Now before you all simply post a comment saying "Yes!" or "At last you've realised!" let me explain.

I was reading an article this morning about the way that we debate ideas in our culture. It was reflecting on the this years big stories: Brexit and Trump. The article was in no way trying to take sides as to whether we should leave the EU or not. Nor did it voice an opinion who should be the next president on the US. It was simply suggesting that we no longer discussed ideas. We merely denigrated those who disagreed with us. And I agree.

The irony is that in what we claim is an era of liberal debate and freedom of speech, we have ended up increasingly refusing to listen and merely using dismissive rhetoric to belittle those who don't think like we do.

This intellectual intolerance is seen in the media with LEGO ending it's promotion with the Daily Mail, because of that newspaper's views on immigration (I feel I have to state that I don't agree with the Daily Mail on immigration - because I don't want you to stop reading because you think I'm a Brexit voting, Trump supporter and therefore a stupid bigot!).

We've also seen intellectual intolerance in universities, with speakers barred by student unions, for not being politically correct enough. But most of all we've seen it in the reaction to the Brexit and Trump votes, where the media has rushed to analyse the social background and, most tellingly, level of education, of those who voted. So that it could draw the conclusion that they were stupid!

Now I know I'm stupid. Because I believe the Bible. In fact the Bible tells me that people will think that I'm especially stupid for believing the thing in the Bible that is probably most precious to me. The death of the Lord Jesus Christ in my place. The apostle Paul tells the Christians in Corinth:

1 Corinthians 1: 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: 

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

The world that rejects God thinks that it knows best. That is the heart of intellectual sin. And there is a danger that as Christians we can start to behave like the world. Either by belittling those who disagree with us. Self-righteously looking down on them, rather than lovingly seeking to persuade them of the love of God in Christ. Or by thinking that because the world tells us the "gospel" is stupid, what we need to do is develop an intellectually robust faith on the world's terms. This is often how people end up theologically liberal. They abandon sections of the gospel that the world doesn't find acceptable, in an attempt to persuade people that it's true. But in doing so they give up on the truth!

We need to accept that nothing will persuade those who reject Christ that the gospel is not stupid, other than the gospel of Christ and Him crucified. So let's knuckle down to being stupid out of love for the millions around us who need to be saved.

Comment