We live in a time of great dirth. It seems as though thinking is a thing of the past. Now, I know that we can idealize the past, and I perhaps am not really convinced that things ever were all that much better at any time in history (I wasn’t there, so how do I really know, anyways?), but one thing I am pretty sure about in regards to the present: There is not enough critical thinking. That is, we don’t spend enough time and effort evaluating ideas to see how true they really are.
This is where my dad comes in. I have at different times thought that one of the gifts of great and lasting benefit that my dad has given me is that he taught me to think critically. I don’t recall any particular time that he sat me down and taught me in formal fashion about crtical thinking; rather, I learned from being around him through my whole childhood what it looks like not merely to accept ideas without discernment. We who grew up in his household knew that we were supposed to evaluate what we were told and taught; we were not supposed to assume it was correct; we needed to put it to the test a bit and see if it would hold up to examination. I can’t express how grateful I am that I learned the importance of that from my dad. I will always be thankful for that.
And isn’t this the natural thing to do? If we want the truth about life, we will not be content merely to receive and accept whatever happens to come our way. We will want to know whether there is good reason to trust in it.
And the importance of this testing process rises in accordance with the significance of the issue at hand. Has a restaurant claimed to have the best pizza you have ever eaten? Well, we might should test that out, but it is not all that important in the end. Which car manufacturer’s claim should we trust about who makes the best quality of vehicle? That might matter to us a bit more if we are in the car market.
But what if there is the claim made that there is a message that declares to you the true meaning of life? In fact, it claims to show us the only way that a person can even have true life. Don’t we all end up saying we believe something or other about the true meaning of life? There are many messages out there about what that is. We all end up following one way of thought about it or another. Do we even take the time to give a serious and honest evaluation to such a momentous question? Most people don’t. Do you and I?