January 23: “Ask For Wisdom”
(By Avoiding Knowledge)
I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t looking forward to my daily obligatory review of the little book you gave me. First, I put it off until after my coffee. Then, after lunch. But, then I noticed a couple nagging private messages from readers asking when the post would be up. Incidentally, one of the messages was from a Christian who has been following the little project. So, I hope that you’re happy with yourself! (Note: I’m currently suffering from bit of a migraine at the moment, so I won’t bother editing my drivel today. I apologize for any errors in advance.)
Verse Of The Day:“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” – James 1:5 (NIV)
Before we move on, I think it might be helpful to also include the very next two verses for the sake of context in our discussion today.
“But when you ask, you must have faith and never doubt. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.“ – James 1:6-7
How convenient. You must are never allowed to doubt in asking to receive, therefore – if you receive nothing it’s exactly what you deserve because of your lack of faith. Or… maybe God just didn’t want to give you anything today? Or something. Come on…
Today’s Theistic Themes: The author and I hold similar views on his opening line, “Wisdom is different than knowledge,” but I’m afraid that’s where our agreement ends. Readers are told that they don’t need to worry about reading books or obtaining fancy degrees because wisdom is accrued, “based on the trials and tribulations you’ve endured.” The author goes on to suggest that wisdom can be obtained in other ways, say, “a spiritual gift bestowed immediately upon us by the Lord.” In other words, a powerful vision – just like the kind of powerful vision that would lead an otherwise loving parent to kill their children because they have “wisdom” that the end of the world is coming. We have all seen such tragic stories in the news.
Today’s theme is something I’ve written about in past blog posts as well as our latest book. Specifically, I’m fascinated by what seems to be an inescapable requirement of all religions to not only promote but also protect an ethos of anti-intellectualism and willful ignorance. Why? For the sake of the religion’s own survival; being the “answer” to all questions in the universe. Or, to quote Ken Ham simplistic mantra that seems to pacify the most egregiously ignorant fundamentalists, “There is a book…” (the only one you’ll ever need to read). Though, one must acknowledge that the church has made vast strides over the centuries to eventually accept vast volumes of knowledge that once sentenced those who dare speak of it to a very fiery death at the stake for heresy. However, in this modern day, as is certainly the case with the Catholic church, we are expected to take their divine revelation that science isn’t really the devil in a way that releases them from any responsibility for their past hostility toward anything deemed to be secular knowledge. Many of our most basic facts of life were once considered to be “of the devil” and at odds with the divinity of creator. Yet… today they are common and accepted knowledge. By most.
But, back to wisdom. As I said, I agree that “wisdom is different than knowledge.’ However, unlike the author – I believe that wisdom comes from one’s ability to discern from knowledge gained – rather than in deference to doubtless faith and “supernatural gifts.” I find it interesting that Aaron Tabor chose once again to avoid any “wisdom” from the namesake of this book, quoting James instead. In keeping with his apparent obsession with Paul, I figured the author might choose the following passage on wisdom found in 1 Corinthians.
Isn’t it interesting how rarely we hear such verses from the Sunday pews? I don’t know about you, but if I was shopping for a new religion, I might steer clear of the god that promises to “destroy the wisdom of the wise and thwart the intelligence of the intelligent.” Conversely, I am still friends with a few very skilled pastors who have mastered the mental gymnastics and possess the oratory skills necessary to convince a Bible-believing Christian that both knowledge and wisdom are inherently wicked, keeping them from god.
On a side note – give a little thought to that last paragraph of the illustrated scripture and try to tell me that religion isn’t a man-made con of circular logic. Well, of course doubtless faith and the rejection of wisdom and knowledge are required! I’m sure this might sound a little harsh, but – these verses sum it up well: Christianity wouldn’t survive if followers were allowed to rely on their own mental faculties.
Short Secular Alternative: Shakespeare sums it up nicely in As You Like It, “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” In other words, wisdom doesn’t come from supernatural gifts, but conscious discernment. Without bothering with the exercise of seeking knowledge, there’s nothing to discern in the first place! Don’t be a fool who thinks he is wise. Instead, know your limitations and continue to collect a vast wealth of knowledge from which you can rely in to inform the wisest course of action in your life. What is the alternative? Acting like you know everything and rely on your arrogance to make up for your ignorance? No.
P.S. Yep, I’m finally getting around to putting up a little tip jar. If you are a fan of this little project, be sure to check out everything else I’ve got going. (Spoiler Alert: I could use your help.)
= = = = =
FAIR USE NOTICE: This is a book review. This review may contain small segments of copyrighted material from said book for the specific purposes of review and criticism as allowed by the legal notice found on page 1 in the book. However, we still do our best to protect the copyright holder’s content by only quoting as little content as possible for the purpose of demonstrating provided topics worthy review and critique. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. A click on a hyperlink is a request for information and we have provided a link to the original book as a gesture of good faith to potentially generate sales for the original copyright holder(s). You can read more about ‘fair use’ and US Copyright Law at the Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School.