Do We Measure People by their IQ, Bust Size or Bank Balance?

Well, I'm back in harness this week after a short period of aestivation, both in the real and virtual realms. This morning saw me start the day at BBC Radio Ulster doing Thought for the Day (if you didn't catch it you can find it approximately 26 and 86 minutes into Good Morning Ulster on the iPlayer for the next week) and this is that thought, more or less in written form...

I’m not very athletic… I can’t play a musical instrument… I’m useless at arts and crafts… and I’m never going to be offered a modelling contract… But I am supposed to be moderately intelligent, if IQ tests and exam results are to be believed…

So I was interested to read a report last week suggesting that religious people, tend to be less intelligent than self-professed atheists. This led to some crowing by atheists on social networks, although the study emphasised that it probably wasn’t a simple case of cause and effect. Rather, as well as asking more searching questions than those who are less intelligent, those with higher IQs tend to succeed in life, becoming materially wealthy, while other studies have shown that individuals and societies that are better off tend to become less religious with time, due to a sense of self-sufficiency, whereas poorer people continue to profess belief in and dependency on God…

However, it didn’t take recent studies to note this… Jesus suggested that we cannot serve God and money… While in terms of intelligence Paul reminded the church in Corinth that not many of them were wise by human standards…

There are however other standards to measure wisdom. It was one of my psychology professors who used to remind us that intelligence tests measure IQ, not actual intelligence – never mind real wisdom… And if that is true of intelligence tests, how much more true is it in relation to exams.

Last week we had the usual circus around A level and AS results, with some students elated and others devastated… This week younger students will go through the same hoopla over GCSE results. But exams results are not the be all and end all of life… That has been proved repeatedly by those who have not done well at school but have excelled in other spheres of life…

But again, there are dangers in how the world measures success… In an image and celebrity obsessed society, there are those who go to the other extreme thinking that intelligence and education don’t matter, so long as you look fabulous or are famous…

And of course the world’s ultimate measure of success is how you turn your assets, be they intellectual or physical, into cold hard cash…

But, drawing on Martin Luther King’s most famous speech (which he delivered 50 years ago next week I think), I too have a dream that all our children will one day live in a world where they will not be judged by their qualifications or IQ, their appearance or their wealth, but by the content of their character. How they use whatever gifts they have been blessed with, to bless others…

Shalom

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Woman of no Distinction

Advent Candle Liturgy 5: Christmas

An Epistle To Our Elected Leaders