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The term critical thinking refers to the ability of an individual to think rationally and clearly. It involves the capacity of a person engaging in both independent and reflective thinking. Such an individual is able to recognize the logical association that links ideas, critically evaluate, identify and construct their own arguments, point out common errors and variations in reasoning, systematically solve issues, evaluate the significance and relevance of ideas and lastly reveal the validation of an individual’s values. It is important note that accumulating information does not necessarily mean one is a critical thinker. A critical thinker is one who can presume consequences from his knowledge and can use the knowledge to solve problems and can additionally seek more information to keep on being knowledgeable. A fallacy is considered to be a mistake in reasoning mainly brought by false impression or a presumption. Some of the fallacies are intended to appeal to emotions but are not rhetorically intended. A rhetoric device attempts to make others believe a point of view while an argument’s main agenda is to prove a given point. An essential part of critical thinking is thus the ability to recognize the rhetoric strength of language and avoiding its manipulation.
The main strength of the article ‘’How can school prayer possibly hurt?’’ is based on the argument that it could improve the morals of the school children. The crusade posed by House speaker Newt Gingrich and the others propose that the voluntary prayers would not trample people’s rights. Their main concern is the overall moral values of the children that are improved by a strong religious background particularly one based on prayer and bible study. They thus support the ‘’protection’’ of the so called voluntary school prayer.
One can draw weaknesses from this article, where the House speaker Newt Gingrich and the others support voluntary prayer. The main weakness is based on the fact that the supporters of the voluntary prayers do not consider the harms of the voluntary prayers to the children. They base their arguments of the benefits of voluntary prayers with the assumption that no harm would be experienced on the account of giving the prayers through the public address and bible instruction on every grade.
They do not consider the fact that other children can have different religious backgrounds and different beliefs such as Lisa Herdahl’s six children who attend Pentecostals and their mother want them to receive their religious instructions from their church. The harm caused by this argument includes the nicknaming of children who do not attend the prayers. Herdahl’s 7 year old is named the ‘’football head’’ while her 11 year old is named a ‘’devil worshiper’’ after the teacher remarked that the boy could leave the class during the bible study since he did not believe in God. The fallacy in this proposal is seen through the fact that, the conclusion is barely an assumption. The premise lies on the grounds that voluntary prayers would promote morality in children, but the conclusion is that they would do no harm. On the contrary, the voluntary prayers bring much harm to several children with different religious beliefs.
The main strength portrayed by the article ‘’we need more prayer’’ by Armstrong Williams is the fact that it appreciates the diverse cultural division the American society. This is very essential since the people’s beliefs are diverse and thus their opinions and perspectives on different issues might be different. School prayers thus according to the furor stirred up by Newt Gingrich should be renewed. This is in addition to the fact that, American is tolerant to other religious views although it is based on a Christian foundation.
The article ‘’we need more prayer’’ has its own weaknesses also. The main weakness is the fact that those who supported the view did not foresee the tyranny of the minority who pushed for the judiciary to reinterpret the Constitution. Some of the people argue that school prayers are unconstitutional vividly shows the ignorance of the history of America which was formed on religious backgrounds.
The essay that is based on soundness of reasoning is the essay ‘’we need more prayer’’ by Armstrong Williams. It does not ignore the negative impacts of the introduction of voluntary prayers in schools for children. This essay considers the fact that although prayers are greatly needed and should be imposed in schools, their adverse effects should be put into consideration. It points out that it can open up avenues for the expressions of many viewpoints and worse it is a potential threat for emotionally distressing non-religious children. This essay also states that despite the fact that America was once unashamedly Christian, it should not be intolerant to other religious expressions. It appreciates the court for enabling the minority to air their views and ruling at certain instances in their favor and for making the few adjustments to suit the minority. Additionally this essay mentions of the ironic situation that is experienced when the American children are protected from the ravages of prayer and yet the same public schools are clearing houses for condoms where they are taught explicit sex. In a final appeal, this essay points out that the main issue that needs a closer look is the roe of religion in the society rather than aiming the focus on the school prayers only.