Anti-Rationalism in the BibleChristianity, in its essence, is fundamentally anti-reason. This anti-rationalistic aspect of Christianity is clearly seen throughout its history. Even at one of its earliest roots, the gospels, this aspect is already discernable. In the gospel of Luke we find the following passage:
In that one passage, critical reasoning, knowledge ("wise") and education ("learned") is criticized by Jesus. To the Christians it will be the ignorant, the unlearned and the uncritical mind that will receive God's revelation. There is another saying attributed to Jesus, this time in Matthew, that is of the same genre:
The above saying had been repeated so many times in theological exhortations to piety that one wonders whether its actual implications are understood. To become "like little children" one must eschew critical thinking and make no use of any higher education. Little children normally have unquestioning faith; which is why parents normally warn them to keep away from strangers! Yet, it is this attitude that is glorified in Christianity from the earliest times until today.
The apostle Paul carried this glorification of ignorance and unreason even further. In his epistle to the Corinthians he told his them that intelligence, reason and education are all useless:
With such teachings it is not surprising that most Christians, laymen and theologians, would simply shrug away evidence against their faith by saying that the wisdom of man cannot understand God's. We can be pretty sure that the recipients of Paul's epistle above would have been pleased to read the above passage. For according to Paul himself, they were not particularly learned or intelligent:
In the same epistle, Paul set up the first Christian defence against intellectual and scientific criticism. He argued that it is only by achieving ignorance and foolishness that one finally attains God's promise.
Paul's passage above shows that, ultimately, reason has no place in Christianity. As the ex-nun Karen Armstrong asks:
Armstrong is right. Paul, more than anyone else, was responsible for pushing the western world into the dark ages; an age of intellectual oblivion that was to ensnare Europe for more than a thousand years. For it was Paul who started the process rolling; telling believers that it was okay if they were uneducated, okay if they were ignorant, okay if you don't think rationally. He, or one of his disciples, warned the Colossians against rational and reflective thinking:
The stage was thus set by the writers of the New Testament to drown the light of reason.
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