Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Christianity and The Intellect

“It is a great mistake, then, to suppose that we who are called “conservatives” hold desperately to certain beliefs merely because they are old, and are opposed to the discovery of new facts. On the contrary, we welcome new discoveries with all our hearts, and we believe that our cause will come to its rights again only when youth throws off its present intellectual lethargy, refuses to go thoughtlessly with the anti-intellectual current of the age, and recovers some genuine independence of mind. In one sense, indeed, we are traditionalists; we do maintain that any institution that is really great has its roots in the past; we do not therefore desire to substitute modern sects for the historic Christian church. But on the whole, in view of the conditions that now exist, it would perhaps be more correct to call us “radicals” than to call us “conservatives.” We look not for a mere continuation of new power; we are seeking in particular to arouse youth from its present uncritical repetition of current phrases into some genuine examination of the basis of life; and we believe that Christianity flourishes not in the darkness, but in the light. A revival of Christian religion, we believe, will deliver mankind from its present bondage and, like the great revival of the sixteenth century, will bring liberty to mankind. Such a revival will not be the work of man, but the work of the Spirit of God. But one of the means which the Spirit will use, we believe, is an awakening of the intellect. The retrograde, anti-intellectual movement called Modernism, a movement which really degrades the intellect by excluding it from the sphere of religion, will be overcome, and thinking will again come to its rights. The new Reformation, in other words, will be accompanied by a new Renaissance; and the last thing in the world that we desire to do is to discourage originality or independence of mind.” --- J. Gresham Machen, Education, Christianity, and the State pages 5-6

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