All human beings believe in something. If they do not believe in any superior power such as God, for example, they have certainly believed in another human, or in themselves. Therefore, people are more likely to believe in their knowledge than to deny it. Knowledge is the verified information in which a person believes after extensive research. Doubt on the other hand is a state in which a person questions their knowledge, and can either stay in this state of doubt by continuously questioning their belief, or use doubt as an intermediate step to reach knowledge. By using religion and human sciences as Areas Of Knowledge, and faith and reason as Ways Of Knowing, I will show how with high knowledge doubt increases, resulting in less confidence. I will also show how one can have knowledge with no increase of doubt and have confidence with less knowledge.
Art is capable of appealing to our emotions, imagination, and intuition. Morality has a close relationship to these ways of knowing. In some circumstances, we come across pieces of art that have a deep ethical message hence make us question our ethics. Pieces of art can create strong emotions in the mind and heart of the viewers of the art hence may end up influencing their reasoning (Gaut 15). For instance, art that is concerned with religion may create a sense of fear in us that the days of reckoning are almost here which may push some of us towards salvation. Art that portrays a tense political environment may push some of us to make an effort to preach peace among our peers because the art touches on our hearts and makes us believe that something nasty would happen if we do not take corrective measures. Protest art may influence the people in positions of leadership to involve the public in decision making or stop mistreatment of certain groups of people within the country. Therefore, art makes us believe that it is possible to change our ethics and morals in society.
Some forms of art are made for the purpose of pushing a religious agenda. It is a belief among many people in different religions that art brings God closer to us (Vogt 145). This is why mosques are structured in a manner which suggests that art played a major role in their construction. Churches especially Catholic churches contain special art depicting Jesus and his mother Mary. These forms of art evoke strong emotions within believers by creating an almost real image in the mind of the believer. There are also images of heaven and hell which taps into the spirits of believers (Woods 103). Images of heaven give the worshipper a sense of connection to a beautiful place that they would wish to be in. It encourages them to lead their lives in the way that the religion prescribes. Some churches have colored windows which create a feeling of spiritualism and connection to God. This is part of the religious architecture that places of worship have adopted to bring their congregation closer to god. Since art brings people closer to God, it makes it easier for a person to believe than deny the existence of God.
Art gets its strength from the imagination that human beings possess. Additionally, the ability we possess to come up with ideas which are derived from art give us a comprehension of how human beings are conditioned. Someone may also argue that human imagination only limits art (Scruton 16). However, imagination can be a powerful source of knowledge. Arts can be blended with natural sciences through reason and imagination. Perhaps, this will make art more believable.
Christianity has always been a debatable area. Its beliefs have been questioned multiple times by many experts and people. Even in the French Revolution, politicians criticized the beliefs of Christianity and decided to shut down more than 100 churches and leaving many priests displaced. In the modern times, science has made significant progress and continually evolved (Eyi-mensah & Zhong 69). Many loyalists were convinced by the new scientific theories that doubted the existence of God and gave a rational explanation to many unexplained facts such as the creation of the world. Therefore, although a majority of humans believe in the existence of God, why would one change their religion and become atheist? It is common for scientists and believers to have contrasting opinions when it comes to debates about religion such as the doubting the existence of God (Harrison 87). However, scientists explain phenomena through logic while believers they infiltrate everything through the lens of faith and sense perception. For instance, My aunt is a physics teacher at a university and she has always been a Christian. However, after an extensive research she conducted that touched upon religious topics and mainly the existence of God, she became an atheist. She started doubting her faith and the things she used to believe in, thus becoming convinced by the scientific theories that gave a more rational view of all the phenomena the church viewed as miracles. My aunt believed that through her research, science, and logic she got out from blindness. Consequently, the reason was against faith. When one doubts religion, hence tries to explain religious phenomena in a logical and scientific way, a problem arises because, in religion, faith and reason cannot coexist. Religion is not about reason, it is about faith. Therefore, it is easier to believe in religion if we stop depending on scientific theories.
Nevertheless, Christianity has numerous supporters that would never doubt or betray their faith. All these supporters have confidence in their faith. Despite all the existing theories about the creation of the world and other scientific claims and knowledge, doubt does not increase. The faith they have is so strong that does not change their mind. Even in the Holy Bible it says blessed are those who did not see and believed. In Christianity, there is no doubt. Loyalists must believe in God and have trust in him because he is the one who has the knowledge. Reason has no place in Christianity because if someone tries to interpret what is said in the Bible in a reasonable way, he/she wont succeed. People must trust what is being said and believe in miracles. Therefore, knowledge does not affect doubt. Only religion proposes a complete solution to the human problem. Christianity above all has given a clear-cut answer to the demands of the human soul (Blackford 15). Despite being a renowned medical professional because of his inventions, he still believed in God. for his work on vascular suturing and the transplantation of blood-vessels and organs. Carrel single-handedly created the method for transplanting organs from one human body to the other. He is the founder of modern transplantations (Blackford 110).This man although he was a globally renowned scientist, he ended up being from agnostic into believing in the Christian God despite all the valid scientific theories he had encountered. In this case, a mix of faith and reason led this person into believing that God exists, after witnessing a miracle.
Most people when they learn something they do not search it further. With knowledge, doubt does not increase. Usually, these people have increased confidence because they are not aware of what is more for them to learn. This point is illustrated again with the Dunning-Kruger theory in which, most people have been in this situation before where under qualified people overestimate their abilities. More than 100 studies showed that overestimation of abilities and knowledge (Lehrer 15). For example, there was a study to show how individuals change their behavior patterns when factors are introduced which are normally not present in their surroundings (external factors). Then the participants had to rate their performances and the result was that the people who had the test with the positive influence pronounced higher performance than those who had the negative test. Through sense perception as a way of knowing they use personal knowledge and do not doubt shared knowledge. These people are not eager to learn more about what they think they already think they know because they are not conscious of what they do not know. Therefore, their ignorance about the things they do not know make them more confident and they fall into the illusion that they know everything about a specific field when in reality they know only the preface. They have less knowledge with increased confidence.
We live in a world where we can easily get immediate access to anything we want. We live in a world where doubt is a rare thing. People believe that because of the many sources they have access to they have ALL the knowledge. We live in a world where people over-rely on their abilities and knowledge and they believe that with confidence they can prove they have the knowledge. They rely too much on faith of what they already know, that they seem to forget how to use reason, in order to question existing opinions and continuously seek for more knowledge.
BlackfordColumbus, A. Advances in psychology research. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc, 2012.
Eyi-Mensah, Prince, and Zhong Chunping. Religion and Science: International Journal of Business and Social Science 6.4 (2015).Gaut, B. Art, emotion and ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.
Harrison, Anna. Religion and Science. Zygon 51.3 (2016).Lehrer, K. Theory of knowledge. [Place of publication not identified]: Routledge, 2016.
Scruton, R. Art and imagination. South Bend, Indiana: St. Augustine's Press, 2015.
Vogt, V. Art and religion. Charleston, S.C.: BiblioLife, 2016.
Woods, Tim. Natural Science Quotes . Natural Sciences Notes - ToK, IBMastery, www.ibmastery.com/blog/natural-science-notes-theory-of-knowledge, 2016.
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