A wise man once said, “If you make people think they’re thinking, they will love you; but if you really make people think, they will hate you.”

This explains why Jesus Christ was so hated by the so-called “thinkers” of his day. Truth makes uncomfortable those who are threatened by it and depth always unnerves the shallow or superficial. It is no different today.

Some songs make people think they’re thinking, other songs really make people think. Good movies do the former, great movies do the latter. You have pop psychologists and then you have the real thing – same with religion.

A genuine confrontation with God will always make a person think in a way he or she never has before. How can it be otherwise? When our thoughts collide with His thoughts, can the ramifications ever be anything but radical?

More than a cognitive graduation where one moves from a lower level of thinking to a higher level (read: Bloom’s taxonomy), this is a transformation of the mind that is so profound in its effect, it makes uneasy those who either can’t relate or don’t want to.

And because a person of faith thinks so differently, many write it off as a thinking disability. So the world system – antithetical to the Church’s worldview – has been more than a little successful in making some believers feel a little less than competent in the art of thinking.

Through the years, many in the church have become shy in articulating theism and its effect on life and society, while many more have become virtually inept in doing so. When salt loses its savor or the light is extinguished, the results are never positive.

The institutional marketplaces of ideas in our society (government, education, media, the arts) have become citadels of contradiction and idiocy, but with not more than a flickering flame from the faith community to penetrate this chaos, what else could have been expected? If man does not eat, he will starve; if he does not read, he will not learn; and if truth does not penetrate his mind, he cannot think.

This is why a real believer, a true believer, should think more, not less – more logically, more creatively, more substantively, more theologically. To check in to Christ is not to check out intellectually, though some, it is true, use their faith to excuse themselves from any level of rational or philosophic discipline.

But contrary to the perceptions of some, the Christian faith is not a blind faith; it is very much according to reason. Moreover, a belief system that makes people think should have produced some of history’s greatest minds in science, medicine, the arts, education, business and government … and Christianity has.

But we are not surprised to learn of those who have grown up in “Christian” homes later becoming agnostics or even atheists when they confess that the Christianity they knew as a child only taught them what to think, never how.

Is this the legacy we will leave to our children? Is this the legacy our parents left to us? One thing is certain: it is not the legacy Christ left to His Church. The Lord is not honored by people who do not, or cannot, or will not think for themselves. The Lord is not honored by it, the Church is not edified by it, and the world is not impressed by it.

This is not to define the experience of truth as a subjective dynamic (“…it’s true if it’s true for me …”). Nor is it to suggest that one comes to transcendent truth democratically – the absolutes of life are not determined by vote, but by God. He left plenty for us to decide for ourselves, but some things are non-negotiable – wise are we if we know the difference, foolish when we pretend there is none.

We often confuse the honest confessors of doubt with the arrogant resisters of truth, and while the Lord meets both where they’re at, He understandably finds sincerity more attractive than pride. If, however, He has not found the so-called “thinkers” of our society too challenging, why do we?

The life of faith must of necessity include the life of the mind, so a person of faith is someone who loves God not just with heart and soul but also with the mind. The mind of His Spirit initially thinks His thoughts through us, while the spirit of our minds subsequently think His thoughts after Him. The result is what the Bible refers to as repentance (“metanoia”). It simply means a change of mind.

When this happens in an individual, it is a profound work of grace, which is what John Newton was trying to describe in his ageless song, Amazing Grace: “I once was lost, but now am found; was blind but now I see.”

He is a God who changes lives because He changes minds, and He changes minds because He does more than make people think they’re thinking, He really makes people think.

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