Saturday, March 05, 2011

Education without God


Every Day Light

"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief." (v. 18)

For reading & meditation: Ecclesiastes 1:12-18

We said yesterday that one of the reasons why Solomon uses so many vivid illustrations is to break through our defensive attempts to avoid reality. It was T. S. Eliot who said that "humankind cannot bear very much reality." Psychologists warn that we should be careful about stripping away people's defenses, as coming face to face with reality too quickly can cause those who are fragile to slide into depression.

The author of Ecclesiastes seems unconcerned about this, however, and tells us over and over again, and with deep conviction, that life "under the sun" is futile. In the passage before us he tells us how his determination to find a purpose for living led him to serious study. But study, and trying to grasp the meaning of the universe by the intellect alone, proved also to be futile. He says that it is like "chasing after the wind" (v. 17). Moffatt translates our text for today:
"The more you understand the more you ache."
Life, real life that is, cannot be found through education and intellectual attainment alone. To quote Muggeridge again: "Education - the great mumbo and fraud of the ages," says this highly educated man, "purports to equip us to live and is prescribed as a universal remedy for everything from juvenile delinquency to premature senility. For the most part it serves to enlarge stupidity, inflate conceit, enhance credulity and puts those subjected to it at the mercy of brainwashing with printing presses, radio and television ..." Lloyd George put it succinctly when he made this caustic comment: "Education without God makes clever devils." Who can deny it?

O God, save me from the mistake of believing that life is to be found in deep or profound thinking. Help me see that life is to be found in first knowing You, then thinking Your thoughts after You. Teach me to think as You think, dear Lord. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

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