Who really believes what today?
There is so much that is complicated about that sort of a question. Here is a sketch that might help describe the problem:
The popular TV show Mythbusters set out to test a myth that a penny dropped from a tall structure like the Empire State Building would kill a pedestrian walking on the streets below (watch an abridged version here). Turns out the penny would likely settle on a ledge lower on the building due to the air currents around the Empire State Building and even if it didn’t, the terminal velocity achieved by a penny wouldn’t break skin let alone shatter anyone’s skull. One of the things that seemed to empirically disprove this though was the collection of pennies on the lower tiers of the Empire State Building. Evidently people had been testing this myth without the safeguards employed by the Mythbusters. Did these penny throwers believe this myth? They must have known about it? But were they then cold-blooded killers, no different than someone firing bullets from the top of a city skyscraper? Some Calvinist types wanting to push the total-depravity angle of human nature, might think so, but I doubt that very many people would be in that category. Maybe one or two really thought that they’d kill someone in this fashion, but I suspect that for most of those casting pennies were not out to commit random murders. So they didn’t believe the myth. But then why did they throw the pennies. Did they disbelieve their own belief? (Cf: Mark 9:24?) Were they divided? Were they thinking that this was really a risky, deadly thing they were doing, but denying that it could be so. Are there things that we perform because we *say* we believe them but that our actions suggest that we most likely do not? Thoughts?