But yes, Critical thinking is the final push most need to start looking around for themselves about what's happening in their world. Atheism itself is the result of critical thinking, and a conclusion derived from it. Critical thinking is the straw that will break the believers back, so to speak. And no, that's not a threat.
Scientific and Rational Scrutiny exposes the numerous logical Flaws that produced Theism. From analysis of their doctrines, scriptures and Theological concepts, it appears more and more likely that many of the world's Gods, especially the God of Abraham, were products of Hallucinations. Whether from Temporal Lobe Lesions, dehydration or hallucinogenic compounds (natural gas, ingestion, etc...)
Either way, Gods may have actually seemed real to them, though they were products of their own brains.
By analyzing, conceptualizing, examining, defining, reasoning, listening and questioning
Critical thinking refers to a diverse range of intellectual skills and activities concerned with evaluating information as well as our own thought in a disciplined way. When we're willing and able to examine our own capability as thinkers, acknowledging problems and weaknesses this can help us refine our thought processes so that we learn to think and assess information in a more comprehensive way that increases our ability to identify and reject false ideas and ideologies. Faith teaches us not to question. Faith is not a virtue, faith is the surrender of our logic and reason. Faith is to pretend to know things you don't know, things no one can know. Faith is to believe without proof or evidence. Faith is supported by fear, fear of the unknown, fear of punishment, fear of god, fear of eternal suffering. Critical thinking will free you from irrational fears. A lack of respect for reason or evidence or any number of obstructive character traits will sabotage one's capacity for critical thought. One of the biggest barriers to critical thinking is an unwillingness to see complex issues in anything other than black and white terms. We must want to be better at thinking, to pinpoint and minimise any biasing influence on our thought from culture and upbringing; to seek out and be guided by knowledge and evidence that fits with reality, even if it refutes our cherished beliefs. Indeed, when we think critically beliefs tend not to be cherished but held on the understanding that if they're shown to be unfounded a change of position is the most appropriate response. But leaping to flawed conclusions because you can't tolerate the ambiguity of not knowing is not about truth or curiosity, but comfort. The critical thinker can handle uncertainty preferring to be aware of their own areas of ignorance and they can wait for valid evidence and evidence-based answers. Critical thinking provides each of us with keys for unlocking our own intellectual independence. When we teach and encourage critical thinking we empower individual lives and invest in our collective future.
I think when you analyze anything critically you eventually get to the truth. Some great examples of this, are belief in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. Eventually children realize that it is illogical to accept these exist, and applying critical thinking they make the logical deductions. In the same way if you test the god hypothesis critically, then the obvious conclusion is atheism.
An atheist doesn't necessarily believe that there definitely isn't a god, this is anti-theism. Atheists simply don't believe that there definitely is a god as they have not been given significant evidence. This is based within basic reasoning with the realisation that a god must exist or not exist. To say that a god definitely exists based on reasons of faith (faith= belief without evidence) is purely retarded, as by definition of the word faith, you have no good reason to believe in god.
If we can determine how something occurs in the universe (ie: 4 fundamental forces, age of the universe, flat structure, CMB, expansion, gravity waves, particle physics, dark matter, dark energy, higgs, cern, ligo, hubble, keplar, blah, blah, etc), it takes away the necessity of the supernatural. It is only when theists run into an unknown that god is raised (god of the gaps). This has kept the intellectually inert satisfied for most of human history. The genius of religion is that it requires no thinking. In fact, thought not only can be a sin, but it is dangerous to a theist's understanding of existence. Theists in general intentionally ignore cosmology, physics, biology and self censor their knowledge inputs to keep their world view operational. This occurs on a massive world wide scale. We are born into it and very few will think their way out of the narrow and ignorant theist intellectual prision. Afterall, religion is easy and critical thinking can be very hard when trying to understand how the universe and the laws of physics operate. People take the same path as lightening-that with which has the least resistance. Most very highly intelligent people discover agnosticism, atheism, biology, chemistry, cosmology, mathematics, physics, etc., where as the theists find salvation from being human (incredible!), Jesus or Allah. It is dangerous to pur species and the trajectory of our development. Theism is for the intellectually lazy. Why cant they all realize the universe can be explained without using the supernatural and if thats possible, what is the purpose of god? Knowledge comes through thinking and thinking is the enemy of theism.
I believe that as the sum of human knowledge increases, including free access to information, eventually atheists will make up 99.99% of the population. This will happen because of critical thinking. Religious indoctrination uses faith and feelings to wage an internal war against critical thinking. As information and scientific facts become more accessible, fewer and few individuals will believe. This will eventually result in very small pockets of religious zealots.
I’ve seen this on a small scale in my own family. I have 3 step children, one of my own, so four kids total.
I've raised all of the children as my own for the past 10 years.
On child is agnostic. He is 21 years old. He is not the most critical of thinkers, and goes with the flow. He believes organized religion is "a joke," and does more harm than good. When he was a teenager, he just thought of it as something his grandmother made him do. However, he doesn't disbelieve in gods, and he often doesn't engage in the debate the younger of the step children do.
One child lacks any belief in the existing of gods. She is 15 years old, and I watched her become an abstract thinker at around age 5. She is always a critical thinker and skeptical of anything that can't be proven through scientific reasoning. She is a very thoughtful girl, and gets almost straight A’s.
One child is devoutly Catholic, as is his father and his stepmother. He is 13 years old, and still very much a concrete thinker. He has a wonderful heart, but a (significantly) lower intelligence.
Unfortunately he believes abortion should be a crime, evolution is evil, and public school gives him bad grades because he of his beliefs.
