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ReBranding the Church: Develop a Thirst for Knowledge

 

Photo Credit: Creative Commons - danielcazcom

Photo Credit: Creative Commons – danielcazcom

Evan Forester works in marketing and writes for #LiveFully. He believes the church needs a new brand.

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? 

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Comments

  1. Yes! This is why I feel so blessed to work in a Christian school. Not only are Christians primarily known by what they are against, but they have an image of basing their views on fear and ignorance. And I think it’s more or less true. We have Christians spending a lifetime skimming the surface of scripture, to say nothing of our knowledge of the rest of the world. We can’t shape culture unless we actually know what we are talking about.

  2. If all of us would use our intelligence and become the best we can be in our fields, maybe some of that perception would change.changed

    • Totally agree Larry. Curious, what do you think holds people back from being the best they can be in their fields? Are they just in the wrong field? Lack of passion? Something entirely different?

      • I think most of us do what we do for the wrong reasons. For example, I was told from about kindergarten on to go to college, get an education, get a great job and make lots of money. Nothing about finding something that I loved. That was foreign to the generation telling me that. They suffered doing what they did and expected those of us following them to do the same. So, most of us end up in the wrong field with no passion. And we’re bored silly because we’re not using what God gave us to glorify Him.

    • Awesome Deuce!

  3. Thanks for hosting, Tor. This is dead on. I recently listened to an audio book called the Gospel of Yes. It covered a similar content about Christians being known for what we are against. This is so prevalent that WE don’t even know what we are for. We fail to know what we believe. We can describe in great detail what we are against but what we are for…

    It’s nearly impossible to convince someone to join your “cause” simply by telling them what you “don’t” believe in.

    If we are to combat the stereotype that we are head-in-the-sand, small-minded ignorant people then we must get our head out of the sand and engage. Respectfully.

  4. Tor, you hit the bullseye on this one. You know how I feel about this – I believe that the thirst for knowledge, understanding, and truth should run side-by-side with the desire for faith, trust, and belief. I still say “The Truth Project” is one of the most thought-provocative Christian series that I’ve ever watched.
    I enjoy reading the articles on Intelligent Design from The Discovery Institute, and while I believe there is “more to the story” of life than simply ID, it’s great stuff.
    -bruce

  5. Julia Cooper says:

    I doubt you’ll publish this comment but I find all the other comments on this article quite amusing. It’s as if Christians believe that talking about God, Jesus and the bible somehow makes it real when it is simply a made up story based on Pagan Sun worship.

    Why waste precious time philosophising about something that it utterly false? It does you no good and only serves to deepen the delusion that is inherent with all religious ‘belief’. You must watch the first Zeitgeist movie and reconsider your position on faith. You’ll soon work out why the church is so opposed to this movie. It holds religion up to the light and exposes its true nature, and it makes more sense than anything in the bible.

    • Thanks for the comment – even though I disagree with your assertion and shameless movie plug on my forum – I believe that reasonable people can have different opinions on important issues such as faith or lack thereof.

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