Theological Thursday – Take 2 – Christians Are Stupid?

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Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker.”
I’m thinking… I’m thinking…. I’m thinking…..

Did you know that if you Google, “Christianity is Stupid” you get more than 23 MILLION results?  There is even a song about it, complete with full length music video.

Well, dang!  That’s a lot of stupidity!  And, frankly, I’m rather insulted.  I mean, I’m a Christian.  I may not be on Parr with Carl Sagan or even Ben Stein but give me a little credit.  I can read and write and do arithmetic!  Well… Simple arithmetic.  I am sort-of awful at Calculus.

So, I have to wonder. Am I putting my faith in something that stupid people are drawn to?  Are NON-believers stupid?  Why all the hate and name-calling?  Does the Bible have anything to say about this?

After a little bit of pondering, and a little bit of research, here is the deep and profound fundamental truth I came up with:

God gave you a brain!

The very first chapter of the Bible tells us, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

What does that mean, “in the image of God?”

Well… what does the Bible tell us about God?  It tells us that God is not a physical being, but something infinite.  So, obviously, this verse isn’t talking about our bodies but rather, that which makes us… us.  You know, that indelible something that every movie ever made about distopias and alien invasions refers to.  The human spirit.  Our collective spunk.   We, as a race, are thinking, questioning, probing beings.  We have been asking, “Why?” for as long as we’ve had the ability to speak.  And, if you read your history, “Why?” is almost always quickly followed by, “But, what if?”  We strive to figure out a better way. To create. To improve.  To understand.

I believe that this is what it means to be in the image of God.  No other species on Earth strives to create and understand as humans do. (I don’t know about species off the earth.  Perhaps that’s a post for another day.)

But there are a few Christians (Alright. I relent. Maybe more than a few.) who are very scared.  I don’t know why.  I’m not sure exactly what they are scared of.  Change? The unknown?  The fires of Hell? (Hell is another whole other post.  Maybe someday I’ll work up to that, but it’s going to be a while). Who can say?  But they are terrified.  They are the ones who burned “witches” at the stake for using herbs to ease the pain of laboring women.  They are the ones who empowered the inquisitionists and murdered Socrates.  They insisted that the Earth was the center of the universe because of a single Bible verse, taken out of context.  They have hindered the expansion of scientific thought again and again throughout history.

But the club of the fearful is not exclusive to Christianity!  The Romans slaughtered the Christians because they were afraid of them. The Egyptians killed the Hebrews for the same reason.  Fascists eliminate dissidents out of fear and so do Communists.

But we are not created to be blind creatures of faith, living in fear of every challenge to our beliefs.  We are created in the image of God!

In an effort to make me a well-rounded person, the college I attended made me take a chemistry class.  This class was taught by a tiny little mad scientist of a woman who had worked on a team that had attempted to bring forth life from non-living material.  “How could you?” I asked. “Don’t you think that’s wrong? It seems like you are playing God.”  She gave me an answer that, quite literally, changed my life.  “I am created in the image of God, designed to be like Him,” was her quiet answer. “Should I not create life, as God did?”

Whoa.

I have been pondering that statement for nearly 15 years now and it still makes my brain throb.

Go ahead.  Read it again.  I’ll wait.

………..

It’s a HUGE statement, don’t you think?

Thomas Aquinas (if you don’t know anything about T.A. I highly recommend learning.  He was an amazing thinker, far ahead of his time.) said that “all truth is God’s truth.”

That is yet another huge statement.

It means that, if the sun is the center of our solar system it is that way because that is the way God made it to be.  And there is nothing to fear in that.  If God did not want it that way it wouldn’t be that way.

If there are medicines that ease the pain of childbirth it is because God created herbs to have healing powers.  If God didn’t want herbs to work that way they wouldn’t.

And we can extrapolate that into modern day arguments.

Some Christians are die-hard literal 6-day creationists.  They argue that they Bible says God created the heavens and earth and all contained therein, with a spoken word, in the course of six 24-hour time periods.  Others take varying views on the creation story, saying that it is metaphorical or poetic or that the word “day” is mis-translated or…. Well… you get the idea.  And then there are folks who have thrown themselves lock, stock & barrel behind evolution and dug their heels in against any other ideas.

These various “camps” fight like second graders on the playground.  They call names and stomp their feet in anger.

But why?  If all truth is God’s truth what in the world do we have to fear?  Do we not grow and discover by challenging one another?  If God made the earth in 6 days then, eventually, our science will catch up to reality and back that fact up.  If all science points to creation taking place over a long period of time then that’s the method that God used to create the earth.

