Monday, 30 March 2009
Anti-intellectualism in the Church?
Warning: This is a rant!
Not that this can be said of all churches (I went to a very positive one this sunday) but do you find that on the whole most churches and christians have at least some form of anti-intellectualism? I find it comes in a few guises:
1) Its O.K. to be dumb: Now i'm not talking of people who try to learn but it takes them ages or cannot learn, and neither am I talking of ignorance. I'm talking here of people who plod along and refuse to study because they are lazy. Whether that be biblical studies or quantum physics. It happens for both men and women. For men it tends to be justified due to their practicality and for women it tends to be allowed as thier minds are on other things: Family, etc. As such any educated persons are seen as freaks and are sidelined.
2)Uniformity: Some people seem to allow intellectualism as long as the boat isn't rocked. As long as your intellegence leads you to the same conclusion they have come to and taught in thier ignorance then it is o.k. but God forbid that you come to another conclusion. You are seen as a dissenter and as at risk from falling from the true faith.
3)A danger: This links in with No. 2 but often, and I find this extremely common, you are seen tolerated when you disagree but seen as a danger to others and are therefore shadowed by all elders so they are ready to jump in incase you mention, or perhaps even convice someone of something they disagree with.
Why can't Christian intellectuals be seen as a normal thing, a blessing to the church. A people who push past what the church is teaching to test the water, so to speak, incase they discover something that we are mistaken on or have missed. People who are more obsessed with truth, the Bible, with Jesus, then they are about established 'Orthodoxy' or conformity. Yes, perhaps they will find a dead end or will be mistaken but they is part of the beautiful journey as a disciple of Jesus. What if Luther had conformed and was too scared to question the status quo? What if the church encouraged his searching rather then sought to quench it?
Perhaps if instead of trying to squash people into a box, to conform to what we think the Church could grow. What if our church is full of Luthers, Bonhoeffers, Polkinghornes and we're stopping then or slowing them? Perhaps if we let them go, let them do what they were sent to do the church would grow again, would come back to life again and there wouldn't be such an awful view of Christians as idots by non-christians.
Till next time