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  • Dr. Dan Haifley

Is that really what He said?

Sherlock Holmes, the subject of about 60 short stories and novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is probably the best known fictional detective in the history of literature. He has been portrayed in over 250 movies the first of which was a silent film produced in 1900. Arguably, his most famous line is “Elementary, my dear Watson.,” which he never actually said…in any of Doyle’s stories.

So why are we so sure that he did say this?


It’s actually a phenomenon called “Confabulation.” It is the fabrication of false memories by large groups of people, which are so believed that it is impossible to convince them otherwise.

As a Bible teacher, I have witnessed this first hand. Some stories are passed from generation to generation without ever checking he source for accuracy. Maybe that’s why Jesus told the Jews, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39) Luke spoke of the Bereans who were more noble because they searched the scriptures to verify what was being taught. May we be like them and not be quick to assume something because...well, you know, everybody believes it! –DH


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