The nation’s most literate cities have recently been ranked, with some surprises in the rankings. Karen and I were talking about this this morning, and our opinion is that the criteria of highest education level per capita has much to do with this ranking. Take cities like Boston, for example, that have huge student populations. Or Atlanta, whose current population explosion is marked mostly by an influx of young professionals with higher education.
While I don’t live in a city with a large enough population to make this Central Connecticut State University study, I do live in a relatively large city with 7 colleges and/or universities, which is actually a large number considering the overall population of the city. We’re also, unfortunately, in the middle of the “Bible Belt,” and I’ve noticed that, for some tragic reason, faith and literacy have become counter-intuitive to each other. There’s this underlying thought process, at least in this area, that Believers should only be reading books by “Christian authors” (which, by the way, are usually of pathetically low quality, although there are exceptions), and are afraid to explore the themes of great literary works, because they are afraid of being “offended” by them. The result: ignorant Believers. Ignorant Believers are the most dangerous kind. They paint our God in such a poor light. What’s worse, I’ve met so many Believers that are poorly read in the Scriptures as well, because, they reason, they’ll read modern Christian pop-culture-self-help bestsellers, and let a minister explain the Scriptures to them on Sunday mornings.
God help us.
So, those with whom I can best discuss art and literature are often those hostile to my faith. That makes life difficult, to say the least. It should be quite the opposite.
I don’t think this is necessarily a nationwide trend (I certainly hope its not); its just what I’ve observed in the four years I’ve lived in the southern U.S. That doesn’t make it any less disturbing, though.
Illiterate Christ-followers in a largely illiterate country. Is there anything more frightening than that?