Recently I persuaded my kids that I need to take them through a philosophy 101 class for teenagers. I suspect they agreed more out of curiosity than conviction.
Our first session was on how we process information and make meaning. They were surprisingly so attentive throughout my half an hour presentation.
So after my presentation my son comments, “Dad this means if people are not taught how thinking works they will never be able to think properly! So why is this stuff not taught at school or church?”
I had to be frank with my son. I told them that school is designed to prepare young people for employment rather than being great thinkers. The 21st Century is more interested in raising doctrinal adherents, than thinkers. So, learning to think is for our own account.
Further, I tell them Jesus gave the commission to make disciples of all peoples. A disciple is a student. A student invests their time in studying, evaluating, critiquing and adding value to the body of knowledge.
Jesus’ invitation to all people was to study what He modeled and contrast that to how the world works. The 21st Century Church, on the other hand, wants to give people answers to life in the form of a neat set of doctrines. Consequently, people think that being a Christian is subscribing to a suite of doctrines that are purported to be answers to life. When life throws them a set of challenges that do not square up these doctrines, all a Christian can do is pretend these realities do not exist, ascribe their alternative meaning to these realities or get God to change them.
I bring them back to the model I shared on how we process information. If an external reality does not conform to our internal beliefs, we either generalise, distort or even delete the data of these realities.
I tell them that increasingly I am persuaded that Jesus’ invitation was to a journey of study and inquiry and critique, not a subscription to a neat set of doctrines as answers to our convoluted life.