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Critical thinking

By Brian Kellogg ~

This is where the rubber meets the road for me. When I was a christian a few years back I remember teaching on hermeneutics and critical thinking at church. I brought up an example of a current christian conspiracy theory and that is where I lost the class. I had another parishioner approach me at the end of another class very emotional saying that I could not say she was wrong on how she interpreted a certain scripture due to her own personal revelation. It is an untouchable belief among many Christians that verses can have multiple "hidden" meanings. Scripture is fluid, but the same will hold to a completely unyielding strict interpretation of our US constitution. A little hypocritical me thinks.

There are no symbols that represent skepticism...
There are no symbols that represent skepticism. This is one symbol that can be used to represent skepticism, skeptical inquiry, critical thinking, critical inquiry, and truth-seeking. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It is this hyper-subjectivity that causes Christians, in part, to believe the myths of the bible so completely and also to accept so readily any other conspiracy theory or other unfounded belief that fits into their world view; conspiracy of atheistic scientists, Obama birth certificate, antichrist, one world order, mark of the beast, tribulation, the Illuminati, demonic backwards messages in rock songs, and on and on ...

Christians will often use the the phrase "I feel" when describing why they believe. This is the argument from personal experience. I led worship for close to two decades in charismatic churches. Subsequently I am very familiar with the altered states of mind music can help evoke; I quite enjoy them as a mater of fact. Christians often mistake this for "feeling the presence of god". If a person from another religion were to use the same reasoning when arguing with a christian they would be immediately dismissed as the christian would view their own experience as unquestionably superior. The non-christian's experience is obviously not of god and at worse demonic. Why, on what demonstrable basis? Well the unquestionable truth of the bible verified by the Christian's personal experience. It is all hyper-subjective smoke and mirrors. I've experienced the same god feelings listening to secular music that, yes, touches my soul. Should I now consider the Goo Goo Dolls an oracle of god? City of Angels, what an incredible song.

What if I started a religion based on a man-god that will come from a place called Krypton that will save us from ourselves? There's documentation floating around about this man-god and video evidence as well. I would be laughed at and rightly so. What is it that gives Christianity such a pass as its claims are far more spurious? Some of it comes down to culture. We grow up with it. We are taught it by people we love and trust implicitly as very impressionable children. Thus we are culturally anesthetized to giving too much critical thought to the validity of its incredible supernatural claims. Then add to this the teaching that reason must be subservient to faith, we now have a cocktail (cool-aid) to delude the masses with.

One of the hardest lessons I had to learn growing up was that adults could be very wrong and did not always have others' best interests in mind. I remember being absolutely shocked on many occasions by the lack of reasoning that so many I admired from a young age showed in much of what they would accept as true. Something must be wrong with me, right? I thought this for years. The inner tumult caused by the intellectual dissonance was unbearable. Letting go what was already gone, though difficult, was the most mentally and emotionally freeing event of my life. My hope is that others would find such surreal release and begin to dream again.

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