by Cody Knox
The world is changing. I feel it in my fingers. I feel it in my toes.
Anti-intellectualism is sweeping through Western civilisation and there is no high ground, no safe haven from the rushing tides. Constant technological advance is making modern life easier
and more convenient, and while there are definite benefits to this, there is a clear
Shaking the lucky 8 ball of Google whenever a question arises has taken the effort out of thinking, and the ease with which we find answers has been shown to hurt intellectual health.
Even universities, the institutions of knowledge and learning, are not free from this unstoppable force, albeit in a different way. Although culture at large falls prey to
not thinking hard about much at all, many academics have fallen prey to only thinking
one way, blind and deaf to the coherent alternatives that opponents offer.
As with most cultural contagions that ravish the Western mind, the Church also falls victim, despite our allegiance to Another Land.
I have seen this most notably in the following ways:
– A separation between theology and
piety (what you believe and how you live)
– Redefining childlike faith as childish
– A disdain for the past and the history
of the Church
– An overemphasis on being led subjectively
and directly by the Holy Spirit, to the
neglect of his promised means of grace
(the Word preached)
– The belief that doctrine divides
(shown by the existence of denominations).
I don’t sound the alarm as a concerned scholar, sitting in my ivory tower and nodding
at all your indiscretions, but rather, as Mark Noll put it, a “wounded lover” of the
intellectual goldmine that is Christianity.
Apart from missing out on having your mind blown by the truths that the Bible
teaches, an aversion to thinking in the Christian life is actually a sin.
The command to love the Lord our God with all our hearts does not stop there, but is a call to devote every fibre of our beings to the pursuit of grace and knowledge, given to us through Jesus Christ. Attempting to love God without knowledge of him is tantamount to attempting to love your partner or spouse while avoiding learning any of their hobbies, joys or deepest fears.
The way I see it, anti-intellectualism in Christians will result in three things:
– Impotent Christian witness
– Stunted spiritual growth
– Robbing God of glory that is all his.
Cody Knox lives in Wellington. He works in ICT for the New Zealand government and in his free time he loves to read, write, and run.