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Who is Thinking Critically?

May 15, 2019
By Donald M. Larson, PhD

When I was working on my doctorate, many of the questions asked started with, “How do you feel about…” I finally asked why we weren’t thinking about the different issues versus feeling about them, since we were working towards a PhD. I was blasted from all directions about the  importance of feelings. I didn’t say that we were not emotional creatures, but a Doctor of Philosophy in Education should be able to think through issues, including emotional issues.

We live in an anti-intellectual age that values emotional responses over knowledge and critical thinking. If you read what is supposed to be news or watch a political debate, you will observe emotional manipulation and thoughts that contradict themselves. This is not only acceptable to post-modernism but is considered normative. Our modern educational system is raising generations of young people who do not even have the knowledge to think critically. Recently, a professor at Notre Dame who teaches the top students, made this statement:

My students are know-nothings. They are exceedingly nice, pleasant, trustworthy, mostly honest, well-intentioned, and utterly decent. But their minds are largely empty, devoid of any substantial knowledge that might be the fruits of an education in an inheritance and a gift of a previous generation. They are the culmination of western civilization, a civilization that has forgotten its origins and aims, and as a result, has achieved near-perfect indifference about itself.[i]

We see this translated into a lack of thinking at all levels. The lack of critical thinking when I read commentaries or read the news is astounding. Logic has been lost. Somehow people think that if they believe in something that there are no consequences or costs.

One goal of many Christian parents is for their children to graduate from college. If they attend a secular college, there will be professors whose goal is to convert them to atheism or agnosticism. Bill Savage, English Professor at Northwestern University, has written that he doesn’t mind when conservative Christians have lots of children, because they will send their children to a university where people like him will convert them.[ii] Are we teaching our children to think, so they can defend their faith?

Top students are normally natural thinkers. The rest need to be trained, so they too can become critical thinkers. That is one of our goals at Grace Christian! We are preparing our students to weather the world they are facing when they graduate and move on to the next stage in their lives. We, as Christians, must be able to critically think through issues and life. We are emotional beings to whom God has given ability to think, so that we can glorify Him with all of our hearts, with all of our souls, and with all of our minds (Matthew 22:37).

[i] Life Among The Wokescolds, by Rod Dreher. Downloaded Feb 26, 2019: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/life-among-the-wokescolds/

[ii] “Lessons Learned” by Bill Savage. Downloaded 3 Dec 2010: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=21744

If you would like to respond to this blog, please email me at grace@gcswarriors.org.