Conjecture 12: On belief and disbelief

Doctrine 1: Facts. Loose facts have no meaning

Facts struggle to survive and barely ever succeed; facts without meaning don’t stand any chance to survive at all.

Question: what are the loose facts that people usually associate your company with?

Let’s first take a look at the case when the meaning grows and grows until the meaning is much bigger than the handful of facts it is based on. We assume there has ever lived a man by the name of Jezus Christ. A man who was or was not a Jew. We also take for granted that this man spoke to the people and that these words were viewed by the Romans as a call for rioting. And furthermore that this man was crucified.

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If these are facts, and let’s face it, theologians and other academics dispute this since centuries, these are also the only bare facts we have at our disposal. We have to remember that at the time, some 2000 years ago, many more people got crucified, stoned, drowned, hanged or were subject to any other form of capital punishment or the death penalty. Among whom probably many because the authorities considered them dangerous to the state. Why the remembrance of Jezus Christ survived the centuries is mainly because there was (much) meaning added to his life and death. Without any such meaning it would have been your normal next crucification that, back then as in our days, wouldn’t have found its way into our collective memory. Any such experience, on the basis of relatively little facts, is called ‘belief’ for a reason. Belief doesn’t need many facts and does need much collectively shared meaning. It appears to be a fact that Jezus existed. For the construction of meaning that is not even very relevant. People tend to think in terms of meaning, whether they rely on The Good Book or not. Loose facts don’t exist or don’t have any meaning. The only thing that really counts is what people believe.

Loose or bare facts are meaningless. If, all these centuries ago, there would have been a ‘Jeruzalem Post’, there would probably have been a mention on page 6, reading roughly as follows: “Today crucified on Golgotha: 12 murderers, 5 thieves and 13 state dangerous individuals”. Facts that at best did have any relevance and meaning back then, but surely not twenty centuries later. Facts struggle to survive and barely ever succeed; facts without meaning don’t stand any chance to survive at all. We do need them, as part of our empirical world, but from then on, we have to add meaning to them. If not, they disappear out of sight, just as the pirates in the Battle of Newport in 1600.

Next time: Facts need added meaning

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