Are Christians Idiots?

I’ve basically stopped reading the comments section on every website I visit, especially on websites that address anything remotely religious. Anyone with a passing familiarity with discussion board culture knows what I’m talking about. Invariably, those discussions degenerate into petty debate where the most intelligent points go something like “You would have to be a complete idiot believe in God.”

The weird thing is, according to a recent study from the University of Rochester, those guys may have a point. Basically, the study found that the more intelligent you are, the less likely you are to be religious.

My initial reaction to the report was to explain the results away. Maybe there was some religion out there that you had to be truly idiotic to believe, and that skewed things in a crazy direction. Maybe the survey wasn’t conducted very well, maybe the sample was biased, or maybe the definition of intelligence was somehow unfair.

Once I got all that out of my system, I asked myself a simple question.

What if the survey results are correct?

And while we’re asking tricky questions, let’s forget religious people in general. Let’s say someone proved conclusively, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the smartest Christian in the world was dumber than the dumbest atheist. What would that do to the Christian faith?

You know what I realized it would do?

Absolutely nothing.

The reality of God, the supremacy of Christ, and the power of the Gospel are not dependent on my credentials. I could be the dumbest person on the planet, and God would still be in control. Jesus would still have the power to save. It’s not like God is sitting up in Heaven, saying “Oh, geez. Look at the average IQ of my followers. The Gospel is cancelled, guys! Time to blink out of existence.”

That’s not how it works, because it’s not about me. You’d think I’d remember that, but any time someone tries to talk about how stupid, how petty, or how crazy Christians are, I feel like I have to pull out my “famous Christians” chart and point to all the intelligent, well-adjusted people who’ve ever been Christians. And of course, I also have to point to all the evil people who weren’t followers of Jesus.

But Jesus doesn’t need me to be admirable in any way for his power to be validated.

In Matthew 19, Jesus says it’s easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle than for a rich guy to get into Heaven. A lot of people have a lot of interpretations for this verse, but the one I lean towards has to do with pride. I’ve never been rich, so I’m not speaking from experience, but I get the sense that once you pass a certain threshold of wealth, you can get to thinking you have the money to buy your way out of anything. The money you earned can solve any of your problems, so why would you need anyone’s help? Then Jesus comes along, saying “You can’t do this on your own. I don’t care how rich you are; the only way you’re getting into Heaven is by riding my coattails.”

That’s a hard truth to accept when you’ve gotten used to doing things yourself. I don’t think that’s a principle that’s limited to money, either. Whether they’re financial, mental, or something else, I think the more limitations you have, the easier it is for you to accept Jesus. Rich, intelligent, put-together people still come to Jesus all the time, but they do have a higher I-can-do-it-myself hurdle to get past.

So do you have to be a complete idiot to believe in God?

No, but it just might make it a little easier.


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