This blog wants you to think for yourself, and thus empower yourself. It wants you to develop critical thinking skills and to use them in many situations. I want people who read this to learn how to become skeptical in a healthy way, and to question what you hear. This applies to me as you can question me as well, which I hope you will do.
“No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.”
“Thinking is like loving and dying. Each of us must do it for himself.”
“What makes my Thinker think is that he thinks not only with his brain, with his knitted brow, his distended nostrils and compressed lips, but with every muscle of his arms, back, and legs, with his clenched fist and gripping toes.”
Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands.
Psalm 119:66 NIV
Auguste Rodin was a French sculptor who lived in the late 19th century and early 20th. By 1900 he was known as the most prominent French sculptor of his time. After he died in 1917 interest in his works grew, but of all the statues that he has done the most well known is one called The Thinker. Let me tell you a little about how that came to be. It was part of a large commission that was based on Dante’s Divine Comedy. The statue which was to be called The Poet was to be done in a doorway called The Gates of Hell. The commission was to represent the famous characters from the poem. The Thinker is nude, and Rodin sculpted it like that to have it in the tradition of Michelangelo. There are 12 versions based off the original plaster mode. If you want to learn some history and interesting facts about The Thinker you can do so here. The Thinker is unique and its deep. You have this statue of a man sitting down leaning over in deep thought. He’s thinking, he’s pondering hard questions. Is it any wonder why The Thinker has come to represent modern philosophy? The Thinker represents a lot of things to different people. In the context of this blog I want The Thinker to represent people committed to truth and asking hard and difficult questions. I want The Thinker to resonate with each and every reader in this unique way. I want you to think hard, and think for yourself. I want you challenge what you are told. And yes as you will read below near the end of this post, I want you to also challenge me as well.
The Importance of Critical Thinking Skills
I can’t emphasize this enough, but in today’s world people need to develop and refine their thinking skills. It takes practice and it takes work but its so needed. Take a moment and step back and contemplate what you need critical thinking skills for today. They vary from a wide range of reasons. From making medical decisions, career decisions, or even parenting. It also can play into minor decisions that can last a long way. Trying to make healthier choices…? Learning how to read a label in a grocery store can go a long way. While there are many facets to critical thinking skills I want to encourage people to develop and fine tune them here and else where. While this blog writes about religion among other topics critical thinking skills are more necessary today than ever. In the realm of religion it can help you avoid some bad places and spare yourself from pain. Critical thinking skills can help people look out for themselves, families, and friends. The cold, brutal reality is that you need to look out for yourself. You have to be responsible for yourself. In today’s day and age that is just how it is.
Skepticism is Healthy and Leads to Truth
As part of developing critical thinking skills I want people to become more skeptical to what they read, where they attend church, and I want them to learn how to question. The goal that I have for each and everyone is to develop a new level of thinking that gets you to be a tad bit more skeptical to whatever you hear and read. And yes, as I will write in a minute, that applies to me as well. I want people to learn how to question and and ask questions. I want people in their mind to connect the dots and ask the hard questions when they need to be asked. Skepticism should led to a level of truth that is healthy. Skepticism in many ways is good. But I want people to pursue the truth and let it lead them to whatever they discover. For example from Lon Solon’s McLean Bible to Eric Simmons Redeemer Arlington or Justin Pearson’s Sojourn Fairfax. I want people who attend these and so many other churches not to accept anything at face value. I want them to be able to investigate, dig, connect the dots and engage. Don’t be a mere spectator to the truth, but pursue it. Treat it as gold! Be skeptical, as a good church will accommodate and take questions, a bad one will not. I have written about Steve Estes Community Evangelical Free Church quite a bit at this blog. The fact that the leadership of that church tries to control the settings of the questions and even the format screams and raises issues that should bother many people. But for the sake of yourself, be skeptical. I want people here to learn enough so that they can avoid questionable and cult like churches. I want people to analyze the child safety policies so to eliminate needless risks by places such as Rod Stafford’s Fairfax Community Church, who employs a violent sexual offender. I want people to avoid being involved with blogs like SGM Survivors or others. That’s what I want for each and every one of you.
Question Me As Well
I have been wanting to write this brief post for a while. If you want to know why I write The Wondering Eagle you can read the following post. “Why Do I Write The Wondering Eagle?” And in addition if you want to know the work that I pour into this blog I would read the following open letter to an Evangelical Free District Superintendent. “An Open Letter to Bob Rowley (Texas and Oklahoma District Superintendent on Why I Write this Blog, Feedback I Get and More)” If you are pressed for time let me say that I didn’t plan to be a writer. I endured a false accusation from a Care Group Leader at Eric Simmons Redeemer Arlington. I am stuck and have seen the dark side of religion, in a way that I don’t want others to. As I write this blog I also want to say the following. You will never hear me be prideful or boast of how strong my faith is or any form of sanctification. Never…that will never happen. I have undergone weight loss surgery in the past, struggled with doubts, made moral failings in my life, sometimes been angry and processing things day by day. I am who I am with all my scars and problems. I am trying to find a way forward. When I underwent a false accusation something inside of me snapped. And that is why I do this. Do I enjoy writing about difficult situations? No… Honestly I think to myself “who am I?” to write about this particular church or another? I just want to get that out there for those of you who read. I had no plans in my life to do something like this, but an act of spiritual abuse changed my life. And that is why I am typing away at my key board at a few minutes before midnight in my kitchen as I type away. One of these days down the road I would love to turn this over to another person and let them write this…we’ll see what happens.
I say all that to say the following. As I write about religion you guys are free to question me and I encourage it. I expect it, and as some of you know I take a lot of crap from differing churches. Just go back and look at the comments I take. I take a lot of heat but I expect that to be the case. But ask me questions and feel free to challenge me. I say that because as I write and encourage you to question churches and other that applies to me as well. If I am going to ask people involved in Redeemer Arlington to question Jordan Kauflin, then they also can question me as well. It’s healthy, its fair. And its to be expected. But as I write about questioning others I wanted to take a few minutes and say that applies to me as well. Never take what I say at full value. I am human and I can make mistakes also. But what I write here deserves to be questioned.
Note to Atheists Who Read
As this blog also writes about atheism and doubt I want to direct this last section to that crowd. I am less worried about the atheist crowd when it comes to critical thinking because many by their very nature are skeptical. Its a part of their DNA so many will just do this naturally. I want to encourage those who are in this camp to remain committed to pursuing the truth and to be skeptical. I want them to remain open and committed to pursuing the truth and let it take them ever wherever the truth leads them. While I believe in God personally what I admire about the atheism camp is their commitment to critical thinking skills. They ask questions and they think differently, which I really like. While evangelical Christians deal with the scandal of the evangelical mind, many atheists and skeptics do not have that problem, as they apply their mind and intellectual capacity to most problem sets. But I just want to encourage you guys to keep questioning and keep asking. That’s it guys, please know I love you.