Critical Thinking — Part 1

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Introduction

A few posts ago, I mentioned in passing the field of logic as a discipline within the study of philosophy. In this 2-part series, we’re going to explore this subject in far greater depth.

Question: why should this topic make any never-mind to Christ-followers?

Answer:

  • Because we are constantly bombarded by opposing narratives proclaimed by those trying to sway public opinion to support of their personal and political agendas, public and hidden.
  • These are most often presented with a total disregard for reason and/or reality and/or biblical morality.
  • The intentions and motives for presenting us with such vary widely from the altruistic (we need to remove racism/poverty/etc. from the face of the earth) to the overtly selfish (men self-identifying as women should compete in women’s sports).

Those who have studied history call it like it is: propaganda.

The only effective tool available to detect and/or oppose propaganda is applied logic aka “critical thinking.”

Tragically, Christendom (the organized expression of Christianity in the earth) certainly no better off than pop culture when it comes to clear thinking, rational analysis, and avoidance of bias and fallacies.

  • Many believers pride themselves on their so-called Bible knowledge and spiritual discernment, however far more often than not, they are just as biased, ignorant, and oblivious to their own logical fallacies as those they oppose internally and externally.
  • Others are so ignorant of the Scriptures it beggars the imagination.
  • Some pride themselves on their obvious lack of critical thinking skills, derisively calling it “vain wranglings” which we have been clearly enjoined by the Apostle Paul to avoid or even making far more ignorant statements like, “I don’t have to think. I have faith in Jesus!” or a variant among Pentecostals: “I don’t need that. I have the Holy Spirit!”

Another problem with loudly and continuously proclaimed false narratives is they muddy the waters of public discussion concerning any given topic, Christian or secular, influencing those untrained in critical thinking to buy into theological and political claptrap harmful to themselves and others. Several well-known pastors and worship leaders have fallen away from the faith (aka “deconversion”) of late because they have been deceived by the pervasive and persuasive arguments presented by pop culture into rejecting the Bible as their sole authority over faith and practice.

Am I stating we all should study logic at the university level (assuming you can still find a school of so-called higher learning still teaching it)?

Not at all!

What I am saying is we as Christ-followers need to be familiar enough with the principles involved so we can detect and oppose the fraudulent concepts presented to us — not to mention those resident in our own thought processes! — so we will not be deceived into thinking and behaving in ways the Lord does not — and cannot — condone and reward.

So this series is not intended to be some highfalutin presentation of philosophy, but an easily accessible rubber-meets-the-road explanation so we can both learn and practically apply them.

Let’s get started!
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