Saturday, September 04, 2010


JSH: Maybe I was luckier

As a child I had indoctrinated into me the ideas of fundamentalist Christianity that are peculiar to the sect of Jehovah's Witnesses, which among others things taught that evolution was wrong, and that the earth had been created by God in a few thousand years—a little better than other fundamentalist Christians who say exactly 7 days.

Letting go of what I'd been taught was a necessity for me to move on and grow in this world. Even my act of joining the military was an act of rebellion against a religion that teaches its practitioners to be "separate from the world". (Oh yeah, it also teaches that all nations are ruled literally by Satan the Devil. Ok, one wonders if maybe that one was right—)

Oh, and I got my degree in physics, so the idea of overturning results was part of the science that I learned.

Math students are taught differently and now some can see from my results that they can get taught dogma that is little better than the ideas of any religion, and over the years as I've tried to get them to accept mathematical truth, I've had time to contemplate how hard it can be for people to learn that deeply held beliefs are just wrong.

So maybe I was luckier.

I can walk through the math error easily. Talk about my object ring and unit factors that wrap to give the appearance that is false and even see something fascinating in how the ring of algebraic integers has to follow mathematical rules to force it to do what it does.

But rigid mathematical rules care nothing for human social needs, and human beings for years have just thumbed their noses at them, and played pretend.

I wonder at times how they feel but sort of know. After all there were times as a kid I believed in the religion I was taught. I know what it feels like. And with a controversial religion that would get challenged by others, I know what it feels like to hold on to your beliefs against challenges.

But it's still sad, even understanding why. So yes, I was luckier. And I do understand.

It's so hard to believe, really, truly believe, and then one day, find out that you believed wrong.

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?