Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Coming up... Adam, Eve, and Sabbath keeping: Part 2

Anyone who truly thinks about their faith needs to deliberately consider alternative points of view about contentious issues within their belief system. To avoid doing so is to have an inauthentic faith based on a narrow view that is the product of biased exposure to what we believe. One of the traits of a critical thinker is intellectual empathy - the ability to enter into the world view of another person and see things from that perspective. It is only then that we can make a fair assessment of alternative points of view and come to our own. In my classes on critical thinking, I often suggest to students that, unless we can argue for an opposing view as well as a person who holds to that view, we have not earned the right to critique it. I thought an exercise such as this would be good to encourage readers of this blog to think "into" two different views. In order to do this, I have chosen a contentious topic from the religious tradition that I grew up in. The aim is not so much to push a particular point of view in this exercise, but to enter into two points of view as if I actually believe them and articulate them both to the best of my ability. The issue I have chosen is whether or not Adam and Eve kept the Sabbath. The first of the positions has been posted at the Thinking Christian blog which argues that they did not. If you haven’t read it yet, you can do so here. I am currently working on the second essay where it will be argued that Adam and Eve did keep the Sabbath. Both of these arguments will be written as if I fully believe them both. This is to illustrate what it means to practice intellectual empathy with alternate points of view. The purpose of the Thinking Christian blog is not to tell people what to believe. Instead, it is to encourage people to think for themselves. To that end, I will not be informing readers, on this occasion, what I actually think. A person, whom I admire greatly, once stated at one of his presentations, that half of what he says is right and half of what he says is wrong. His audience had to work out for themselves which is which. I often say the same thing to my students in my critical thinking classes. To decide any issue by merely following the thinking of someone else rather than our own is to expose oneself to all sorts of dangers. Religious organisations are very keen for people to conform to the party line. Throughout history, great evil has been done by those in power as they manipulate others to conform to their creeds. Many have been slaughtered - physically and emotionally - in the name of God. Psychological terrorism is as evil as physical terrorism. So, in order to encourage Thinking Christian readers to think for themselves, Part 2 of Did Adam and Eve keep the Sabbath? will be coming soon. You will be able to consider both points of view for yourself. There will then be a mini anonymous survey on the blog where you can vote for the view you think is best. So... look out for Part 2 and the vote. Remember:

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