This is my first blog post here, and this particular entry is taken from my personal blog.


I’ve found that some of the scariest words to people in general, and to those who believe in a deity specifically, are “I don’t know.”

Think about that for a minute. How often is someone willing to admit that they genuinely don’t know something. It’s more common for someone to just make something up than just admit that they don’t know. It’s also looked down upon in society.

Let me give you an example from my past experience. I’ve always worked customer service lines. I try to make myself the most educated person on whatever products or services the company I’m working for offers. Ninety seven percent of the time, I’ll have the answer for someone’s question ready for them as soon as they ask it, but every once in a while I will admit I don’t know when I genuinely don’t know the answer and need a minute to find out. I’ve found in my more than ten years experience that, more often than not, as soon as I utter the words “I don’t know” and before I tell the person that I’m going to find out, the customer usually utters a string of insults and immediately demands a supervisor because “obviously you’re too dumb to know the answer to my extremely off the wall question.” I’ve taught training classes at different call centers where I’ve specifically told new agents to not use I don’t know, and instead say something like “Let me double check for you,” because it is a more comforting phrase than I don’t know. It also lessens the amount of time the supervisor has to be drawn away from other duties in order to take a phone call. I’ll be honest, when I was a supervisor at a call center, I would play dumb when it came to dealing with escalated calls. I would have the agent look up the information and tell the customer that my job is to deal with the agents and policy questions, not technical or account questions, and then put the customer back on with the agent. But I digress…

When it comes to those who believe in a deity, I’ve found that they are the ones who absolutely fear admitting a lack of knowledge. They all “know” that there is some higher power, “know” his/her/its will, and “know” what happens after death. Most of them know so well that they take this “knowledge” and use it to make threats to those who don’t have the same “knowledge” that they do. It’s disgusting, it really is.

If you don’t know something, its ok to admit it. I’d bet the world would be a better place if people quit asserting absolutes and just said “I don’t know,” or better yet, “I don’t know, but I’m willing to find out.”


Views: 67

Comment by Akshay Bist on July 17, 2011 at 6:30am

I think it was in the movie Annapolis, the cadets or plebes couldn't say they didn't know the answer to a question they were asked. If they didn't know, then they'd reply that they'd find out.

I think this is a good practice. 1 - because its an honest answer, 2 - because you will(hopefully) look for the correct answer instead of inventing some BS & never finding out what the real answer was.

Comment by Rev. Chris Pagan on July 17, 2011 at 6:35am
I'm a huge proponent of saying "I don't know, but I'm willing to find out." It truly is an honest answer, and probably the most true thing any person can ever say.
Comment by Robert Karp on July 17, 2011 at 8:10am

Chris, or Rev if you prefer, I totally agree with you. I think this also applies to people who are struggling with difficult times in their lives. In the answers to; what to do, where do I go now, how should I feel, "I don't know" is not only an acceptable answer but a good one as well. We shouldn't have all the answers and we don't need to. Society programs us otherwise, that is why it's so hard to say "i don't know".

Comment by Rev. Chris Pagan on July 17, 2011 at 8:37am
Thanks, Robert. Rev or Chris works, but that's beside the point. I would love to create a simple survey that could be taken online, asking pretty simple questions about how the world works, asking open ended questions, and seeing how many questions people answer "I don't know," or "God did it," and the spectrum in between. I think the results would be interesting, but that's just me.
Comment by Akshay Bist on July 17, 2011 at 9:09am
That is an interesting idea Chris. Go for it & share the results
Comment by The Doctor on July 17, 2011 at 3:20pm
I wouldn't be an Atheist today If I did the classic theistic tactic of "I don't know, but god does". I would even argue that those who are affraid to say those scary words are prone to fill the missing gaps with a supernatural glue. Science wouldn't exist if there was never those cynics saying "Why don't we know? More importantly "How do we find out?" I think too many people are affraid of finding out there beleifs are wrong. You could pose a question to atheists, If a single notion of god was proven unfalsifiable would that scare you?
Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on July 17, 2011 at 3:35pm

Concerning theists: 

I don't want their 'knowledge.' 

I want their evidence. 

Comment by The Doctor on July 17, 2011 at 3:59pm
My point in this is, (as my monicker suggests) religeon/superstion existed in some fashion since humans were cognitive enough to create it, likewise, there have been those that challenge these notions and thus advance understanding. Research demands inquiry, and unbiased acceptance of the outcome.
Comment by Boatman on July 18, 2011 at 8:22am

Sometimes, when we say "I don't know", we have no choice but to "find out";


"There is no conclusive evidence for life after death, but there is no evidence of any sort against it. Soon enough you will know, so why fret about it?"


- Robert Anson Heinlein


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