Written by Stephen Cox
C. S. Lewis had a great quote when talking about the followers of Christ. He said, “God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers. If you are thinking of being a Christian, I warn you: you are embarking on something that is going to take the whole of you, brains and all.”
I completely agree. Christians today can fall into the trap of accepting the secular world’s idea that somehow faith and reason inhabit separate spheres. The two are sitting on opposite ends of a spectrum and the more one applies tools such as logic and philosophy to his or her beliefs, the less and less they will be considered faithful or pleasing to God. A bumper sticker that used to be fairly popular summed up this kind of attitude: “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.”
But nowhere in scripture are we commanded to approach our beliefs blindly. In fact, we are commanded to do just the opposite. When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was he replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). Tellingly, although Jesus was quoting Deuteronomy 6:5, He added the phrase “and with all your mind.” Jesus said that loving God must include developing the life of the mind.
This makes a lot of sense, given how Jesus identified Himself. In John 14:6 He said, “I am the Way the truth and the Life.” If we think about Jesus as truth, then we should be applying reason and logic to our beliefs. Logic is simply a tool that we use to find truth.
Part of our difficulty in seeing logic and critical thinking as ways we can better love God may be because we think that such tasks are only human enterprises, while Jesus is divine. Logic means works, while He is grace. But if Jesus is truth and we can use logic to discern truth, then we can use logic to see the reality of Jesus.
You may be surprised to find that out that the implementation of logic is actually found throughout the Bible and especially in the New Testament. Jesus used logic and argumentation many times. For example, just before He gave the command to love God with your mind, the Sadducees tried to test Him with a question about a woman who was married and widowed seven times. They used a technique in logic known as reductio ad absurdum (a common form of argument which seeks to demonstrate that a statement is true/false by showing that a false, untenable, or absurd result follows from its denial/acceptance) to show that their views on the afterlife were correct. However, Jesus capably destroyed their argument and chided them, saying “Is this not the reason you are
wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?” He then gave the command that we must love God with all our minds.
You might be someone who has been thinking about the meaning and purpose of life and willing to work out where God fits into your world and your life. ‘The Search’ is an examination of the evidence about the life and purpose of Jesus Christ using Luke’s Gospel.
You can use the Search on its own or read it with a friend. It is a great opportunity to examine the evidence by exploring the source text for yourself. They are available on the welcome table at the back of the hall.
The Sadducees were unprepared. They hadn’t done their homework and as a result had a mistaken view of God. Let us not shy away from some of the harder work of learning and developing our minds so we can more completely love our God with all that we are.