Your spiritual growth is not so much limited by unanswered questions as it is by unquestioned answers. You may want to read that statement again because it is the key to your spiritual growth. Your openness, curiosity and common sense will help you find the answers to unanswered questions. In our opinion, if you do not question unquestioned answers, you will stay stuck in the dogma and convention of a limited perspective, and find it difficult to grow spiritually.
Here’s a little proof about how easily we can get stuck in unquestioned answers! We have compiled a list of 14 myths (unquestioned answers) that people have believed for years – and perhaps still believe! You may believe in some of them yourself. We have also provided scientific rebuttals of all 14 of them, exposing them as myths.
Read all fourteen myths, and check the ones you once believed — or still believe! Then review the research that debunks them.
- If you go outside in cold weather with wet hair, you will catch a cold. Colds are caused by hundreds of different viruses. These nasty germs are spread by direct contact with other infected people through a kiss, a sneeze, a handshake, etc. Being exposed to cold weather does not cause colds, though it may seem that way because colds are more likely to occur in cold weather. Because people tend to stay indoors more in cold weather, they create an atmosphere for germs to spread.
- We’re carbon-based beings and leave carbon footprints. The truth is we are more oxygen-based beings than we are carbon-based. Although it is guesstimated that 60 percent of our weight comes from water, 90 percent of the mass of water is oxygenated. So, oxygen accounts for most of our wet mass! For example, a person weighing 160 lbs. consists of about 96 lbs. of oxygen and his/her carbon content would account for only 35 lbs. of it. Isn’t that cool!
- The Earth is just 6,000 years old. Some Biblicists argue that Biblical chronology fixes the date of the creation of the Earth at a little over six thousand years old. Present-day creationists stubbornly believe in this version of the Earth’s timetable, in spite of overwhelming scientific evidence that the earth is well over 4.543 billion years old.
- The flat Earth myth. Actually, from at least the 14th century, belief in a flat Earth among the educated was almost nonexistent. The earliest of the flat-Earth promoters was Lactantius (AD 245-325), a professional rhetorician who converted to Christianity in mid-life. He rejected all of the Greek philosophies, and in doing so rejected a spherical Earth. His views were considered heresy by the Church. Pythagoras in the 6th century B.C.E. was one of the originators of the spherical earth idea. Aristotle in the 4th century B.C.E. provided the physical evidence.
- We separated ourselves from the earth when we invented shoes and decided to live in houses. Biologists and neurobiologists remind us that nitrogen atoms in our muscles once helped turn the sky blue, phosphorus in our bones helped turn the waves of an ancient ocean green, calcium in our teeth was mined from rocks by mushrooms, and iron in our blood once destroyed a star. We are composed of hydrogen atoms and subatomic particles like quarks, leptons, and gluons that were present at the Big Bang. Subatomic parts of us are 13.8 billion years old. We are made of Earth stuff and stardust.
- We only use 10% of our brain capacity. Debunking this myth is a real ‘no brainer.’ Now that we know much more about neuroscience than we did 100 years ago, we can say for sure that we use much more than 10% of the brain. In fact, high-tech methods of studying the brain have not identified any inactive areas.
- You need to stay awake if you’ve had a concussion. Concussions are relatively common, and while they always merit medical attention, they are rarely severe or life-threatening. Warnings to stay awake after a concussion most likely grew out of a misunderstanding about a particular type of head injury, one that involves brain bleeding where a ‘lucid period’ is followed by a coma or worse. However, this is very uncommon and doesn’t apply to people with mild concussions. If you’ve been evaluated by a doctor, and the doctor has diagnosed your having a mild concussion, you don’t need to worry about being woken up every hour.
- Reading in the dark or sitting too close to the TV ruins your eyesight. Dim light, or staring into the multicolored tube at close range, can undoubtedly make your eyes work so hard they hurt. But there is no evidence that these practices cause long-term damage.
- You should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. In general, we are not all walking around in a dehydrated state, since our bodies are very good at regulating our fluid levels. The eight-glasses-a-day myth likely started in 1945 when the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council said adults should take in about 2.5 liters of water a day (equivalent to about eight glasses). While most media outlets reported just that, the council actually went on to explain that most of the 2.5 liters comes from food. Technically, the recommendation should read: Drink, or eat, about eight glasses of fluid a day.
- Drinking coffee will help you to sober up. The following comment will probably be a sobering one for most people. Coffee has no effect on reversing the effects of intoxication. Coffee contains caffeine that stimulates the nervous system. This may cause an intoxicated person to become more alert, but they will be no less inebriated. The only thing you can do is wait. As far as we know there is no way to increase the rate at which your body eliminates alcohol.
- It is best to starve a fever and feed a cold. It will not help to lower your fever if you do not eat. Actually, severely limiting your food intake while you are sick, whether it is with a fever or a cold, hinders the healing process. However, don’t force yourself to eat if you don’t feel well enough to eat as much as normal. It is more important to hydrate yourself by drinking a lot of liquids, because fevers promote the loss of fluids.
- Shaving causes your hair to grow back thicker and darker. Shaving is a surface procedure. Below the surface is where the appearance and texture of your hair is decided. Therefore, shaving cannot make your hair grow back thicker, darker, or coarser. Your hair may appear thicker and coarser because of the appearance of stubble, but rest assured, shaving does not cause your hair to grow back thicker and darker.
- Cracking your knuckles too often will cause arthritis. All knuckle-cracking enthusiasts can continue their ‘knuckle cracking habit’ without fear of causing arthritis. There is no medical evidence supporting this long-held belief. Arthritis is caused by normal wear and tear on the joints throughout life. This natural breakdown of cartilage tissue can be exacerbated by infections or injuries to the joints. You should be careful because knuckle cracking can injure your joints.
- If you handle frogs or toads, you’ll get warts. Guess what? You can keep kissing frogs without fear. Holding frogs or toads will not give you warts. Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), and are spread through human contact. So, even though their bumpy exterior may make you think otherwise, toads and frogs have nothing to do with warts.
Ask yourself these two questions: How many of these debunked myths surprised you? Are you going to accept the evidence to the contrary or are you going to continue believing in the myth?
Now read the following growing-edge spiritual statements:
- Heaven and hell are not places you go to when you die. They are states of consciousness you experience while you’re living.
- There is no anthropomorphic God in the sky who rewards believers and punishes ‘sinners.’
- You are the Eternal Presence (Pure Beingness, God, the Infinite Isness, Divine Mind, etc.) expressing in human form as you.
If you haven’t thought about these issues from this perspective, spend some quality time in research and introspection. All of these statements are our responses to religious “unquestioned answers” and are contrary to mainstream dogmatic views. Are these three statements myths or are they myth busters?
The value of adding ‘Questioning Unquestioned Answers’ as a spiritual practice is to get you thinking in terms of making questioning unquestioned answers a habit. Find other examples of conventional ‘wisdom’ and/or religious biases and challenge those biases, beliefs, and myths. Are ‘facts’ really facts or only opinions or assumptions? How valid are the things you’ve been taught and believe when it comes to higher thought teachings?
The key principle of this spiritual practice is this: Make it a spiritual practice to question any and all unquestioned answers … as you walk the spiritual path on practical feet!
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