Intelligence and faith are not mutually exclusive. To compare them is to compare apples with oranges.
Intelligence is limited, and this fact must be acknowledged by those who believe that their accumulation of it is infinite.
Faith, on the other hand, assumes the limitations of knowledge, and accepts the reality that we live in a universe that requires explanation.
So let us explain. And, for the sake of explanation, let us define.
Intelligence is the systematic application of information that has been observed and gathered, to problem-solving.
Faith is the evidence of things not seen, and the substance of things hoped for.
What are my sources, you may ask, for these two definitions? The intelligence definition I wrote from my own observation and experience. The faith definition I found in the Bible, Hebrews 11:1.
I am not trying, necessarily to be logical here, merely sensible; there is a difference between the two. I do not believe that logic is absolutely foolproof, but then faith isn’t either. So this fool tries to utilize both; let’s be sensible here.
An intelligent person wants to know what is correct; a faithful person wants to act correctly.
I’m shooting from the hip here, as usual. Using myself as an example, say, I would say this about me: I am an intelligent person whose functional life is grounded in faith.
What does my intelligence tell me? It informs me that I live in a physical world that requires me to process information in order to live and function every day. There is DNA, and there is physical life that results from it, which includes me.
My intelligence raises an infinity of questions, always will. There’s no end to it. How many centuries did people believe that the earth was flat and the sun revolves around the earth? A lot of centuries. Galileo and Kepler came along and, by their intelligent analysis, changed all that. Newton built a whole world of information and calculation around their discoveries. Einstein came later and changed all that again. Quantum mechanics on the brain, and auto mechanics on the road, so I can get to work tomorrow. Knowledge is limited, but ya gotta start somewhere.
Knowledge is limited. Get used to it. The Hubble telescope can assist our seeing, but only so far, and even then you don’t know what you’re looking at. Same thing in the other direction–microscopes. It takes a lot of work and research to find out what’s going on up there in space, or down there in the cell, and then when we do find out some stuff, part of what we discover turns out to be wrong, and someone else eventually comes along with more reliable data.
I mean, look at Gates and Jobs: apples and oranges. I was tearing my hair out last night trying to integrate a new scanner/printer with our iMac so I could send a certain pdf in an email; the iMac wouldn’t accept my brand new scanner. Was I screwing up? or Mac? Probably me. Can’t blame Jobs. Nevertheless after an hour of frustration I went over to the old Dell with Word, and a different scanner, and worked the whole problem out, sent the pdf in the email. Go figure.
Knowledge is limited.
Is faith limited? Probably. It only goes as far as you and God will let it.
What does my faith tell me? There is a God, and I am not He. There is a code upon which physical life is constructed, and there is a Writer of the code. There is a tree of knowledge and there is a tree of life. One of them is fascinating; the other is productive. I’ll leave you to decide which one you want to eat from. Probably both, if you’re like me. But I know where my life comes from, and it aint the tree of knowledge.
CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress