Can I say that my interpretation of this is not that people are stupid, quite the opposite actually. I think a majority of the people in our pews are quite intelligent. I had a guy once that was laity in my church where I was leading a Bible Study that tried to look at old stories that we had always heard in new ways. The purpose was to really challenge our understanding of scripture, God, faith, etc... This dude, we'll call him the Fonz, was an awesome older gent. He knew more Old Testament stories and chronology that I did after a Religion degree and a Masters Degree from Divinity School. That's not saying I'm dumb, but he had the memory of an elephant and he was passionate about the bible and the OT specifically.
He didn't check his brain at the door, but he did refuse to challenge his beliefs of his literal and traditional understanding of the OT scriptures. It was a constant debate between him (representing the traditional understanding of say the creation story), and me (representing the views of the bible study material that the group picked to challenge us). I don't blame the Fonz at all for not challenging his held beliefs, I think the problem is that growing up the church(es) he was a part of made him check his critical thinking skills at the door (represented here by the brain).
I use him as an example of a bigger problem I've encountered in Christians. The Fonz was awesome! He was one of those RARE people that you could sit and debate with for an hour and then you could walk out of the room with him and talk lovingly about our families and lives like nothing had just happened. But I've found that kind of person is RARE!
I've been thinking, If I were to start a "church" ( I use that term loosely because I don't think anything I would want to start would look anything like what most of us think of as "church"), It would be centered around teaching people to think critically about the bible and their faith from the ground up! That means beginning with kids! I know they haven't developed critical thinking skills yet, but how would you prepare them? How would you get them ready to use those critical thinking skills in "church" when they DO develop. I think that teaching children would look a LOT different than the programs we see in churches today!
I say this to point out that somewhere along the way, I'm not sure where exactly, people stopped applying critical thinking skills to their faith. They stopped asking questions! Being critical (I mean that in the most academic sense of the word) about what they were being taught in church somehow became taboo. It's almost like after the leaders of the reformation era died, no one stepped up (or at least it was few people) to take their place and to continue to challenge the Church and her teachings. Where is our Martin Luther? Where is our Roger Williams? Where's our Ulrich Zwingli and John Knox? Could I be one? Not sure! Will you be one????
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