Tone Deaf to the music of religious thought

Several decades ago John Jacobs, Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Baylor University, observed that intellectualism was losing its ability to hear what he called the music of religious thought and practice. Now, all these years later, it has been virtually lost. It is not that Christian intellectuals are not around; they will not be heard.

My selection of words here is intentional. It is not that they cannot be heard; they will not be heard. They have been banned from the public square, assigned maybe a corner called freedom of worship where they can talk among themselves but are ignored by the larger intellectual circles. As a result, the public square is empty of the melody of orthodox biblical thought. Secular intellectuals have mufflers on their ears.

For generations Christian intellectuals were taken seriously by the larger intellectual world and though their ideas were not always heeded, they were heard. They would help mediate the gap between belief and unbelief and provided bridges of understanding for those who would seek the path to faith. Now their voice is nearly silent.

Christian voices have faced an increasingly hostile intellectual world that has grown tone-deaf to nearly all categories of Orthodox Christian thought. As a result, in order to have someone to dialogue with, Christian intellectuals talk to one another, which further isolates their ideas from the main stream and creates an increasingly narrow worldview in the public square. If the Christian voice is not heard then there is not a comprehensive worldview.

Thus, college campuses grow in their hostility to all categories of Christian thought. If you hold certain biblically based views you have to keep your head down and stay quiet. The free exchange of ideas has become the limited exchange of biases. C. S. Lewis, once recognized in intellectual circles as a giant in thought and logic, is now relegated to the Christian world only, a consideration that “real” intellectuals don’t bother with anymore.

As a result, I can no longer in good conscious recommend that parents send their college bound children to any secular college or university. If you want your children to have a true education, well rounded with a comprehensive worldview, you will have to go to a Christian college or university. In the secular world they have forgotten the melodies and rhythms of biblical faith. They have grown tone deaf. We must not.

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