This is a cautionary tale directed at those who self-identify pretty much as the title suggests.
This is not to say that Christ did not love such people, which weighs on me terribly, because it is something I find almost impossible to do. But He did allude to them in some of His teachings, perhaps as a type such as people who cannot admit anyone is better than they are, especially One they cannot see. But in Mark 10 Jesus said unless men would come before the Father as a child, they could not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Still, as the Gospels reported it, Christ was not terribly interested in preaching to the vain and arrogant, or powerful: the government class, the Roman and Judean bureaucracies, as well as their rich merchant class.
But it does seem Jesus’ reached beyond the poor in spirit, the meek, the mourners, the hungerers and thirsters after righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart and peacemakers, and finally those who are persecuted and lied about for being holy. We know that the government and wealthy class in Judea were very few compared to those poorer classes, but apparently there were several among those who listened to Christ speak these words on the Mount, .
We know that a rich landowner, Joseph of Arimathea, who gave up his tomb to bury Jesus, heard the message somewhere. It is said he left Judea and formed the first Christian church in Briton. And little short Zaccheaus, a rich tax-collector in Jericho, climbed a tree to hear Jesus preach, and ended up having Him over for dinner. Legend has it that Zaccheaus then went onto become a bishop, but the histories are sketchy about that 1st Century, A.D. But as a rule, we know that if he did become a follower, he would not have bragged about it too loudly. For within a few years, and for a couple of centuries thereafter, being a follower of Jesus was a very risky endeavor.
And the vain and arrogant are not known to take such risks.
In America the wealthy did not necessarily start out super-educated, e.g., John D Rockefeller, so were not as across-the-board vain and arrogant as found in Europe, the original home of vanity and arrogance. John D was always very religious, and tithed regularly until he died at 97. Many powerful American names started out as farmers, e.g. the Roosevelts, and it took a few generations for their children to lose sight of the shoulders they stood on. 450 years later, they are still children of privilege, I suppose, presumably well educated, but possibly religious to the point of actually still being grateful for their blessings.
Who can say? But I doubt many ever looked down their nose at any American down at the bottom of the hill, just beginning their family’s first journey up. They did share common ground and common shoulders.
This has not necessarily been the case with Science, which became the New Thing in the late 19th Century.
Now Science was never that close to God, but they cohabited well enough in America, in part because Science was only interested in “observable facts” and had a rigorous, near religious, system to ascertain facts. Since religion fell into the realm of things that could not be proved nor disproved, belief, most of Science in America more agnostic about God than totally atheist.
They kept to one side of the street while religionist kept to the other, avoiding any real turf wars in part because both understand what the other meant to this extraordinary nation.
Did I mention that Darwin was English, not American, and many say Darwin cut this chord of amity completely. That’s not quite true but Darwin (and his colleagues) did arrive at a theory of evolution, much of which is still unproved, according to their own standards of proof. Much of evolution can be proved, such as evolution within species, while much cannot, such as evolution between species.
But I doubt they sat around in dram shops hoisting a few say “That’ll show those Christians!”
There was no real debate, just charges and counter-charges (much like Bryan and Darrow going at it at the Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925, where the roles were almost exactly reversed from where they are today… where the literal meaning of the Book of Genesis was defended by a silver-tongued political orator who never had a thought deeper than a pool of warm spit, while a substitute teacher was charged with teaching a subject (evolution) he didn’t even know he was teaching.
Like OJ, a prefect TV trial.
Almost 100 years later the anti-intellectual tag has stuck on Christians even though it is Darwin Nazis, not Bible-thumping Baptists, who roam the hallways of American schools, threatening far more than a $100 fine for children who stray from the straight and narrow of atheism.
It’s not unlike modern climate science, only in the old days they couldn’t use computer models to substitute for observable facts.
But Darwin’s early supporters had a deep personal grudge. Thomas Huxley (and the whole, Huxley family over the years) and later HG Wells, so hated the vain and arrogant Church of England, and deservedly so on several counts, just like old-time self-righteous Baptists were once easy to hate, they substituted the C of E with God Himself, and turned Darwin’s theory into a full scale attack on Christianity itself as a half-baked “opiate of the masses”, as later coined by Lenin.
When you see this you can always figure a hidden agenda is involved.
Darwin became almost a cult religion in the university, where vanity and arrogance, without the salve of self-reflection, has reigned supreme for nearly 150 years. More and more true scientists have had to run for cover when the political correctness police come around. And they and their goon squads are far worse than the religionists from the 1930s. My son is a graduate zoologist from a prestigious Ohio university, studying under a professor my age, so saw this first hand…a raging war not between Christians (as he is) and Science but between true Science and Darwin nazis.
Like early Christians, they have to sneak around in catacombs off -campus and whisper to one another “Darwin is just a theory”, or “Climate Science is just computer modeling.” “Amen.” But never out loud.
FYI, there was an intellectual debate between Science and Religion that went back to an earlier time before Darwin when Baptists didn’t pound their fists and Science still said there were things in the universe it did not, and could not know.
They were content to stay to each others’ side of the street.
The Doctrine of First Cause itself is pre-Darwin, so not a direct response to his theory. It simply uses Logic and Reason to argue, which 75 years ago, were still taught alongside the natural sciences, as a way to provide a context for Science. I have an old book, 1855, before Darwin, by a fellow named Rev John Tulloch, “Theism” where he delved into the philosophical notion of First Causes, asking, and then settling for the purposes of his book, that Mind preceded Nature in the creation of things.
Because of Darwin, enemies of “the Church” began a slow, repetitive drumbeat, to remake all creation in the image of Man according to firm scientific dictates.
Before they died, both Albert Einstein (physicist) and Mortimer Adler (philosopher), each by their own path determined there had to be a Mind behind creation. Unsentimentally.
Adler argued: “My chief reason for choosing Christianity was because the mysteries were incomprehensible. What’s the point of revelation if we could figure it out ourselves? If it were wholly comprehensible, then it would just be another philosophy.” He died a Christian.
Einstein in essence said there’s no way it all could just be an accident. He died an agnostic, maybe even a theist. He just knew there was something incomprehensibly bigger out there, and was content with that.
In the early 2000’s there arose a “New Atheism” (look it up) which is pointedly anti-religion, anti-God, having no other purpose. In short, it is political, not philosophical, which puts them closer to Karl Marx than Nietzsche.
You can see many of their debates on YouTube, Bill Nye, the Science Guy vs Ken Ham, the creationist, Christopher Hitchens vs Dinesh D’Souza, or Richard Dawkins, the animal biologist and William Lane Craig, who he refuses to debate any longer, simply because he can’t get past the logic of the First Cause. He has no answer for it, allowing his vanity and arrogance to suspend his search for answers (which he gave up long ago).
I didn’t mean to bore you with a social history of modern Science, but to simply report that because of personal vanity and arrogance, some of our finest minds have excluded themselves from the national discussion about the future direction of the United States. And for these same very reasons. Appending the name “conservative” to their name will make no difference.
Intellectually wiser Americans can tell a horse from a mule.
“The world is unfolding as it should” (Max Ehrmann) while the vain and arrogant slowly sink beneath the seas.