I just read this blog post at Project Deseret. You can read more at the link, but I would like to excerpt a few paragraphs out of that blog.
Most likely someone has countered your requests for an intellectually robust gospel (de-baggage the word, please) with the classic image of a penniless, illiterate widow in the slums of Manila. The conclusion is obvious: the gospel is for her. And how could we ask this poor, penniless woman for a sharp-toothed mind? How could we ask her to cut through conceptual meat when she doesn’t have meat to eat? She is barely surviving! She needs the milk of the gospel, and she needs it fast….
When we say that different kinds of religious strains will merge into a common experience, we are basically suggesting that— one fine day— a new convert will finish her glass of gospel milk and suddenly reach for the meat. Years of milk drinking, in other words, will have prepared her to stomach the heavy stuff. It also suggests that mature or experienced Church members will never eat their meat without their milk— that they will supplement their hard thinking and philosophical digestion with the basic principles of love and repentance. Sounds good in theory. The reality, however, is that we emphasize the milk so much that we effectively prohibit any movement toward the meat. To misuse an old standby, we create a milk ceiling between one level of the gospel and another— an opaque barrier that keeps us housed in horizontal rooms. Repeatedly invoking the penniless widow, we have given her no place to go when she overcomes her adjectives. We have made the gospel into a point rather than a vector with speed and direction, a dot to balance on in tiptoe rather than a moving line that takes us toward God….
The problem is that we have sacralized our limitations and made those limitations into a gospel, the good news of it being that we never have to struggle with big ideas. By doing so, we have not only insulted huge swaths of people— suggesting, condescendingly, that their poverty makes their minds impossible things— we have invented a gospel that will fail its basic principles. We have invented a gospel that is artificially self-limiting, a gospel that has come to prize self-limitation as one of its core virtues.
…thinking is not a hobby— because real religious life requires a tremendous amount of thought and thoughtfulness— the milk ceiling hurts more than thinkers: it hurts the whole Church and religion itself. To pretend that religion is simply a lifestyle or a regimen— to say that the signs of conversion would be a white shirt or an edited movie or the simple absence of alcohol— is to grossly misunderstand the agony, conflict and trepidation of a real religious quest.
It seems many religions view intellectualism as a threat. I do not share this view. I think it is important, and spiritually helpful, to struggle with big ideas. Yes, it’s not for everyone, but for those who want to expand their spirituality, it should not be discouraged as much as it is. What are your thoughts?