5 Theses on Anti-Intellectualism

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1. Anti-Intellectualism is less about aptitude than  attitude.

“Anti-intellectualism is a disposition to discount the importance of truth and the life of the mind.”
—Os Guinness

2. Anti-Intellectualism is a problem in the Western world.

“We live in what may be the most anti-intellectual period in the history of Western civilization.”
—R. C. Sproul

“. . . Americans are the best entertained and quite likely the least well-informed people in the Western world.”
—Neil Postman

3. Anti-Intellectualism is a problem within evangelicalism.

“I must be frank with you: the greatest danger confronting American evangelical Christianity is the danger of anti-intellectualism. The mind in its greatest and deepest reaches is not cared for enough.”
—Charles Malik

“The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.”
—Mark Noll

“. . . the Christian Mind has succumbed to the secular drift with a degree of weakness unmatched in Christian History.”
—Harry Blamires

“The contemporary Christian mind is starved, and as a result we have small, impoverished souls.”
—J. P. Moreland

“Our churches are filled with Christians who are idling in intellectual neutral. As Christians, their minds are going to waste. One result of this is an immature, superficial faith. People who simply ride the roller coaster of emotional experience are cheating themselves out of a deeper and richer Christian faith by neglecting the intellectual side of that faith.”
—William Lane Craig

4. Anti-Intellectualism is not virtuous.

“God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers.”
—C. S. Lewis

“Intellectual slothfulness is but a quack remedy for unbelief. . . .”
—J. Gresham Machen

“At root, evangelical anti-intellectualism is both a scandal and a sin. It is a scandal in the sense of being an offense and a stumbling block that needlessly hinders serious people from considering the Christian faith and coming to Christ. It is a sin because it is a refusal, contrary to Jesus’ two great commandments, to love the Lord our God with our minds. Anti-intellectualism is quite simply a sin. Evangelicals must address it as such, beyond all excuses, evasions, or rationalizations of false piety.”
—Os Guinness

5. Anti-Intellectualism should be resisted with Godward passion and intellectual consecration to the Lord.

“We must have passion—indeed hearts on fire for the things of God. But that passion must resist with intensity the anti-intellectual spirit of the world.”
—R. C. Sproul

“The Christian religion flourishes not in the darkness but in the light. . . .  [T]he true remedy [of unbelief] is consecration of intellectual power to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
—J. Gresham Machen

“What is today a matter of academic speculation begins tomorrow to move armies and pull down empires. In that second stage, it has gone too far to be combated; the time to stop it was when it was still a matter of impassioned debate. So as Christians we should try to mold the thought of the world in such a way as to make the acceptance of Christianity something more than a logical absurdity. . . . What more pressing duty than for those who have received the mighty experience of regeneration, who, therefore, do not, like the world, neglect that whole series of vitally relevant facts which is embraced in Christian experience — what more pressing duty than for these men to make themselves masters of the thought of the world in order to make it an instrument of truth instead of error?”
—J. Gresham Machen

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