Most people identify Christians by what they are against, but he believes they should be known more by what they are for.
Today, he discusses Christians and their need to have and demonstrate a thirst for knowledge:
A History of Thought Leadership
For centuries, Christians led the way in discovery of new truths and the applications of those discoveries. In John 8:32, Jesus said, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Christians took this to heart and so they became great scientists, built new schools, and did anything they could to advance learning.
In The Book that Made your World, Vishal Mangalwadi discusses this at great lengths. One example is that of Christian monks, who used water wheel “technology” to grind their wheat into flour. This process saved people millions of hours of work over the years and allowed them to focus on science, family, prayer, education, and so on.
Interestingly, the monks did not invent the water wheel. It had been around for centuries, but they were the first to use it to ease the toil of men. They recognized that truth should not just be learnt, but applied for the betterment of mankind.
Christians have often led the charge in education as well. Typically, upon entering a new culture, a school was one of the first things the church established. Not just to teach the Bible, but also to teach math, science, reading, and writing. They recognized the value that truth brought to a culture, and so they taught people and gave them the knowledge to build their own future.
Christian Knowledge Today
These days, however, many people I’ve encountered think Christians blindly cling to an ancient faith and ignore reason and science. Do a quick Google search around the terms “Christians” and “ignorant” and the results are not exactly nice.
Now before we go any further, I think it is worth noting that I am not suggesting Christians just start agreeing with pop culture, modern science, and thought leaders on everything. Not remotely.
We are not after agreement, we’re after the truth. Now, I believe the Bible is true. I even have rather logical reasons for it. Some of you will disagree with me and that’s ok. Others may think I’m crazy for believing it, but I don’t think believing the Bible is the real mistake Christians make. It is the attitude many have developed that they do not need to learn anything more about the world.
This know-it-all attitude is arrogant, and frankly does not glorify God. If we truly believe an all-powerful God created everything, then we should know there is far more to discover in this world than we can even imagine. There are diseases to be cured, a universe to be explored, much to learn about nature, and billions who need good education.
If Christians fear what science and exploration of the universe will prove, than our faith is nothing more than a house of cards. If Jesus actually is the Truth, than Christians need never fear truth.
How to Develop a Culture that Loves Learning
1) Work hard in school: This goes out to all the students: Don’t be like me! When I was in school, I did precisely enough work to get by. I didn’t try to learn and discuss things with fellow students. I coasted. I look back on some of my classes, particularly my philosophy ones, and regret not eagerly learning what others thought and believed. I could have had some incredible conversations with people, but instead I just showed up and did little more.
2) More Christian scientists: Some of the great scientific minds in history were Christians. They desired to understand God’s world, and advanced our civilization in incredible ways. Today it is almost taboo for a christian to become a scientist. That is preposterous. If you love Jesus and love science, get in the field and start making a difference.
3) Read more: There are more books than just Christian self-help. Those can be good and worth reading, but there is an entire world of great literature out there! Reading stimulates and sharpens the mind and gives valuable insights into culture and the world.
4) Become teachers and professors: If you asked the average Christian who their favorite author was, odds are they would say CS Lewis. Interestingly, Lewis was not a pastor. He was a professor (a great one too – he became the chair of Mediaeval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University). Outside of parents, teachers inspire students and educate them more than anyone. The more Christian teachers there are who demonstrate the Christ’s love and empower their students to pursue and love truth, the better.
Christians must rekindle their love for learning. It does not matter if it comes from science, history, or literature: I believe all truth is God’s truth. Let’s start reading more, seeking knowledge to help people, and work to discover the great truths of this world.
Question: Whether you’re a Christian or not, do you think the Church needs to embrace a greater thirst for knowledge?