Emotion usually responds faster than reason when a decision is to be made without previous consideration. Imagine a young man who did not reach to his capacity during the years of his education. His lack of knowledge and education resulted in his present financial insecurity and perhaps even future bankruptcy. Through all his unfortunate issues, he manages to meet a wonderful girl who blindly falls in love with him because of his charming bravado and dazzling good looks.
Further down the road, he begins planning his proposal to her, and he goes through the huge process of finding the right ring, seeking the girl’s parents’ permission, but most importantly, asking her at the right time in an exceptionally romantic atmosphere. He is attempting to use emotion to overwhelm any reason that might disqualify him as the one. In most cases, emotion will cause the girl to accept his proposal because it can be overpowering when set in the right mood. But later on, when the initial excitement has died down, it is highly plausible that the girl will use reason to decipher what she had really gotten herself into.
Using reason, she will acknowledge that she cannot possibly have a comfortable future with him because of his financial state and lack of willpower to change it. Therefore, emotion plays a giant role in spur of the moment decisions as well as in decisions that involve other people’s emotion. Our personal point of view changes quite dramatically when religion becomes entangled in the process of making moral decisions. First of all, over eighty-four percent of the world population believes in some type of God, deities, or Higher Power.
2 When this is put into perspective, all of those people who believe in a Higher Power have exercised some level of faith to come to that conclusion. Faith cannot completely rely on reason because of the lack of proof and knowledge we possess about any kind of “Higher Power”. Therefore, “faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true. “3 Our emotion is fundamental when making moral decisions regarding religion because it is the feeling that justifies what we feel to be true.
Religion can be considered a problem of knowledge in justifying moral decisions as how the decision is reached is biased depending on the person’s beliefs and values. Whether a person be religious or not can distort the way that person thinks and reasons. “We believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.
“4 When a person is firmly religious, he/she tends to rely on a spirit of revelation which could be classified as emotion to let them know if his/her decision is right. In relevance to religion is the suggestion of abstaining from drugs, alcohol, and the likes. As a Latter-day Saint, a Christian, I have made the decision of not partaking of any drugs or alcohol regardless of the quantity. Having made the decision before ever being faced with such a moral decision had the concept instilled within me. However, under the constant influence of the promotion of drugs and alcohol has caused my decision to waver more than once.
Emotion would attempt to override and succumb to temptation. Rarely, do I use reason to rationalize whether I should or should not because I already knew the answer. Emotion is what separates the two choices: the right and the wrong; according to my morals. The use of reason and emotion can vary between the sexes as well creating yet another knowledge issue because then, generalizations cannot be made for both male and female. Four out of the five male friends I asked about whether reason and emotion are equally necessary in justifying moral decisions answered without missing a beat that reason was more potent in handling decisions.
They later admitted that they thought that using emotion as a primary way of justifying moral decisions seemed too “girly”. This created yet another bias since every single female I asked decided that emotion is more exercised more prominently when they make decisions. Peers, friends, and family members can strongly influence what and how we think without our awareness. Emotion is inevitable. It is from deep within. Reason is an attempt at logical reasoning behind every action. Emotion cannot be put into words or described.
Much like love, joy, and fear; we cannot describe these “feelings” in such a way that others can feel it too. They have to experience it for themselves. When justifying moral decisions, emotion inevitably tilts the balance whether it is desired or not. Although it is important to acknowledge our emotion, good moral decision making involves more than just acting on our intuitions. It is possible to make a moral decision with only emotion involved so that they are not both equally necessary, but reason should be thoughtfully considered with much reasoning and perhaps less emotion.