Many are familiar with the Bubonic plague which devastated and claimed countless lives in the Middle Ages. What we are not as familiar with is a plague of a different sort. It is one that has crippled and destroyed an equal amount of lives, perhaps even more than the Bubonic plague, though in a different sense. It is the plague of Intellectual Myopia. Myopia can be defined as:
1 : a condition in which the visual images come to a focus in front of the retina of the eye resulting especially in defective vision of distant objects
2 : a lack of foresight or discernment : a narrow view of something
– my·o·pic /-‘O-pik, -‘ä-/ adjective
– my·o·pi·cal·ly /-pi-k(&-)lE/ adverb
Let us focus on the latter of these two descriptions. Therefore, the symptoms of intellectual myopia consist of:
1) a failure to think critically (understanding the implication of one’s beliefs and to engage in healthy scrutinizing)
2) a lack of desire towards intellectual exposure
(More symptoms could be listed, but for now these will do. Feel free to add to the list of symptoms.)
Now it seems that nobody is exempt from this plague in some sense. Despite my best efforts there are times when I act on or accept a certain belief that I have not considered in a critical manner. We commonly accept beliefs without clearly thinking through their logical implications. A mind, like a muscle, is something to be trained, worked out and stretched. Whether this is done in a routine fashion or a random fashion, it needs to be done with diligence. One means to this end would be the intentional exposure to new ideas on a regular basis (heaven forbid).
Unfortunately, this plague has infiltrated the Church in large measure. Take for instance the literature that abounds in Religious bookstores. George Barna “noted that the religious books of greatest influence in the past several years have not addressed people’s fundamental theological views. ‘Most of the bestsellers have focused on meaning, purpose, security and the end times,’ the researcher pointed out. ‘While there have been theological views expressed in those books, very few popular books have helped people to think clearly and comprehensively about their core theology. Consequently, most born again Christians hold a confusing and inherently contradictory set of religious beliefs that go unchecked by the leaders and teachers of their faith community.’”
If it is the case that the religious community is not suffering from Intellectual myopia, then why does it seem that there are so few who have been administered the proper vaccination?