I am a left brain person, or at least I used to be. Are you a left brain person? Left brain people are usually right-handed. They are analytic people. They are linear thinkers. They like reason and logic. Left brain people are good at math and science and theory. They liked geometry in high school. They majored in engineering. They fix stuff around the house love to figure things out. They usually aren’t impulsive people and like order. They like routine. I used to be a left brain person…
Left brain Christians like religion, or at least I did. It made sense to me. If you just follow the list everything will be OK. There are no risks. The routine is predictable. There are no surprises. God fits into a nice box that you can manage. There is a logical order to everything. They follow directions really well. They love it when they are “right” and hate it when they are “wrong.” They take pride in knowing stuff and talking about the stuff they know. Linear thinkers like debate. They may not like conflict but they love debate. In subtle ways they will apply the best Socratic method to win an argument. I was a left brained religious person…
(The Socratic method is a systematic way of applying critical thinking to someones argument. You go from A to B to C to D and so on until you find a point of the argument that can’t be proven, say letter R. Once you can show letter R is wrong then the whole argument is wrong. Why? Linear thinkers and Socratic debaters all assume the most important thing in any line of reasoning is the starting point. They all believe that their starting point is absolutely right. So when the linear is found flawed then by implication the starting point was wrong so the person making the point was wrong.)
When it came to religion I could present the best linear argument for crucial doctrine. For example I could show you through a set of scriptures that if you had instrumental music in your worship you were not worshiping correctly so your salvation was in jeopardy unless you repented. Yep I bet I could still make a very convincing argument. The problem is that would be misapplied linear thinking. I really was a left brain person, and miserable…
God gave us left brain abilities. Adam needed to know how to concentrate and follow instructions. The problem is when the left brain received nourishment from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil it got all messed up. Our logic and reason center replaced our God center. Our “know it all” took over for “He knows it all.” Now fast forward and we are still applying self-learned, self-taught, self-gratifying logic and human wisdom to a God that lives outside of our carnal understanding. God so much wants to talk to us, to teach us but we are heads down, concentrating, chewing on our pencils and striving to be “right” so we can demonstrate our “rightness” to others. All the while His “rightness” is a gift for us. We don’t need our own, His is way better. Ours in unattainable and will always have wrongness. His is perfect and He gave it to us.
I am not making this up. Check out what Jesus said:
John 6:45 It is written in [the book of] the Prophets, And they shall all be taught of God [have Him in person for their Teacher]. Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to Me (AMP)
Here is the Old Testament reference:
Isaiah 54:13 All your children will be taught by the Lord, and your children will have unlimited peace. 14 You will be established in righteousness. You will be far from oppression, so you will not be afraid. You will be far from destruction, so it won’t come near you. (ESV)
Check out what Jeremiah says about this covenant we are in:
Jer 31:34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know theLord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (ESV)
Looks like to me we need to be listening to Him instead of being self-taught.
Jesus says a most remarkable thing in John:
John 6:40 My Father wants all those who see the Son and believe in him to have eternal life. He wants me to bring them back to life on the last day.” (ESV)
The word “see” here is the Greek word theóreó: to look at, gaze and is a form of Theoros – a spectator or observer, one who listens to a speech but is not asked to take action. From this Greek word we get Theory: a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, esp. one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained.
We are spectators not scientists. We aren’t gathering data based on words on pages but observing a living, Spirit energized event. The narrator in this event is the Holy Spirit.
John 6:63 It is the Spirit Who gives life [He is the Life-giver]; the flesh conveys no benefit whatever [there is no profit in it]. The words (truths) that I have been speaking to you are spirit and life.
I’m not trying to beat up all the left brain people out there. I survived 20 years in a Navy fighter cockpit by linear, left brain thinking. It allowed me to concentrate on a task and not be distracted. It gave me order to things so I could project timelines and receive critical information at the right time. Left brain thinking has saved me many times. But when it comes to the things of God, self-taught, left brain, linear thinking is deadly. I also have a very creative side. I can go way right brain in a moment. I believe I am a philosopher at heart stuck in an engineers body. I found when I let go, stopped trying so hard to figure it all out, took risks, trusted God, stopped debating and started listening…there He was. He is lovely. So why am I so intense about all this stuff? It seems I meet many miserable Christians. They really want to debate. They say “you’re a logical person, you flew airplanes, how can you believe all this stuff?” It’s easy, really. I read these verses one day and Jesus was speaking to me.
John 5:38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
God showed me that the “word,” the Logos is Jesus. It is His nature. It is His blueprint. It is His living expression. He showed me His “word,” His rhema is what He is saying to me. It is His direction for Me. It is His power to change the impossible to possible. It is His life breath. The Bible is not the “word” but the scriptures. The Bible points to the word. The Bible points to Jesus. The Bible points to the author. God uses the Bible to show us His Logos and speak to us His rhema. Without the Holy Spirit the Bible is a really good story, a source of good moral teaching but can become our idol. When the Bible is read to us by the Holy Spirit is reveals our creator. Sorry if I offend but we need Jesus not religion.
It is time to take a risk. It is time to jump off our left brain train and see where we land. God is ready to teach us. We just need to trust and listen. I was 13 years old when I got “baptized for the remission of my sins.” I was 39 years old, that’s right 39 before I saw Jesus as living. I was 46 before I trusted enough to believed that the Holy Spirit was active, powerful and in us, really empowering us to live like Jesus in love and power. I was 47 before I finally believed that God actually loved me, really. That same year I finally surrendered completely to Him. I said that I would rather die than not have all of Him, so I gave Him all of me and He showed up. Then I saw Him. I saw His Grace. I fell so in love with Him. Please don’t spend your whole life seeking your own understanding when His understanding is available. You just have to trust Him. You have to step outside your left brain life and enter His. It will be amazing He promises.
2 thoughts on “left brain + bad fruit = religion”
Seems to me both sides of the fence weren’t adequately defended here. I’m an artist, I think mostly as a left-brained person I suppose. Alot of what you said here I agree with, not to be too critical, I just think that it’s the potential of the left brain to understand and think linear or Socratic according to the logic that Scripture is based on, i.e, words. That seems to me a very important point and one that you didn’t seems to cover in the post until the end. Seeking God’s understand rather than your own. And don’t get me wrong I understand the tendencies of over obessive left-brained people… I am one… 🙂
Fellow-previous-left-brainer here…all of Him in all of me…I now use my left brain for staying focused on His love and hope, for believing rightly that the words are for the purpose of pointing to the Word, and for tenaciously pursuing the more of God and what is in the mysteries. Yay God!