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Credulitas: Belief Must Precede All Instruction

A really thoughtful post from The Circe Institute. From the article:

In such moments of disbelief, students can learn nothing. And when I encounter their disbelief, I do my best to disabuse them of it, but many times it is to no great avail, for belief, says C. S. Lewis, must precede all instruction. In The Discarded Image, Lewis makes this point almost in passing. But it is idea of massive consequence, and one that is not merely Christian: “By telling us to believe our forebears,” writes Lewis, “Plato is reminding us that credulitas must precede all instruction”

This is a thought that I have come to from other sources. Stratford Caldecott alludes to it in Beauty in the Word when he talks about intelligent inquiry. If we don’t go into the process of learning with belief then what is the point? Knowledge gained but not believed is quickly discarded as irrelevant. It may linger long enough to be regurgitated on an exam, it may even be dredged up years later as bit of trivia one is surprised to have retained, but it won’t have any force to it. It certainly isn’t going to make a change in the life of the learner. I think it is a good lesson to remember as we teach our children. I want my children to be able to evaluate, to be able to separate truth from untruth, but I don’t want them to become cynical, suspecting, even expecting, that everything they encounter is counterfeit. Skepticism run-amok ultimately kills faith, it shuts us down to the possibility of God moving. And that is a dangerous mindset.

You can read the rest of the article here.

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