Belief and Fiction

I thought of this once, but a comedian verbalized it for me.

I was watching a show on the tv late at night about 3 comedians on tour.

Patton Oswalt said something like ‘I’m an athiest, but I can see from the point of view of believers. I’m a comic book collector, so to me, it’s my religion. Religious people can get into an argument and quote Leviticus 12:15, and I know the Issue number of when Wolverine joined Alpha Flight. It’s just fiction that we live by.’

This also kinda reminded me of people who are of the ‘Jedi’ religion. To tell the truth, I think the Jedi religion is tons better than Christianity. At least the Jedi people know their shit is fiction.

Fiction is a relative term. From an interpretivist perspective the intersubjective agreement between a group on what is real is essentially ‘real’ to that group.

I do alot of work in the inner-city and there is alot of fear of the cops and police brutality. Relatively speaking, the acts of brutality are small, but the perception that is occurring is large. Since people act on this perception to them it is real.

So my question would be if ‘fiction’ is believed real, does it really make a difference?

If I and a collective group believe in religion X, without scientific proof (science however is not intended to prove the metaphysical) and we structure our ‘reality’ around religion x, and act as if religion x is real, from a practical standpoint to those within the group does an external critique of it being fiction really matter?

If it is convincing, yes. If it doesn’t change their mind, then it isn’t really important.

This seems to confuse reality, or what is true, with what is believed to be true.

A tribe might sacrifice a few virgins to the fertility god each year to ensure that the crops are good that year. They may really believe that there is a direct cause-and-effect principle at work in their doing so. This doesn’t mean, however, that there really is any connection between the sacrifice of human lives and the success or failure of that year’s crops. It means only that the tribe believes that there is.

Perceptions of reality and reality are two different things. Perceptions of reality have to be interpreted or given meaning to be understood and it is in this interpretation of perception where we sometimes go awry in our quest to understand reality.