The rage against academia
By Pastor Simon Chen
Using the internet is like learning to eat fish. One has to learn how to enjoy the good stuff but don’t forget to spit out the bones. Sure, there are a lot of great resources out there, but some of that stuff has no real use!
Of late, there seems to be an aversion, revulsion almost, amongst certain quarters, against good scholarship. Take for example, a recent interview with celebrity foodie Pete Evans. In his opinion, there is a conspiracy amongst major players of the food, agricultural, pharmaceutical, and fuel industries. Sadly, in his opinion, everyone in the medical industry (doctors, dentists, dieticians, etc.) are also tainted and therefore can no longer be trusted. But what about the fact that these professionals often spend years training before they are allowed to practice? Well, according to Pete, “You don't need to go to a university to learn anything these days, you can learn anything anywhere.” And then of course, there are also those who believe that vaccinations are harmful to all children, climate change is a myth, the government is out to get you, and tin foil hats really protect you from mind control.
Followers of Jesus are not immune to this rage against academia. Those who have been to church for a while will no doubt have encountered people who have “discovered the truth”. Dig a bit deeper and one will find that this “truth” resides in the domains (pun intended) of the internet.
Now it is true that those who have been to any kind of Bible school/ college/ seminary do not know everything about God and his Word. It is also true that Bible scholars do not have a monopoly on all knowledge of the faith. What is true though is that those who attend the academy have to endure fairly rigorous study, debate, critical engagement, and a fair bit of intellectual fencing, so they do actually know a bit of what they are talking about.
It is helpful to remember, when reading the Bible, that we are not the first people to do so. The Scriptures have been meticulously studied for more than 2000 years and it is not a bad idea to engage with how it has been read all this time.
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