Have you ever engaged in a conversation with someone with whom you wholeheartedly disagreed? You battled out the rhetoric, heard their side, and in the end, the person was fuming. Angry enough that you haven’t heard from them since. Moreover, there is a rise of young adults who are taking this unprecedented fury and applying it to riots, physically destroying public property. Our phones are clouded with “opinions” called “truths,” and social media is feeding narratives in order to control thinking.
In 2 Timothy 2:23-24, we are advised to “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil.”
So, when did disagreeing with someone mean you had to cancel them? Our perspectives, lifestyle, and convictions shape our views. And as Christians, we are encouraged to have Grace in place of Rage. However, somewhere along the road of hypersensitivity, people became unable to “agree to disagree”. Canceling is easier. Cancel Culture is the demise of the critical thinking age, and we have to get it back. And it starts with educating our children.
Twenty plus years ago, in classrooms around the country, the term “think outside the box” was prominent. Critical thinking was an echoed chore by every teacher. But today, our students and a lot of their parents are void of this capability. They are easily offended, confuse opinion with fact, and do not take the time to evaluate the many fruitful possibilities leading to a conclusion before they explode or cancel you altogether. They lack the ability to analyze a situation and arrive at a conclusion without becoming annoyed or even outraged.
Moreover, this lack of acute intellect has resonated into our everyday life. And, as a world void of intellectuals able to question the happenings, we are less powerful. Critical thinking is a necessary skill. Therefore, we cannot let it slip through the cracks or throw it away. For preservation purposes, we need to explore what it is exactly, what caused its collapse, and how do we get it back. Common-sense logic can suffice. It has to. So let’s dive in.
What does it mean to critically think?
Being smart does not mean you can think critically. Knowing more facts, processing math quicker, recalling dates in history are all invaluable skills. But they are not a measure of intelligence. Critical thinking is. When a student can critically think, they can evaluate all pieces of a puzzle and generate an unbiased conclusion. It’s taking the fundamentals learned and applying them to situations that welcome rationality. In school, if a student can critically think, then they can arrive at a conclusion that may not fit their perception but is self-disciplined enough to formulate an unprejudiced inference. Additionally, there is no hidden agenda behind critical thinking. A critical thinker can evaluate cause and effect and arrive at a fair conclusion.
What caused this collapse?
It’s a matter of bureaucracy. A masterful plan to wipe out critical thinking to make a generation and their parents more easily controlled. We do not teach formal logic in schools any longer. A plus B does not equal C, it equals X, Y, and Z. Even more, the Logic courses at Universities are flawed and confuse by utilizing obtuse premises, propositions, and equations. This is the fault of the bureaucrats regulating education and totally purposeful. If you have a dumb society, they are easily manipulated. So, let’s teach them to act on emotion, seduce them into “group thinking” and pressure them to conform by the infliction of societal forces. Overgeneralizing, jumping to conclusions, false analogy, lack of introspection; these are all goals of the strong arm of the education system. Like rats in a cage; teachers are 100 percent told what to teach, and students have no idea the effect. If you feed a collective group the same information day after day, year after year, test them on it endlessly, and award them on their tests, they will know what to think, not how to think. The shift has overtaken logic and buried critical thinking.
How do we get it back?
The quick answer, but more difficult for a lot of families working double shifts and trying to keep up with the fast pace of society, is to pull your kids from the indoctrination camps of the public education system. Get them out. The alternative is to have a keen awareness of what’s happening and try to undo it swiftly and consistently. Additionally, do not feel pressured to shrink your scope of awareness in a culture steeped in fear of the unfamiliar. Avoid decision-making based on paranoia. And, remember there are three sides to every situation, “his side, her side, and the truth.” This means cancel culture should be canceled. No irony there. We have to be able to set emotion aside and agree to disagree. If we too value diversity, there has to be a diversity in thought: this is the art of introspection, focused on being aware of such things as one’s degree of alertness, attentiveness, bias, emotional state, and exploration of interpretation options. Disagreeing with someone is allowed. Disputing does not have to lead to conflict; rather, it beckons a respect for disparity. Proverbs 15:1 reminds us that, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Brittany Stewart, an accomplished writer and educator, draws inspiration from her 23-year marriage and upbringing near Lake Tahoe in Verdi, Nevada, now residing in Tucson, Arizona. With her Bachelor’s degree in Education, emphasizing Native American Literature and Journalism, Brittany is a multifaceted professional who is also a Licensed Massage Therapist. She is deeply involved in Tucson’s homeschooling community, leading a homeschool group, teaching dance, and offering art classes. She and her family have a homestead in Southern Arizona, where her husband hunts and she tends to the garden, emphasizing the importance of God and family in her life while continually seeking adventure through her travels.