“Educated Into Imbecility”
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“Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22). Regardless of translation used, this verse is rendered very similarly (see here).
The Babylon Bee is a website that has grown immensely popular in a very short time since it was founded on March 1, 2016. It uses satire to convey the foolishness of our age. The original developer of the Bee, Adam Ford now has a site called the “CHRISTIAN DAILY REPORTER” which compiles news of interest to Christians. It regularly includes links to stories that sound so crazy they seem like satire but are actually real. For instance today’s post has a link to an article, “Today in ‘Not Satire’: HuffPo: If you eat at Chick-fil-A, you hate gay people [warning: language]”
Malcolm Muggeridge was a British journalist who died in 1990. I recently came across a quote of his that seems uncannily prophetic, although it was actually a condition he could see while he was alive on this side at least thirty years ago, probably longer:
Today’s brief text speaks to this condition. The phrase “having educated himself into imbecility” is quite insightful!
“Professing to be wise.” Professing means to affirm, allege, pretend, profess. The idea conveyed is that one is speaking with an air of certainty, stating something with a high degree of confidence, even forcefully or aggressively. One may confidently assert his or her view without need for proof or regard for evidence.
Paul wasn’t writing of one specific time period in this text but rather describes the universal condition of the human race in rejecting the truth of God. Bible commentator Marvin Vincent states, “Thinking they are wise, they have become fools because their own speculations cannot replace the revelation they reject.”
This inspired truth that Paul espouses is especially applicable to our own age. We live at a time when advanced education is rampant where so many highly educated individuals consider themselves superior intellectually and wiser than previous generations. I refer to this as “generational snobbery” (or what C.S. Lewis called “chronological snobbery”). Many of these who claim to be wise are indeed very “educated” but take their wisdom from this world which leads to foolishness. Sadly, many try to make the Bible say something it doesn’t or silences that which it does say.
“They became fools.” Those who deny the God of creation become fools and are “without excuse” (Romans 1:20) Yet they come to such a foolish decision in the belief that they are wise and scientific in trying to explain the infinitely complex, majestic, beautiful creation without a Creator.
Man rationalizes his sin and proves his utter foolishness by devising and believing his own philosophies about God, the universe, and himself. The next stage of downfall consists in asserting as truth its opposite—evil is really good, darkness is really light, futility is really wisdom (see Isaiah 5:20). George Orwell who wrote 1984 wisely observed, “The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.” My, O my, don’t we see that happening today!!!
The fact is, once a person rejects the truth of God in Christ, he will fall for anything foolish, and trust far more tenuous and fanciful systems (like evolution, sexual anarchy, the latest gender fads, etc.). This futility of thinking, darkening of the heart, and folly must be seen as one way God’s righteous wrath is demonstrated against those who have rejected His revelation.
- Let us supremely seek to know the ways of God who is all-wise so that we recognize foolishness, in whatever form it may appear. Most often academia, political, cultural, media, government and even particular religious circles that are reckoned as the authoritative sources of wisdom for our day. However in so many cases they present utter foolishness.
- Let us eagerly receive this unchanging, age-old word of wisdom from Daniel: “He (God) gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning” (Daniel 2:21). Amen! May God give to each of us wisdom and discernment to navigate our way through this tempest-tossed world in which we temporarily reside. The surest way to wisdom and discernment is to be an eager student of the Scriptures and their application to our life’s experiences.
- Let us continue to grow in our understanding of God’s ways which begins when we recognize that any wisdom conflicting with the wisdom of God is foolish and dangerous. Let us resist watering down or explaining away the hard teaching of Scripture to make it fit in better to the world-based wisdom or philosophy of our day. Instead let’s align our hearts and minds with the wisdom imparted through the Scriptures. This day join us in seeking to know the Lord and His ways better!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, when we gave you our heart, we made the willful choice to no longer conform to the trends and philosophies of this world. Instead we ask You to daily renew our minds so that we see this world and its philosophies through the eyes of Christ. We are put to the test daily in deciding what is truth and what is error. May Your Holy Word be our reference point and Your Spirit be our Guide as we are exposed to countless philosophies based on human understanding and the basic principles of this ever-changing world rather than Your eternal, foundational, unchanging truths. Sharpen our discernment and grant us courage so that we readily know truth from error and are fearless in saying so. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
A nice touch!
Audrey’s, a wholesale distributor of home decor items, is a company we visit in the course of our chaplaincy ministry. They have a courtyard for their employees to take their breaks that includes this refreshing waterfall.
Last night we attended a picnic with other ministers near Carlisle, PA. It was nice to visit a few minutes with Phillip Bongiorno who was my District Superintendent when I served as a pastor in Pennsylvania from 1977 to 1993. Now in his mid-eighties he is still doing well.
Phil Bongiorno with Jesse Owens who served as a missionary evangelist all over the world. Jesse helped arrange a mission trip I was on to Fusagasugá, Colombia some 30 years ago. He is very witty and still has that characteristic now in his mid-eighties! He told us he interviewed the other Jesse Owens many years ago.
* Malcolm Muggeridge, Vintage Muggeridge: Religion and Society (see here)
Commentator Gary Bauer makes a powerful point in this phrase concerning the virulent atheist Richard Dawkins who is popular among the cultural and political left for mocking those who believe in God. “Unfortunately, because he lives in the heart of the West and has all the appropriate degrees from prestigious universities, his barbarism comes dressed up and might even seem compassionate to some warped minds.” I consider the deadly lure for many of academic prestige and acceptance and consider this Bible verse, “Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22).
For further study: I find much richness in using the Precept Austin Online commentary of Romans 1:22 (This commentary has become one of my first “go to” resources the last several years. Essentially it is a compendium of many commentaries. It is also a work in progress. I use several thoughts from the commentary today.
The Babylon Bee – Satire but many times all too true
“CHRISTIAN DAILY REPORTER” – an often interesting collection of links to actual stories of interest to Christians
“Complete” Video The Parachute Band