Common Knowledge

Truth is a matter, not of what we believe or feel; of what can be proven without falsehood being allowed to stand on it’s slate. This applies to religion and, as will become apparent, Christmas Quizzes. For example some will claim the bible as truth for being god’s word. Without considering that there is no proof supporting that latter claim as a foundation for the former, for faith alone does not make a text divine. Nor devout assertion make a piece of text sacred. That is left to the imagination of scribblers and critics.

We may yet hope to agree on what the text says. Though there are arguments over the rendering of passages we may at least consult the text to what it says. Rather than rely on songs or common knowledge.

Which brings me to the Christmas Quiz at work, attended by Jews, Muslims, Christians and an infidel. The question was how did the animals go into Noah’s Ark?

For the song it is 2 by 2. Hurrah! Hurrah! I claimed that was half true. For Genesis 7 has god instructing Noah on entering the ark with his family:

2take with you seven pairs of each kind of ritually clean animal, but only one pair of each unclean animal.3Take also seven pairs of each kind of bird. Do this so that every kind of animal and bird will be kept alive to reproduce again on earth.

I was the only one to point this out. The non believer sticking to biblical text. As we had done on the question of how many ghosts visited Mr Scrooge – 4 when you count Jacob Marley warning him of the other three.

Religious friends tell me that atheists assume that they should be fundementalists with regards their faith. Perhaps one reason why people claim faith is that they do not grapple with fundementals. For if you think animals went in two by two, then examining the tennents of your faith is not the rock upon which you base it.

Rather common knowledge suggests that they so marched. Common knowledge should not be confused with a sense of things as they are. The latter allows us to find out about things by inquiry and empirical objectivity. The former allows what is held by tradition or acclaim, by appeal to populaism to be true.

Let us not limit ourselves to common knowledge when there are better fruits to pluck and feast upon. No matter who tells you not too.

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