continues from To Measure a Message, and is part of a series of thoughts which form a framework for later articles.
Critical analysis is an essential part of Christian thinking. But surely in an age of excruciating political correctness, let alone in our christian mindset, we cannot do such a judgmental thing as criticize?
One source lists seven definitions for the word critical, and only one of these relates to finding fault.
Among the other definitions we find:
º “involving skillful judgment as to truth and merit”.
º “of decisive importance with respect to the outcome”.
Defining Critical Analysis
Analysis means to break down and study the parts.
Critical analysis is
– taking an element – a message, a verse of scripture, a claim being made;
– breaking it down into bite-size pieces;
– looking at these pieces according to certain parameters; (covered later)
– applying skilful judgment to evaluate the truth, validity and worth contained in the whole.
Critical analysis may ask for some brain-stretching, require some academic disciplines. It will probably exercise the basic principles of logic – and may just take a bit of time.
Fast Food for the Brain
The finger-swiped answers-according-to-Google can be great time savers in many areas, but the fast-food-information culture carries with it a critical weakness: the absence of critical analysis.
We see the signs in the secular environment, in best-sellers and internet searches. People prefer to have ‘7 easy steps to Wealth’ or ‘5 days to lose 10 kilos’, rather than spending a year studying economics or 6 months at the gym.
Can ‘quick-answer-thinking’ permeate the church?
Well, the church is simply people. People who live and move in a modern society, reading the books of the age, watching the programs of the moment.
If the Word is not taught, truth declared, and thought encouraged, then we run the danger of producing a sub-culture. A sub-culture of well meaning believers who follow the blogs of umpteen equally well-meaning believers, or listen to a series of tapes on ‘The Meaning of the (name your artist) code’.
A sub-culture who run the danger of running past the opportunities for critical analysis.
Critical Analysis is Not Difficult
Discovering the joy of exegesis, learning the principles of logic, searching out the Bible. These are not difficult. All it takes is a determination and a decision.
The result is an energetic church, not content to be served with someone’s ideas, nor to have conclusions summed up for them in three short, easy points. These are they who will mix with those of like mind, delight in discussions that demand debate, and challenge settled assumptions.
And they go out with confidence to share the truth.
continued in Prove All Things