Across the secular platform, the message is clear amid its advocates: christians are ignorant, irrational, and sometimes just plain stupid. The concept of gods should be eradicated, they say, because it provides no benefit for society. Everyday christians are seldom welcomed in intellectual circles, because of their lack of knowledge. This results in the creation of societal tribes—one for the secularist; the other for the religious. What is this lack of knowledge that christians supposedly have? Is it an absence of knowledge altogether? Or could it be that it’s not knowledge that’s lacking, rather, fundamental contents that are missing?
We are compared to the knowledge of a child who believes their imaginative world is a reality. Religious adherents are nothing more than a child’s mind in an adult’s body is a stance that is commonly held. In addition, a child believes everything must have a purpose. In fact, according to some psychologists, every human individual at birth have the tendency to instinctively believe all is purpose-driven, or be teleologists: the belief of design and purpose in the material world. As Richard Dawkins put it, “Children are native teleologists, and many never grow out of it.”
Is it possible that christians haven’t grown up into the knowledge that’s apparently lacking? Is there some sort of an objective knowledge which holds kingship amongst all knowledge? We don’t live by evidence, we live by faith is a common motto between the pious. And that’s where the problem arises. Sam Harris wrote the following in his book, The End of Faith:
Tell a devout Christian that his wife is cheating on him, or that frozen yogurt can make a man invisible, and he is likely to require as much evidence as anyone else, and to be persuaded only to the extent that you give it. Tell him that the book he keeps by his bed was written by an invisible deity who will punish him with fire for eternity if he fails to accept its every incredible claim about the universe, and he seems to require no evidence what so ever.
It seems as though we don’t use resources like science to aid our defence of religious belief; we much rather live by a holy book and claim nothing more is needed. The churchgoing feel threatened whenever a claim presents itself as truth only to enrage them which can only mean deep down they’re scared it might be true, and they cover up those feelings to project that their beliefs have been disrespected, or anything synonymous. The idea of intellectualism has never been introduced as a warning that has promoted the destruction of faith—subjectivity has led many to believe that. It’s an objective enterprise that can be use either way, and in this case, for a defence of our beliefs.
“Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary, He told us to be not only ‘as harmless as doves’ , but also ‘as wise as serpents.’ He wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but he also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim,” C. S. Lewis writes in Mere Christianity. We are meant to stand out as truth to the world., not seclude ourselves in bubbles of each kind, and the indolent habit of not investing the thought into these assets prevents us from standing out as a serious claim. We are ridiculed at the frivolous attempt to defend any aspect of our beliefs, and quite often, we self-reference the claim itself.
That never was the impression Christ gave. If there was one quality that he possessed it was speaking with authority. He enraged those who felt threatened, because he was the claim that presented himself as the truth. Even at a young age, Jesus impressed the teachers of religious law, because of the words he spoke. “All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers,” writes the physician, Luke.
If we inhabit a culture like this, we cannot be ignorant of these things. If your defence is perceived as nothing more than a child’s say, then you need use the resources our culture offers to your advantage. Our faith is not just one aspect of our lives, it directs all aspects of our lives; it is the centre of our existence. Throughout our lives we get hit by waves and winds that threaten our beliefs, but we must remain calm. If we have invested our time in that of the intellectual, then much like Christ on the boat, we will remain in peace and confidence while the world will stand in confusion and utter, “Who are these that even the winds and waves obey them?”