Fit Bodies Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don’t Think And What To Do About It. By Os Guinness. Baker Books, 2001. 160 pages. $9.99.
Ever wonder why some of the more conservative-evangelical Christians tend to dismiss reasonable questions about their faith, make statements such as “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it!”, or presuppose a theocratic ideal in a democratic government (i.e. the USA)? Many other such characterizations of the evangelical attitude could be mentioned, but getting to its core is the task undertaken by Os Guiness in Fit Bodies Fat Minds.
As an evangelical, Guinness is in a unique position to write this book. All too familiar with the evangelical perspective, he critiques his own camp. This book is written with the goal of reforming the way in which Christians think (c.f. 11). Guinness introduces his message in two ways. First, he will point out the problem of evangelical anti-intellectualism, which he defines as “a disposition to discount the importance of truth and the life of the mind” (9). Second, he will argue that anti-intellectualism is a sin which must be addressed: “we evangelicals need to examine our anti-intellectualism, confess its pervasiveness, repent of its wrongness, and seek God’s restoration to live up to our name- truly being people of the gospel who love God not only with our hearts, souls, and strength, but also with our minds” (11). The problem Guinness posits is that American evangelicals are more concerned with their abs and cardio than with the development of their minds. Tracing the development of anti-intellectualism in two parts: I, “A Ghost Mind”; and II, “An Idiot Culture”; Part III, “Let My People Think”, offers solutions to this problem. I will now summarize Guinness’ argument.