On Knowledge & Faith

There are many things that can be known. There are also many things that can remain unknown. Knowing these two things is just that. All knowledge is more than just what is known, to know also includes to believe that certain knowledge is true or false. In this way knowledge and the act of faith are directly connected.

The relation between knowledge and the act of faith is rooted in the origins of religion, philosophy and the (modern) natural sciences. In the 21st century many things are taken for granted because it is easy and convenient to take things for granted. Besides it is somewhat acceptable to overlook seemingly unimportant details when “things just work”.

This topic is close to heart for me as I grew up in a religious family in a secular and modern environment. After reading and hearing a lot about my religion back then I also looked into other systems of thought and other religions. I came to appreciate philosophy which has laid the foundations for the natural sciences in ancient times.

One thing that always continued to fascinate me was how the both religion and philosophy from ancient times were often part of the same culture and sometimes even systems of thought and belief. This occurred in Greek, Egyptian and other ancient civilisations. The modern world of today owes a lot to the written heritage of the ancient civilisations and the curiosity of Arab scholars and translators.

Every bit of information, whatever it may be is only as valid as you believe it is. The individual person decides to accept or reject the given bit of information for various reasons. Usually only when something is common knowledge on the  basis of being frequently observed and described something becomes undeniable by default. In the natural sciences observations and descriptions have laid the basis for empiricism and the controlled experiment.

Through the years I have become quite critical. Personally I cannot accept the attitude of people who insist on completely denying one or the other. Think of religious versus atheist people. No experiment or claim I have read has convinced me of anything. Sometimes knowing that you do not know or understand something is enough. The act of faith is not always necessary.

In the end knowledge and faith add to what makes a person feel happy and important. What and how are personal…

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