Monday, February 6, 2012

Why Do Stupid Things Happen to Smart People?

Matthew 11:25 “At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to infants.” (HCSB)

I've read a few parenting books, trying to figure out what I should and shouldn't be doing in raising our kids. One book I read explained something I've thought about a lot in the months since I read it. The book explained Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences: the theory that the "intelligence" that we measure by IQ tests and the like, is really only part of the picture. There are people that are very "intelligent" (by which term he means, "gifted", or "have a high aptitude") in other areas: art, physical activity, social relationships, etc. Someone who's gifted at intellectual pursuits might be a dunce in other areas, and vice versa. Why do we in the West value logical-mathematical and bodily-kinesthetic giftings almost exclusively?

So this thought has led me to consider recently: it seems from my experience that being intellectual is entirely disconnected to (and far less important than) a person's moral maturity. Some of the smartest people in the world have shockingly low moral character, and don't seem to care. We in the west have elevated intellectual giftings exclusively, as if that's the only really important gift for determining whether a person is going to be a success in life, but that's simply not true. Doesn't everyone know smart people who have made some really dumb decisions with their lives?

As I've watched people I've known (smart ones and others), I've seen that those who are smart are not any more to be emulated than anyone else. In fact, maybe less so because those who are smart are especially susceptible (because of the continual subtle reinforcement of their pride, by comparing themselves to others) to the ridiculous notion that they know everything they need to know to reject God and His laws. I am glad there are intellectual Christians who can debate atheists and I'm glad there are brilliant Christians who are scientists, but even when there are questions that I can't figure out with my reason, I know God is bigger than I can understand, and I accept that he doesn't have to make sense to me. I trust Him. You can argue about whether that's smart or not, but it's right.

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