I still am feeling stirred up so I thought I would stir you and your thinking up today. I was reading an article on critical thinking in an Education magazine and they were saying critical thinking was a challenge to teach. I guess a number of programs have been developed to teach this subject in schools but none have been very successful. I was thinking how did I learn to question things, to think on my own, to look at things from other viewpoints? I am not sure, so I thought I would explore this topic by inviting you and I to ask some questions and do some exploring.
I was thinking of some areas that are worth exploring from the angle of critical thinking. What I thought of was: religion, politics, war, corporate influence, news media, and your own belief system. I will ask you questions on each topic to invite your critical thinking.
Religion is a powerful topic today and there are many who claim to know the real truths. Here are a few questions that come to my mind about religion. Isn’t religion a human invention full of human ideas, understandings, structures and controls? There are so many that say their truth is the right truth but isn’t that more up individual interpretation? Are heaven and hell really places? Aren’t all paths of religion equally a speculation and no better than an other path? Why do many Americans actually believe a book (the Bible) written and edited by many men (only men) in different traditions all are the direct words of God?
Politics is another subject that would benefit from some critical thinking. Those that are elected need lots of money and that money buys influence. How could those elected officials not represent the money that helps them get elected? Shouldn’t we eliminate this money influence? Are the oil industry, Halliburton and other corporations benefiting from their influence money? How could they not be? What about the needs of the people vs the needs of those who pay for campaigns, who looses out if there is conflict of interest? Why are we still in Iraq when the people want us out of there?
The war is Iraq was has been reasoned from a number of different explanations. Do you doubt what you are being told here or is it ok to keep on changing the reasons we went to war and are still in it? How come war is still even an option for intelligent thinking people? Does war ever make rational sense? How come we the people go along with an idea to invade another country for reasons that beg critical thinking? How come we give our leaders so much power and claim so little for ourselves?
Corporate influence seems to be growing more and more powerful. Does your critical thinking mind have questions about the benefits and problems of this growing corporate influence. Shouldn’t companies have values about their people, their communities and their planet that are weigh into the profit motive? Is it ok for profits to rationalize any and all behavior by a company? Were not corporations set up for the benefit of the people and now people are more for the benefit of the corporation? How did that get so turned around and what should we do about it?
News media has moved more and more toward sensationalism and entertainment and away from objective reporting. Does that concern you? Do you believe all that you here on the news or do you question what is being presented to you especially the opinion barrage? Does it seem that major corporate News Agencies might lack objectivity as profits drive them and points of view run them. Why is 90% of talk radio focused on the conservative point of view? One side says the liberal press but in fact the press is more represented by corporate influence, which tends to run conservative? Notice who says and what and ask why? Is Fox news fair and balanced or actually very biased?
Now you and I have our own ideas and beliefs that need to be questioned. Many of our beliefs we got growing up. These all need to be looked at with a critical eye to see if they are truly what you believe? You may find you have many beliefs and values you want to keep. Acknowledge that you are deciding to keep the ones you are keeping. Look at the ones in need of revision and find out what your truth is? Most school systems and families teach us to not really believe in ourselves. Fitting in and seeking approval is more valued their individual expression and uniqueness. Should we not look at all those self-worth and self-expression beliefs?
I hope these questions have stirred you up and activated your critical thinking. There are so many more questions to be asked in each of these areas. The times you and I live in need us thinking clearly; questioning what is going on; and looking at our lives and the concerns of the world with objectivity and heart. I know I just through heart in this discussion and I did so for a reason. Objectivity and critical thinking matched with our hearts sensitivity and compassion unlocks great potential in all of us.