Thursday, February 17, 2011

Why are we respecting belief at the expense of truth?

The other day I was sitting in the lunch room at my job, when another employee walks in and asks me about the book I'm reading. The book happens to be "A History of God" by Karen Armstrong. This sparks a discussion about the history of how the bible came to be, specifically the writers of the 5 books of Moses and the Gospels. Turns out that my co-worker claims to be an agnostic, never got to explain the problem with that to him, but anyway as we are having the conversation, he stops it to try to keep it quite. His reasoning is that someone with deep beliefs in the bible might hear it and get offended. Now, we don't know whether this was because he actually believed truth was less important then this persons beliefs or he just didn't want to deal with any situation that arises at work. That does not really matter, this brings us to the problem either way this conversation represents the problem. It was felt necessary to hide the truth to protect the believer. It was felt this was the right thing to do by the society we live in, so that he had to make these comments. Why?

Why should we protect belief from the truth. Shouldn't we protect the truth from wrong beliefs, not the other way around. If the 5 books of Moses are clearly written by 4 different authors: J, E,P, and D, why shouldn't I be able to say so at my job. I hardly think that, at my job, there would be a problem with me saying that George Washington was the first president. Even if there was a large contingency of people who had a deep felt belief that it was Michael Jackson. We would still respect the truth being said that it was George Washington. This makes no sense to me.

So, you may ask why is truth more important then belief? Well that is simple, the more mankind has found out about the truth the better our society has become. Look at our advancements in health and medicine when we stopped respecting the idea that most diseases were demon possessions, like good ole Yeshua O Nazarene would have one believe. We have advanced to the point where many diseases that meant certain death are curable in days. That is just one of many examples of how finding the truth has helped society.

Its time we turn the zeitgeist on this whole idea of respect beliefs in spite of the truth. The person whose beliefs are not grounded with facts should be the one that doesn't feel as comfortable saying them, not the other way around. I'm not talking banning of religious beliefs, I'm just saying our societies attitude toward truth vs belief(faith) needs to change. Lets keep the truth, not the faith.

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