And how do they know that?

Angel (Source: Wikimedia Commons (Brosen))

A very important question to consider, or actually ask, when someone tells you something is, “How do they know that?” This is important because it can give you an idea of how likely that person is to be correct and how much you can trust them. If someone were to come up to you and say, “Your wife is cheating on you,” you wouldn’t immediately take that to be true. And how much trust you put in those words would differ if the person knew because they had dreamt that she was cheating on you, because they heard she was cheating on you from someone else or because they had video of her cheating on you. The video is tangible, objective evidence to support the assertion that she is cheating on you and the quality and amount of supporting evidence is key.

Today, an article was published in The Telegraph that made a new factual claim about the world, angels exist but do not have wings. Father Renzo Lavatori, who is supposedly an “angelologist” in the Catholic church, said they are more like beams of light. The first question we need to ask here is, “How does he know that?” What is the evidence for these angels? Does he have any pictures? Can he produce an angel? I’m not sure what his evidence for angels or their appearance is but I highly doubt that is particularly convincing.

One would’ve thought that he would have gained this sort of information from the Bible, but it doesn’t appear to be that way. Although completely unreliable as a historical or scientific text, the angels mentioned in the Bible do have wings. According to Isiah 6:1-2:

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.

It’s worth noting that there’s an entire hierarchy of angels that has been described from fragments of Bible verses and personal opinion. Again, there’s a lack of good supporting evidence.

One of the points that stuck out in the article was that there was no critical examination of the claims. It didn’t bother to provide the evidence for angels looking like shards of light other than that an “angelologist” had said they did; a logical fallacy known as the argument from authority. We weren’t even told what the original evidence for winged angels was and why it is incorrect. We should not, and should not be expected to, accept such claims without convincing evidence being provided.


6 thoughts on “And how do they know that?

  1. are lines of people waiting in front of the offices of exorcists in churches good enough for you? 11%’Americans 34%’Brazilians 38%’Guatemalans 61%’Kenyans 57%´Nigerians 28%´Filipinos claim to have experienced/witnessed exorcisms…. I wonder what goes on in exorcisms, people that don’t even know their own language, or knows how to read and write start speaking backwards in many languages while in trance, and so much hate and violence that comes from someone that are not really them… That and so much knowledge that even fallen angels can “share” or lie about in exorcisms, is heavy shit! DUDE… I heard yesterday from my priest that there are trillions of trillions of angels, the ones of higher hierarchy never ever enter the physical dimension, they are so powerful they could destroy creation only if they desired to. They have 4 faces or more who knows each one is very different from the other and we will never be as smart as the smallest angel in heaven… SO WHATEVER MERICA.

  2. People going to exorcists doesn’t prove that they are accomplishing anything. There were lots of people who believed and saw the priests of the Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Incan, Mayan and assorted other religions that no one believes any more. Even today people flock to alternative medicines in droves despite none of them showing any efficacy at all. People can get caught up in the excitement or affected by the placebo effect and attribute mundane happenings to the supernatural.

  3. Who do you imagine is expecting you to believe something? We are offered ideas of faith. You don’t have to believe. Your unbelief won’t make a difference to the reality or unreality of what others believe.

  4. Whether I believe something doesn’t affect the reality of what others believe but people’s beliefs can affect others’ reality. Whether witches are real or not is separate from whether people believe it or not, but whether people are punished for being witches depends on the beliefs of other people. That makes the question of whether a belief is true and reliable a very important one.

  5. Welcome to humanity Jason. I sincerely wish you maximum pleasure that doesn’t adversely interfere with others pleasures. The bottom line is that you are free to believe wherever your conclusions lead you. Vastly more slaughter has occurred in recent history through political systems that attempted to remove beliefs than ever occurred through faith systems that encouraged beliefs. Witch hunts and great Inquisitions are nothing in comparison to the atrocities of the 20th century. Get used to it, beliefs through religions will never go away. They are innate in human nature.

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