High Intelligence and Theology


Is anyone here of exceptionally high intelligence and has struggled with valueing low intelligence people the way that God values them? How have you succeeded in doing so? Have you found any reading to be helpful? Are there any saints, theologians, or members of the hierarchy who have written on this subject?


marylauravicuna asks :
"Is anyone here of exceptionally high intelligence and has struggled with valuing low-intelligence people the way that God values them?
How have you succeeded in doing so?
Have you found any reading to be helpful?"

First, what do you consider “exceptionally high intelligence”?
I mean, pick an IQ number . . . you know, like 130 . . . or 140 . . . or maybe you mean 185.
I assume that you are (without actually saying it) a High-IQ person (maybe even in Mensa).
So, if they are NOT rated by IQ, then explain how a person determines himself Smart-enough for you (and your Survey).
If you don’t specify the LIMIT of the respondents you are searching for, then most people will (probably) NOT answer you.
I mean, if I were to offer-up my thoughts, I might find out later, that my Opinion is Un-Wanted.

Second, you further restrict your respondents to ONLY those who have “struggled with valuing low-intelligence people the way that God values them”.
This, I think is an IMPOSSIBLY High bar.
I don’t know of ONE person (Smart or Retarded) who tries to attain the Perfection of the Way that God loves and values people in general (much less retarded people).

When I see what your parameters are, I may “qualify” … or, maybe not.


Yes. I struggle. Jesus was infinitely intelligent. He knew you were going to ask this question-before the Creation of the Universe. He created everyone with a special gift. These people have something you don’t have. They may not struggle with pride. God loved the lowliest even though He is infinitely more intelligent than all the intellectuals of the world. I will pray for you.


Anyone who considers I.Q. as pertinent to belief is missing the whole point of Christianity.
Many theologians were considered “not all that bright” by their peers at the time and then ended up being quite exceptional. Most notably Thomas Aquinas, referred to in his time as “the dumb ox”. He’s a Dr. of the Church.
Jesus came for all . No matter the brain matter.


We get our value and dignity not from our intelligence (which is merely a gift from God in the first place and nothing to boast of) but from being made in the Image and Likeness of God. Thus, a person with a low IQ is of no less value than Einstein was. This applies to other characteristics, wealth, fame, fortune, power, beauty, age, etc.



Thomas Aquinas was known as the “Dumb Ox” And was one of the smartest theologians of all time.
St. Joseph of Cupertino was denied admission to the franciscan friars and then when he finally did get in, he was expelled, then he came back to be a stable hand and they saw how simple he was as a virtue.
Venerable Solanus Casey. He was a “doorman.” literally. THat was what he did. His body in incorrupt and he is on a path to sainthood.

When I think of intelligence and theology, I think of these men.


The Apostles were merely fisherman and look how God worked in and through them.


To be truthful, I used to undervalue those that I considered to be of lesser intelligence than me. This was a feeling born of pride, and although I occasionally find myself falling back into old habits, I am happy to say that God has granted more than a little success overcoming this particular fault.

There are a couple important things to remember if you have this issue.

#1: There is always someone smarter than you, period. There is no “Smartest man alive” because knowledge extends into more fields than a single person can possibly cover in their lifetime. You may be a genius in astrophysics, but know next to nothing about molecular biology, or how a car works for that matter, or how to cook, or how to keep accounting records, or any one of a trillion other tasks which are important and necessary for the world to function. No matter what, someone, somewhere, is better at something than you. Always remember that, and it will help you quite a bit.

#2: Always, always, pray for humility. Humility is not a virtue than can be gained by sheer force of will, you need God to make it happen, so keep asking for that help.

Hope this helps, God bless!


My wife is above exceptionally high intelligence and it makes me feel stupid but I guess that’s my fault for not learning enough.


Disclaimer: You have been warned. Also note: this is way too overt, sorry.

Is anyone here of exceptional whiteness and has struggled with valuing darker people the way that God values them?


I don’t know that I qualify as someone of **exceptionally **high intelligence but I do have an above average IQ and am working on issues of pride in this area. I have a tendency to lack patience with anyone who doesn’t catch on unless I feel I am in a teaching position - then I have all the patience in the world. I have been working on this for quite a long time and have made progress but I still need work.

