top of page

Stupidity and Evil

This article about Bonhoeffer's writing on stupidity popped up in my feed. The controllers of the Internet must know me better than I know myself.

I have a sticky note with this quote on my computer: It very hard to argue with an intelligent person. It's damn near impossible to argue with an ignorant person. (attributed to that great thinker, Bill Murray.)

I have been thinking lately about gullibility, which might be a subset of stupid. Bonhoeffer is quoted in this article: Stupidity, though, has its dark side. For theologian and philosopher Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the stupid person is often more dangerous than the evil one.

“Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed — in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical — and when facts are irrefutable, they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self-satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack.”

I am concerned about the state of intelligence in the church. I fear the average church member just doesn't want to do the work of using their brains. We let others tell us what to think. This comes from stupidity (gullibility) but also apathy. I think Bonhoeffer would have been more appalled by our apathy than he was even of stupidity.

6 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Observation on Annie Dillard's Writing Advice, Etc. I frequently listen to a podcast called THE HABIT. Its host is

Deconstructing Agatha Christie

I want to start this post with the clarification that I enjoy Agatha Christie immensely. I have watched all the David Suchet Hercule Poirot programs (some of which digress or depart from the Christie

Fiction Writing Revisited

Adverbs are your friend that you need to break up with. Another piece of advice fiction writers are told to follow is to remove adverbs from their writing. And in some cases, adjectives. This again sh


bottom of page