Saturday, March 28, 2009

Truth and Error

Lately I have been reading The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine and ran across this tidbit:

“Ignorance is of a peculiar nature; once dispelled, it is impossible to re-establish it. It is not originally a thing of itself, but is only the absence of knowledge; and though man may be kept ignorant, he cannot be made ignorant.”

A couple of months ago, my beloved purchased a great book for the whole family to go through together called The Fallacy Detective. It was written by a couple of homeschool graduates and is focused on teaching children, from a Christian worldview, how to detect logical fallacies. It is really a book of short lessons, with lots of examples and age appropriate exercises. We have been going through it slowly, doing just a couple of lessons per week, and really trying to apply it. Neither my wife nor myself had ever received formal instruction in logic so this has been educational for us as well. On a day to day basis, we are seeing more and more fallacies enumerated in news articles, speeches, commercials and every day conversation.

I present the quote above, regarding ignorance, because if there is a root cause to our current failures as a free nation, it is because people have cast off thought for feeling, reason for affections and truth for entertainment. This ignorance is the root cause of our rejection of God and toleration of those who push us further away from Him. This blot of darkness that pervades the public mind is the slave trader who will soon sell us to a new master. The best thing that free people can do, right now, is learn how to think and to educate others in the same.

One last thing, to preempt the friendly wounds of criticism that would say "Our mission is to preach the Gospel alone, and none other!", learning how to think orderly thoughts and instructing others in the same is no contradiction, or distraction, from preaching the Gospel of Christ. God is willing to reason with man, and it declared by Scripture that the Greeks seek after wisdom. While the foolishness of the Cross will never be reconciled to human wisdom, it is necessary for the Christian to employ Reason as a colaborer in our great commission, as Paul did at Mar's Hill. But how can a Christian do this if Reason is no friend of his? And how can it be received if the hearer has no capacity to understand truth? It would be like building a bridge where no room is found for footing on either end: possible only by suspending the entire span from the sky itself. Christian brothers, it is every bit in the best interest of filling our mission to both exercise ourselves and instruct others in the mode of proper thought.

1 comment:

Percussivity said...

That sounds like a good book. I've been looking for something like that for the kids to get some problem solving practice outside of straight math. Logic and reason would be a good remedy for the emergies.