Today I thought of something that happened some years ago.
I had a friend, who was - well, a lot of things, actually, that I'm not going to go into here, but he was incidentally a little famous for a while, and among other things he was adopted from India.
He told me he came from a hospital run by Mother Teresa. I actually believed that, since he is about, I think - we've lost touch - about 38 years old today. That is if his parents were told the correct age for him at the time of adoption (six months). I've read that they always pick an age that is as low as possible, to make the child seem more attractive, adoptable and lovable. He could easily have been malnourished and a year old, or even older than that, but I didn't say anything about that, since what would be the point?
He also told me the reason he had horrible scars on his neck. They were the result of a so called operation against tb. He added with scorn, you know, India in the 1970's. Well, of course I didn't, but I find it a little hard to believe that India in general had that level of superstition in the hospitals. I can believe that a superstitious, illiterate person not working for a hospital might have thought an 'operation' like that could - I don't know - release evil spirits? - but not anything connected to anyone with any education. Even in India in the 1970's. If you're older than me and know something about India, feel free to correct me, if I'm wrong.
What I got in trouble over, was this:
He also had this quaint little myth about his origins. One of the nurses offered his parents a cute little story about how he came from a maharaja's harem (against a little extra payment, naturally). His birth mother supposedly died in childbirth and no one wanted to take care of a baby boy whose mother had died. Really? A maharaja would get rid of a son for such a reason? Foolishly, I told him what I was thinking. Knowing what I know now, I would never have said anything about that either.
He didn't like my suggestion one bit. A bit later - maybe the next day - he called me up and kept me on the phone for hours, scolding me and trying to prove to me that I was wrong and he was right about his past.
Naturally, I didn't change my mind, and I told him something along those lines afterwards. Mainly something like: I hope you're feeling better now. And he seemed to get my meaning. Nothing was accomplished, more than me getting pissed off with him and maybe him feeling a little better for standing up for his myth.
So at least I learned something from that incident. Never question anyone's fundamental beliefs, even in something extremely silly if you'd take the time to analyse the belief.