Skip to main content

Harvard University is one of the most prestigious academic institutions on earth. It’s a place that has educated scores and scores of presidents, supreme court justices, senators, journalists, composers, astrophysicists, and Nobel prize winners.

To be sure, the name “Harvard” is synonymous with knowledge and authority.

Want to add credence to something you’re saying? Just add the phrase “According to Harvard researchers…” in front of whatever asinine proposition you want to throw out into the world and it will immediately sound both impressive and believable.

I mean, did you know that according to Harvard researchers Jesus was a huge, huge Red Sox fan? That’s totally made up, but it sounds more believable because I dropped the name “Harvard.”

Lots of really smart people have graduated from Harvard University. Maybe even this guy, pictured solving the previously unsolvable Simon problems (or something like that).

But perhaps the most interesting thing about Harvard is that, if you were to talk to the people who live around the university, the owners of nearby businesses, and even the homeless people who sit outside of Harvard’s gates, you quickly find that, for them, that veneer of authority and prestige has been completely stripped away.

Why is that the case?

After all, it is true that Harvard’s undergraduate classes count in their numbers some of the brightest minds in the world. We’re talking brains that will someday cure all sorts of diseases and pioneer entirely new fields of physics and mathematics.

And while all that is 100% true, it is likewise true these great intellects are currently being housed in the bodies of 17, 18, and 19-year-olds, who, by virtue of their lack of life experience, are almost categorically DUMB.

For smart as they are, they are dumb – they are prone to making very poor life choices.

So for the people who live and work around the university and get to witness these poor life choices play out on the regular – they see the car accidents, they see the messy public breakups, they see the drunken parties –  that veneer of prestige and authority has been completely stripped away. You will find that the are less than impressed by the name of Harvard.

For as smart as they are, Harvard undergrads are still undergrads.

According to esteemed Bible scholar, Gerhard Von Rad (and with a name like that you know he means business), scripture defines wisdom as “competence with regard to the realities of life.”

Which is to say: there is a big BIG difference between being smart on the one hand and being wise on the other.

Von Rad he would say that these Harvard undergraduates have intelligence. He would say they have know knowledge. However, they are but they’re not yet good at applying that intelligence and that knowledge to the real world in order to make good choices.

In other words, they lack “competence with regard to the realities of life.” They have intelligence but they lack wisdom.

get transforming love stories delivered to your inbox!