Guiltless Living and Psychopathy

“The person who feels no guilt is psychopathic. His character structure is so impaired that he does not respond to the interests and ideal goals of his human kind but deceives himself that they do not matter. Sinless re- ligion is also deceptive. It deceives all who think it makes no difference what one believes or does. It brings confusion of truth and error, good and evil, not recognizing the distinction between values and disvalues. If re- ligion is the search for divine good, it matters supremely whether one is achieving good or evil. With lack of concern about sin there is failure to define, to declare, and to realize values. A false complacency of careless neutrality is the nadir of religious deception.” -Paul Johnson, “Psychology of Religion Revised and Expanded”

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What Thinking Is

“This is what thinking is: not the decision itself but what goes into the decision, the consideration, the assessment. It’s testing your own responses and weighing the available evidence; it’s grasping, as best you can and with all available and relevant senses, what is, and it’s also speculating, as carefully and responsibly as you can, about what might be. And it’s knowing when not to go it alone, and whom you should ask for help.” -Alan Jacobs, How to Think

There are a Lot of Ways Thinking Can Go Wrong

“So in the past few years I’ve read many books about thinking, and while they offer varying and in some cases radically incompatible models of what thinking is, there’s one trait all of them share: they’re really depressing to read. They’re depressing because even when they don’t agree on anything else, they provide an astonishingly detailed and wide-ranging litany of the ways that thinking goes astray—the infinitely varied paths we can take toward the seemingly inevitable dead end of Getting It Wrong. And these paths to error have names! Anchoring, availability cascades, confirmation bias, the Dunning-Kruger effect, the endowment effect, framing effects, group attribution errors, halo effects, ingroup and outgroup homogeneity biases, recency illusions…that’s a small selection, but even so: what a list. What a chronicle of ineptitude, arrogance, sheer dumbassery. So much gone wrong, in so many ways, with such devastating consequences for selves and societies. Still worse, those who believe that they are impeccably thoughtful turn out to be some of the worst offenders against good sense.” -Alan Jacobs, How to Think

 

Interruptions are God’s Nudges Towards Your Real Life

“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’, or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination.” -C.S. Lewis

Imputed Righteousness, a Cause for Happiness

It will always give a Christian the greatest calm, quiet, ease, and peace, to think of the perfect righteousness of Christ. How often are the saints of God downcast and sad! I do not think they ought to be. I do not think they would if they could always see their perfection in Christ. There are some who are always talking about corruption, and the depravity of the heart, and the innate evil of the soul. This is quite true, but why not go a little further, and remember that we are “perfect in Christ Jesus.” It is no wonder that those who are dwelling upon their own corruption should wear such downcast looks; but surely if we call to mind that “Christ is made unto us righteousness,” we shall be of good cheer. What though distresses afflict me, though Satan assault me, though there may be many things to be experienced before I get to heaven, those are done for me in the covenant of divine grace; there is nothing wanting in my Lord, Christ hath done it all. On the cross he said, “It is finished!” and if it be finished, then am I complete in him, and can rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, “Not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” You will not find on this side heaven a holier people than those who receive into their hearts the doctrine of Christ’s righteousness. When the believer says, “I live on Christ alone; I rest on him solely for salvation; and I believe that, however unworthy, I am still saved in Jesus;” then there rises up as a motive of gratitude this thought–“Shall I not live to Christ? Shall I not love him and serve him, seeing that I am saved by his merits?” “The love of Christ constraineth us,” “that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves but unto him which died for them.” If saved by imputed righteousness, we shall greatly value imparted righteousness.” -Charles Spurgeon