Popular Intellectualism

Unmasking Popular Intellectualism within our Culture.

by J. E. Ruffle. Posted: April 4, 2019

Now, I am not at all against learning; ignorance certainly is not bliss. However, it occurs to me that much learning can influence a person toward viewing the world the way it’s prince desires of us. Allow me to explain: why is it that those engaged in higher education in western countries, where secular humanism holds massive sway, tend to be far more liberal-minded than those their kinfolk who, for whatever reason, are less academically inclined? Western universities are a hot-bed of liberalism, and the graduates emerging from such greenhouses have a far greater influence upon society in general than others. (I speak in generalities of course.) Our captains of media (the journalists) and of education (our teachers) – in particular spring to mind.

Artists also tend to be very liberal post-modern progressives, and the artistic bent has a tendency toward the profane and vulgar – in the name of exploring boundaries and enlightenment. (I could say more about the artistic temperament, but that’s for another post.)

But “art” and “intellect” are never to be our gods, nor yet the compelling power of sexual influence scrawled across the billboards of our minds by media of all varieties.

These all need to be dethroned and cast aside in order for our eyes to behold the wonders and the glory of Jesus, the returning King. To whom do you pledge allegiance? To this corrupt passing world system? The god of this world and his puppet kings and warlords?

Am I being anti-intellectual? Forgive me if I offer that impression, but nothing could be further from the truth. But I am against the corrupted intellect of this passing world system; the intellect that runs from the thought of a surrender of personal will to God; an intellectualism that seeks to rationalise away the very existence of our creator.

Let us call it for what it is: a “pseudo-intellectualism”; I would go so far that it satanic in essence, for by its fruits, it is seen to support the empire of the god of this world system, which is indeed satanic in nature.

Pseudo-intellectuals deny the logic of the debating forum, block out rational antithesis to any argument that they propose (and I’m not speaking of politics here, of whatever breed, which is but smoke and mirrors for underlying agendas). Pseudo-intellectuals are more concerned with the creation than their creator; more involved in worldly achievement rather than advancing the kingdom of heaven that starts right here and reaches to eternity.

Pseudo-intellectuals deny the imperative of a consideration of the state of their own eternal souls, and mock at the unscientific thought of a torturous hell or even a glorious heaven. They refuse to see the car-wreck just out of sight along the motorway or freeway of life. The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” (see: Psalm 14:1) and not many wise among us embrace the foolishness of the Cross. Yet therein is the power of God unto salvation.
(See: 1 Corinthians 1:26, 1 Corinthians 1:18) Blessed be the Name of our Lord and saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Let us repent of any pseudo-intellectual strongholds in our own hearts and minds, for it can infect us all. We often use what I am calling pseudo-intellectualism as a convenient cover for those hurting places in our lives; the betrayals, the disappointments, the self-justifications that support our home-made props that take the place of a surrendered, active and compliant faith in Jesus.

Let us thus ponder our own souls, surrendering those dark and hurting places of our inner beings that block the true light of the Gospel. “Search my heart, oh Lord! (Psalm 139:23-24) as the psalmist David cried..and from the words of the Liturgy: “Have mercy on us, Oh Lord. For we have sinned against you.” (The Order of Mass)

The anti-dote for pseudo-intellectualism is simple. Too simple, sadly, for many. It is, in four words; “Have faith in God. (Mark 11:22). Amen.


Image of Ushaw Library used by permission. The author visited the library last year, but photography within the historic library is not permitted.

Author: John E Ruffle

As a redeemed, recycled 1970s Californian Jesus Freak, John has faced too many extreme situations and sticky wickets through the years to mention here. Returning to his native England, John was actively involved in mission and outreach and taught English in a Further Education college in London until retiring in 2017. After a ten-year journey into a deeper appreciation of the historic Christianity, in 2013 John was received into the Catholic Church where he now serves in a lay capacity. Yet foundational to his faith has always been his experiences living in Gospel Outreach - an orthodox evangelical Christian commune in the USA. He is still in touch with many of his original “Jesus Freak” generation buddies. John serves as co-leader of a local Catholic Charismatic prayer group and writes to instruct and inspire. Prior to Pope Francis' election in March 2013, John accurately predicted in his personal journal that the new pope would choose either the name John or Francis. Currently, John is engaged in researching the 1967-1977 American 'Jesus People Movement' that saw tens of thousands of hippies coming to Christian discipleship through communes, coffee houses, and street outreach. He has been revitalising his ministry website at http://www.rufflemission.org throughout 2019 and is writing a devotional. John and his Filipino wife Gladdys have one boy, several stray cats that appear and disappear at will, and a growing extended family both in the UK and abroad. They make their home in Birmingham, England where they love to praise and worship Jesus. Still young at heart, John is passionate about engaging young adults in the faith, particularly though relational small groups.

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