Ep 214: How can we think better?
Do we think enough? What is the purpose of thinking? For some, thinking is overrated, but we all stand to gain a lot if we can think better. In this 'thought provoking' conversation we learn why thinking is important and how we can do it better.
Our guest: Dr. Mark Stephens. Mark is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Public Christianity. Prior to this Mark was lecturer at Excelsia College, teaching performing artists how to use their creativity to help audiences think deeply. And he’s just released a book ‘The end of thinking?’
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Bigger questions asked in the conversation
So how was it trying to get performing artists to help their audiences to think? That sounds difficult?
Can the performing arts be that provocative?
Now to kick off Bigger Questions we like to ask some smaller questions - just to get us thinking. Today we’re asking Dr. Mark Stephens about how we can think better. So Mark for our smaller questions, I’m going to ask you about thinking and Twitter.
Thinking in our culture
So this blog piece highlighted 22 people they constituted as brilliant thinkers - unfortunately they didn’t include you on the list. But what do you think makes a great or brilliant thinker?
Do you think we do enough thinking in our culture today?
The end of thinking?
Why did you entitle your book, ‘the end of thinking?’ - do you think we’re not very good at it in our world today? Or that thinking is coming to an end?
But why should we think? Why should we even want to think better?
Is atheism more natural for thinkers?
You work for the Centre for Public Christianity, so isn’t thinking contrary to the Christian message. American atheist author Ernest Hemingway once said, “All thinking men are atheists” you can buy a t-shirt on Amazon which has ‘Jesus saves you from thinking’ printed on the front. So doesn’t the Christian message discourage thinking and instead you just resort to trusting Jesus?
So is atheism a more natural path to take for the thinker?
The Bible’s reflection
Now Mark, there is a verse in the Bible, from the book of Romans in the New Testament, which speaks a bit about the manner of thinking, from Romans 12:3:
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
How does this help us think better?
Why should we think of ourselves with sober judgement?
Character of the thinker?
You’ve suggested particular characteristics of humility, hospitality and love to help us think better - why those virtues in particular? How will they help us think better?
The Big Question
So Mark, how can we think better?