Hero Image

Critical Thinking | A Christian Art

September 28, 2021

Critical thinking is a branch of philosophy. Philosophy concerns learning to approach thinking with precision and care. It’s about creating knowledge where there has been none before.

Of course, students at Southern approach critical thinking with an important assumption—that God creates all wisdom and understanding, and that to lean on him is the one true path to wisdom. The English Department is not teaching students how to use reason to lie, cheat, or steal! That can be taught, by the way. There are tricks of reasoning. The ancient Greek sophists bragged about making any case look good.

One important consideration about critical thinking is to not assume that every person you hear talking knows anything. In fact, assume the opposite. Most people, even professors or other experts, may not be good critical thinkers. One of the tricks of reasoning is learning to appear reasonable. But critical thinkers don’t assume anything about the wisdom of people except that they can be wrong.

Jesus knew people, and he didn’t trust them! That didn’t mean he didn’t love them. Jesus was the model critical thinker.

So, as critical thinkers, we have a moral reason to get our ideas right.

Know this. Being a critical thinker will not make you a lot of friends. It’s amazing how many people do not want to think. They live lives based on what they think is true without taking much time to really think. So be careful! Jesus’ thinking got him killed.

At base, critical thinking is looking for the truth or falsity of ideas and claims. A trick of reasoning is for someone to look at you with shock and surprise because you disagree. Try disagreeing with everyone! The assumption is that everyone must be correct.