As anti-intellectualism seeps into our churches and our government, Mark Sandlin over at The God Article has a timely article on this trend:
“Stupid Is As Stupid Does”: Possibly the two places that most clearly show our embracing of ignorance are church and state. From gay bashing Christians who when engaged by someone presenting biblical hermeneutics simply quote scripture, call names and question your piousness to politicians who don’t even know that the first amendment directly addresses the relationship between religion and government, the dumbing down of America has pounced on us and now it is just batting us around until it decides to devour us.
When we make kings and queens of the ignorant we become a nation of fools. I don’t want anyone serving this great nation that isn’t quite a bit more intelligent than me. Every time I see a candidate doing well who clearly isn’t among the top political minds our nation has to offer, I don’t think, “Well how refreshing, a commoner like me.” I think “Holy shit, that person could be helping run the nation!”
I have believed for some time that we have a responsibility to help those in our churches and those in our communities understand that being smart, intellectual, learned, or whatever else you call it is not a sin and neither makes one an enemy of God nor an enemy of the people.
Listening to people and perspectives that are different from you is not dangerous, it is helpful and works to broaden your horizon and, brace yourself, you may even learn something. I know too many people in the various communities I have lived in and in the various churches I have been in to know that not everyone is anti-intellectual, they aren’t even in the majority, but for some reason they are gaining ground and pushing their agenda against seminary educated pastors and actually educated politicians.
We, as the people of this nation, have a responsibility to show those around us just how beautiful and precious a thing education is, but we cannot just do it with catchy slogans and hip social media campaigns. It takes time, energy, and effort. It means building relationships with people and being open and honest about our views and perspectives and allowing them to do the same. It means leading by example.
It means that we, the self-professed intellectuals, never become complacent with our own knowledge and that we continue to grow and change and learn so that we can make our world a better place by becoming ourselves better people.