How do we know what we think we know?

In general, we know something because we believe we have good reason to think it is true. The problem with knowing comes from those words “reason” and “belief”. One can believe something in the absence of any, or even convincing evidence, because someone says it is so. All religions operate on this concept. Evidence comes from a book, or books of ancient writings which are not subject to review, revision or debate. It is interesting, and rather frightening, that religion has managed to acquire a position of being above question. One is supposed to ‘respect’ another person’s religious views and not question or engage in any kind of serious debate about them. That’s a pretty solid position to be in when your beliefs have little to no connection with reality and the actual world we live in. But it is not acceptable when those view have a direct impact on the lives of people. Why would one want to have the Baptist, or Islamic, dictates of what is right and wrong inform medical research, or educational programs? Many people do, and this is very troublesome, if not downright dangerous.

Regardless of whether religion deems itself beyond criticism, the fact remains that we do know some things to be certain, and those are always supported by evidence and reason and open to debate and revision, where reason and evidence call for that. It used to be believed as fact that the sun orbited around the earth. In the sixteenth century this was proposed and then shown to be wrong. If you think everyone now accepts that the earth orbits the sun, you are wrong. One recent survey revealed that about 25% of Americans believe otherwise. And, probably half of Americans today believe the world was created less than ten thousand years ago. Evidence does not always trump people’s beliefs, especially those rooted in ‘faith’, which is appeal is beliefs held without recourse to facts or evidence.

The key to my story in The Q Fragments is based on the discovery of solid evidence that the man who is believed to be the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth of the New Testament Christian Bible, was, in fact, a normal, mortal man whose memory was perverted into something else for the benefit of some who were struggling to control the movement and message he left behind as a teacher and faith healer. That evidence, and how it came about in such a way as to be changed by later followers is the subject and plot of the story. It is, of course, fiction, but the events, people and attitudes are based on solid research from contemporary scholars. Perhaps I should include a brief bibliography.

I think I’ll do that on this site, along with one or two excerpts from the book with some commentary on how they derive from research into the Christian story and relevance to the plot of The Q Fragments.

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