Of Intelligence and Faith

by Ejiro Osilama

The Hawaiian greeting sign is currently an inside joke at my church. The pastor told a story about a Christian woman, who was so much into her Christianity that the rest of the world just seemed to go straight over her head. The story goes that she took a trip to Hawaii and while driving there one day, she stopped at a red light and became so engrossed in her private worship, that she did not see the light change to green. After the horns and shouts finally brought her down to earth, she drove away, just in time to miss the lights going back to red. As she drove off, she noticed that the other drivers now trapped behind a second red light, were shouting and waving at her, most of them with their middle fingers in the air. Deeply touched, she turned to her friend and said:

“Waoh, these Hawaiians are so nice and spiritual, look how moved they are by my gospel music.”

Her fellow Christian friend smiled and said:

“yeah, and waving the middle finger must be the Hawaiian greeting sign”

That, I believe was a joke, however, unfortunately Christians have somehow gained a reputation for being blind followers and not so intelligent refuters of the absolute truth in proven science. In an age of absolute certainties, advanced technologies and new age philosophies, holding on to the Christian faith has become not just old fashioned, but also a sign of a lower level of intelligence. Evidence one, of my own experience being a co-worker who upon hearing that I was a faithful church going Christian, who believed in the bible as is, smirked and said¨:

“I thought you said you were well read.”

The implications of this being of course, that no one who can read, would in anyway see the biblical accounts of events as anything more than an allegory or Jewish fables and parables.

The consensus has become that like the woman at the red lights, Christians have chosen to be blind to the many varying proofs and evidence that contradict pretty much everything that the bible claims. A volcanic eruption and the resulting lava, smoke, ash and pollution have been used to explain away the ten plagues of Egypt. The historical facts of His crucifixion have been deemed acceptable but the Divinity of Jesus´ birth and resurrection are rejected for lack of scientific or historical backing. The history of the construction, de-construction and re-construction of the bible over many years, starting from the emperor Constantine and down to King James, has also been presented as proof that the bible is a book of nothing more than ancient stories and tradition, which has managed to stay on the bestseller list for thousands of years due to the errors of millions of not so intelligent humans. This argument assumes that no one who truly knew the history of Christianity and the church, especially the Catholic Church, as well as the assembling of the canonical texts could truly believe that they had been divinely inspired. The social, political and religious leanings of the rulers in each time and place had a vast and undeniable influence on the texts finally canonized, or maybe the emperor and his men were too lazy to read all six hundred (or whatever the original number of biblical texts were) and simply tic-tac-toed their way into the final sixty-six books, we may never know.

What we do know, is that from about six hundred to now just sixty six, all the books in the bible speak towards just one universal message: That you should love the Lord, your God, with all of your heart and all of your might and that you should love your neighbour as you love yourself. Even the Ten Commandments can be summarized into that one message. This is the message that the bible brings, a message that has held on over the years, because it is universal, encompassing everything that we as humans hold dear and everything that God, as our creator (yes, I subscribe to the whole: “God said.. etc version of the creation as well) hold dear within us as well.

So was the world created in six days? The bible says it was, so I’m sticking with that.

Were the ten plagues a divine punishment for Pharaohs stubbornness, the bible says “yes” so I am going with that as well.

Was Jesus divine in birth and resurrected after death? The bible says “Yes”, so again, I´ll stick with that.

And yes, I do still consider myself intelligent, almost genius as a matter of fact. What it comes down to is Faith. Faith, the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. Faith asks us to believe simply because we are told. It asks us to believe in God and his words, simply because we do. He offers no proof of His existence, while daily, His un-existence is proven by science and history, by archaeologists, palaeontologists, a lot of times, sadly, even by theologists and by our very own God given intelligence.

For instance, in the day and age in which we currently inhabit, the divinity of Jesus´ birth is laughed out of the house by arguments that Jesus was not made divine until the council of Nicea in 325AD, when he was voted into divinity by Constantine and his followers, to satisfy some political aspirations of the Emperors´. Any historical scholar will point gleefully at this fact to challenge Jesus´ divinity, however, it should be noted that while the emperor did choose to pursue that angle to further his own agenda, the biblical texts had been written between 50- 100 AD for the most part and so they already spoke of Jesus as a divine Lord, before Constantine decided to take it and run towards his own ends with it (as a lot do today).

That is one line of questioning that can easily be argued based on historical facts and personal opinions. However, His divine birth is still questioned, simply because it just makes more sense that Mary was not a virgin. Seriously, only Mary and Joseph can say without a doubt that she was or was not a virgin. Some could argue that maybe she was having pre marital sex and wound up pregnant. Intelligence says that this would be the most viable if not only possibility, seeing as even plants and most micro-organisms need some sort of interaction with something or someone else in order to reproduce. So why does anyone, much less a supposedly intelligent person believe that a teenaged girl would turn up pregnant without knowing a man’s touch? Because the bible says so and as a result, so does my faith. A weak argument that offers no proof and no logical line of reasoning, I know.

That is the funny thing about faith, the most difficult thing as well. Faith is trust, BLIND trust. In a relationship, it requires that you believe that your other half is not cheating on you, even when your own mother reports that she has seen said other half, hugging and kissing another woman/man, in front of some cheap motel…twice! Think of the joy and satisfaction you will gain when you find that your faith was justified and the man/woman that your better half was hugging was a brother, sister, or other relation. In our relationship with God, He asks us for no more or less that the kind of trust that relies purely on faith.

In the recent year, letters have come to light, which seem to show that even mother Theresa, modern day saint, had her moments of doubts and times of questioning her faith. Science offers us seemingly irrefutable proof that the bible is, at the least, inaccurate, but our own intelligence and emotions are the biggest of all interrogators and doubt casters. Our experiences and environment present us, daily, with reasons why God could not possibly exist or perhaps maybe He is out there, in a distant way, uncaring of our everyday lives. Like Mother Theresa wrote: “the silence and the emptiness is so great that sometimes, I look and do not see, listen and so not hear.” Science says that the earth is at least 100 millions years older than the bible seems to imply that it is. It offers us proof in the bones and nature around us, it gives us scientific explanations for the biblical mysteries and debunks miracles. Even our own common sense betrays us, telling us that a divine birth is illogical and that the earth is more likely to have evolved over time than have been created in six days.

Therein lies the beauty of faith though, it picks up where common sense, intelligence and science drop us off. Faith says that I am intelligent and more, so much more.

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1 comment

halal3k@yahoo.com June 23, 2008 - 5:41 am

well-spoken as revelation and reason do not operate at the same realm of reality.Science validates or is premised on reason which can basically reviewe finite realities, while faith is premised on revelation which transcends but subsumes reason and extends to the realm of infiniteness where divinity holds sway!.


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