Christianity has to be understood emotionally

To understand Christianity, it helps to understand it not just on a theological or abstract level, but on an emotional level – because Christianity is not just abstract theorizing, but a set of practices.

This is why music that demonstrates Christian ideas is important, or movies, or paintings, and so on.

Consider the concept of ‘peace’ in Christianity. I didn’t realize that when people say ‘Peace be with you’ at Mass, say, this is meant to refer to an emotional state. It is a blessing – so they are willing that the other person have inner peace, and at the same time (in theory) creating that peace in themselves (which they then intend to the other person). This reflects the saying attributed to Jesus of Nazareth that

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” (John 14:27)

For people to really get that Christians are talking about something good (an inner calm or peace), it helps to connect that with something which makes sense to contemporary people – nature, meditation, and so on, or to convey it through music, paintings, and so on.

(Indeed, things like spending time in nature, contemplative prayer, and so on can be part of the practice of developing an inner calm or peace in Christianity – which in turn is understood as part of connecting to God.)

So, this focus on inner peace, say, is important and useful, but to make an actual connection with people who are in, say, the secular world, one has to go beyond rote words and to effective conveyance of what those words refer to – i.e., create an emotional understanding.

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