“I outgrew Christianity when I was fourteen years old.” So said an atheist during the course of one of my favourite podcasts recently, bringing us to an idea held more commonly than we might think, that intelligent people will figure out that belief in Jesus is no different than belief in fables like Santa Claus. The claim is made that foolish people may cling to that old rugged cross or lame people might cling to Christianity as a crutch, but the smart person will know better. But is this true? Is this a valid argument as to why one might leave, or never come to the Christian faith? Let me propose two reasons why I don’t think so.
First, Christianity is a faith that has stood the test of time, coming up shining under various tests of legitimacy. Does the Christian faith clash with science or does science support it? While some people will think science is destructive to Christianity there are many scientists who see it as supportive. Does historical enquiry demolish Christian claims? While some will think so, there are many historians who will point to historical enquiry as being very supportive of the Christian faith. How about philosophy? Or archeology? Cosmology? Biology? Or anyotherology? Christianity has been poked and prodded through every possible field of enquiry and it has been defended as reasonable in every one. While fables, like the modern myth of Santa Claus, come up as mere myth under such enquiries, Christianity stands up as reasonable under scrutiny across academic fields. Therefore a smart person can outgrow belief in Santa and the Easter Bunny, while growing even closer to Jesus.
Second, there are a lot of really smart people who are Christians. It would be great if people who say things like “smart people don’t believe in Jesus” could sit down for lunch with the likes of C.S. Lewis, John Lennox, and William Lane Craig. We’d soon see just who is out to lunch! To say “smart people outgrow Christianity” is a statement usually made without any evidence to back it up. Become familiar with some of the great Christian thinkers past and present, and one will realize that the evidence goes against such an assertion. Since a good many people with a higher iq and greater education than you and I are in love with Jesus, to say “I’m too smart to be a Christian” comes across as rather foolish.
Personally, I’m glad to have had the opportunity to grow into the Christian faith, and for the role higher education has played in that.