Critical Thinking


Critical thinking has been defined as:

“the mental process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion”[2]

“disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence”[3]

“reasonable reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do”[4]

“purposeful, self-regulatory judgment which results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which that judgment is based”[5]

“includes a commitment to using reason in the formulation of our beliefs”[6]
in critical social theory: commitment to the social and political practice of participatory democracy, willingness to imagine or remain open to considering alternative perspectives, willingness to integrate new or revised perspectives into our ways of thinking and acting, and willingness to foster criticality in others.[7]

the skill and propensity to engage in an activity with reflective scepticism (McPeck, 1981)

disciplined, self-directed thinking which exemplifies the perfection of thinking appropriate to a particular mode of domain of thinking (Paul, 1989, p. 214)

thinking about one’s thinking in a manner designed to organize and clarify, raise the efficiency of, and recognize errors and biases in one’s own thinking. Critical thinking is not ‘hard’ thinking nor is it directed at solving problems (other than ‘improving’ one’s own thinking). Critical thinking is inward-directed with the intent of maximizing the rationality of the thinker. One does not use critical thinking to solve problems – one uses critical thinking to improve one’s process of thinking.[8]

It’s rare to find a Christian who exercises sound, critical thinking when it comes to the Christian life and to the church, and to understanding and applying the Word of God. The “church system” has discouraged critical thinking in a similar manner to which the RCC did in the dark ages and still does.

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