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Backyard Skeptics Message Board › List BIBLE VERSES for or against critical thinking

List BIBLE VERSES for or against critical thinking

Cary C.
CaryCook
Tustin, CA
Post #: 60
This is for a list of Bible verses which either support or discourage critical thinking.
NO ARGUMENTS - unless you argue why a particular verse should be in either category.
gil l.
user 2970748
Gardena, CA
Post #: 2
define Critical Thinking please. As you mean it of course.
Bob
unfogged
Lake Forest, CA
Post #: 5
When I first looked for verses lauding faith over reason I didn't have much luck. Earlier today I found one and that led me to more that I see as supporting that theme. To be fair, there are many verses that expound on the virtues of knowledge as well.

Proverbs 3: 5-7 (NIV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.

John 20:28-29
Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

2 Corinthians 5: 7
We live by faith, not by sight

Hebrews 11:
1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
2 This is what the ancients were commended for.
3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

Cary C.
CaryCook
Tustin, CA
Post #: 61
Gil
In my opinion, a definition would be an unnecessary tangent in this context. My target audience will have no trouble understanding my meaning.

Unfogged,
Thank you. Present score is 4 verses against critical thinking to zero for it.
Bob
unfogged
Lake Forest, CA
Post #: 6
I went back to search for verses promoting reason or knowledge and while I found many references the context was almost always "knowledge of god" and the acceptance of faith as knowledge. For example, Proverbs 1:22 reads “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?” (NIV) but the frame of reference for ‘knowledge’ is religious teachings as noted in verse 7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” and verse 29 “since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD”.

The one quote I found this morning (in my admittedly brief search) that appears to promote learning without any overtly faith-based angle was Proverbs 24: 2-7
By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established;
Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.
The wise prevail through great power, and those who have knowledge muster their strength.
Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers.
Wisdom is too high for fools; in the assembly at the gate they must not open their mouths.

Cary C.
CaryCook
Tustin, CA
Post #: 62
Bob, sorry for calling you Unfogged,

If we include knowledge specifically "of God" in the mix, that would throw the scale so far against critical thinking that the Christians would cry foul. The atheists don't need to do that in order to win.

Proverbs 24:4-7 is, in my opinion, too vague to use on either side. Admittedly, all judgments on this matter will be subjective, but I think we should only count verses which are clear enough that anyone trying to argue the contrary could be dismissed as an obvious denier of truth.

I just noticed that it was you who submitted Proverbs 3:5-7 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

That brings the score to 5 against critical thinking.
Bob
unfogged
Lake Forest, CA
Post #: 8
No apology needed; I use the handle 'unfogged' on a number of different forums including this one. I may change that since I also use my real name on the profile and it does look confusing.

I completely agree about the pro-knowledge verses needing to be about knowledge in general and not just "knowledge of god" or verses that conflate knowledge and faith. A cursory search often shows up many verses that appear to venerate knowledge or learning but are really upholding blind faith.

I disagree about proverbs 24 though. It is overall just a collection af general advice and does put actual learning in a positive light. It reminds me of Polonius' advice from Hamlet in the way it is written and I do not think it is fair to include it as anti-knowledge.
Buck B.
user 58139632
Long Beach, CA
Post #: 1
I may have found the crown jewel: 1 Corinthians 1:19
"I will destroy human wisdom and discard their most brilliant ideas." (New Living Translation)

Discovered this while reading 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in God
Cary C.
CaryCook
Tustin, CA
Post #: 63
Bob,

Though Proverbs 24:4-7 praises knowledge and wisdom, it doesn't say if it is acqiured by faith or examination of reality. It only mentions a "multitude of counsellors" being beneficial. You can count it if you like, but I wouldn't want to defend it.

Buck,

Technically 1Cor 1:19 doesn't say how wisdom and understanding are acquired, but I think it's safe to assume it's by human effort apart from God, and therefore by critical thinking. I'll count it.

Again, I can't claim to be a final arbiter. It's just my opinion.
A former member
Post #: 63
I think there is a saying about forests and trees that comes into play here. What I mean is that a cursory examination of the entire Bible will reveal a gestalt, and overall picture, of reason and logic. We know many here will not like the content, but the template is undeniable.

The bottom line is we can debate all day on the meaning of some of the verses presented here, as Cary has pointed out, or on others, such as:

*ISA 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord”
*1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
*John 14:11“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.”

but there is an underlying methodology employed that will remain the same. And once again, you may not like the content, but the methodology is what counts. In both old and new Testaments people are given sense based reasons to believe the spiritual claims that are made. The reasons usually fall into one of three categories: miracle, prophecy, eyewitness testimony.

Let me provide a few examples. In Mark 2, Jesus is presented with the paralyzed man. He tells the man that his sins are forgiven; something the Pharisees immediately recognize as an ability held only by God; so, they begin to grumble about it. Jesus then offers the following as evidence: “ 9 Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk'? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . . .’ He said to the paralytic, 11 ‘I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.’ 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all.” The people cannot see the man sins, nor could they see the sins forgiven, but they could see a paralyzed man immediately stand up and walk out of the room. The reason to believe is given.

We can see the same reasoning applied at the burning bush with Moses and when Moses confronts Pharaoh. And many, many other passages that hold the same methodology.

Another method is the use of testimony, consider the opening of the Gospel of Luke: “1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.”

If we look at every sermon in the book of Acts we will find that in EVERYONE of them there is some sort of reason offered to believe in the message the Apostles were presenting.

We see Paul offering reasons to the Jews to believe that Jews was the foretold messiah: Acts 17 “2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead;” and “Acts 18 “4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.”
The biggest example, of course, is a resurrection itself. In John 2, Jesus clears out the temple of money changers. The Jewish leaders and challenge him, “18 The Jews then responded to him, ‘What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?’

19 Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.’” And John continues, “But the temple he had spoken of was his body.”

This tradition of giving people reasons to believe is also found in those who followed the Apostles, such as Justin, Augustine, Anselm, Thomas, and right up into our current day.

So let me conclude by reiterating that although many here may not like the content, the method of offering reasons to believe is found throughout the Bible and continues throughout the history of the church.

I think the question that you really are experiencing and trying to address is the large number of Christians who you may run into that are not participating in the method of giving reasons for their belief. I think that many of you, and I, would agree that there are many Christians who hold their belief blindly. However, this is not a Christian thing, but a human thing. You will find that this blind belief occurs with all religious and philosophical positions, including atheism.
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