Critical Thinking and Truth

I haven’t posted for quite some time, but this morning I read something that jumped off the page at me. It was written by syndicated columnist, Leonard Pitts. He wrote:

But then, that’s the state of critical thinking these days: ignore any inconvenient truth, any unsettling information that might force you to think or even look with new eyes upon, say, the edifice of justice. Accept only those ‘facts’ that support what you already believe. (Emphasis added)

Amen, brother!

Pitts’ statement struck a deep cord within me. I get so riled at the number of people who, as Pitts writes, accept as “truth” anything that they already believe in. This is particularly true in the areas of religion and politics.

Instead of doing the background research to find out if what they have heard, read, or been taught is accurate, they will adamantly argue their case as hard and cold fact.

It is as though critical thinking has become a forbidden action. Or maybe it’s just because we’ve become lazy. It’s far easier to watch the 24-hour news feed on TV then to do our own research. Gosh! That might mean reading a book or even turning on the computer to search the internet.

Truth is defined as “a fact that has been verified.” It is not truth simply because our so-called ‘leaders’ (the people who rule, guide and/or inspire us) have said it is so.

If you are politically minded, make it a habit to visit Politifact.com or FactCheck.org to find out how much of what your favorite political leader says is actually true.

And if you’re a religious person, try looking at your faith objectively. Look below the surface. You may be surprised to learn that not everything you heard in Sunday School is ‘truth.’ A wise person once said “If you’re going to put all your faith into something, you need to thoroughly examine it to make sure your faith is justified.”

To know is more than to believe.