting logic and emotional intelligence against one another. Emotions are said to be the original and natural state of man and we can only return to wholeness by returning to this natural state.
For example, the author of one website on the topic says: “I believe emotions are our body’s original language.” If emotions are the original language, then logic and reason must be degeneration from this original state.
Even among my fellow Christians, I sometimes encounter this antipathy toward reason and logic. We are encouraged to let go of our human reasoning and get in touch with our emotions and to follow our feelings to guide us into the truth.
Truth, however, comes from logic, experience, and from the Scriptures. No inherent contradiction exists between these three sources of truth.
Einstein discovered truth when he discovered E=MC2. This did not come from the Bible but from the scientific method which combines logic and experience. As Christians, we believe God is the author of E=MC2 and Einstein merely discovered the work of God, but there is no contradiction between them.
Of course, both pseudo-science and also pseudo-theology are problems. Neither is in line with truth when truth is understood as any statement aligned with reality. Pseudo-science settles into a theory and ceases to expose itself to potential disconfirming data.
Pseudo-theology is the same; it is what happens when Christians settle into certain theological positions and refuse entrance of disconfirming data such as passages of the Scriptures that don’t fit their theology.
Nevertheless, in spite of the abuse of science by some, the scientific method continues to be a highly reliable way to explore and discover truths about God’s universe.
On the other hand, to surrender to emotions as the language of dialogue is to revert to barbarism. Emotions, such as fear and pride, have certainly played a vital role in the human divisiveness plaguing the world through the ages. To surrender to their dominance, however, is not the answer. Instead, what we need are more theological scientists: those who are willing to expose their positions to the arduous task of dialogue.
Emotions are fundamentally unreliable as a source of truth. I was sitting in an airplane once awaiting departure. Suddenly I jumped as I had the keen sensation that our plane was moving forward and would crash into the wall of the terminal. Then I realized that in fact the plane next to us was moving. My feelings had nothing to do with the facts.
No contradiction exists between reason and emotional intelligence and true spirit is always congruent with true science. Leaders today must become masters of both worlds as they understand the impact of emotions while allowing logic and reason to determine their behavior.
What do you think? Are emotions overemphasized in our society? What is the potential danger of following a feeling-driven agenda?
Greg Waddell provides consulting services for churches and organizations. Contact Dr. Waddell today at gregwaddell[at]leadstrategic.com to discuss the needs of your organization.