Knowledge (quotes)

“Nothing is more dangerous than the combination of ignorance and enthusiasm.”

“The truest way to be deceived is to think oneself more knowing than others.”
— François de la Rochefoucauld

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
― Socrates

“Education is the progressive realization of our ignorance.”
— Albert Einstein

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
― Albert Einstein

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
― Daniel J. Boorstin

“What we don’t understand we can make mean anything.”
— Chuck Palahniuk

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”
― Theodore Roosevelt

Science informs theology

This is counter-intuitive. Suppressive avoidance is what the mind knows how to do. A highly religious young man struggling with pornography viewing is likely to criticize himself horribly, and then try to eliminate the urge and suppress all thoughts about it. It almost looks as though that is the moral thing to do, but instead this research suggests that it is a route toward more struggle, more suffering, and ironically toward more obsessive viewing.

It has to be said: this is is also bad theology. Even Christ was tempted, after all. Simply having a thought or feeling a temptation is not yet sinful in major religious philosophies. Sins require an act of the will. A normal problem-solving mode of mind can’t quite get that distinction.

There are ways of thinking that are scientifically known to be harmful, and certain strains of religious thought are particularly rife with them. Unfortunately, naive people tend to revere religious figures whose only real talent is in churning out grandiose words / ideas that sound superficially pious, but are not actually the products of true wisdom.

1 Thessalonians 5:21
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
21 but test everything; hold fast to what is good;


Unnecessary assumptions can go very wrong, especially when we have relied on them for too long

Inerrantists (i.e. the kind of people who thrive on religious dogma) have built up an entire religious / epistemological system on the assumption that there is a flawless set of sacred texts from which they can derive immutable truths. It gives them an artificial sense of certainty / security, and is set up so that if that assumption gives way, their entire world view (i.e. belief system) is destroyed.

They also enjoy singing “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the bible tells me so.”

An entire life of ignorant bliss gained by such forms of “trusting and obeying” Jesus is virtually impossible to argue against, largely thanks to our dear friend “cognitive dissonance”.

Universal freedom requires common understanding

Freedom is not some inexhaustible resource that can be simply granted to everyone, without bias. If people are at cross purposes, their “freedoms” will always intrude on each other’s territory, so that only one can be allowed to exist at any given moment. Those who preach freedom but in reality merely want to assert their own freedom at the expense of others’, are just as bigoted as the people who are presently depriving them of their freedom.

If we want freedom for all, we need everyone to share a common purpose, so that nobody’s “freedom” will intrude on another’s freedom. For everyone to share a common purpose, there needs to be a common understanding. In order to arrive at a common understanding, people need to have an open mind to allow their views to change and evolve.

Sure, we can always “agree to disagree”, but when push comes to shove, and a decision needs to be made that can only satisfy the purposes of one party, “tolerance” becomes utterly meaningless when neither party is willing to allow their views/purposes on the relevant issue to converge.