Epistemology: Belief and Truth

Knowledge is considered to be an act of knowing the truth. Epistemology places knowledge somewhere between truth and belief. Thus knowledge is always subjective to our whims and beliefs. The whims and beliefs get mixed up with facts to alter the ultimate truth. Earth had been flat for years because it was horrifying for us to belief that we are dwelling on a round and unstable ball with a constant fear of being tossed up. Same is the way Earth had been centre of universe for centuries because it was man’s belief that he is the centre of attention so is the planet he is residing. So the search for knowledge has always been a continuous tussle between fact and faith. Among the most dangerous form of beliefs is the” belief of always being right”. This sense of righteousness has endangered the truth the most. Hulagu khan in his sense of righteousness destroyed one of the largest libraries of world in Baghdad. For him this bookish knowledge makes people passive. In this way belief once again destroyed knowledge. That belief made people invade others liberty and snatch their lives. Hitler believed that he was born to rule the world and turned the world into a heap of dead bodies.

However it doesn’t mean that faith always has detrimental effect upon knowledge. Many a time it made people achieve what had been considered impossible. It’s faith that makes Stoics and soldiers endure all hardships. Faith provides a firm ground in this unstable universe. It states the purpose of life. Without faith a man falls in the pit of existentialism forever and life turns into “nothing”. Faith is considered compulsory to brighten the dark compartments of heart ripping facts. Faith provides a centre to human race around which they can build the castle of hope. The question here is how faith transforms facts?

Every society has different beliefs thus different version of knowledge from the same truth. A person with an inexplicable disease is suspected to be having a neurological complication for a Medical Doctor but a person with same symptoms is declared possessed in some African Tribe. But the real mystery is that both parties with their firm belief in knowledge can heal the man properly by using two different diagnosis and treatment. Perhaps the circle of belief is larger enough to indulge truth in itself and make it coated to change the whole perception.

Science is often considered contrary to belief. Once we started atom to be the smallest particle it ripped our belief and split the atom to contain hundreds of other smaller particles; of course again leaving us in suspension. But in actuality science is also in continuous effort of finding logical reasons to believe. Every time a belief is questioned and proved wrong by science a new belief takes its place. Knowledge is adjusted into new parameters to match the new belief. Behind every change, every logical reasoning, every experiment and every hope, there is only one factor that is “ Belief”. Belief is the largest context behind every dogma and doubt.

Knowledge exists at the point where logic and belief coincide. The means of this harmony between belief and truth are different in different cultures. Somewhere it is religion which brings harmony between the two somewhere it’s the science. Which means is authentic to bring the harmony is still the question and will always be a question as long as human race wants to belief and hope.

Author: Zainab




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