Monday, March 29, 2010

You can put a cat in the oven...but that doesn't make it a biscuit.

As I type these words, I know I'm going to tick a lot of people off today. Although it should, my subject has nothing to do with this Passion week. Well, I've never been one to shy away from sharing my thoughts regardless of subject here we go.

To state we live in dangerous times is both obtuse and minimizing. We lived in dangerous times long before our founding fathers came together with an idea...a revolutionary idea. From the moment Europeans step foot on American soil, there have been dangerous times.

Americans tend to define ourselves in terms of where we are going, not where we come from. Many in our society say that history holds little importance for us because we believe we live in a time so different from our ancestors. Their experiences could not shed light on our circumstances. They say that man’s intelligence has evolved and that anything from the past is outdated and irrelevant to us. Therefore, the past is worthless in the minds of many people. Our ignorance of the past is not the result of a lack of information, but of a choice.

History does matter. George Orwell wrote, “He who controls the past, controls the future.” Our view of the past affects how we respond to our present circumstances. If our view of history is wrong, we are likely to make wrong choices today. These wrong choices will lead to further conflicts and a waste of resources that can eventually lead to the fall of an entire civilization.

The real question that matters though is who controls that information about our past. How we are taught or learn history is as important as the actual historical events. Here's where I start having a problem...

The reason we live in such dangerous times, in my opinion, is the vast amounts of information available to most everyone in our society. For the sake of this post, I'm referring specifically to our country, and I'm not limiting that to just Christians in the U.S. (or Christian history). America is made up of a vast diversity of interest and perspectives, and that is what makes us so long as everyone stays true to certain foundational principles, let's say...Constitutional principles.

Here's where we start getting into trouble in these current days. The tremendous amounts of information and misinformation available combined with a constant barrage of talking heads promoting their own agendas (Obermann, O'Reilly, Beck, Limbaugh and Maddow to name a very few) has blurred the 'facts' of factual history. People no longer research historical facts on their own to gain a personal perspective...most rely on learning history from the point of view of a school teacher, The History Channel, or even worse from talk radio/television.

My intention is not to apply the Pigeon Hole Principle to a complex, somewhat polarizing issue...but an intelligent, rational debate requires the element of intelligence...and that my friends can not be found on the pages of Wikipedia or over the airwaves alone.

To be continued...


David said...

Historical perspective is a difficult task because it involves interpreting the facts - in the case of wing-nut TV, that lack of them. (I am not going to let you lump O'Rielly in with those other idiots. I happen to think that in many cases, his facts are better than any other news aggregator I can think of - I know - sad.)

Take the Titanic for instance, when I was in 4th grade they told us about the huge gash ripped in her hull by an iceberg. Add to that the miracle of undersea cameras and we find that a mere few dozen rivets were sheared off causing successive failures of the "water tight" cavities.

All perspectives need a factual basis. What I find more often not, is that even Christians will wing it when they don't know that answer, or have all the facts.

I am not always fond of all that I see on the History channel, and for sure, there is bias.

I am researching the tax code changes in the new health care bill, so far there are dozens. Keep your eyes open at Fire and Grace.

I think that we need to have a constitutional requirement for education - but educators seem to want to teach history from their own perspective.

Tracy said...

You make a really good point that it's not that we don't have information, but we may have too much information and the information we have comes from highly stilted positions. I'm as guilty as the next guy, for doing the easy thing and just looking it up on Wikipedia, or taking O'Rielly's word for it.

Even history, which one would tend to think something happened or it did not, can be incredibly slanted.

Michelle said...

Who you ticking off? Speak on to my ears...

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