Does More Education = Greater Faith?

A new study has found that advanced education does not necessarily result in a decrease in religious orientation.

Liberals have long held the ramparts of academic bastions. They make it difficult for conservative (especially Christian) faculty members to enter their ranks. This is a great irony, since one of their hypocritical mantras is that everyone should maintain an “open mind.” Apparently they believe the mind should remain open to virtually everything except for traditional values and faith. Case in point, the gifted C.S. Lewis was denied a full professorship at Oxford, and ended his career teaching at Cambridge University, where the faculty at the time was less prejudiced.

The recent study by sociologist Philip Schwadel offered some shocking results. For example, highly educated individuals are actually more likely than their less educated counterparts to attend worship services. You read that correctly, they are more apt to practice their faith by participating in corporate worship. In fact, data from the General Social Survey revealed that with each additional year of education, the likelihood of attending religious services increased 15 percent!

Lest Christians get too excited over the study, however, there are a couple of caveats. In essence, more highly educated people tend to become more liberal in their theology. This manifests itself in a lower view of Scripture’s authority, and a corresponding tendency toward viewing the God who was incarnate in Jesus Christ as a generic “higher power.”

So, at the end of the day we find ourselves where we began. There are devout Christians across the educational spectrum. Some hold impressive degrees from prestigious universities. Many of them teach, and we should pray that they are able to do so without compromising their integrity.

God and the world don’t value things in the same way. As Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth: “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God . . . For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong . . . so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’”

Ultimately I’m unimpressed by the new data—I’ve always recognized the truly intelligent people in the world are those who follow Jesus.

4 thoughts on “Does More Education = Greater Faith?

  1. Look at the 1st century Church and see how many academics the Lord choose. Many of Paul’s Gentile converts were uneducated yet many became the leaders of the Church that was in their city. It wasn’t until maybe the 3rd Century the idea of a trained professional clergy came into existence and it has been a plague ever since. We are all priests in the house of God therefore we should all be able to minister as we come together; that according to Paul was the New Testament norm 1 Cor. 12-14 tells us how we should meet. We should all have a song, a testimony, a teaching, yes even a prophecy if it is tested and gives glory to God. Not many if any of our well-trained clergy today would allow that; “Why they haven’t been to Bible-school what do they know?”

    I’ve got all the paper work that established religious institutes recognize as signs of my ministry, but do they impress our Lord? I think not. Your right truly intelligent people have the mind of Christ not because of their great education but because of the Christ life that indwells them!

    1. Even though those who are “simple” in the world’s eyes seem to hear God more clearly, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pursue knowledge. Knowledge, while not Wisdom, can be useful in its own right and well educated believers are able to reach an audience that would never listen to those they regard as their intellectual inferiors.

      Ultimately, we must all receive the Kingdom of God with the trust of a “little child.” Levels of education are irrelevant insofar as salvation is concerned . . . what ultimately matters is opening the door to Christ who knocks patiently at the door of every heart.

  2. UsneakydevilU

    Liberal intellects, they know so much, but believe so little! Their supposed intellect has made them create themselves into their own personal ‘g’od’s, the one true God, they seem to not know, because the God I hear these liberals speak of, I sure don’t know. “Kindergarten logic” is all they offer, it drives me crazy.

  3. Pingback: Degrees of Importance « Mere Inkling

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