What is History?
I found this topic to be very interesting. It reminded me of a previous lesson that we have had, the religious studies v. theology. It is something that is obvious but it is often disregarded by us. We can see bias everywhere we get our information. Including first and secondary sources in this lesson was helpful, because we realize what is truly unbiased and where the bias begins at.
The lesson that stood out to me the most has definitely been Ehrman’s “The Historian and The Believer,” because the way he explains everything really was mind-blowing for some reason. From previous experiences, as I think everyone has had, there is a lot of tension between believers and non-believers and even between believer and believer. Whenever I hear someone say like “Oh, event A occurred at this time and it lead to event B to occur.” Even a simple sentence alone causes controversy because people will quickly try to disprove the mentioned statement or try to reject the timeline in general because they believe that the mentioned religion is false. So understanding where the person is coming from allows us to understand what is the correct way to react to the statement they say. If it is a person simply stating an event, such as “January is the first month of the year,” it is not something to argue with, because it is unbiased and are just simply stating the timeline of the year. On the other hand, if someone says, “January is the first month of the year and that makes it the best month.” that is no longer entirely true. The information has not necessarily been changed, but something has been added to it.
This is where people’s opinions start to sprout up and that is okay. The problem is sometimes people argue with events that occurred. If someone lays out all of Jesus’s life in front of me because they have studied the Bible and have confirmed the way every event occurred, I cannot go up to them and say that it is false, because they are simply giving me that information. They are not trying to convince me of anything or change my opinion, it is a straightforward statement.
So, when we are learning new information, we must understand where we are getting our information from and if it has any bias included in the information we are getting that may prime our opinions. This includes news outlets, which are literally always biased, gossip and general information about the world, including religious stuff.