One common objection formed against Christianity is the idea that Christians abandon intelligence and knowledge in favor of unreasonable, blind faith. If Christians really thought through and questioned what they believe they’d see that there is no intellectual basis for their faith. Yet instead of embracing reason, Christians choose to blindly cling to their beliefs, willfully disregarding knowledge in the process. This is a serious objection that deserves a thoughtful response.
Are Christians anti-intellectual? Do we sacrifice knowledge on the altar of blind faith? As a Christian, how do I respond to these objections?
There is no denying that many Christians have refused to think through and question what they believe and why. Some have chosen to accept their faith blindly, Others have gone through the motions of questioning their beliefs and have chosen to walk away from Christianity, while still more have found that their faith grew stronger in the process of questioning.
The real issue is not whether Christians have thought through their faith (and I firmly believe every Christian should!), but whether their faith rests upon a reliable truth. The truth and intelligence of Christianity does not rely upon the questioning of the Christian any more than the truth and intelligence of Atheism rests on the questions of the Atheist. Christianity does not stand or fall on the shoulders of ignorance or intelligence; all the honest questioning in the world will not change this fact: either God does or does not exist.
This means that the Christians’ ability to wrestle well with their faith should not be the determining factor in one’s rejection or acceptance of the Christian message. There are people who ignorantly believe the truth, just as there are intelligent people who believe a lie. We must test the intellectual truth claims of Christianity itself to decipher whether they are true or false.
It’s also worth mentioning that many of the most intellectually brilliant minds of the past, and present, have been Christians who proclaimed their faith heartily, not by rejecting knowledge, but by fully embracing its importance. Christianity is not a faith divorced from intelligence and reason. Rather, it rests on the belief that true faith is intelligent, and that knowledge points to Jesus Christ and not away from him.
Ultimately, the truth or falsity of Christianity is not dependent upon the intellectual capacity of its followers. The heartbreaking reality that some Christians dismiss knowledge does not mean Christianity rejects knowledge and is a faith with no evidential basis. For example, some Muslims are terrorists and some Atheists are very angry. But to jump to the conclusion that ALL Muslims are terrorists and ALL Atheists are angry is simply wrong. In the same way, it is wrong to jump to the conclusion that ALL Christians are anti-intellectual (and therefore Christianity is false) because some Christians have decided to believe without questioning why.
In conclusion, it is true that there are some Christians who are anti-intellectual, refusing to question their faith while dismissing knowledge. Yet there are many Christians today, and throughout history, who have discovered that the pursuit of a rich intellectual life and asking the hard questions of faith does not weaken the Christian message but actually gives it strength. Yet ultimately, the truth or falsity of God’s existence and Christianity does not rest upon the intellectual capacity of any person. Christianity is either true or it is false. Therefore, it behooves us to look into what Christianity actually says and ask, is it reliable? Is it true?
*Cross posted at Penny of a Thought