Every now and then when blogging, I find myself at a quandary of what to write. I mean my mind goes totally blank. Often this means I am not giving my mind enough to feast upon through good reading. Yet, I know I am crazy busy, so where has my mind been? What have I taken in? What am I reading? As I thought more about it, much of what I have had to do in the past weeks involves a deeper understanding of critical thinking.
I have spent five weeks teaching a class on critical thinking, and our debates have gone everywhere–assisted suicides, governmental regulation of school lunches, the Mexican-American border, who is considered beautiful and why, laws regarding smoking and tobacco, etc. Whew!!!!!! Maybe that’s why I struggled for blog topics–I’m too dog-gone mentally drained! Seriously, though, the lessons learned have taken me all the way to teach fallacies to the children (which I will do again with the youngest on next year)–not making generalizations, not stereotyping, learning to listen objectively and not take an objection as a personal attack. etc. The times with this group of students have been rich and rewarding.
On one night, however, we came to an interesting conclusion about how many of us form ideas about current events as we discussed the biases of information in the media. We began to dig through news articles looking for what stories are prominent and what stories are hidden, what messages within the main stories are prominent and what ideas are hidden, and then how to go about uncovering the hidden information. Our conclusion? Most of us enjoy being told what to think, and moreover, many of us find ourselves too preoccupied or just plain mentally lazy to go out, seek info for ourselves, and form educated opinions. Radio morning shows and talk show hosts thrive on this premise. Politicians and lobbying organizations base their entire campaigns upon it. Television makes a nice living off of it.
Is it any wonder that Jesus had to put so many bits of admonishments about thinking in His Word?
- Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising , thou understandest my thought afar off. Psalm 139:2
- Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? Matthew 6: 27
- Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. Acts 8:22
- When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11
- Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
- Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8