Mahatma Gandhi said: “In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place.” Another way of saying it: just because the majority think a certain way doesn’t make it right. Slavery, the subjugation of women, and the demand to adhere to some theological system of thought – just for starters – have all been embraced by a majority. And they have all been opposed by people whose consciences demanded otherwise.
The negativism’s go on and on. Racism. Sexism. Classism. Anti-Semitism. Fanaticism. Dogmatism. It’s why John Lennon sang, "This-ism, that-ism, ism ism ism / All we are saying is give peace a chance." We all have them – isms – in one way or another, to one degree or another. The critical element is a continuing examination of one’s thinking with an openness to the possibility of change. One of the most difficult things to think is: I just might be wrong.
Some folks posit that the last thing Jesus said on the cross was, “but we’ve always done it that way.” This has often been the battle cry of those whose fallacious way of thinking (often leading to horrendous suffering for others) has been based on what they have been taught, without ever putting their presuppositions under the microscope of critical thinking.
On the masthead of a magazine to which I have subscribed for four decades are the words: Thinking Critically : Living Faithfully. The order is vastly important, for it is quite difficult to live faithfully (ethically, morally) without thinking critically FIRST. More on this in my next post.