Popular Misconceptions: Knowing Truth

In my last post I talked about how difficult it was to move from absolute belief not holding any belief and how, despite everything you know being turned on it’s head, that your experience can truly get better.

Today, I’d like to talk about the nature of knowledge. When I was a believer my understanding of knowledge was something entirely different from what it is today. I think it’s important that we rightly define it in order to understand what the word knowledge actually means. I know this probably sounds absolutely nuts to those of you that have never lived in the world of faith – but this was probably the most massive change in my psyche during my deconversion.

When I was a Christian, I knew without even a shadow of a doubt that God was real and that Jesus Christ was his son. This was never (up until the very end) even a matter that had to be questioned. It simply was and I knew it. These things were as true to me as gravity was. This “knowledge” eventually failed me as I slowly began to replace emotional experiences and feelings as my evidence with testable and repeatable empiricism.

I slowly began to recognize that all that I thought I knew had been built solely on a circular belief that a: the Bible was a reliable source of truth and b: my emotional experiences had confirmed what the Bible told me was true.  When my understanding became such that I realized that my emotional experiences were unreliable the word knowledge began to change as well.

Knowledge has become the thing I thirst for most, the place where quantifiable truths meet belief. This thirst for knowledge drives further discovery and understanding when before it simply solidified my assumed positions.  Knowledge is now something I’m glad to challenge and improve upon rather than something unquestionable and divinely inspired.


For you Ex-Christians (or ex-believers of some other flavor) – do you remember the point when the word Knowledge lost it’s previous definition?




  • Brother Jeff

    Hey Matt, there was a pretty dramatic shift for me too from getting my "knowledge" from the Bible and from Christian apologists to getting REAL knowledge from legitimate, reliable sources.

  • Mike aka MonolithTMA

    This is pretty much where I am now: http://anzaholyman.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/silen

    It's so nice to not have it all figured out. 😉

  • atimetorend

    "…do you remember the point when the word Knowledge lost it’s previous definition?"

    Very interesting, though that was not the process for me, I don't think. I never could accept the circular logic of apologetics, and so avoided them like the plague — reading them ratcheted up the cognitive dissonance in my mind to unbearable levels. So for me everything broke loose all at once as soon as I honestly asked the question, "Is the bible true?" I think I already had the answer in hand, just had it buried pretty deeply for quite a while.

  • Mark Cowart

    I have a fundamental problem with your graphic model.

  • Mark Cowart

    a: the Bible was a reliable source of truth – Relevant to Christianity but not to design or the existence of a god. I'm willing to assume Christianity is all wrong. If so, why let Christian teachings kill god or libel "it's" character? Then Christianity would be guilty of defamation and should not claim true knowledge of god. Anti-Christian beliefs should never kill other possibilities.

    b: my emotional experiences had confirmed what the Bible told me was true. – Tail wagging the dog. This is why I have a problem with your graphics for this post. Truth and Knowledge converge to form beliefs. You have it all wrong.

    • I don't think you understand the graphic model properly – it's stating that Knowledge is defined as the things that you believe that are true.

      Belief + Truth = Knowledge

      Belief – Truth = Belief

      Truth – Belief = Ignorance

  • Mark Cowart

    I understand it. I just think you are wrong. The two big circles must be Truth and Knowledge with Beliefs falling in the middle and the size of truth fixed at 1.
    1) It should be : truth and knowledge = belief otherwise your beliefs are flawed from the start. The correct formula would be [Truth X Knowledge = Belief]
    2) Belief – Truth = Belief can not be correct because Truth is always = 1 and never 0, Belief minus it's self would = zero or [ -T=0 ].
    3) Ignorance is not a variable but a lack of something just like cold does not exist or dark.
    4) the formulas should be T(K)=B, T is a constant it can not fluctuate ever and always =1,
    as K increases so does B