A Crisis of Intellect

Lent, 2014, I read Darwin’s classic, On the Origin of Species. I had a brief crisis of faith while reading it which I have chronicled elsewhere (https://trinitashominis.wordpress.com/2014/04/26/a-lenten-diary/). In that chronicle, I mentioned a question that has plagued me in recent years, namely how those of my friends who consider Christian (or any) faith ridiculous reconcile their knowledge of my intellect with their knowledge of my faith. Out of fear of offending them, I have not worked up the nerve to ask anyone directly, so I am left to wonder. The only answers I can think of are either I’m crazy (not sure I can argue there), I’ve been fooled or coerced by my native culture (though I would hope that my often heterodoxy proves well enough that I own my faith), or that I am just wrong on this topic (on which I’ve focused my life’s study; I suppose this could be the common opinion but the fact of my life’s work would make them want to avoid offending me).

I began this train of thought because of an article I saw on my Facebook news feed about how such-and-such practice causes the brain to function improperly or shrink or in some other way be impaired. I intended to come to this keyboard to confess that whenever I see such articles, there is a part of my conscious mind that considers the practice as a possibility of unburdening. It’s a small part of my mind, one which is easily dispatched. There is plenty of argument for an evolutionary purpose of intellect, but of what purpose to the propagation of our species is intellectual privilege, guilt, or burden?

I’m concerned for Azariah, in this regard. I was concerned for Qarayah when she was his age, but she’s socialized well and has been intellectually developing at an accelerated, though not freakishly so, pace. She also experienced a major cultural shift right around the time she probably would have started talking, which may have retarded her development slightly. Azariah has not had any such experiences and has had an advanced older sibling start school before him. He knows the alphabet and numbers 1-10, written, verbal, and conceptually, colors, and shapes. At 26 months, he is able to form coherent sentences verbally, can follow complex directions, and has already demonstrated highly complex learning structures. It will not surprise me if he starts reading even earlier than I did. If he does show a level of intellect similar to mine, I hope to catch it early so that I can help him deal with it. Even the nursery workers at church have noted it, the more experienced of them even noting that he is going to have a hard life because of his intelligence (that was an awkward conversation; hard not to interrupt her and scream, “Yes, I’m quite familiar with that particular struggle, thank you.”) And this is not ruling out Qarayah’s possible needs, but she is already showing a social aptitude I think I lacked as a child. I have persisted in tracking her development; she’s highly advanced, but we’ve been fortunate in her education thus far and so I’m not sure I have an accurate baseline.

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