Anti-intellectualism: The Trojan Horse Within the Church
by Paul Gould
We are in trouble. We no longer possess, as a culture, the ability to think well about the things that matter most. When it comes to thinking about the nature or existence of God, the purpose of life, or the morality of war, homosexuality, or abortion, we are guided more by our feelings than reason. When we want to find knowledge, largely, as a culture we look to scientists and not philosophers or theologians. As a result, our culture is fixated on image, celebrities, experience, slogans, and thirty-second sound bites. We no longer possess the ability to think well about things that matter most. And the church is no different than the broader culture it finds itself within.
But this is not how it is supposed to be. Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus spelled out how His community of followers was to understand themselves:
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?” (Matthew 5:13)
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The world has lost its saltiness. It is in decay. It is everywhere cracked. Further, Christianity and the church have largely been marginalized, existing on the edges of a now secular society without a public voice. And the Christian witness and conscious is muted, because our lives are as fragmented as our neighbors.
According to J.P. Moreland, this decline all began with the emergence of anti-intellectualism in the church beginning in the middle 1800s. As Christians began to become intellectually shallow and theologically illiterate, we lost our voice and withdrew from culture…
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