“As the Americans say, truth will out!”  (One of my very most favorite lines from the Harry Potter movies.)

I think that the people behind the 23 million websites discussing stupid Christians are, themselves, in fear.  But why?  If Christians are so hare-brained, won’t natural selection eventually thin us from the herd?

And what about other people of faith?  Are the millions (billions?) who follow Mohammed or Buddha or pray to their ancestors or the forest spirits stupid?  I’d be willing to bet that there are millions (billions?) of brilliant, thinking people who have given serious consideration to the reason behind their faith.  Does faith sometimes push us to act on something we don’t understand?  Yes. Often.  But that does not mean that we, the people of faith, lack understanding of our faith.

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”  It is a good thing to question one another.  In love.  Always, in all things, love.  Above all: Love.  Be a good hippie! Peace and love, man.  Peace and love.

As in all things, it is a mistake to paint an entire group of people with a single brush.  And, in this hippie’s opinion, it is a mistake to argue by name calling.  If that is what you have resorted to, you have already lost the debate.  Let us ALL use the big, beautiful brains God gave us and figure out the answers to ALL the questions.  Together.

As always, I am curious (because I’m a thinking person!) about your ideas on the subject of faith and intelligence.  I am always thrilled to see your comments.  Please share!

“Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.” -Albert Einstein

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11 responses »

  1. So then, should we embrace gay people and not restrict their civil rights because God created them that way?
    “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” hehe. That sounds dirty.

    • We should not restrict the civil rights of gay people because we live in a country founded on freedom and, within that system, it is wrong to impose the moral beliefs of one group upon another if it does not, in any way, directly harm anyone. At least, that is this hippie’s opinion.

  2. A little respect goes a long way for sure, but when someone fervently believes the Earth is 6,000 years old and there were dinosaurs on the Ark what are you supposed to do? It’s like beating your head against a brick wall. I think the ire comes from the fact that the dinosaur on the ark people that are shaping our legal and education system in this country. Certainly the ire shouldn’t be directed at all Christians, that’s counterproductive. Certainly, though, we shouldn’t have so much leeway for the fruits of the world because of religious tolerance. And I disagree with ‘ol Albert. Science is never lame. 🙂

    • Agreed! It can be frustrating. One of the smartest people I know – someone I respect immensely in his profession – and I disagree strongly on the young earth/old earth subject. Some times when we talk about it I’m just left with my head in my hands. But in showing respect to each other we open the door to honest discussion and, because of that discussion I’ve been led to read things that have taught me much and I hope he would say the same thing. Because we are able to talk about our differences… or perhaps because we are able to talk AROUND our differences we have both grown. If I had put up a big metal wall the moment I first heard his opinions I would have lost out on some great insights as well as on a valued friendship. The legislation/education thing can be tricky. There are so many “versions” (not sure if that’s the word I’m looking for) of creationism/intelligent design/evolution/etc that I would NEVER want to be the one to try to decide what goes in the textbooks! However, I think when we’ve finally fully come to understanding the real truth it will be as obvious and non-controversial as a round earth or a heliocentric solar system. As for Albert… I have a feeling he LOVED it when people disagreed with him. He seemed to have been the kind of guy that thrived on a good challenge. 🙂

  3. Great Post! I agree God gave us the brains we have. I will say that I haven’t decided fully on whether the world was made in six days or many thousands or millions. I do think that if God is who he says he is I can’t just dismiss the possibility because I can’t prove it today. So I am taking the approach this next year in homeschooling to teach my daughter all the different thoughts on it and I will let her ask questions and decide for herself.I am offended though that because I believe in Christ that I am some how less intelligent. I like the food for thought though.

    • I love that approach! We are just starting home school in the fall and I’ve been frustrated by science curriculum. Perhaps I’ll take the lead from you and offer a “buffet” of sorts and maybe we’ll all learn something together. It is offensive… isn’t it? It makes me crazy that there are people out there who, as soon as they learn you have faith, assume you’ve given up your abilities to think for yourself. We should all strive to be like the Bareans (Acts 17) who “questioned constantly” and were highly praised for doing so. If God wanted us to be blind robots He would have made it so. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. Interesting. I tend to see God as a mystery and He will only reveal to His followers what He wants to reveal. I wonder. If man was to finally realize his limitations, if God would then reveal His limitlessness to us. I too, wrote a post about being in the image of God. Going back to the Hebrew language of the words used argues against your teacher’s quote. May God bless you in your quest. http://futureflyingsaucers.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/may-i-encourage-you-2/

    • I do agree that we will never know more than he wants us to. Interesting on the Hebrew… I’ll look into it. And I’ll stop by your blog for a visit too. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

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