Skip to main content

Stupid or Sinful?

There is an idea floating out there, especially among humanists and atheists, that the big problem in our world is a lack of education. In other words, if people just had more knowledge we would be able to rid the world of things like sexism, racism, hunger, and poverty. The problem is we have no evidence that is true, in fact, experience tells us the opposite.

I have been reading Timothy Keller’s book, The Reason for God, and chapter 10 is entitled The Problem of Sin. Keller begins the chapter with two quotes from H. G. Wells. In 1937 Wells wrote the book, A Short History of the World. Keller shares this quote from the book:
“Can we doubt that presently our race will more than realize our boldest imaginations, that it will achieve unity and peace, and that our children will live in a world made more splendid and lovely than any palace or garden that we know, going on from strength to strength in an ever-widening circle of achievement? What man has done, the little triumphs of his present state...form but the prelude to things that man has yet to do.”

After World War II (1946) Wells published another book entitled, A Mind at the End of Its Tether. This is the quote Keller took from that book:
“The cold-blooded massacres of the defenseless, the return of the deliberate and organized torture, mental torment, and fear to a world from which such things had seemed well nigh banished—has come near to breaking my spirit altogether…’Homo Sapiens,’ as he has been pleased to call himself, is played out.”

There was such hope for humankind, but the atrocities of war were a vivid reminder how evil people really are. The lack of knowledge and education is not our problem. We are a society that has been schooled and we have more knowledge than people who came before us (that doesn’t mean that we have more wisdom). Yet, we still do incredibly stupid things.

Just this week we have read about a governor who got caught having an affair because of a unannounced trip to South America. When I read that story I thought, “How stupid can you be?” Or we read about celebrities who know the consequences of drug addiction, and yet they are caught in an endless cycle of rehab and abuse. Or there is the couple who is in debt tens of thousands of dollars, and yet they still live a lifestyle way beyond their means by using credit cards. It isn’t a lack of knowledge that causes people to do seemingly stupid things.

I know that my day goes better if I take time to pray in the morning, but I don’t always do it. Why? Because my body tells me that I can take five more minutes to snooze, which turn into 10 minutes, and then 30 minutes, and in then end I am rushing around trying to get to the office on time. It isn’t a lack of knowledge that keeps me from praying in the morning.

The problem is that we are controlled by the flesh, the part of us which puts us as ultimate. That is what sin is. Sin, at its core, is putting things in the place of God, even ourselves. As long as we are controlled by the flesh we are going to experience stupid and evil behavior from ourselves and those around us. The problem with humanity isn’t a lack of education, it is sin.

The presence of sin in the world is one clue that leads me to believe in God.


Stan said…
My parents took our family out to dinner one evening. My son pushed his carrots aside. Grandma asked, "Aren't you going to eat those?" Grandson answered, "No." "But," Grandma countered, "don't you know they're good for you?" "Yes," Grandson answered, "I just don't like them." "See?" Grandpa piped in, "Education is not the answer."

Funny, sure, but telling, too. "I know what's right; I just don't like to do what's right."
Paul said…
That is good. The evidence that education isn't the answer is all around us, in fact I don't have to look any further than my own life, but we still try to convince ourselves that it is.

Thanks for sharing Stan, always appreciated.

Popular posts from this blog

Prayer: Married Bedtime Prayer

My wife Jenny and I have been using the Bedtime Prayer that John Eldredge wrote for Walking with God as part of our bedtime routine.  As much as I have enjoyed the prayer I thought it was time for a prayer that was better suited to pray together.  Hopefully this will encourage you to implement prayer into your bedtime routine.

Our Father in Heaven, we pause at the end of this day to say thank You.  We give You thanks for the blessing of life, for the blessing of each other, for the blessing of family, and for the blessing of a home. You have richly blessed our lives. Restore us Father to Your Son Jesus.  He is the vine and we are the branches and He has become our source of life.  Open our hearts to receive the Holy Spirit's guidance, healing, and transformation.  May our lives and our marriage bear the fruit of the Spirit.  We surrender our lives and our marriage to You.  You have our bodies, possessions, and spirits; we give You our hearts, souls, minds, and strength.  We belon…

God Uses Unlikely People

One of the things that strike me about God is that the value society has given to people makes no difference to Him. In fact it seems that God would rather use the common, even the despised, people of the world to make a difference in this world. Consider Moses. God doesn’t use Moses when he is a prince of Egypt, but when he is a nomadic shepherd. Certainly God has used the rich and the powerful, but more often than not God has used the poor, sinful, and abused. God uses the unlikeliest people.

This reality comes our loud and clear at Christmas time. Think about the major characters of the Christmas story: Joseph who is a poor and scandalize carpenter, Mary who is a young and scandalized girl, Shepherds who are a bunch of untrustworthy characters. Only the Magi have credibility in society, but this diminishes in Jewish culture since these men were Gentiles. The most important event in the history of the world and God chooses people who are rejected and wouldn’t be believed by so…

Worship is a Lifestyle

"It's a lot easier to sing a song than it is to stop and touch the broken. It's a lot less taxing to go to church than to take 'church' to the world. But sharing with others is a sacrifice of worship that makes God smile." ~ Louie Giglio; The Air I Breathe

Worship isn't just about music. Worship isn't just an activity that is planned and programmed. Worship is about glorifying God with our lives. When we seek to honor God, we worship Him.

Worship happens anytime and anyplace. It happens Sunday mornings at church. It happens Wednesday night at Bible Study. It happens when we chat with our neighbor. It happens when we serve those in need. It happens when we show love to the lonely. Worship is what being a Christian is all about.

Worship is a life lived in response to God's gracious blessings. God has given us so much. We owe Him every breath we breathe. He is responsible for our talents we use. God has given us blessing after blessing. Only a life o…