Belief is not Knowledge:1 The Faith Healers of Idaho

“Well, I believe the Moon is made of concrete!” Those dread words. No, not the moon, but “I believe”. Because as soon as you hear them, you know that your interlocutor has just closed off their mind to knowledge. That subtle blend, made in part from facts, logical reasoning and a tolerance for uncertainty limits which has made it possible for you to read this and probably live until you are at least 80-something almost unknown in the age of Faith. So, why do people choose Belief over knowledge and emotion over reason? Are they being completely perverse, stupid-or may there be other factors at play. Over the next few weeks we shall run a series of blogs and see what conclusions we can draw.

Have you ever heard of the Followers of Christ, a group of exceedingly devout Christians who live in Idaho in the United States of America? Jason Wilson of the Guardian will tell you a lot more. But to summarise: they’re one of those groups who don’t like scientific medicine. Germ theory. Anaesthetics. Antibiotics. Doctors. Hospitals. All that sort of stuff. The Followers of Christ believe, fervently, that religious faith will cure all maladies. How this belief played out in the lives of Brian Hoyt, Linda Martin and others you can read here. [1] [2] Be warned: bits are rather painful.

None of the this is actually to single out the Followers of Christ, who, otherwise, doubtless lead rather virtuous, worthy lives. And they are far from alone in their refusal to accept the conclusions of fact and reason. Clearly they would be be placed in great psychological danger by any refutation of their Belief. But equally clearly, that belief is not knowledge. Brian Hoyt certainly felt the difference.

So why be like that? Health care is astronomically expensive in the United States. Is faith based medicine a way to save money? We have to know, because the battle between knowledge and belief is being fought every day on the internet, and so far there is no evidence our side is winning. Let’s see how this one plays out.

we were unable to find any website that clearly and unambiguously originated from the Followers of Christ in order to balance this piece. Instead, the nearest we could get was this Wikipedia link [3]




#faith healing #religious right #republicans #knowledge #health #medicine

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