Confessions of an Intellectual Christian

My confession is that I don’t know what an intellectual Christian is.  I know I describe my blog as “containing intellectual & imaginative reflections on Christian life,” but the concept eludes me. The reason is that I find many people called intellectual Christians who I would never consider to be so. Am I suffering from intellectual snobbery? Is an Intellectual Christian just a Christian who is above average intellectually, one side of the bell-curve? Or is it someone who has read Kierkegaard (I have not) or knows who he is (apparently I do). There is a group that believes that a person who holds a Christian World-view qualifies as an Intellectual Christian. Well I have doubts that there is any such thing as a Christian World-view. Maybe being an Intellectual Christian is just a matter of being able to use big words.

One of the difficulties with this is that few people want to be called unintellectual. To be labeled as not intellectual or not a thinking person ground implies a kind of stupidity in today’s culture. There is no middle ground. If you want to make this more difficult consider the paradox that one must know something to be aware of what they do not know. Some people think themselves smart because they never look outside of their own tiny sphere, which they know very well. The more you know the more you realize what you don’t know.

Something in me suggest that it is a kind of inquisitiveness that a person has, regardless of being a Christian or not that makes them intellectual, a “thinking person,” like Socrates who was always asking questions about life, not just to ask questions, but to discover truth. He or she is not satisfied with half-baked answers that don’t stand-up, but is always mining for truth, unraveling mysteries only to find more mysteries underneath. Such a person is distinct from someone who merely piles up knowledge or facts.

Then again maybe this is all a desire to distinguish myself. It is a universal desire to be a part of an inner circle that is somehow better than everyone else outside. Trying to be better than those simpletons whose Christianity is all emotion. What is faith without structure and doctrine? And the simpletons are proud that they are not ivory-tower Christian with their cold, sterile faith. Can’t they simply believe? Both think themselves the wisest, so does every human being on the planet. It is everyone else’s point of view that is wrong.

For good or ill I have a restless mind which always wants to go farther up and further in. I confess that there are many people far more intelligent than me. To claim that my blog is intelligent then is a little arrogant and a bit elitist. Using big words and referring to august thinkers is my own personal vanity. Such is the nature of social media, it could be worse.


This summer I will be taking a break from blogging to pursue other writing projects. See you in the fall.


One comment

  1. Jen David Anderson · June 24, 2011

    David and I read this last night and really liked it. Very well written.

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