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Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the www.comereason.org Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.

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Friday, January 03, 2014

Christians Cannot be Intellectual Slackers

C. S. Lewis had a great quote when talking about the followers of Christ. He said, "God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers. If you are thinking of being a Christian, I warn you: you are embarking on something that is going to take the whole of you, brains and all."

I completely agree. Christians today have accepted the secular world's idea that somehow faith and reason inhabit separate spheres. The two are sitting on opposite ends of a spectrum and the more one applies tools such as logic and philosophy to his or her beliefs, the less and less they will be considered faithful or pleasing to God. A bumper sticker that used to be fairly popular summed up this kind of attitude: "God said it, I believe it, that settles it."

But nowhere in scripture are we commanded to approach our beliefs blindly. In fact, we are commanded to do just the opposite. When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was he replied, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30). Tellingly, although Jesus was quoting Deuteronomy 6:5, He added the phrase "and with all your mind." Jesus said that loving God must include developing the life of the mind.

This makes a lot of sense, given how Jesus identified Himself. In John 14:6 He said, "I am the Way the truth and the Life." Well, if we think about Jesus as truth, then we should be applying reason and logic to our beliefs. Logic is simply a tool that we use to find truth.

Part of our difficulty in seeing logic and critical thinking as ways we can better love God may be because we think that such tasks are only human enterprises, while Jesus is divine. Logic means works, while He is grace. But if Jesus is truth and we can use logic to discern truth, then we can use logic to see the reality of Jesus.

You may be surprised to find that out that the implementation of logic is actually found throughout the Bible and especially in the New Testament. Jesus used logic and argumentation many times. For example, just before He gave the command to love God with your mind, the Sadducees tried to test Him with a question about a woman who was married and widowed seven times. They used a technique in logic known as reductio ad absurdum to show that their views on the afterlife were correct. However, Jesus capably destroyed their argument and chided them, saying "Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?" He then give the command that we must love God with all our minds.

The Sadducees were unprepared. They hadn't done their homework and as a result had a mistaken view of God. As faithful followers of Christ, let us not shy away from some of the harder work of learning and developing our minds so we can more completely love our God with all that we are.

5 comments:

  1. Lenny, you might enjoy this book:
    "The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind" by Mark A. Noll (a history professor at University of Notre Dame)
    http://www.amazon.com/Scandal-Evangelical-Mind-Mark-Noll/dp/0802841805

    It laments the state of mind in modern evangelicalism. Written from a Christian to Christians.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, excellent. One note that reinforces it:
    '...Jesus was quoting Deuteronomy 6:5, He added the phrase "and with all your mind." Jesus said that loving God must include developing the life of the mind.'

    Jesus added nothing. This is idea is part and parcel of our confusion today. The mind is essential to the OT understanding of 'heart' and the only reason we do not know that is because we are slackers. http://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/the-great-commandment-heart-and-mind/

    ReplyDelete
  3. You completely misunderstand the reply of Jesus to the Sadducees. The doctrine of the physical raising of a dead body from the grave is a 'god of the dead', Pharisaical doctrine. Jesus taught "the resurrection" as a Doctrine of 'Rebirth', based on the belief in the God of the living (Luke 20:38): http://unsealing-the-seven-seals.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-bread-that-has-come-down-from.html

    ReplyDelete

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