Is Doctrinal Indifference Anti-intellectual Idolatry?
by Dr. Allan R. Bevere, pastor, professor and author of Colossians and Philemon: A Participatory Study Guide, The Politics of Witness: The Character of the Church in the World, and The Character of our Discontent.
In a book, New Testament scholar Scot McKnight co-writes with Dennis Venema, entitled Adam and the Genome: Reading Scripture after Genetic Science, Scot addresses the issue of deconversion from the Christian faith. His primary concern is “the number one reason Christians leave the faith and the number one reason non-Christians find the Christian faith untrustworthy is the issue of the Bible and science” (p. 171). When Christians pit the Bible against science the result is a type of anti-intellectualism at work that sadly has pushed too many people out of and/or away from the faith because they cannot reconcile what really is settled science overall with a particular and deeply flawed interpretation of the Bible, particularly the opening chapters of Genesis. Since some feel they have to choose between one or the other, they all too often choose science over an unteneble understanding of the biblical text.
There should be no mistaking that this deconversion has a serious intellectual component. Scot writes,
Each [deconvert], for a variety of reasons, encountered issues and ideas and experiences that simply shook the faith beyond stability. In essence, those who leave the faith discover a profound, deep-seated, and existentially unnerving intellectual incoherence to the Christian faith.
While Scot’s concern is with how one reads the Bible in reference to genetic science, I want to take Scot’s concern over the anti-intellectual approach some Christians take in reference to scientific inquiry and apply it to a different, albeit a similar kind of anti-intellectualism among another group of Christians– the doctrinally indifferent. [Read more … ]