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Monday, January 28, 2008

The Bible Makes You Dumb?


Here is an interesting study (read: someone was bored on facebook) on books that make you dumb. The chart compares books read with SAT scores.

There are some interesting things to note here, but I will start with the one that caught my eye.

Reading the Holy Bible (note that “the Bible” and the “Mormon Bible” are both higher on the list…does calling the Bible Holy make you more dumb?) makes you dumb.

As I looked at this chart and considered the implications of such results… I agreed with its findings. The way in which we read Scripture does make us dumb. As readers of the Bible, we often view Scripture as a simple text. It’s a text full of answers. It’s a text full of colorful storybook pages. Its got laws. Its got five points for fixing your family. It has step by step directions to vocational success.

This is often how we approach scripture. We, as readers, make the text simple. We condense and abridge this book of mystery and love in the name of simplicity. So perhaps the Bible does not make us dumb. Perhaps we, hoping to make ourselves feel smart, strip God’s word of its complexity.

May we fight for a richer, truer look at the book that reveals more than our SAT scores.

In the words of Eugene Peterson, a translator of Biblical Text:

“As we personally participate in the Scripture-revealed world of the emphatically personal God, we not only have to be willing to accept the strangeness of this world-that it doesn’t fit our preconceptions or tastes-but also the staggering largeness of it. We find ourselves in a truly expanding universe that exceeds anything we learned in our geography or astronomy books. Our imagination have to be revamped to take in this large, immense world of God’s revelation in contrast to the small, cramped world of human 'figuring out.' We learn to live, imagine, believe, love, converse in this immense and richly organic and detailed world to which we are given access by our Old and New Testaments. 'Biblical' does not mean cobbling texts together to prove or substantiate some dogma or practice that we have landed on. Rather, it signals an opening up into what ‘no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, [but] what God…has revealed to us through the spirit (1 Cor. 2:9-10).’”

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Brian said...

I love these thoughts!

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