Intellectual Honesty

This semester we are focusing on intellectual character and its virtues during chapel.  

Intellectual character consists of the thought process behind every decision we make. We started with what some think is the most important intellectual virtue–intellectual courage. Intellectual courage helps you to find the truth and live out that truth. This week we continue our look at intellectual virtues but move to intellectual honesty.

Intellectual honesty is how we use the truth we know. It is the link that goes from our thinking to our actions. For example, think about grades. We want high grades; we want A’s.  But what do we do to get those good grades? We know that we should not cheat. That is an underlying truth. If we want high grades, do we study and learn? Do we put forth effort and work hard? Or do we lie to ourselves, to our parents, to our teachers, and cheat?

The problem with dishonesty is that it starts to change our view on good and bad behaviors. Let me explain.  Last week we talked about how small steps of courage build up to great lives of courage. Daniel learned how to have courage in the face of the lions by the small acts of courage he learned and displayed throughout his life. This is true of honesty and dishonesty as well. If you think it is okay to cheat on a small assignment, you will start to change your beliefs that it is okay to cheat on a test. If you think it is okay to steal a small candy, you will start to change your beliefs that it is okay to steal big things. If you think a small lie is okay, you will start to change your beliefs that all lies are okay.

Colossians 3:9-10 says, “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

We aren’t dishonest! We don’t do that! We are made new in Christ and in Him we are given a chance to live out our lives honestly!

And it starts, again, with the little things:

  • The honesty to tell the truth.
  • The honesty to not steal.
  • The honesty to not cheat.
  • The honesty to strive to do your best.
  • The honesty to know when to ask for help.
  • The honesty to play your best, win or lose.

These things start us on a path that leads to intellectual honesty! We can live a life that lines up to our beliefs that we trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  It is not a lie; it is the truth.  People will see that truth in the way we live our lives—they will see intellectually honesty!