A smart jerk is still a jerk

Okay, so you’re a rocket scientist… that don’t impress me much. – Shania Twain

As dangerous as a little knowledge is, even more dangerous is much knowledge without a strong, principled character.  – Ghandi

And if I … understand all mysteries and all knowledge, … but have not love, I am nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:2*

This year I graduated 22nd grade. You heard me – a full decade of post-high-school education! Yowza. I’ve been deep in the dark recesses of academia for a while, surrounded by all the smartie-pants.

They are many fab things about working around and being friends with smarties. They sharpen you. They don’t let you get away with lazy thinking, or holding too tightly to untested assumptions. Even my lunches have been subject to the critical appraisal of my labmates, no lolz. So, I highly recommend having at least a few hard-core smarties in your life.

okay-so-youre-593be5
Shania gets it, y’all.

**BUT** please don’t romanticize the intelligentsia. Being smart and/or educated (trust me, these are not mutually inclusive!) just means that .. you’re smart and educated. It doesn’t make you a good friend, it doesn’t give you good character, it doesn’t give you wisdom. It doesn’t even necessarily mean that you live out what you know. Seriously – people accuse Christians of being hypocritical, but great googly moogly! I know so many academics who – in stubborn refusal to acknowledge decades of nutrition research  – rebelliously guzzle diet cokes and stuff pizza in their faces as they listen to a talk on the risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease.**

Smarties can also be arrogant and dismissive, especially to those who are not as intellectually gifted. #dumblivesmatter

Smarties can also apply their knowledge in a destructive way. I hate to play the Nazi card, but I’m going to play the Nazi card. Germans were highly educated. They weren’t in-bred rednecks who got super drunk one night and decided to go on a killing spree. There is a horrifying logic to eugenics, actually.

So what’s my point — not that being intelligent makes you evil. It’s just.. one – and only one –  feature that’s pretty coolio. But please, please don’t over-glorify it. Being loving, kind, joyful, a peacemaker, humble, good, faithful, gentle, having self-control*** those are the qualities that are truly unique and praiseworthy. Maybe being intelligent will help you live some of these out more fully, but being smart is not sufficient, and probably not even necessary to have this kind of character.

So sure – let’s all give up a golf clap for smart people, but let’s not go into standing ovation territory. And if you happen to be brilliant, get over yourself – and make sure you seek out the mentorship of people who will help corral your smarts for good and not evil.

 

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*edited for conciseness, but it’s a beautiful chapter so read the whole caboodle!

** FYI artificial sweeteners and diets high in saturated fat can increase your risk of AD #thatonewasforfree #yourewelcome #shamelessselfpromotion

*** You good church folks are probably noticing I’m getting a little FRUITY!!

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8 thoughts on “A smart jerk is still a jerk

  1. Truer words have ne’er been spoken. That’s Shakespeare. NBD. But seriously, I wholeheartedly agree with this post, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, what with your quirky and/or corny humor peppered throughout. In an Econ course, my Nigerian professor thought that education would resolve the violence on her continent, but I brought up the Nazis as a counterexample. According to most commentators, not only were they highly educated, they were the PREEMINENT intellectual powerhouse in the world at the time. “But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, yo! Great minds think alike! (except when we don’t..) 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. P.S., I wrote a blog post about a smartie pants’ book to make myself sound extra smart. Not really, but I do think some of the quotes I quote and the thoughts I express will sound a little condescending. Hopefully they won’t make anyone cry though 😬 But I definitely find defenses of the infallibility/inerrancy to be “theological charlatanism”. Anyways, it’s about my main man David Friedrich Strauss, and it’s here: https://glasshalfmeaningful.wordpress.com/

    Like

    1. I read it. I find it interesting that you seem to harbor an equal (?) amount of disgust for people who don’t take the bible seriously and those that do. But if you’d like for me to punch you in the face next time you blaspheme the Holy Spirit, I’d be glad to. #kidding #notkidding Also the one and only RLW has some interesting views on biblical infallibility. Not sure if I track with him 100% but you may find it interesting to chat with him about it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol. It’s hypocrisy that bothers me the most. It’s the double standards. For instance, I have a friend who is a teacher. At some point in her career, she was substituting for a middle school teacher of a Christian school. She is an evangelical Christian who believes the Bible is infallible. On one of the days that she was substituting, the textbook was talking about an old earth and evolution, in a conventional, scientifically mainstream way. One of the Christian students was distraught. She was very sincere and serious in her protesting of this being taught to her and her classmates. My friend has the gall to mock this little girl and her well-meaning parents for being so “backwards”, while at the same time, she does not believe in the idea that humans likewise evolved, because it violates an important aspect of her Bible-based theology. It’s this kind of hypocrisy that really gets me steamed.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, shawty 🙂

        I’ll have to talk with RL Stein again about his views on infallibility. We’ve talked about this before, but it’s been awhile. He proposed that he and I debate! I want the topic to be related to Tim Keller somehow. I also want him to punch me, then at a future debate between Andy the Fundie and RL the Progressive Evangelical, for Andrew to punch Robert. Then I feel justice will be fully accomplished.

        Liked by 1 person

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