Proud of Ignorance?

When did it become a thing that people boast of what they haven’t read and thus boast of their ignorance? #PrideInIgnorance?

Lately on facebook and twitter a raft of folk have been literally boasting about the fact that they’ve ignored Barth’s Dogmatics. So, when did ignorance become desirable?

What a witless world we occupy when people pretending to be academics are thrilled to be uninformed and even more thrilled to tell others how uninformed they are.


10 thoughts on “Proud of Ignorance?

  1. Brian LePort 2 Sep 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Did you read that article? If so, I think you misunderstood it.


    • Jim 2 Sep 2013 at 7:26 pm

      What article? As i said, i’ve seen remarks on facebook and twitter. I’ve seen no article.


      • Brian LePort 2 Sep 2013 at 7:40 pm

        This is the context for recent discussions around not reading Barth:

        It has nothing to do with boasting in ignorance (as if reading Barth is the canon by which Christian thought must now be judged), but rather with the abuse of Barthian thought among academic systematic theologians who essentially have made Barth the new measure of orthodoxy. Now, of course, you may have seen some people boast about not reading Barth for other reasons, but I presume that whether you’ve seen this article or not it is what sparked this broader discussion. I’d be interested in hearing whether or not you think she has a good point.

        FWIW, while I myself have not engaged Barth I know two people who are deeply appreciative of his work that have made similar remarks critiquing Barthian studies for missing Barth’s main point when they begin to look inward and obsess over Barth himself rather than outward to what Barth was pointing.


        • Jim 2 Sep 2013 at 7:45 pm

          I’ve not seen the essay and instead am responding to specific remarks on fb and twitter in which folk say they have not read barth and have no intention to. Etc.


  2. Ken Leonard 2 Sep 2013 at 7:25 pm

    I don’t pretend to know when it happened, but I see it in a lot of fields. Part of what drives it right now is the claptrap of calling educated people “elitists” and such. As if bothering to know what you’re talking about is a bad thing.

    It’s pretty visible in economics, history, theology, science, and just about everything else. As you noted in one of your other posts, people seem to think that having skimmed an article on Wikipedia qualifies them as well as a Ph.D.. It’s one thing to say that people are entitled to opinions. It’s quite another to say that that opinion has the same weight when put up against an actual scholar in the field.

    I think it was Asimov who said that we’ve been infected with the idea that democracy means that one man’s ignorance must be weighed equally with another man’s knowledge.


  3. Wow! Here I am in the twilight of my life, perhaps, getting old and older but thirsty and hungry for more knowledge, wondering what was it that made me decide to move out of theology studies and go into pastoral ministry, and people are stating that they plan not even to read one of the theologians, if not the only one, whose relevance was such, for whatever reason, the cover of Time Magazine?
    Some people today are adhering to the pop culture of Paris Hilton, who deems stupidity “to be cute” and Chum Lee from pawn stars, who, although is playing a role, does nothing personally to change his image of a dumb guy because his dumbness seems to be “cool”.
    If I have ten sets of eyes; if I have 5 brains, they would all be occupied now in recovering and acquiring all the knowledge I could have gotten many years ago. Really, I cannot accept anyone who says “I don’t intend to read Barth, Bultmann, and a few others theologian that have been slandered by few so called “mainstream”.


  4. Niels Peter Lemche 3 Sep 2013 at 10:43 am

    At least people could read Barth’s Little book about Mozart. It is such an elegant piece.

    However, I have just been to the IOSOT meeting in Munich, and the general trend, as I heard it, was: We have learned nothing and we don’t want to learn anything…



    • Jim 3 Sep 2013 at 10:47 am

      i’m a bit surprised to hear that europeans feel that way. that americans do is no surprise at all. i guess i just expected better of our friends across the pond.


  5. Niels Peter Lemche 3 Sep 2013 at 10:44 am

    Forgot to mention its thesis:

    When God is present, the orchestra up there playes Bach (of course). When God is not there, they play Mozart but God is hiding behind the door.



    • Jim 3 Sep 2013 at 10:46 am

      indeed. i love that little book!


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