Anti-intellectualism

April 8, 2007 at 7:08 pm | Posted in buddhism, Zen | 1 Comment

It’s no secret that anti-intellectualism is becoming more common in the USA. There’s a visceral reaction among many prominent media figures when the idea of expertise is brought to the fore, be it in the field of foreign policy, domestic policy, science or anything else.

Much of the problem rests in the heart of evangelical Christianity, which teaches that one needs no knowledge outside of scripture. This includes, ironically, the study of the origins of the bible itself, including translation issues, authorship issues, and historical accuracy.

To me, there is no higher crime than chosen ignorance. This is why Buddhism is where I place my faith.

Indeed, he who moves in the company of fools grieves for longing. Association with fools is ever painful, like partnership with an enemy. But association with the wise is happy, like meeting one’s own kinsmen.

Certainly, there are Zen lineages where Monks are encouraged to ignore worldy pursuits to focus on their studies, but this is a far cry from enforced ignorance on lay people.

I think Christianity as a faith has much to teach everyone. On Easter, I’m reminded of the potential for rebirth, and I do hope that there are some who can lead the Christian faithful back to the path of reason and science and away from the dangers of anti-intellectualism.

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1 Comment »

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  1. Wonderful message. It is a very important one too.

    I really enjoy your writing. It seems well grounded in not only Buddhist principles but has a solid footing political science and history as well.

    A joy to read.

    Hope you won’t object if I add you to my blogroll.


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