As others have posted, everyone has different gifts. I have attended a gifts differing workshop which really opened my eyes to this fact. We can all learn from one another as we all have strengths to share and weaknesses that need shoring up. For example, with the virtues, I struggle greatly with pride and gluttony but don’t so much with envy or lust. My gifts are in music, knowledge, and teaching, not in administration.

May you find peace.


Edited for not being a good idea.


Removed for not being a good idea.


The only time a low level of intelligence really offends me is when it is accompanied by a high level of arrogance.

Think Hitler. :rolleyes:


I might have some advantage in this. I grew up in a very primitive place, and while i can’t say most people I knew were of low intelligence, they were most assuredly ignorant, for the most part. But they were all still personalities. They all had their likes and dislikes, their good aspects and their bad. Some were of exceptional religious faith, so much so that one was greatly tempted to think them saints notwithstanding their seeming lack of intelligence.

This is going to sound exceedingly weird, but I know a lawyer, a very good one, who (he confided to me) consciously looks for the Face of Christ in even the worst and most stupid of his clients. One thing he says he asks every single one: “What do you want your life to be like when this is over.” He says the answers can be astounding; often very searching and reflective. He says it gives him and (he hopes) them insight into life.

My wife works with retarded people. She sees to their health care on a daily basis. That’s low intelligence with a capital “L”. Yet, she likes them. She truly does, and in a way I would find very difficult. It would not be a stretch to say she loves them, given the way she goes the extra mile for them.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s one of those things (like most things, vices and virtues both) that is a habit that one either develops or doesn’t. For some it’s easier than it is for others.


Anyone who considers themselves to have “high intelligence,” and yet find it difficult to condescend themselves and make themselves understandable to those whom they deem are of a lower intelligence than themselves, I think shows that they may not be as intelligent as they think they are.

Or if they have to use polysyllabic jargon to explain things then perhaps they don’t understand the material or the issue well enough to be explaining it to others.


Aquinas was deemed quite intelligent by his peers, it was his students who called him a dumb ox.


I don’t see how this is meaningful.

Are you making a reference to KJV Romans 12:16?

It can be incredibly enervating to engage in circumlocutory explanations in order to avoid jargon


I would think someone of exceptionall high intelligence would be able to work this our for themselves? :shrug:


If you are blessed with high intelligence, that’s great. But recognise that it is nothing but a gift from God. Thank Him for it, but do not think yourself better than any other person who is blessed in other ways.

For many people, high intelligence can be a rod for their own back. Let’s not forget that man’s first sin was to eat from the tree of knowledge, as though to be the intellectual equal of God. We still see this sin repeated today in an attitude that we don’t need God, we (mankind) will determine our own destiny, our own morallity, our own sense of purpose. For all our collective intelligence, I have not heard anything even resembling a sensible answer to the great question of purpose (AKA the meaning of life) outside of the major monotheistic religions.


The funny thing is that everyone considers himself to be above average intelligence. Anyone who compares himself to others based on intelligence probably isn’t very intelligent to start with. As Stephen Hawking said, anyone who goes around bragging about their IQ is a loser. If he said that, who is anyone else to brag about their IQ or intelligence?

If that isn’t enough then consider that it is often the unintelligent people who are successful in this world. You can consider yourself as intelligent as you want, but that doesn’t make a bit of difference. Many people called George Bush stupid but he was the most powerful man on the planet. And I will admit there are times when I think President Obama is an idiot, but he is the president.

I once watched a YouTube video about people who had or claimed to have had the highest iq. But none of them ever accomplished anything but a good test score. They were all ‘too smart for their own good’. It would be better to call them idiot-savants than intelligent. The one thing they are good at is a test that tells them they are smart.


I think most of what we identify with intelligence really has more to do with interest, knowledge of terms, training, and/or point of view.

For example, how many people say they are bad at math, but can cut a receipe in half (with fractions) or compute a players RBI.

How many PHd’s can’t balance a checkbook or remember what day of the week it is.

Is a pilot more intelligent than their passengers?

So maybe what appears to be a lack of intelligence is simply that they really don’t care about that subject.

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