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Let Your Intelligence and Faith Work Together

Let Your Intelligence and Faith Work Together

Some people see the world only in terms of obvious physical realities.  Others view the world through the lens of blind faith that doesn't fully engage their minds.  But both camps of people are like the Cyclopes of ancient stories whose vision is limited to what they can see with only one eye.  They're missing out on the world's multidimensional glory.

The only way to see the world as God meant you to see it is to look at it with both "eyes" He has given you - your intelligence and your spirituality.  If you develop both your IQ (intelligence quotient) and SQ (spiritual quotient), you'll be able to see the full depth and beauty of yourself, others, and the universe God has created.

Here's how you can let your intelligence and spirituality work together:

Realize that everyone believes in something
Some people believe in God, and some people believe in the god Randomness, who they think has the power to transform complete chaos into the finely tuned order of our universe.  Understand that it takes just as much faith - if not more - to believe that the universe has no divine creator or director than it does to believe that God exists.

Understand that God gave your mind so you could use it

Remember that we were made in God's image, and that includes our brains.  Know that He wants you to make good use of your intelligence and not be afraid to explore the world so you can discover more about it.

Recognize the amazing accomplishments of smart, spiritual people throughout history

You have only to read through the annals of history to discover legions of educated men and women whose faith in God was important to them.  As you learn about what they accomplished in their lifetimes, you'll know that smart people can believe in God and use their God-given gifts to make a significant, positive difference in the world.

Don't let yourself be hoodwinked by myths
Know that IQ isn't somehow superior to SQ; both are equally important for being able to accurately perceive the world.  Seeing is a form of believing, but believing is also a form of seeing.  Know that science can never prove that God does or does not exist.  Science, by its nature, will always be completely neutral on the subject.  If you do believe in God, don't ever be ashamed of your faith. 

Don't think that God frowns on your doubts and questions.  Instead, know that He wants you to use them as tools to develop a deeper faith.  If you don't believe in God, realize that whatever the reasons are, they have nothing to do with your intelligence because many people with very high IQs also have faith in God.  Don't look down your nose at people who believe in God. Ask yourself what emotional reasons you might have for your skepticism, and consider seeking healing for those issues so you'll be free to go on a genuine spiritual quest for answers. 

For example, if you blame God for the evil in the world, remember how many atrocities have been committed by atheists (such as leaders of communist governments who have slaughtered millions of people).  If you think religion is a crutch, consider how often the biblical God makes the lives of His people harder - not easier - so they can grow.

Understand how science and religion can cooperate
Science asks "how" questions, while religion asks "why" questions - but both types of questions are valuable.  Science seeks to discover more about the universe, while religion seeks to discover more about the universe's Creator.  Know that space, time, meaning, and purpose all can shed new light on each other when you study them together.  Remember that both science and religion encourage people to explore, observe, make judgments, and discern wisdom.  Scientists often use experiments to do so, while Christians often use the counsel of Scripture and the Holy Spirit.  Understand that a healthy and credible science will always need faith, and a healthy and credible religion will always need reason. 

Consider that scientific theories are imperfect by nature (because they're created by imperfect people) and open to revision in the future as people learn more.  But also remember that faith in the scientific process can lead to important new discoveries.  Know that as you accept and respect both science and religion, you can discover more about truth than you would if you accepted just one of them.  Understand that science and faith aren't two competing worldviews. 

Instead, they're two different takes on one coherent reality - our intelligence calls what it sees "truth," and our spirituality calls what it sees "God."  Recognize that proof and belief are both powerful ways of obtaining real certainty.  We can prove things we find hard to believe, and we can believe in things we find hard to prove.  Realize you can become smarter when you become more spiritual, and you can become more spiritual when you become smarter.  Wisdom, love, and humility also result from this cooperation.

Adapted from Can A Smart Person Believe in God?, copyright 2004 by Michael Guillen.  Published by Nelson Books, a division of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tn., www.thomasnelson.com

Michael Guillen, Ph.D., is a theoretical physicist and former science correspondent for ABC News.  He taught physics at Harvard for eight years, during which time he won awards for his distinguished teaching.  He currently serves as president of Spectacular Science Productions and chief consultant for science and religion for Crystal Cathedral Ministries, appearing often on the Hour of Power. For his work on Good Morning America, World News Tonight, Nightline, and 20/20, he has won Emmys, Teddys, and an EMMA.  Guillen has also published hundreds of articles and reviews in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Esquire, and Science Digest.