It's an inspiring story: Christopher Columbus -- a man of reason, adventure, and discovery -- standing before the religious Council of Salamanca, presenting his plan to find a new trade route to India and prove his theory that the Earth is spherical; all the while maintaining an expression of calm courage, as the religious leaders assailed him with citations from the Bible attempting to prove his theory is false.
If you grew up in America, then you were likely taught this story in school. It has become a part of the very DNA of Western thinking...
The survivors and family members of those slain in the Charleston shooting astonished the nation last week, when they spoke to the murderer, “You hurt
me…but God forgive you, and I forgive you.” “I forgive you and my
family forgive you…Repent, and give your life to Christ.” “Every fiber
in my body hurts…May God have mercy on you.”
Why would someone choose to forgive such horrific evil? And how could they find the strength to do so?
As a high school teacher with 6 years in the classroom, I have observed at least four common mindsets that prevent people from learning and growing. In Part 1 of this series, I discussed the mindset that education is simply about the acquisition of information, and should never challenge our assumptions or beliefs in certain areas. In this post, I will discuss the second mindset that can sabotage our education -- the mindset of partisanship and suspicion. I will also offer some suggestions for how to change your thinking and grow.
I am entering my 7th year as a high school teacher. By now, I have observed consistent patterns as to which students learn and grow the most, and which don't. This has led me to form opinions about the most common obstacles to getting a true education. These obstacles don't only apply to students, however. They are mindsets that keep many people from learning. Sadly, these mindsets are fairly widespread, often invisible, and in some cases defended. Whatever your age, job, level of education, or beliefs, having one of these mindsets will effectively sabotage your own ability to grow, learn, and mature.
In each post of this series I will describe one of four mindsets and explain why it's harmful. Then I will offer some suggestions for how to change and grow.
Over at NPR's Cosmos & Culture blog, Marcelo Gleiser has a brief article titled, "What the 'God of the Gaps' Teaches Us About Science." In it, he uses Newton as a historical example of why we shouldn't make God a placeholder for gaps in our scientific knowledge (Newton once said that the Solar System couldn't have arisen naturally and must have been designed). Gleiser points out that those gaps often get filled in with new scientific discoveries, pushing God further and further out of the picture. Thus, Gleiser argues, we shouldn't use this "old-fashioned and doomed theological approach." I agree with him, but for very different reasons.