This question has bothered me for a long time. It still does.
I watch TV and see some local religious preacher talks about, say, evolution. He (it’s almost always a “he”) enthusiastically explains how humans differ from all animals and not associated with them. Some other time he explains about the “history” of the great flood. I watch TV and hear another preacher who may talk about the Torah allegedly written by “God”. And so on and so forth.
And I honestly think… There are exactly two possibilities here:
1. The guy seriously thinks that man was made from dirt. He thinks that the “new moon” should be blessed on a monthly basis. That snakes talk and prophets ride horses to the sky. The guy’s mind is some half a millennium behind the rest of us.
2. The guy is not stupid, but he’s a barefaced liar. He fools his audience for the purpose of controlling them, even if he knows he’s telling a bunch of foolish lies.
So – which is it? Is he a fool or a liar? Perhaps some mix of the two?
— * — * —
A while ago I saw an interview with a religious Jewish person who happened to be a historian. It was before the holiday of Passover, and he was asked about the story of the exodus from Egypt.
“If you ask me as a historian,” he said, “this story is a famous myth. However, if you ask me as a religious Jew, this of course happened to our ancestors.”