Here is a quick lesson to improve your critical thinking skills. We have heard SO much about what to think and how to think. With all the teaching of all kids I do, i think I see a real key to help you sort through ALL the STUFF thrown at you. Is it Word of God/faith? Is it magic (empty hope)? Is it verified empirical fact? Is it opinion/unknown.
If you can categorize what you hear, then you can eliminate the clutter and be very effective in your decisions. Some people are led by opinion/unverified/unknown — with predictably bad to mixed consequences. Others ignore verified facts. Most don’t know how to find out what is fact and what is not. Science (good science) sorts out empirical fact from opinion, etc. Experiments are the standard for science. Peer review journals are the standard for testing science experiments. For general purposes, a good practice is to simply ask, “how do you know?”
Many people, knowing intuitively that there IS something besides fact only, opt for magic. They have bad results but often are not willing or not able to see those results, and even if they did, do not know how to improve. Many people reach for Bible/faith/eternal TRUTH and unknowning mix opinion/wrong ideas and get predictably bad results. Why? because they ignore facts and disrespect the TRUTH. (To verify, go to most Bible classes and see how often the teacher teaches against the text.)
So, I urge not ignoring real facts. However, there is a TRUTH beyond empirical facts. We know this intuitively. We know, for instance, that we can hope to find another solution. Most of us know somehow, that there is more to reality than the empirical and temporal. So the question becomes how to navigate that.
In my life I used both intuitive and empirical methods. Yes, that is right, I tested out various truth claims. I learned a great deal about various faith traditions. I find the best miracle and moral power in the Bible. I do not recommend you try what I did. It takes too long and too much strength and is risky. I recommend, instead, you listen to my words and then directly test that. Ask God, the Father of Our Lord Jesus, to reveal Himself to you.
Then learn the Bible. (Start in Matthew). You will see, the more you study it, that it fits together across millennia in a miraculous way. How could, for instance Genesis and Galatians add up SO well? How could Paul and Jesus (with first blush differences) end up so integrally united — and especially around the promises to Abraham? The more you study, with open heart, the more miracles you see.
I think you will find testimonies, too, of miracles today. But to hear them you have to have an open, empirical mind. There are those who claim to be scientific, but you will find that they a priori “know” these testimonies are false. That is bad fact verification.
So, I recommend eliminating magical thinking. I recommend not paying much attention to opinion (except when you need to be friendly, so out of respect to another you acknowledge their preferences.) Then you realize facts. Then, the mastery, is to supercede facts only by trustable power of the One who made the facts. Faith must be IN something substantial — God and God’s grace, and not mere wishing.
Because GSB’s mission is to equip parents and educators, I do talk about empirical matters. Some people don’t like that. They would prefer episodes all about promises. I do talk about promises. I also talk about how to apply the hope and faith in real, empirical circumstances. Yes, that requires thinking. That requires a mind that is sorted out. It also requires actions. Faith without action…. hmmm …. is… dead. Very much like magic.
So, I hope this post helps your critical thinking skills; I think it will also appreciate what The Great Shalom does.
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