>Thoughts on Apathy and Arrogance

randomlychad  —  March 25, 2011 — 4 Comments

>Heaven's Gatephoto © 2008 Hartwig HKD | more info (via: Wylio)

Basely solely upon my subjective observation (which is largely limited to American culture and society), it seems a great mass of folks are quite content being told what told what to think and believe. Rather than investigate for themselves, they quite readily swallow whatever Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Myers, Piper, Taylor, Challies, and/or DeYoung say.

Why is this?

Because we’re largely passive consumers, rather than proactive livers. We want things handed to us, and if we have to work for something, it’s just not worth the effort. Because apathy is far easier, and less messy, than engagement. Being apathetic means we get to spare ourselves a whole bunch of drama. Nothing much is worth fighting for, except when our creature comforts are encroached upon. Investigation takes work, and who has the time?

So we trust the “experts.” Men who are quite happy to spoon-feed us what we think we want to be told. And then let things stand pat. The interesting thing about the experts (and it was no accident I listed the names I did above) is that they think–no, they know–they’re right. Every single last one of them. So convinced is he of his “rightness,” Dawkins won’t even deign to engage in debate with certain groups. Likewise, John Piper in/famously tweeted “Farewell, Rob Bell.” The common denominator: arrogance. So convinced are they of their respective fundamental rightness, there’s no admission that “I could be wrong,” or even a willingness to engage in dialogue with those perceived to be in opposition. There’s a decided lack of humility there.

And these are the men we entrust with our souls? We need to be, as the Bible says, “Bereans,” and search these things for ourselves, instead of swallowing them whole. Our lives would be the better for it.

As a postscript, it just occurred to me that these men have more in common than their arrogance, it also seems that they don’t want live in a world with any mysteries. Think about it: Dawkins says that science does, or will, answer everything, and Piper comes across like he’s got God all figured out. No wiggle room (I mean who is he to decide if Bell has a place at God’s table?). And if there’s no mystery, there’s no room for me. Or for you for that matter. Put another way: if there’s no room for doubt, there’s no room for us.

I’ll leave you today with the words of the inimitable G.K. Chesterton, who said in his brilliant book, Orthodoxy, “The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.”

Truer words have rarely been spoken. I don’t want to live a life of apathy, but like the poet, investigate the heavens–and yet still let the mysteries remain mysterious (there’s a tension inherent in this, but well worth it). How about you?

For further reading, I suggest you check out the blogs of Rachel Held Evans, and Jason Boyett, because they are people who are not afraid to grapple, Jacob-like, with the mystery of who God is (which implies they’re holding onto Him), while simultaneously admitting they don’t have all the answers. This honesty, while threatening to some, is refreshing to me. They are real people, with real faith, wrestling with real questions. If the Book of Job is any indication (remember God questioned Job’s religious friends as to why they didn’t “speak rightly” of Him as Job had?), they are on the right track.

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randomlychad

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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers. Subscribe to RandomlyChad by Email

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  • FTR, my understanding of why Dawkins refuses to debate creationists is less because of he is convinced of his rightness and more because of the inability of most creationists to stick to the subject. He's a biologist. But they'll “stump” him with questions about cosmology or geology or some other discipline and if he can't answer (because it's not his specialization), they'll declare that they've won.

    Which isn't to say that he's not pretty damn arrogant. But quite honestly, his refusal to debate creationists seems perfectly legitimate to me.
    My recent post Guest Post at FriendlyAtheistcom

  • Michelle

    I think we are designed to seek, and ask questions (just look at a two year old), but I read a passage the other day, and it really stuck with me: Deut 29:29 29 “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”

    Yes, we seek. But we don't need to know everything. What we need to know is already revealed. It may be hidden and need some searching out (like reading the Bible for ourselves instead of just accepting what we are told). So, I agree with you.

    • Love that verse! Thanks, Michelle!