Intellectuals for God!

A Big Stack of Books
He Came to Take Away our Sins, not our Brains
I entertained myself yesterday by reading through a catalog from a Christian bookstore. I did a double-take when I read this phrase in the description of a study guide to sharing the gospel:
“Features fascinating on-the-street conversations with atheists, intellectuals, cult members, and others…”
It struck me as an odd grouping to include intellectuals with atheists and cult members. Mentally I hummed the old Sesame Street tune, “One of These is not Like the Others.”
Then, intellectual that I am, I looked up the definition of “intellectual.” Maybe I’ve misunderstood the meaning of the word all these years? According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, intellectual means:

1a : of or relating to the intellect or its use b : developed or chiefly guided by the intellect rather than by emotion or experience : rational c : requiring use of the intellect

2a : given to study, reflection, and speculation b : engaged in activity requiring the creative use of the intellect

Nothing in the definition led me to understand why an intellectual might be lumped together with an atheist and a cult member. Then I recalled a conversation recently with a young member of our family, whom I optimistically think of as a prodigal from his faith. He explained to my husband and me one evening, in the tone you might adopt with a child whom you suspect is not particularly bright, that “smart people don’t believe in God.”

At the time, I struggled not to snicker.

Yesterday, after reading that catalog description, I turned to my bible to see what I could find about intelligence and faith. It makes for interesting reading and confirms that we are not to set aside our brains when we follow Christ. On the contrary, we’re urged to seek God’s wisdom and to apply His gift of intelligence to our walk with Him.

I guess I’ll cancel that order for stupid pills.

29 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore. 30 Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.

1 Kings 4:29-30 (NASB)

1 My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,
2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
3 For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
4 If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will discern the fear of the LORD
And discover the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8 Guarding the paths of justice,
And He preserves the way of His godly ones.
9 Then you will discern righteousness and justice
And equity and every good course.
Proverbs 2:1-9 (NASB)

15 There is gold, and an abundance of jewels;

But the lips of knowledge are a more precious thing.
Proverbs 20:15 (NASB)

17 As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams.

Daniel 1:17 (NASB)

14″For the earth will be filled

With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD,
As the waters cover the sea.
Habakkuk 2:14 (NASB)

18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope He has given to those He called—His holy people who are His rich and glorious inheritance.
Ephesians 1:18 (NLT)