The Illusion of Knowledge

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Think you have it figured out?  What if it turned out that the very thing you thought was a fact...was actually more or less an old wive's tale?

I've always loved this line by a former Librarian of Congress:

"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge."  Daniel J. Boorstin

Examples of the illusion of knowledge?

  • The world is flat.
  • Bloodletting prevents illness and disease.
  • It is impossible to run a four minute mile.
  • You have to be a member of a group before you can lead one.
  • Apprenticing is the key to group multiplication.
  • The deepest small groups just use the Bible for curriculum.

Want do you think?  Have one you want to suggest?  You can click here to jump into the conversation.

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  1. Glen Blow on January 10, 2012 at 8:46 am

    I’m interested in the thought regarding having to “be a member of a small group before you can lead one”.
    I agree that anyone could lead a group based around a specific programme for a limited period of time, however in terms of selecting the “right people” do you approach this in terms of starting lots of group and letting the “fittest ones survive”?
    Keep up the good work Mark! 😀

  2. Anonymous on January 10, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Thanks for jumping in here, Glen.  I start with the understanding that there is no problem-free solution.  Every strategy comes with a set of problems.  You’ve pointed out a perceived problem with the idea that there are potential small group leaders who haven’t yet been in a group.  They represent the unknown.  At the same time, one of the biggest problems with the more traditional method of requiring a new leader to have been in a group as a member first…is that there is no guaranty members will leave their group and replicate the experience for a new group of members.  Also…in most churches there are highly capable potential leaders who are just waiting to be discovered (both the Small Group Connection strategy and the HOST strategy do a good job of finding the workers God has already sent (Matthew 9).

    Full disclosure?  There’s a little bit of a Darwinist in me.  I’m okay with a little chaos as the fittest groups survive knowing that unconnected people are in extreme peril (see my post, The Titanic, Your Lobby and Lifeboat 14 for more on this idea:

    Thanks again for jumping in here Glen!


  3. Wordbased on January 10, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Our beloved brother, Justin Beiber, was quoted today as saying that he didn’t need to go to church. Whether the quote is true, false, or out of context, there are many Christians today who are “unchurched”. My understanding is that the very idea of an unchurched Christian 50 or 60 years ago would be a contradiction in terms. It clearly shows a decided lack of intuitive insight about what the Church is there for. It also shows a great (and possibly, spiritually fatal)  selective myopia in terms of applying the scriptures to your life. My prayer for Mr. Beiber is that the burdens of fame do not twist him into the world’s mold (Rom 12:1-2).

  4. Anonymous on January 10, 2012 at 10:04 am

    I might be missing something really obvious…but is your comment in response to this post?

  5. Wordbased on January 10, 2012 at 10:42 am

    I appologise for the lack of clarity. Certainly it is a response to the post that you gave us today. The point is that there are a lot of believers who have the illusion of knowledge about the need for church affiliation…not just membership but commitment even when it is difficult or uncomfortable. Jesus is coming back for the church, not really for you or me.

  6. Anonymous on January 10, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Ahhh…I see it.  These are interesting times, for sure.