Did You Check Your Brain at the Door?

“The Bible Says It! I Believe it! That Settles it!”

I grew up underneath this narrow umbrella as a Southern Baptist in a small town. My father was a bivocational music minister so I was at the church literally ever time the doors were open. I grew up immersed in the stories of the church.

But, there was an unspoken rule that permeated my every encounter with God and the Bible. Don’t question the Bible! Don’t think! Just accept everything by faith! My understanding of “faith” was basically blind belief. I was supposed to accept what the Bible says because it can’t be proven. No wonder my colleagues in science laugh at the Bible! It is nothing but a bunch of fairy tales. Might as well base your life on Grimm’s fairy tales or Walt Disney’s animated shorts from the 1930’s. True, there are some morals to be learned, but to think the stories were real? Come on!

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Modern day Christians have no one to blame but ourselves. We built this castle of stupidity and now we defend it with great fervor and animation. Let me tell you a story.

It is 1925 and the town of Dayton, Tennessee has fallen on hard times. Economy is bad. Really bad. One of the town officials notices an ad in the paper placed by the ACLU. The ad offers to pay for any trial that challenges the “Butler Act” forbidding the teaching of evolution in high school. The official sees the opportunity to bring fame and fortune to Dayton. Problem is, they have to find a teacher who has violated the law and have that teacher arrested.

The local high school biology teacher refuses. But a man by the name of John Scopes has been filling in as a substitute teacher and agrees to admit he taught evolution during one of his brief stents as substitute teacher. So, he is arrested while playing tennis and taken into custody.

Enter H. L. Mencken. This famous American writer and reporter worked for a paper in Baltimore and saw an opportunity to promote his ideas regarding the superstitious nature of religion. An avid follower of Friedrich Nietzsche, he was an avid non-believer. He asked the famous lawyer, Clarence Darrow to take on the case because of his low popularity after representing the kidnappers of the Lindberg baby. Mencken had a very narrow agenda. He wanted to prove that anyone who doubted evolution, and by inference, science in favor of a superstitious belief in God was “anti-intellectual”. Thus was born and reinforced the idea that all Christians are ignorant, superstitious, uneducated individuals. This stereotype has been perpetuated in the movies, television shows, books, and in the media. And, frankly, we haven’t done much to dispel this impression!

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The New Testament concept of faith is based on the Greek word pistus. It’s meaning: to trust in something for which we have seen the evidence. Evidence! That means we have to think and analyze the evidence. Faith is NOT blind belief. Does the Bible imply that we should never think on these things? NO!

The heavens declare the glory of God. Therefore, LOOK, ANALYZE, MEDITATE on God’s creation! We see this command over and over in the Bible. We are told to “meditate” on the Word of God. That means to read, think about, and analyze God’s word in order to apply it to our lives. Jesus, in fact gave us the greatest command regarding the mind:

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your MIND, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 26:27

 

In fact, Jesus set the example of how to think and analyze the thoughts and actions of his enemies before responding with deeply thought out philosophical “arguments”.

I bring this up because I ran across and excellent post about Christian “anti-intellectualism” and I recommend the reader read and savor each quote:

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2013/03/11/5-theses-on-anti-intellectualism/

So, go pick up your brain and take it with you everywhere you go and show the world that Christians can think and have the only worldview based on real events, real people, and sound history, science, and philosophy. That is the only way we can begin to change today’s culture!

About Bruce Hennigan

Published novelist, dramatist, apologist, and physician.

Posted on March 13, 2013, in Breaking News, My Writing, Speculative Fiction and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I do think that the idea that Christians as anti-intellectual, stupid, and un-critical is a stereotype that is largely unfounded. One of my best friends is a believer, and he has provided me with some of the most challenging and stimulating debates in my life. His faith is not blind.
    Another of my friends is currently on the way to become a priest. She is not as skilled of a debater as me, so while the debates have never been as stimulating as the ones my other friend provides, she is far from stupid and her faith is something that stands up to scrutiny.

    I think that the stereotype of Christians as stupid and unthinking stems from a very vocal minority, and I sincerely hope that people recognise that. The Westboro Baptist church is not all of Christianity (Extreme example, but point still stands). There have been some very intelligent and prominent scientists and thinkers who were Christian or believers. Kirkegaard is always a favourite of mine to bring up.

    But I feel it is important to recognise that faith is a private matter, and one that should be kept private.

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  2. I totally agree and that was my point. Not all Christians are anti-intellectual but there is a tendency for the world to think of us that way. We must show them we are thinkers and intellectual and engaged in modern culture in the fields of science, history, philosophy, and the arts. I think we are seeing a Renaissance in Christian intellectualism in the past twenty years and it excites me to now end. William Lane Craig in a recent podcast talked about a letter sent to the realm of philosophy by a noted philosopher. In this letter the philosopher was alarmed at the increasing percentage of practicing and teaching philosophers who were practicing Christians. Note I said he was alarmed! There is an example of the anti-intellectual bias against Christians. After all, we believe in the supernatural and in a culture that is increasingly based on naturalism and scientism, any belief in the supernatural immediately places us in a bias. Thanks for the comments and I agree with you and find them very encouraging. I was not in any way implying that Christians are stupid. Rather, the world around us regards us as uneducated and superstitious and we must show the world our beliefs are based on rational, reasonable faith!

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