I generally avoid controversial topics, but here I will bow to the request of several commenters and start a new thread on a topic that came in the comments to an earlier post. Here is the interesting statement that started the ball rolling:
There's a lot of scriptural precedent for being asked to do stupid things by Church authorities and being blessed for it.I think there are sound arguments on both sides of this interesting claim. I'll try and give a fair hearing to both sides, then let the comments do the choosing. To soften the discussion a bit, I'll talk more about the general question of why we do stupid things in any organization.
Preliminaries - There is a difference between being asked to do stupid things and being asked to believe stupid things. Those are two difference classes of things, the first being acts and the second being beliefs (propositions to which we give mental assent). The idea of being asked to believe stupid things by Church authorities and being blessed for it is less interesting — not because there aren't a few stupid things floating around, but because we don't really believe them. That is, if we subjectively label a proposed belief as "stupid," that is roughly equivalent to saying "I don't really believe that." Unless you want to start talking about mental tricks we play on ourselves to fool ourselves into believing something we don't believe, the question doesn't make much sense. None of us really believe stupid things, regardless of their source. End of inquiry. But doing stupid things — that's a whole different question. We do stupid things everyday.
Let's Do Stupid Things - In organizations, one receives orders or directives from those higher up the chain. If a boss, commanding officer, or church leader directs us to do something stupid, sometimes we do it because organizations impose penalties for refusing such directives (whether direct or indirect, formal or informal). A lot of our youthful socialization is designed to make us obey such organizational directives. Standing up and saying, "No, I won't do it, that's stupid," is a course of action that carries consequences. It may be a defining moment for one's relationship vis-a-vis the organization.
But there are other reasons to go along with such a request. Those making the request may know more than we do; it may only be our own limited knowledge that makes the request appear stupid. The one making the request may have credibility and a good track record. Or we may value our membership and role in the organization, and view being asked to do a few stupid things as balanced by doing many smart things or receiving many compensating benefits. Who doesn't do a few stupid things at work or around the house just for the sake of workplace or domestic harmony?
The religious angle here, what I suspect the original commenter was getting at, was sort of a creo que absurdio thing, the idea that somehow extra blessings accrue to one who, on faith, does something they believe is stupid. There's something to this. How much faith can we claim if we only follow religious counsel when we agree with it (i.e., when we think it's smart as opposed to stupid)? So unless you have established your own Church of Sheila without realizing it, there's an argument that you must, as an alternative, be doing stupid things from time to time.
Can we be blessed for doing stupid things? That's where I would part ways with the more extreme claim. We might be blessed for doing good or proper things that we wrongly think are stupid. But I don't think we are blessed for doing objectively stupid things. Humans, men and women, do stupid. God doesn't do stupid. That follows directly from consideration of God's necessary qualities and the Fall.
No, Let's Not Do Stupid Things - If we have enough life experience to know good from bad, smart from stupid, we get a sense of when an organizational superior is asking us to do something stupid. Organizations function for the benefit of organizations and those who control them, so you will, from time to time, face not just stupid requests, but sometimes wrong, illegal, or harmful requests. It's important to recognize and somehow sidestep such directives. Stupid trivial things may not be a threat, but serious stupid things should be avoided. Don't do them.
Of course, if you're in an organization that regularly pushes directives at you to do serious (wrong, harmful) stupid things, you ought to exit the organization. Tough choice: your self-interest might struggle with your sense of morality (telling you not to be somewhere where you are often urged to do seriously stupid things) and your sense of organizational loyalty. It's easier if you have developed a degree of organizational suspicion and distrust, but it's still no simple decision.
As for the Church, the orthodox will likely object (1) that the Church is not subject to the organizational weaknesses that plague other organizations, and (2) that Church leaders don't ask members to do seriously stupid things. Let's adopt a middle road: the Church exhibits some of the weaknesses of earthly organizations (it is one, after all), and for the sake of the question we have to accept, at least hypothetically, the idea that we be asked to do stupid things (you can come up with your own examples). No, we shouldn't do the stupid things. That doesn't mean we have to stand up on the back pew and wave our arms while shouting about it. We can give a quiet but direct "no, thank you," or we can use more indirect responses. Hey, it's not the Army, just say no.
The motivating force behind the desire to avoid doing stupid things is that stupid effects follow stupid acts. Do dumb (or wrongful or illegal or harmful) acts and bad consequences will follow. The idea that we might, in Church contexts, be blessed for doing stupid things implies that God will somehow reach out and protect us from the natural bad consequences of doing stupid things. That's special providence. It's a repudiation of the idea that blessings follow naturally from good acts, as in do what is right, let the consequence follow. It argues for do what is stupid, and God will prevent the natural bad consequence from following; instead, he will make good consequences, blessings, follow. It contradicts the hymnal!
So now you've heard both sides of the question. Add your own view or just vote.