Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: Mensa

What do you want to be when you grow up?

When I was growing up in the 1950’s, the older generation had scraped and scrabbled to survive the depression and they wanted their children to have a better life. The key to that was to get a good education so you could be someone who could make a living without working hard. Maybe that wasn’t what they intended to say, but that was what we heard. That gave rise to the question so often posed to us: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

The question implied that there was no dignity in hard work; we should to be something better than our parents had been. That meant that our parents didn’t have what it would take to guide us into being the people we should be. We would need to turn to professional help.

Some time after high school, I had a visit with a guidance counsellor. He gave me a massive aptitude test to take home. The test comprised at least 200 multiple-choice questions. The questions were on card stock, with holes punched beside each of the four answers. You used a pencil to make a circle on the answer paper below and then use the key to interpret your responses.

I did the test once, and the result showed a strong interest and aptitude for accounting. I mused on that, realizing that this choice had been in the back of my mind as I did the test. I wondered what would happen if I did the test again, thinking of how I might answer the questions if I was interested in becoming an engineer.

I created a handwritten set of answer sheets, photocopiers didn’t exist back then, and went through the test again. Lo-and-behold the answer key told me I had a definite aptitude for engineering and should pursue a career in that field. I sat back and mused on the disparate results, concluding that if it was so easy to play games with the test, it wasn’t worth very much.

Some years later I became intrigued with Mensa. They limit membership to people with IQ’s in the top 2% of the population, with the grandiose notion that people with high IQ’s have what it takes to make the world a better place. I requested a preliminary test. It came in the mail; I completed it and mailed it back. Soon there came an invitation to do a full IQ test. Thus I arrived one morning at the University of Regina and found my way to a classroom where a dozen others were waiting to do the same test.

I believe there was a three-hour time limit and after we did the test, we all went home. A few weeks later a letter  came in the mail telling me I had scored 151, placing me in the top 1% of the population. Enclosed was a membership application and a request to write a brief profile. I filled them out, wrote a cheque for the membership dues.

In due time I received a booklet with the profiles of all Canadian members of Mensa. I discovered that most of these people supposed themselves to be much too intelligent to believe in God. Yet, they were ready to believe in all kinds of occult manifestations, mystical experiences, extraterrestrials and other nebulous and irrational spiritual theories. I lost interest right there. I didn’t have the self-confidence that would allow me to dismiss God.

Still, I took another IQ test a year or two later and came up with a score of 155. So what do those test scores reveal about me? Probably just that I am good at doing that kind of test. I don’t know if there is any practical application beyond that.

So here I am, 60 years past the age of 17, thinking maybe now I’m grown up enough to say I want to be a writer.

Do Intelligence and Irresponsibility go together?

I was reading several years before I started school, I always did well in school and through reading I began to accumulate a very eclectic storehouse of information.  I began to develop confidence that I could figure things out on my own.

It happened one day that a counsellor presented me with an aptitude test, consisting of a large book of multiple choice questions.  He also gave me the key for interpreting the results and sent me home to do the test in my spare time.  I did the test twice.  The first time I imagined myself as someone with an aptitude for office work.  I tried to answer the questions accurately and honestly, but when it came to questions of preferences and things I enjoyed, I put myself into this persona.  And lo and behold, when all the answers were added up according to the answer key, I was revealed as a person who should pursue a career in clerical and accounting work.  The second time I imagined myself to be a person with an aptitude for engineering and the answer key told me that I should pursue a career in engineering.

I began to think of myself as someone with more than average intelligence.  And so it happened one day about forty years ago that I found myself spending the morning in a classroom at the University of Regina, doing an IQ test to determine if I was qualified to join Mensa.  In the course of time the answer came back that I had scored just over 150 and I was invited to join Mensa.

I sent off my dues and after another wait a directory of all the Mensa members in Canada came in the mail.  I read this directory all the way through and discovered I had joined up with a group of people who thought themselves too smart to believe in God or to accept the Bible as factual, yet who believed in any and every other kind of supposed spiritual phenomena and espoused all sorts of crackpot theories.  The big shiny podium upon which I had place myself suddenly began to feel very unstable and untrustworthy.

To be fair, there was an ad in that directory for a group of Christian Mensans, based in the UK.  But none of the people listed in the directory admitted of a tendency in that direction.  I began to wonder, what is intelligence?  What is knowledge?  What is wisdom?

In actual fact, the whole of our Western society is now living in an intellectual and moral vacuum, admitting of no foundation for truth in these spheres.  Sociologists and psychologists have been telling us for years that the traditional nuclear family is the cause of many of the ills of society.  Every individual should be free to choose whatever gives them the greatest pleasure at the moment.  They say that children will flourish if raised in single parent families, with same sex parents, with changeable sets of parents, or in day care centres.

There are more and more behaviour problems in children who have been left to raise themselves.  Yet sociologists and psychologists keep telling us that things will get better once we have completely freed society from the shackles of old-fashioned morality.  There have been studies done which clearly refute this, but very few newspapers have the courage to publish such information.

People who have lived for their own pleasure all their lives are now growing old.  They have no loving spouse nor loving children to accompany them through their declining years.  So now they want to be able to end their lives early.

As time goes on, I see more and more how much society has suffered from people who think themselves too intelligent to believe in God.  “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”

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