Fear Of Whales

Tales of a reluctant minister

Zombie Christians

with 2 comments

Johnathan Coulton sings a song about a polite Zombie. The chorus goes

All we want to do is eat your brains,
We’re not unreasonable, I mean noone’s gonna eat your eyes!
All We Want to do is eat your brains
We’re at an impasse here, Maybe we should compromise…

Something about that song reminds me of several Christians I know. They have good hearts, these Christians, they try to be polite, and kind, but at the end of the day, they want to eat your brains so you’ll be just like them.

Like Zombies, many Christians make no use of their rational faculties, and they don’t want you to either. because thinking, in their mind, is bad.

I think this phenomenon has to be related to the classic “Faith vs Reason” or “Science vs Religion” problem but it goes much deeper than that. I certainty won’t be the first or last blogger to insist that Faith is compatible with Reason, and that Science is harmonious with Christianity when both are rightly considered. But I may be the first one to point out that that fake debate has resulted in what amounts to a rampant anti-intellectualism in the modern church.

So we say things like “Science and religion are not incompatible, and besides scientists make mistakes” or “Philosophy, means ‘love of knowledge’ but I love Jesus instead” or ” Why are you trying to rationalize God? Don’t you know he is beyond our understanding that’s what faith is for, It’s better than reason”

BLAM!

And it’s not just science and reason anymore! It’s gotten to the point when anytime I say anything “smart” about math, history, or even theology I’m met with rolling eyes and reminded that “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise” and that “Knowledge puffs up” Never mind that that first passage refers to the scandal of the cross, and the second, to food sacrificed to idols! Forget about the fact that there is a running Pauline narrative here that comes in the form of a logical argument. Totally ignore anything that would indicate there might possibly be a cultural backdrop to this text. We’re too busy having “faith like a child” to worry about that stuff.

The problem is that what you call faith like a child is what I call faith like a zombie.

Children aren’t stupid, they aren’t anti-intellectual, and they aren’t judgmental. They’re “uninformed” certainty. but I’m pretty sure that’s not what Jesus meant when he asked us to come to him like little children.

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Written by RyanGaffney

February 9, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. So true. it is very annoying to be shut down for being intellectual. As a young christian woman it happens even more to me than i think it does to you. Because many of the older female mentors are zombie Christians. and Many of the older male mentors have a hard time dealing with young intelligent females -I think you ought to write a post about sexism in the church. I would be interested in your view on weather or not it is actually a problem and how much of a problem if it is.

    Sarah

    February 24, 2011 at 1:11 am

  2. That’s certainly a juicy topic.

    For now I’ll just say “yes, yes it is”

    ryangaffney

    February 24, 2011 at 4:24 am


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