The Importance of Critical Thinking

By Kathryn, V. Camp, D.Min.

As a Christian apologist, it is easy to take for granted the understanding that when we impart information to others, they clearly comprehend what we are talking about.

Now, that may be the case with well-studied and well-versed individuals who understand critical thinking, however, the average American has not been exposed to critical thinking unless they have attended university. It is an unfortunate fact that the art of critical thinking is not taught in the vast majority of either primary or secondary schools.

Critical thinking is a skill that is a threat to our culture’s view of political correctness, because it encourages people to see things from a different perspective that thinks through an idea or thought and compares it with an opposing view.

Anyone who has studied our western culture for any length of time is well aware that our cultural ideologies have had more influence on the church than the church has had on the culture in the last fifty years.

The vast majority of professing Christians in America today cannot explain why they believe what they believe. This has not been ideal for the Church, as studies show that there has been a sharp decline in church attendance over the past thirty years.

The absence of critical thinking is at the center of this apathy toward the importance of validating one’s belief in absolute truth which is at the core of the Judeo-Christian faith.

Much of this lack of fervor for one’s faith is because many are not sure if the Bible is valid for today’s world. It is a fact that less than nine percent of those individuals who profess to be Christian, believe in biblical inerrancy. Why is this? Part of the answer to this question lies in the inability to think critically. To think critically requires that one ask questions, but to ask a question suggests that one may find an answer that goes against the grain and that would cause friction. It is easier to simply go along with what one is told and then formulate one’s own set of beliefs based on what one feels is right.

Human nature is consistent in that our feelings fluctuate with circumstance (John 2:25) and because of this fact it is imperative that we seek the reality that forms the foundation of our beliefs and not base our eternity on emotions and feelings. Without the knowledge of God, people perish (Hos 4:6), but we cannot truly know the Creator unless we seek him in his word.

It goes to follow, that if you do not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture then you cannot truly come to know the character and nature of God.

The problem lies in the reality that all are called to know God and to live in obedience to his word and without a basic belief that the Bible is to be trusted, then there will be a disconnect. There are numerous books that spend at least a full chapter to show how scholars critically validate the Bible, and these include helpful tools that are used in this process. What I have discovered in my own interactions with the average believer, however, is that they do not have the confidence to break down the processes that scholars use to validate the Bible. Most of the reason for this lack of confidence stems from an unfamiliarity with the terminology and processes used in historical and literary research.

It is for this reason that I decided to devote an entire book to the process of how scholars use the tools of historical and literary criticism to validate the Bible, as well as other historically based documents. The goal is to help the reader become intimately familiar with the terms and processes that scholars use to validate the word of God.

Hopefully, my readers will use the Under Investigation workbook as a tool to help them reach others for the kingdom of God by confidently explaining the scrutiny that the Judeo-Christian Bible has gone through and how other holy books have not been able to withstand the same type of analysis and critical investigation.

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