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Samaritans and Bias


There once was a woman drawing water from a well. She met a man there she did not expect to see, much less converse with. He was silly and asked silly questions. After a while it became clear he was actually pretty wise, and possibly a man of stature in the way his silly words all started to make sense in a crafty way. So she asked a question all the intellectuals would talk about and fight over for hours in an effort to convert their hearers to their point of view. She assumed this would at least keep him busy trying to win her over while she went about her business as usual. He dismissed her question saying “You’re wrong. But it doesn’t matter, a better time is coming where the question you asked is irrelevant.” She then replied.
“yes, I know this great man is coming, and he will make it all clear to us.”
“I am he of whom you speak.”
She was astonished. She did not ever expect to meet this great man, much less have a personal chat with him! After continuing their conversation she left back to her village to tell all the people she could that He had come! Soon the villagers came to him, and they all continued the conversation for two days! At the end of it all the villagers said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because what you have said; now we have heard for ourselves.”
(John 4, paraphrased heavily).

I watched a video recently that said “Faith in a religious context carries the intrinsic notion of yielding to human authority.” This is, in a sense true of Christianity, and most religions, because the holy books were penned by humans admittedly not divine (I cannot say for all religion, because I am not familiar with all of them).  The statement then made is: “hearsay is an absolutely unworkable basis for determining reality.”

There are a few problems with this thinking. First off, it is fueled by a supernaturalist bias, when this is explored the other problems are exposed as well.
This line of thinking assumes that one cannot experience God personally. If the option of personal experience of God were available, as it is within the teachings of Christianity, then it could be verified to each person individually and independent of testimonial “hearsay”. So, in order to make the claim “Faith in a religious context carries the intrinsic notion of yielding to human authority” one must already have decided that God does not exist. It is a conclusion based not on evidence, but bias.
A funny question then pops up that exposes the bias further. Why was the qualifier “in a religious context” needed to make the claim? look at the statement without the qualifier: “Faith caries the intrinsic notion of yielding to human authority.” What about historical matters? I believe that certain events in history happened, and it based only on “hearsay”. I don’t reject them or even doubt them for that reason. The factual happening of events is based on the quality of the hearsay, not another determiner of reality. It’s easier to make such a statement when you limit it to matters of religion, which only adds the element of supernature.
Another question comes to mind. If “hearsay is an absolutely unworkable basis for determining reality”, then what is a workable basis for determining the existence or nonexistence of the supernatural and for that matter, all historical accounts?
It is not a bad thought, only an overstatement. It should have been said “hearsay can be an unreliable source for determining reality.” Absolutely unworkable? That’s a bit too far. I would even concede to the statement, “hearsay without personal experience of the audiences as an individual is an unworkable basis for determining reality.”
A wise man once said something to the effect of “The heart cannot accept what the mind rejects”. Perhaps the mind does not need to accept in order to not reject it. If the villagers of John 4 had the bias that the Messiah wasn’t coming, if they not only had non-belief, but already rejected it in their minds, it would not have mattered what the woman said, they wouldn’t have gone to check it out, and they wouldn’t have had personal relationship with Jesus.

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