The world is changing. I feel it in my fingers. I feel it in my toes.
Anti-intellectualism is sweeping through Western civilization and there is no high ground, no safe haven from the rushing tides. Constant technological advance is making modern life easier and more convenient every day, and while there are definite benefits to this, there is also a clear downside.
Shaking the lucky-8 ball of Google whenever a question arises has taken the effort out of thinking, and the ease with which modern people can get the answers has actually been demonstrated to have a negative impact on intellectual health. Even universities, the institutions of knowledge and learning are not free from this unstoppable force, albeit in a different way. While 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 cogent and coherent alternatives of opponents.
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 faith
- A disdain for the past and the history of the Church
- An over-emphasis 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 (an example being 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 gold mine that is Christianity. Apart from missing out on having your mind absolutely 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:
- Stunted spiritual growth
- A hollow worldview
- Robbing God of glory that is all His.
I pray that you will join me as over my following few articles, I attempt to delve into these consequences, demonstrating not only the harm they are causing us, but also the joy and satisfaction that we are missing out on.