Anti-intellectual obscurantism is a persistent problem among Christians. The ideal of the “holy fool” endures among us…People who appeal to belief against logic, who revel in irrationality, are unteachable. Nothing anyone says to them about their belief can cause them to ponder, to reflect, to think again—which is what being teachable means. People who appeal to belief against logic, who revel in irrationality, also give Christianity a bad name—making it appear unintelligible to inquiring minds. “Check your mind at the door” (of the church or Christian school) is the message. To be a Christian you must sacrifice your intellect is the message…
A person who admits his life and worldview, his philosophy or theology, contains logical contradictions cannot expect others to take his life and worldview, his philosophy or theology, seriously. Some may, but that just demonstrates they are not thinking people. They, too, are unteachable. Being teachable requires being open to correction. Being open to correction requires commitment to logic. Refusing to bow to logic is retreat from all understanding into sheer obscurantism. I would go further and agree with Karl Barth who said “Fear of scholasticism is the mark of a false prophet.” Whatever Barth may have meant by “scholasticism” in that quote, it surely included logical thinking about revelation and faith.
Anyone who says “Believe what I say even though it is illogical, ridiculous, nonsensical, and foolish!” is a demagogue (at that moment) and people within hearing range should run away as fast as possible.
Anyone who claims his or her belief system, worldview, theology, philosophy is not illogical must remain open to correction and if it can be shown that two or more of his or her beliefs are contradictory he or she must make adjustments or risk being ignored.
Click through to read the whole thing. I think that one or more parts of the post probably deserve to become meme images. Let me know which ones you think are particularly worth highlighting and circulating!
Of related interest, see Ethan Clendening’s recent post “On Escaping Fundamentalism.”