Reformed Baptist Fellowship

Intelligent Stupidity

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on November 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm

We’ve been viewing D. A. Carson’s The God Who Is There videos (which are available for free at ) in our Sunday School class.  We just viewed session 11: “The God Who Declares the Guilty Just.”  In that sermon, Carson quoted from a talk entitled “Escape From Nihilism” given by J. Budziszewski to students at the University of Texas at Austin on October 23, 1997.  Budziszewski was also writing for WORLD magazine around the turn of the century and his articles can be found in their archive.

Budziszewski’s talk is an astonishing example of repentance by a former fool who once said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ (Ps 14:1).  He gives us insight into the sins entailed in the lusts of the mind (Eph 2:3).  “When some people flee from God, they rob, and kill.  When others flee from God they do a lot of drugs and have a lot of sex.  When I fled from God, I didn’t do any of these things.  My way of fleeing was to get stupid.  Though it always comes as a surprise to intellectuals, there are some forms of stupidity that one must be highly intelligent and educated to achieve.”  He acknowledges that his intellectualizing was an act of his defiant will: “The arguments were secondary. I was determined.”  He gives seven reasons why he was a nihilist and concludes with the seventh: “But the main reason I was a nihilist, the reason that tied all these other reasons together, was sheer, mulish pride. I didn’t want God to be God; I wanted J. Budziszewski to be God. I see that now. But I didn’t see that then.”  What did God use to bring this brilliant man to repentance?  Horror.  Nietzsche’s Zarathustra laughed at evil.  Evil overwhelmed Budziszewski with horror.  Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding (Job 28:26).   

You can read Budziszewski’s “Escape From Nihilism” at  Along this line you could consider Intellectuals by Paul Johnson (HarperPerennial, New York, 1998), and Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Make Smart People Fall For Stupid Ideas by Daniel J. Flynn (Crown Forum, New York, 2004).  Intelligence is no protection from stupidity – especially the stupidity which denies God.

Alan Dunn, Pastor
Grace Covenant Baptist Church
Flemington, NJ
  1. Budziszewski’s piece “Escape From Nihilism” is well worth reading. Very helpful and encouraging. Thank you Pastor Dunn for directing us to the heart of the matter on this topic.

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