Peter Enns recently voiced a frustration shared by many Christian scholars with the anti-intellectualism that is widespread in the Evangelical movement. His complaint is that Evangelicals reject scholarship that fails to confirm their beliefs and validate their biases. Borrowing an idiom from Mark Noll, Enns writes, “The scandal of the Evangelical mind is that degrees, books, papers, and other marks of prestige are valued—provided you come to predetermined conclusions.” The effect of this scandal is that Christian scholars working in the academic mainstream and producing quality research are shunned whenever that research seems to undermine Evangelical dogma. Instead, Evangelicals patronize faux academics, like Ken Ham or David Barton, who provide the “right” answers by playing fast and loose with the facts. Therefore, even though Evangelicals are attaining higher levels of academic achievement, there is a perverse incentive for them to keep a low profile: “Calling for Evangelical involvement in public academic discourse is useless if trained Evangelicals are legitimately afraid of what will happen to them if they do.”
Read more at Patheos, the new home of the Fare Forward blog.