Is Doubt The Key To Knowledge?

1446 words - 6 pages

Doubt is the middle ground between blind acceptance and outright refusal to believe. Doubt lends itself to a certain uncomfortable feeling of questioning but is a necessary tool to reach perceived truth and knowledge. Without doubt, one would believe anything he or she is told; it is a natural filter for the information thrust upon us. Doubt is in some ways the opposite of faith. Faith insinuates an acceptance so powerful that one does not need evidence to back up one’s claim. The lack of evidence does not bother the faithful, but it will pester the doubter like an insatiable itch. But the specter of doubt looms over the doubter, demanding that questions be asked of whatever “fact” has been presented. The doubter will use the four ways of knowing—emotion, reason, language, and sense perception—to answer the questions and become a knower. Doubt is especially necessary in two areas of knowledge: history and human sciences. When studying history, one must doubt the stories presented as facts and consider possible distortions created by biases or the passage of time. Without doubt, the field of human science would never advance past the current understanding, leaving human kind stuck in an age of primitive treatment and technology.
The accuracy of history is weakened by time, perception, and memory. The Bible, for example, is particularly prone to such weaknesses. Millions of people accept it as fact despite its many fallacies. The events in the Bible are considered to be part of history. Yet such events were written about many years after they actually occurred. For example, Jesus is thought to have died in 33 A.D. This date is considered likely as his death must have occurred before Pontius Pilate left his position in 36 A.D. Yet the four Gospels were not in circulation until 160 A.D and not considered to be authorities until 180 A.D. (Pentecost). These dates are both more than one hundred years after the death of Jesus. The Gospel of Luke claims that the Bible is “an account of the things accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word” (The Ryrie Study Bible, Luke 1:1-2). According to this quote, the Church believes the Bible’s accounts to be true because they were written by eyewitnesses. Yet scholars note that the Gospels were written during the second century, after the death of the disciples and original followers of Jesus (Baird 672). Further analysis of the language used in the Gospels proves that they could not have been written during Jesus’ time. One example is Pilate's title, Prefect. The title Prefect was abolished years after Pilate left office. Noted biblical scholar Ann Wroe says that the Gospels made the error of referring to Pilate as a Procurator, the new title for the position, instead of as a Prefect. At the time of the writing, the distinction between the two titles had most likely disappeared. Yet the Gospels refer to Pilate as a Procurator, not a Prefect. Had they...

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