When Your Feelings Are Wrong, by Anthony Esolen

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By Anthony Esolen, Crisis Magazine, June 1, 2021

 Anthony Esolen, a contributing editor at Crisis, is a professor and writer-in-residence at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts. He is the author, most recently, of Sex and the Unreal City (Ignatius Press, 2020).


Anthony Esolen

“If I have to choose between my feelings or experiences and the Bible,” I heard someone say recently, “it’s impossible for me to choose the Bible.”

Well, people lie about their feelings all the time, to others and even to themselves. Very often, “He offended me” means “I was looking for a way to hurt him, and he handed me this delightful opportunity.” But let’s grant that the speaker is sincere.

A moment’s thought will suffice to show that what this person says cannot be true. Of course we can choose to act against our emotions, and it is a mark of maturity to recognize that often we are duty-bound to do so. The soldier in the line of terrible gunfire wants to run away, but he holds his ground because his duty demands it. A lawyer is called on to defend a miserable human being, and so he does his best to keep his feelings away from his defense. …