Christianity is so anti-intellectual! You have to be stupid to believe in God! I’m too smart to believe in God. I am too cunning, I discovered all of the secrets that dumb Christians don’t know! Religion is a crutch for the stupid and easily lead!
Sound familiar? They do to me as I likely said them all at one time in my life before I came to Jesus. I was the king of scoffing skeptics. But more importantly, you hear them more and more each day as our culture attempts to dismiss following Jesus as ancient superstition only still followed by the ignorant and the easily tricked. President Obama referred to them as bitter clingers to religion. From the halls of academia to the trendy bars of Soho, intelligence has been falsely set up as being in conflict with following Jesus. Culture says if you want to be considered super duper smart you have to believe that God is not real – you want to be considered super duper smart, right?. The easy refuge from the truth of the Gospel of Jesus has become to dismiss it without examination because the hearer declares snootily that they are too intelligent to believe in sky fairies. Embrace, study and celebrate diversity says the world, except Christianity, that is just for idiots stay away from that.
There is a major problem with this line of reasoning though. It is simply untrue. Even a cursory examination shows that many Christians are more intelligent than the average bear….or the average scoffer.
CS Lewis was super duper smart. Likely much smarter than you are reader. I don’t mean that as an insult as he was brighter than most people. Isaac Newton was smarter than most of us combined. The orthodoxy of his faith has been in dispute recently, but there is no dispute that he believed in God and was one of the intellectual giants upon whose shoulder most modern scientist stand. The Apostle Paul, the guy who wrote a good portion of the New Testament was off the charts brilliant. Based upon the way he wrote, it is believed that he could think at a high level in multiple languages. Thomas Jefferson was arguably a deist but was certainly brilliant as were many of the Founders. Most believed in God with many subscribing to a specific Christian faith and their faith influenced the foundation of the US. I learned recently that one of my church friends scored perfectly on the US college entrance exams while another speaks a half a dozen languages. Another designs lasers while yet another is studying for his PHD in a field that most don’t even understand the basic concepts and has introduced mind blowing advancements in the field. Depending upon the crowd you are in at any moment, you can have a 3 Star General or a rocket scientist as part of your Bible study group and it would not be unusual. God calls people from all backgrounds.
It is not a pride thing or IQ contest I am working on here, as in an average church you will find people of all walks of life with different educational backgrounds and different IQ levels and God pays particular attention those who have little and have been rejected and marginalized by society. But for those who scoff and take an easy way out of the biggest decision in life, scoffing and saying, ” I am way to smart for that” it must be pointed out – there are many in the family of God who are much smarter than you. It is just a fact and with that superior intelligence they examined the evidence presented for God and came to a different conclusion. It does not mean automatically that they are correct or that the Gospel is true, just that the belief that you have to reject God in order to be smart is untrue.
Christopher Hitchens was a prominent atheist or anti-theist who appeared all over the world presenting a cool and appealing case for atheism as the only choice for those with half a brain. He seemed really smart when making the presentation and went out of his way to demean his opponents as ignorant and lacking in proper brain function. I am glad that he wasn’t around when I was younger as angry want to be significant teenage me would have eaten up his kind of scoffing cool like candy. Isaac Newton was likely smarter than two or three Christopher Hitchens combined. Newton believed in God and wrote extensively on the prophecies of the Bible. He may not have been snarky and arrogant and may not have made a cool guest on late night TV, but he certainly eclipsed Hitchens on any brain power scale.
Newton, Hitchens, Lewis, Jefferson, and my nerdball friends being on one side of the question of God or the other ultimately doesn’t determine the truth of whether God exists or not and I understand that clearly. My request though in light of the presence of great minds on both sides of the debate throughout history is that you not do what I did as a younger man. Scoff away a meaningful examination of faith in Jesus in the name of feeling smart. After examination, you may come to a different conclusion, but at least it would be an honest process.