Sunday Bible Reading – An Example of the Anti-Intellectualism of the Bible

1 Corinthians 18-20

Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”

How an intelligent person can put so much stock in a book that promotes not thinking for yourself is beyond me.

This passage stands in contrast to Psalm 14, which reads:

The fool says in his heart, 
“There is no God.” 
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; 
there is no one who does good.

So fools are corrupt and don’t believe in God, but on the other hand you want to be a fool because wise people are crafty buggers! I’m confused.

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7 Responses to “Sunday Bible Reading – An Example of the Anti-Intellectualism of the Bible”


  1. 1 Carolina Maine June 6, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Whoa…I think we must be on the save wavelength today-but on opposite ends…I wrote on how G-d wants us to think but to recognize He is the author of all thoughts-without that-we don’t get too far on our own.
    I’m not familiar with this quote, but I will look it up-my Bible is a study guide version so it puts things into context-otherwise-I wouldn’t know how to view the passage. It’s kind of like taking a quote out of a novel and then forming a philosophy around it-if that makes sense.
    Anyway-nice thoughts today on your site.

  2. 2 Carolina Maine June 6, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    I’ve been posting a lot today-so I’m just going to leave the link to the post I referred to:
    http://catholicmeditations.wordpress.com/2010/06/06/obedience-and-excommunication/

    Even though we got off to a rough start, I’m going to add you to my blogroll because I do think you try to understand-and think-unlike some of the just plain old mean folks I met here earlier 🙂

  3. 3 Sharmin June 6, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    This is an interesting quote. As I’ve been reading the Bible, I’ve noticed various places where wisdom and/or gaining knowledge seems to be discouraged. Right from the start, Adam and Eve are told not to eat from the tree if knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). Proverbs 3:5 tells us not to lean on our own understanding.

    I haven’t gotten to Corinthians yet, but I look forward to it. You make a good point about the contradiction. I think the point is supposed to be that anyone who thinks they are clever or knowledgable without trusting god is really a fool, while even someone who may not gave knowledge can still be wise if they trust god. Personally, I think way too much emphasis is placed on trusting god and not enough on trying to figure things out. It also seems to divide the world by claiming that only people who believe in one particular god are good or wise while everyone else is foolish.

    Thanks for writing!

    By the way, I think you forgot to include the chapter number in the citation.

    -Sharmin

  4. 4 soothsaber June 7, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    There are many contradictions in the bible, I personally believe that with age, comes wisdom. I’m pretty sure it also says in the bible somewhere to seek wisdom (I guess to make sure that God will think your foolish).

    Carolina, I hate to know that you have encountered mean spirited folks and associated them with atheism. Just know that all of us aren’t mean but generally good people.

  5. 5 kevinbbg June 7, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Great post! I’m familiar with both quotes but never before put them together before, simply brilliant (heh heh).

    We can carry it even further; God wants us to be fools – the fool says there is no God – therefore God wrote the bible to turn us into atheists!!!

    Kevin

  6. 6 EnlightningLinZ June 18, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Carolina – have you had a chance to read it in context? I read the whole chapter and it didn’t change my impression.

    Sharmin – oops! I’ll have to go back and check which chapter it was and then edit the post…I think it’s chapter 3…

    soothsaber – I’m sure that there are passages in the Bible that encourage thinking too, but it seems like most religions like to suppress critical thinking so this passage to me is representative of what a lot of religions teach!

    kevin – I guess I’m just doing god’s will then! lol

  7. 7 dr. james willingham September 3, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Over 40 years ago, I was working on a Master’s degree in American Social & Intellectual History and I remember thinking, “If the Bible is inspired by an Omniscient God, as is claimed, then it ought to reflect a depth of wisdom and profundity commensurate with that origin.” I began to look into the depth of Scripture to see if it reflected such wisdom. Its subtlety is overwhelming, far beyond what our feeble minds can comprehend/


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