Flock of Simpletons: Why Is Intellect Not Allowed in God’s House

March 30, 2011  |  

Try this thought experiment: Maybe the clergymen who raped young boys in the Catholic church and the self-anointed bishops who (allegedly) used their youth ministry as grooming grounds for sexual partners – Bishops Eddie L. Long and Jonathan Alvarado – are not bad seeds. Maybe these predators are products of an antiquated institution: organized religion.

What I would like to suggest is that much of humanity is lacking a necessary driver for the continued success of our species: logic. And organized religion is both an offender in this regard and an effect of this peculiar class of brain function diminishment. It’s not even really a diminishment as much as it is a thwarting of the brain’s ability to adopt newer and more nuanced processes.

Ordinary run of the mill churchgoers are the epitome of singular thinkers. Other than their strict adherence to the outlandish myths of the Bible, a grown man in the belly of a whale and all that, they behave as, well, simpletons. They are obedient servants, not fully developed and autonomous beings. Sin leads to hell. Obedience leads to heaven. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

Yes, it is intuitive of mankind to parse through external stimuli and internal dialogue with linear lenses. From an evolutionary perspective, this linearity has increased our survival rate in a world where danger, more often than not, presents without warning. See tiger – Run! See bear –Run! Our evolutionary process, a shaky jumbling of jerks and leaps forward, and not the seamless glide toward perfection that so many Darwinists purport, did not allow much space for thoughtful pontification. Those who tarried too long to inspect the tiger or bear were torn to tiny bite-sized bits.

In prehistoric times – when seconds mattered — making instantaneous judgments devoid of time consuming thought was the difference between survival and certain death. When only instants mattered, being nimble and reactionary were far more valued traits than were being thoughtful and deliberate.

Now, however, we live in the 21st century where our inventions have, for the most part, equipped us to tame our environment. Yes there are hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis, earthquakes and even the occasional bear, but for the most part, intellect has long surpassed impulse as the most highly regarded of human traits.

Salaries correspond to the complexity of the job and acceptance to elite institutions corresponds to test scores and the diversity of qualities of the student. Even in the shallow intellectual pool of sports, doing things quickly is not enough given that what separates the wheat from the chaff is strategy. Even to become a sports star, you need to move fast and think fast.

But when I watch congregations in black churches sway back and forth to the sultry sounds of a gospel hymn, or when I watch white parishioners sit motionless as their priest leads them along in monotonous droning, I’m reminded of every zombie flick I’ve ever seen. The zombified gray creatures are earth travelers, driven by the primal impulses of the hypothalamus, an area of the brain mostly responsible for emotion, thirst and hunger. In both manner and intellect, they resemble the prehistoric man.

You can argue with me and tell me that there are smart and “good Christians” in the Church who do good work at both the church and Fortune 500’s, but while you’re at it, be sure to tell me why Bishop Long is still a pastor at New Birth Church and why the Catholic church played musical chairs with pedophilic priests instead of removing them.

For years, the leadership within the Catholic Church hid the crimes of its priests and even when they began to seep out, as all secrets do, many churchgoers believed the priests over the children. Just as many New Birth devotees believe their pimped out preacher over the boys who’ve come forward. It’s obviously the hypothalamus at work here.

The church is dead with primitive perspectives. Ash to ash, dust to dust. And decay inevitably gives birth to mutated incarnations. So instead of attacking those who seek justice for the truly innocent or dismissing the actions of the lion in the pulpit who hunts the defenseless lambs in his own church, maybe churchgoers should turn inward and determine to what extent their own resistance to applying logic to perfectly logical events created the perfect environment for predators to flourish.

The hatchling was given new life by the flock. If the church aims to redeem itself and prove useful to the community which it claims to serve, it’s time that members of the church stop holding up the mirror of judgment to the rest of the world and take a moment to inspect their own reflection.

Yvette Carnell is a former Capitol Hill Staffer turned political blogger. She currently publishes two blogs, Spatterblog.com and BreakingBrown.com.

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