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  • Writer's pictureJohn Stackhouse

Do You Have to Choose between Your Brains and Your Beliefs? An Impatient Prologue

I was privileged to offer a public lecture this past week on the UBC campus on this question. I’ll write more about the topic soon, once I’m done a brief bit of travelling (Banff, Alberta, this weekend; the coastal town of Anacortes, Washington, the next).

But I confess that I had to resist offering the following flippant answers to the question instead of the serious ones I did (again, which I’ll set out for you soon):

“Yes, you do. That’s why I handed back my Ph.D. and professorship last week, and now happily believe unencumbered by intelligence.”


“Well, since I have so few of either, it’s no big deal for me…”


“Why do we have to keep answering this question? After two thousand years of Christianity, with figures as various and as brilliant as Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Hildegard of Bingen, J. S. Bach, Blaise Pascal, Jonathan Edwards, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and [fill in the names of any number of geniuses here] to point to, why is this still an interesting question?”


“This event is sponsored by UBC Christian students, who by definition have good brains (or they couldn’t get into UBC) and serious faith (or they wouldn’t bother sponsoring events such as this). Q.E.D. The End.”

I didn’t say any of that, of course. I said something more sober and sensible.

(But I did think it, I confess, and perhaps when you read this post’s heading, you thought something similar!)


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