People often base their lives on myths. Sometimes that’s okay . . . sometimes it does little or no harm. It can also be deadly evil.
Some believe that physically beating children who misbehave (even with belts or paddles) will train them to be responsible, caring adults. This is dramatically contradicted by many examples. Richard Ramirez murdered 13 people in San Francisco and Los Angeles in 1984-5. Ramirez had a disturbed childhood, enduring brutal beatings by his father. Not every abused child becomes a killer and not every killer was abused as a child. But the evidence is there in enough cases to make a genuine connection between being beaten as a child leading to violent aggression as an adult.
While the above is a dramatic example, the principle remains that it is all too easy to think and act according to what is believed to be factual but is actually fiction or fantasy. Lightning never strikes the same place twice. Elephants are afraid of mice. Dog mouths are cleaner than human mouths. Vaccines cause autism. White people are innately more intelligent than people of color. The list of mythconceptions goes on and on.
If a person wishes to live a life based on facticity rather than falsehood, it pays to do the homework . . . serious, responsible investigation followed by open-minded analysis. It is also reasonable to do the homework and the resultant critical thinking in community. In other words, to investigate and form conclusions in concert with other clear-headed thinkers.
In 1978 over 900 people (300 of them minors) committed suicide or were murdered in the cultic Peoples Temple Agricultural Project ("Jonestown"), a remote settlement in northwestern Guyana under the leadership of Jim Jones. The Project’s participants committed their lives to a gigantic lie . . . and the result was horrible.