Berger argues that when people see things, they are affected by what they already know and what they believe. However, it does not mean that they do not infer more from an image that helps them either reinforce that belief or question it. In becoming such a cyclical process, what they see and what they know are never settled and one fuels the other. Berger argues for this using an example of fire, and what it would have meant to the men of the Middle Ages. Since people of those times understood hell in association with fire, they might have looked at fire differently than what people do in contemporary times. However, the view point on fire based on their belief in hell was not a one-sided knowledge acquisition. It also happens the other way around. As Berger argues, they would have seen the fire and observed how it consumes and reduces things to ash and based on their knowledge, the men could have associated it with hell.
A similar understanding can be associated with this painting. When a person views ‘Doubting Thomas’, since they know the biblical occurrence they already know what the painting is about. Saint Thomas and his doubting nature are well understood by the Christian communities, and most people would have heard or would be able to appreciate the background context for this painting. The person will hence see what they already know in this painting. However, by seeing the painting, the person will be able to add more to their existing knowledge. Understanding what happened biblically in text is different from viewing it. The image is gory to a certain extent as Thomas is observed to poke inside the bruise made in Jesus during his slaying on the cross. His eyes are incredulous and the expressions of the others around Jesus and Saint Thomas appear to be horrific. Viewing this picture in contemporary times with no understanding of the background context makes it more appropriate for something horrific and not divine. However, one would not see this picture usually from such contemporary perspective because Berger argues “We never look at just one thing; we are always looking at the relation between things and ourselves. Our vision is continually active, continually moving, continually holding things in a circle and around itself, constituting what is present to us”. The image is presented in a certain way and hence the audience will see it in that way.