Greta Christina answers a question from a reader, who wants to know if she thinks “it’s possible for an intelligent, reasonable, and well-informed person to be a Christian? Or do you feel that no reasonable, intelligent, and well-informed person could possibly believe in traditional Christianity?” Her answer:
Yes, I think it’s possible for an intelligent, reasonable, and well-informed person to be a Christian.
But I don’t think Christianity is an intelligent, reasonable, or well-informed position.
Intelligent, reasonable, and well-informed people can be wrong. They can be profoundly wrong. They can be stubbornly wrong. They can be deeply attached to wrong ideas, with contorted and absurd rationalizations for their wrongness. They can be wrong about big, important things. In fact, I would argue that this is universally true: every intelligent, reasonable, and well-informed person is bone-headedly wrong about something. Being an intelligent, reasonable, and well-informed person doesn’t mean every opinion or idea or belief you have is intelligent, reasonable, and well-informed. You can be an intelligent, reasonable, and well-informed person, and still have dumb, unreasonable, ill-informed ideas.
As the kids these days like to say: This. Exactly this. I know I do a lot of bashing of Christians who hold particularly dumb ideas, but I emphatically do not believe that all Christians are either ignorant or stupid. And Greta is right, we all harbor dumb ideas — even those of us who pride ourselves on being rational and thoughtful. We all have blind spots, we all compartmentalize, we all behave and think in a tribal manner rather than a reasonable one at least some of the time. That should prompt us to temper even our harshest criticisms with at least a small amount of humility (though here again, we all fail to do that at times, no one more than me).