The character of discourse in the realm of religion also differs from the one we normally adopt in scholarly or scientific discussions. In the realm of scholarly discourse logic reigns supreme. Or it should. It is the discourse of fine distinctions, precise terminology and rigorous analysis. In that theoretical realm one persuades by reasoned argument. Not so in the realm of religion. There the language of speech is emotive, like the language of therapy and of love and of passion. What is said in that realm makes us feel at home or raises our blood pressure. The language of religion aims to convict and is directed at the heart. It makes one squeal with glee or squirm uncomfortably. To understand the meaning of this language demands empathy of the heart rather than logic of the head.
The language of religion is the language of soul. It is deliberately provocative. It makes one happy or sad or angry. To understand soul one needs to park one’s reason and open one’s heart. It requires empathy rather than analysis.
Harry VanBelle, emeritus professor of psychology, Christian psychologist and psychotherapist – 2013
…his spiritual pleasures had nothing to do with turning them over or justifying them in words. Words were with him a mere accomplishment, like dancing. When he was by himself, his pleasures were almost vegetable. He would slip into the woods towards Acheres, and sit in the mouth of a cave among grey birches. His soul stared straight out of his eyes; he did not move or think; sunlight, thin shadows moving in the wind, the edge of firs against the sky, occupied and bound his faculties. He was pure unity, a spirit wholly abstracted. A single mood filled him, to which all the objects of sense contributed, as the colours of the spectrum merge and disappear in white light.
(The Treasure of Franchard, Robert Louis Stevenson, 1887 )
Stevenson was a prolific writer with a poetic gift of description, who deserves to be better known than for his romping Treasure Island or the horror classic Jekyll and Hyde.