Thou Shalt Read? Questioning the Moral Value Placed on Reading

I argue just the opposite.

People who read are looking for lazy man short cuts to knowledge while a truly wise person is able to differentiate a person with “book smarts” from those with real-world, practical intelligence as easily as a true sailor can select a fellow seafarer from a group of landlubbers who’ve only read about going to sea in books, rather than actually doing so in boats.

The same is true of people who believe enlightenment can come from studying words about religion. These people talk about a comical, characterized picture of god which is easily sorted from the real thing by people who have direct experience with their creator.

This is where a limited world view hampers people. It is possible to do both. A reader is not restricted to just book knowledge. They can also gain practical knowledge just as easily as a non-resident. And a non-reader can get book knowledge if they want. The two are not mutually exclusive. Only the willfully ingnorant would not take an opportunity to learn either by book or by practice.

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You’ve missed my point.

Only, it wasn’t mine, it came from Socrates who quoted Thames’, king of Egypt, reply to Theuth, the father of the art of writing:

“O most expert Theuth, one man can give birth to the elements of an art, but only another can judge how they can benefit or harm those who will use them. And now, since you are the father of writing, your affection for it has made you describe its effects as the opposite of what they really are. In fact, it will introduce forgetfulness into the soul of those who learn it: they will not practice using their memory because they will put their trust in writing, which is external and depends on signs that belong to others, instead of trying to remember from the inside, completely on their own. You have not discovered a potion for remembering, but for reminding; you provide your students with the appearance of wisdom, not with its reality. Your invention will enable them to hear many things without being properly taught, and they will imagine that they have come to know much while for the most part they will know nothing. And they will be difficult to get along with, since they will merely appear to be wise instead of really being so.”

In other words, “book knowledge” is not the same as real knowledge and one must put down his book to gain the latter. In fact, there is no equivalence between book learning and hands-on experience and a person who has only read books about London cannot tell anyone what it actually feels, smells and tastes like to be a resident of The Big Smoke, which city, itself, is like smoke in that it is forever ethereal and constantly changing.

Even more importantly, it seems you missed one of what I take to be the most basic points of this article which is-at least as I understand it-that one can read much about Christianity and know nothing about Jesus, the person.

Perhaps the essential deficiencies of language are the primary reason that the really great philosophers-Socrates, Buddha, Jesus, etc.-committed absolutely none of their wisdom to writing and didn’t insist that their adherents read books, either theirs or anyone else’s.

Yes, I understand that Jesus supposedly referred to scripture on occasion but as often as not it was only to say that the text was passé or that a verse had been misunderstood.

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We see a wave of self-destructive anti-intellectualism not only at the head of our church but apparently now also in articles in Spectrum. I have hardly ever witnessed such an eloquent defense of ignorance as in the text above. The eloquence doesn’t make it better though. The article is a dire mixture of superficially true arguments and wrong conclusions. One of them is the idea that a culture of writing and reading has nothing to do with God’s instructions for a succeeding society.

The Exodus of the children of Israel was initiated by a highly educated man. The principles and laws of life given at the Sinai still require a continuous education of each generation. In Deut. 6 or also 11 parents are reminded to teach their children the law, which is nothing else than the beginning of a systematic education of future generations. And it expressedly included the instruction to “write them” down.

Deut. 17:18-19 stresses the importance for a future king to keep a copy of the law with him and “to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees.”

Judges 8:14 shows that a randomly caught young man was able to write down 77 names of authorities and thereby illustrates that literacy must have been a widespread skill even in those times already.

Thanks to the fact that the article up here is written down, teachers will be able to let their students spot its twisted thoughts and keep them from falling for the false promises of anti-intellectualism. A lack of education is what every evil regime is trying to achieve by removing intellectuals out of leadership positions ASAP, often this is achieved by mass killings.

Without the capacity of reading a demanding text, nobody will be able to understand the depth and complexity of the biblical texts by himself. Which will lead to exactly the desaster we witness nowadays at the head of our church. The consequences will be a return to conditions before the reformation, where the manipulation of the masses through fear and unbiblical teachings was normal. The consequences for the Adventist church will be its implosion.

All the trash informations that have reached my inbox during the Covid pandemic were either in the form of a video or came e.g. as the tiny bits of a tweet that is sufficiently long to spread all kinds of rumors and insults but never ever allows the decent exploration of a complex thought or argument. Producing mostly videos instead of written texts is an expression of mental lazyness and, in most cases, serves to hide flaws of argumentation, to spread clueless simplifications, plain errors and even lies.

And and and - enough! To say it short: Without the learned skill to write texts on a high level, the author himself would never be able to reach a wider audience with his thoughts. The educational claim, that you can be dumb and yet be spiritual and saved may be correct, but it leads to material slavery after a few generations and is nonsense.

I can’t think of a better way to describe the totality of your comment.

For example, you have absolutely no evidence to substantiate your very next assertion, that is, that the Bible is god’s plan for a successful society.

Further there are numerous examples of cultures and cults that have read into the Bible what they claim is god’s plan and have thereby committed all sorts of atrocities using this or that Bible text as their justification.

You’ve also created a false dichotomy by equating reading and intellectualism with intelligence and in making the binary assertion that one must either accept books as one’s source of educational material or remain forever stupid. This is an elitist, even racist assertion which insinuates that western-i.e. WASP- systems of governance and learning are inherently superior to those of nations of different ethnicities.

First, there is no evidence to suggest that Bible-believing nations have been able to eliminate the human traits of selfishness, greed and corruption seen in groups who have not had the “luxury” of a book supposedly sent more or less directly from god.

Even more importantly, armed with this fallacious reasoning, supposedly “heathen” cultures which have to survived for eons before the first book was written are denigrated and dismissed, suppressed and even enslaved, for no other reason than that they didn’t express their moral codes “right”, i.e., in writing…

The fact that this attitude still exists anywhere and typically goes unchallenged in intellectual circles everywhere is sufficiently alarming that it should scare anyone living in a so-called “3rd world (that is inferior) country”.

But the fact that this type of “thinking” is undoubtedly prevalent in a church which is now heavily Africa-centric is repugnant to me, and once more reaffirms my decades-old decision to no longer be accepting of any of its dogmatic teachings and cultish practices.

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