By Eric on April 20, 2011 12

Faith vs. Intellect

One of my 2011 goals is to read one book each month. So far, so good.  For April, the book I chose is a re-read: “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller. I love all of his books, but this was the first I read and I believe it’s the first he wrote. It’s been a long while since I read it, and, honestly, I can’t remember much about it. I told you yesterday that I have a terrible memory (just ask Kels). The reason I am re-reading it is because they just finished filming a movie about it that comes out this fall, and I wanted to get a fresh read of the book before seeing it.

Kelsey: Come on, let’s be serious. You won’t remember it by fall. But, the movie will refresh your memory! Oh…and can I re-read it after you? (Actually, I think we have another copy of it somewhere…right?) I read it on our Scandinavian trip in 2003, and all I remember is that there’s something in there about penguin sex.

Anyway, this paragraph hit me pretty hard the other day, and I wanted to share it with you all:

My most recent faith struggle is not one of intellect. I don’t really do that anymore. Sooner or later you just figure out there are some guys who don’t believe in God and they can prove He doesn’t exist, and some other guys who do believe in God and they can prove He does exist, and the argument stopped being about God a long time ago and now it’s about who is smarter, and honestly I don’t care. I don’t believe I will ever walk away from God for intellectual reasons. Who knows anything anyway? If I walk away from Him, and please pray that I never do, I will walk away for social reasons, identity reasons, deep emotional reasons, the same reasons that any of us do anything.

I like this for a few different reasons:

  1. I feel the same way Donald Miller does. I don’t think someone can talk me out of believing in God. That is in my heart, not my head.
  2. Most people are way smarter than me and way better at arguing a point. I would make a terrible lawyer, that’s for sure. I don’t always think that makes someone right, but rather that they are better at arguing. I struggled with this when I first believed in Jesus. I felt the need to be armed with all of the right intellectual arguments in order to fend off anyone who didn’t believe what I believe.
  3. My decisions are usually based on emotion, not intellect. If I feel something is cool, I am drawn to it. That’s American culture at it’s finest. I have bought three different guitars in my lifetime. I still have one. It sits in the basement unplayed and neglected. I bought it because I wanted to be cool. I was holding onto the glimmer of hope that someday I would be a rock star. This is what happens when I chase “cool.”

Kelsey: You are a rock star, sweets. I mean, we live in a rock star ranch…

If you haven’t checked out any of Donald Miller’s books and are looking for a good Christianity-meets-the-secular- world type of read, he is the best.

Have you ever bought something in hopes that it would make you cooler?


Husband to Kelsey. Father to Rooney. Follower of Jesus. Born and raised in Iowa. I like blogging. Bulleted lists excite me. Thanks for stopping by.

  1. My brain and I argue this on occasion. My logical brain tells me that God must provide proof in order to exist, but my faith says I don’t need proof to believe. For some reason, I can totally hold both of those things and make it work. My boyfriend doesn’t get it- he says that must need proof and that I even acknowledge that I need proof. I don’t deny that I want proof- but I know that, when I die, all of the answers will be provided to me in Heaven. And I am content with my faith until then.

    • Cathy, I’m glad you have the strong faith to believe! There are a lot of resources that can help you dig in to the intellectual side, if you’re interested. I know there are a few good books by atheists-turned-Christians that I would like to read myself someday. (Because God DID provide proof! It’s all throughout the Bible, and historians do not argue the fact that Jesus actually lived…) :)

      • It’s funny- I might be the most un-Christian Christian in the world. I believe in God, and I believe that Jesus lived, but as for most of the religion part (even the Bible) I’m not a big fan of. Mainly because the bible and almost all religious practices were made by man; and with anything created by imperfect humans, it is imperfect. A lot of things were edited/changed/added/removed from the Bible (and the church itself) to suit someone’s political/personal needs. Whether it was an emperor, a pop, or a king, the church and Bible have been manipulated for people’s personal gain for a long time. But even though that sounds terribly blasphemous, it does not shake my personal faith in God. I really hope I didn’t offend you :)

        • I am not offended. :) I really appreciate your honesty. Christianity vs. religion was always something that confused me me, but the tagline for this book Eric speaks of (Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller) is “Nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality.” It really helped me in that area. You should check it out!!!

          • I’m adding it to my book list right now! Thanks for the suggestion and for the great comments. Sometimes people can be so weird about talking about faith. I just think it’s a beautiful thing :)

  2. I love that quote, Eric. Thanks for posting! My husband and I will have to add this to our reading list. Also in response to your “discussion question” — I have bought many things that I thought would make me cooler… I like to think I don’t do that anymore, and being on a cash budget has really helped me think twice about what I buy!

  3. yea! i have that book! because kelsey sent it to me long ago : )
    (with a nice little note inside, too = awesomeness.)

    i don’t intentionally buy things to make me cooler,
    but i do like to buy things because they’re cool. or really, just because i like them.
    as i get older, what’s cool and what’s not becomes blurry. i don’t really care anymore.

    also: i like this section you pulled from the book. arguing existence isn’t a battle (mentally) for me, at all. the rest of those things? YES.

  4. I also can’t remember anything specific, but I do remember it being awesome, and one of my favorite books to date.

  5. And you two shared it with me, and that’s pretty rock star.

  6. Kelsey recommended this book to me a few months back (thanks for the suggestion)!

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