Is belief in God anti-intellectual?

A recurring theme we hear day in and day out is that belief in God is anti-intellectual, but hearing the same drum banging away over and over again does not mean that drum is sound. If this statement is true then fifty Nobel prize winners who professed to believe in God, including Albert Einstein, are all anti-intellectual.

Albert Einstein

The disparaging comment that man only accepted the myths about a divine presence until science came along is an ignorant statement as there have been scientists of substance who believed in God for centuries. Take Nicholas Copernicus who lived from 1473 to 1543. He was the Polish astronomer who put forward the first mathematically based system of planets going around the sun and it wasn’t the atheists who urged him to publish his works, it was a Bishop, a Cardinal, The Pope and a Protestant Professor. Copernicus saw no problem with his mathematical system being compatible with belief in God, probably because he realised God was perfectly capable of doing maths!

Nicholas Copernicus

Some atheists pontificate on how Copernicus was later banned from the Roman Catholic Church, how ‘organised Christianity did everything it could to stamp it out’ and then went on to ban Galileo from teaching the worlds went round the sun, but they conveniently neglect to point out that neither Copernicus or Galileo had put their trust in man-made religious organisations, but rather the living God. Progressive, intellectual and challenging thinkers are still thrown out of institutional denominations to this day, but that is hardly proof that there is no God or that belief in Christ is anti-intellectual! Jesus himself was persecuted and crucified by denominational leaders, so this whole angle is very weak indeed. Intellectual Christianity and institutionalised behaviour claimed to be Christianity are two different worlds! People who exercise progressive thought on social action, ministry and challenge error will continue to face denominational wrath, but that will never be a credible argument against the existence of God, if anything it is proof that religious institutions are not the answer, only God himself is the answer!

Rene Descartes

As further proof that belief is anti-intellectual critics often quote Rene Descartes for his statement, “I think therefore I am,” but what they seldom realise is that he went on to put up an argument for the existence of God and warned us that without an awareness of God we can deceive ourselves through our own thought processes. Bearing in mind his conviction that there is a God I do wonder if he was deliberately making a play on God’s description of himself as the “I AM.” Either way the scientific methodology of Rene Descartes was respected for centuries, so who can seriously write him off as a non intellectual?

Robert Boyle

Were Galileo Galilei, Sir Francis Bacon, Blaise Pascal, Isaac Newton and Robert Boyle anti-intellectual? You could rightfully argue they did not all share identical ideas of who God is, but you cannot deny that for centuries and centuries there have been many culture challenging and world-changing intellectuals like these men who believed in God. Men who pushed the intellectual envelope deserve to appear on stamps, but the talking heads who claim that belief is anti-intellectual do not. This over banged drum is simply not sounding out the truth, it isn’t true today and it never has been either.

Current list and historical list of scientists with a list of fifty Nobel winners who believe in God.

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About Paul and Marian Sinclair

Paul and Marian Sinclair are a husband and wife combination who breathe a breath of fresh air wherever they go. Paul has 26 years proven ministry as a pastor, speaker, published author and writer. Marian is from Ghana and has been a minister in song for as many years. When Marian sings… expect an anointing!
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6 Responses to Is belief in God anti-intellectual?

  1. Tony says:

    Great article, I didn’t check my brain into neutral when I found God was real and started to follow Jesus.

  2. David Bell says:

    Enjoyed that Paul as you presented very good, sound comments & you stirred a few braincells in me with some of the names mentioned, like Descartes & Pascale, taking me back to my R.E./Philosophy teaching days.

  3. Geoff says:

    Great thoughts for a new year! My feelings are that all the wonders of this world – as far as we can see at this moment in time- have been supremely designed. The very fabric of existence has been planned and fitted together with meticulous care and thought. No random action this!

  4. Jimmy says:

    If anyone needed proof that Christianity is anti-intellectual they would only need to read your article. Many of your points are only convincing if your reader is as ignorant as you are. For instance, you should do more research on Einsteins religious beliefs.

    • Einstein did not believe many of the stories in the bible or see God in the same way as an orthodox christian, but he strongly discounted atheism and accepted there was a god. Einstein went beyond this and made it clear he was not a pantheist and he did not see god as being mere nature or an interchangeable term with nature.

      “I’m not an atheist. I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist.”
 Einstein quoted in Glimpses of the Great, 1930.

      When I was at college twenty five years ago we studied both pantheism and panentheism and at long last, thanks to you, I have the chance to talk about panentheism as it does seem from some articles that Einstein was a panenthiest or at least leaning that way.

      “I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals himself in the harmony of all that exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.”
 Einstein, 24 April 1929.

      Panentheists believe that God is not one with the universe or within the fabric of the universe, but rather that God is greater than the universe. How cool.

      “…there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views.” Clark, Ronald W. (1971).
 Einstein: The Life and Times.

      It is indisputable that Einstein was openly critical of atheism, so it is not ignorant to state that belief in God is not anti-intellectual.

  5. Great article! Your thesis can’t be denied…it’s so well supported by facts.
    I’m doing a series of blogs on one of the scientists you mentioned. If interested, see
    11. Famous Thinkers – Chemist Is a Creationist

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