My son is almost 5. He has a critical reasoning process, always asking why and how things work. The debates between the 12 and 15 year old are starting to shape his views. A few weeks ago at his great uncle's funeral, he looked up at my wife and said "Uncle Gene doesn't think anymore, does he? I'm sad." It actually took me a moment for me to understand what he meant.
When the 12 year old was 6, my grandfather, his great grandfather died. The day before his death, he hugged me and said, “You don’t have to be sad, Papa is going to be in heaven soon.”
Both of the children are aware of death, but one understands that “thinking” is life and the other believes that life is a “spirit” that continues after death.
I want my children to be free to believe whatever they want, but sometimes it bothers me that the least intelligent of the bunch has essentially been force indoctrinated into Catholicism. I honestly feel like it is child abuse to retard his critical thinking process in favor of faith. I would never say any of this to my son, but I’m afraid of his ignorance, for him, for his future.
This whole argument is just going to be religions saying that atheists are wrong and atheists are wrong. What are we really accomplishing by debating this? Religious people that actively fight for their religion aren't going to be swayed by some text on a screen and an atheist believes that having a god create the universe is absurd.
Whats the honest point if nobody will sway the other side?
Atheism generally presents several arguments based on logical fallacies.
- presenting that a belief is not true because it cannot be proven (ad ignorantiam fallacy)
- constantly misrepresenting texts from the Bible (contextomy).
- aiming for a "moral high ground" without first establishing an ground for objective morality to do so
I'm not stooping to saying atheists are dumb or anything like that, neither theism nor atheism automatically equates to intellect, just that several arguments that atheists have put forward against religion are fallacious.
Nothing came from nothing, then that nothing exploded, which formed the universe. Then the nothing that exploded formed self-replicating things that eventually turned into dinosaurs, which then turned into self-reflective beings. This is the pinnacle of idiocy and uncritical acceptance of dogma. There is no empirical evidence for any of these atheistic naturalist assumptions.
Consider everything necessary for life on earth. We are the perfect distance from the sun. We have the moon to slow our spinning. We have Jupiter to divert most asteroids away from us. We have abundant surface water. We have large amounts of carbon, the basis of organic materials that form the building blocks of life. Earth is neither a cloud of gas nor a solid rock. Could all of these things just be cosmic coincidences?
Now let's consider the workings of DNA. How is it that a few atoms can somehow direct all life functions? Here's a bigger question. The cell theory states A: All living things are made of cells. B: All cells come from other cells. If every new cell is formed by another cell dividing, how did the first cell form?
I see science as proof of divine planning.
It goes without saying, but a "yes" answer presumes that critical thinking and rational thought will always lead an individual to conclude that there is no God, or gods. The keyword is "always". I do not believe this to be the case. Many theists have arrived at a belief in God after years of contemplation and study. I also realize, and accept, that contemplation and study has also led many to believe in atheism.
People can prove and disprove many things, but I do not believe a person can offer an acceptable scientific proof for, or against, the existence of a deity. This requires an empirical proof of something which can not be proven empirically, something that lies outside the realm of scientific thought. If it is true that a valid proof can not be offered for, or against, God's existence then we can not rely on the inevitability of an atheism as the result of our reasoning and critical thinking.
This question does not address which religion, or denomination of a religion, that we follow. It addresses only the process of contemplating the existence of a deity. This excellent question, by its nature, calls for an opinion; this is the basis for my opinion.
Some of the smartest people I know are theists. Some fundamentalist beliefs take a lack of critical thinking to continue believing in, but for the most part, a theist is every bit as capable of critical thinking as an atheist or agnostic. Atheists who claim otherwise simply have massive superiority complexes.
This is obviously false. What atheists fail to realize is that both sides of the debate, both theism and atheism, require faith. Theists have faith that a supernatural being exists. Atheists have faith that one doesn't. Is that so different? I don't think so- I think argument around the entire topic can be pretty redundant. Where your faith lies is very similar to where an opinion lies; the only 'right' or 'wrong' answer is inside the individual's mind, because we simply don't have the power to know whether a supernatural deity exists or not(despite religious experiences- these are basically irrelevant, however, for they aren't physical evidence- regardless of whether you believe in them or not). People need to learn to deal with that fact.
Well, I am on the fence for this argument but I have to disagree with this considering that being Agnostic is also an answer. However critical thinking may be a short link in many religions you never know. We will ( at least for now ) know if a deity exists or not.
Many of the most critical thinkers I know are theists. Most thinking adults choose to believe in God, not because they don't think about it but because they have done much research and come to the conclusion that they believe.
Scientific theories like the theory of evolution and the Big Bang take just as much of a leap of faith to believe when you really research them
The theists who consistently assert that existence of deities is an undeniable fact are not critical thinkers. However, this does not apply to all theists, nor does it apply to all religions that involve deities. We are all agnostic, whether we identify as theists or not; we do not know for a fact that a god/gods exist, and we likely never will, as a society. Saying that reading and understanding the Bible automatically results in Atheism is a baseless statement. (this is just an example) There are enough theists who have a background and education in scientific inquiry who still BELIEVE in God. What people don't understand is that Atheism and theism are opinions. They are simply belief statements and may never hold any factual power whatsoever. There are agnostic theists and atheists and there are gnostic atheists and theists; regardless of what one might say, it is going to be extremely difficult to prove or disprove the existence of deities.
I am Christian and I think critically. I have chosen this view based on what I personally have experienced. In my critical thinking on the subject of whether or not God exists I have come to the conclusion that all arguments on either side are irrelevant because they are all subjective. This being the case I see that objectively agnosticism would be the most probable outcome of critical thinking. Yet through my subjective personal experience I cannot deny the existence of God. As C.S. Lewis said, "We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God. The world is crowded with him. He walks everywhere incognito."