Having just received a number of messages telling me that I cannot be very educated, because I am a Christian, this wee;s SEEK question seems as pertinent as ever!
SEEK 10 – Education and Faith
Question: Is it the case that the more educated you are, the less likely you are to believe?
Bible Reading: Colossians 2:1-5
Text: “My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2-3)
There is a very strange belief that many people have in our society. We think that we are cleverer, and more intelligent than our ancestors. We have this unreasonable belief that each generation is smarter than the next – because we are ‘progressing’. But that is a blind faith – which has little evidence to support it.
As regards belief in God -the assumption is made that when human beings evolved and came out of the swamp and became conscious (incidentally the really intelligent people cannot tell us how consciousness came about) – we looked up at the sun and thought it was a god and we should worship it. Again, they don’t tell us how we came up with the idea of gods and worship. They argue that humans first of all became polytheists (worshipping trees, stars and animals as gods); then, as we became more intelligent, we became monotheists (believing only in one God); and nowadays the really intelligent people just go one step further and believe that there is no God.
This is a myth. One which is not particularly intelligent. The fact that lots of people who have been educated believe it, does not make it any more reasonable or rational. Do you remember the story of the emperor’s new clothes? The emperor was persuaded by a tailor that he could make him a grand set of clothes which could only be seen by the really intelligent. When this invisible set of (non-existent) clothes were put on, everyone wanted to appear intelligent and so they commented about how grand and beautiful they were. Until one small boy shouted out in the crowd “the emperor is naked. He has no clothes”! And then the truth became obvious to everyone.
In today’s society there are people who will tell you that intelligent people don’t believe in God. So, if you want to appear intelligent you will say you don’t believe in God. I remember being ridiculed in school – by my fellow pupils as well as a couple of teachers – when I came to believe and trust in Jesus. I had tried really hard to be an atheist – but the trouble was that it just did not make sense to me. How could everything come from nothing? Where do we get good and evil from? Why do human beings have a desire to worship? Atheism was just too dumb for me! Philosophy, art, ethics, history and even science all pointed to God – not away from him! (See ASK 8 for the question about science).
It also depends what you mean by education. When education was based upon Christian principles, pupils and students were taught how to think – not what to think. But nowadays much education is more about telling us what to think – making sure we have the ‘right’ opinions and views. It is more social engineering and indoctrination than it is education. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the more indoctrinated you are, the less likely you are to believe – but once you start questioning, thinking for yourself and seeking you are far more likely to believe.
When I tried to be an atheist, I sometimes had the view that Christians were less well educated. But then I kept meeting Christians who were very well educated (and I also met a lot of atheists who, to say the least, were not wise!). One of these is Greg Sheridan, the foreign editor of the Australian newspaper. He is a really intelligent man – and has written a wonderful book about Jesus – and some of his followers today – who are intelligent, reasonable and compassionate people.
You don’t have to have a formal education to believe or disbelieve. Although if you are indoctrinated in an atheist system you are much more likely to be an unbeliever. But please don’t make the mistake of attributing that to intelligence!
Being educated is not the same as being wise. For that you need Christ “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”. My prayer is that you will become wise!
Consider: Why do you think that some people associate belief in God with being ‘uneducated’? What harm can education do? What good can it do? What would make a good education?
Christians – The Urgent Case for Jesus in our World – Greg Sheridan.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the source of all wisdom and knowledge. By you the whole earth was created. If we want to be wise, we will know you. Lord, grant us that wisdom. Open the eyes of the blind and help us all to see your glory, Amen.
And I couldn’t resist adding this!