What We Want to Believe

There have been a lot of blog posts lately about Palin’s recent attack on history.  Among my favorites (though they are all exceptional), James McGrath does an excellent job hammering down the underlying issue of her Paul Revere claims:

In the hullabaloo about Sarah Palin’s lack of familiarity with Paul Revere, some of the attention seems to me to focus on what is a less important point. Everyone flubs historical details at some point, even major ones.

But I hope that any and all will acknowledge that the attempt to fabricate history rather than admit that oneself, or one’s favorite politician, is wrong, is absolutely incompatible with the label Christian.

If you disagree, then just rewrite Wikipedia, so that instead of the Gospel of John having him say “the truth will set you free,” it said “you’re free to set the truth.”

Also, James highlights (ahead of me, as usual) the great post about those mythical verses everyone loves but which do not actually appear in the Bible.

 The Bible may be the most revered book in America, but it’s also one of the most misquoted. Politicians, motivational speakers, coaches – all types of people  – quote passages that actually have no place in the Bible, religious scholars say.

In the article mentioned above, John Blake does a fantastic job of explaining the reasons why these phantom verses exist in popular culture and why people are so bent on using them, even when they are told they don’t really exist.

And in another related matter, Jim West highlights the new winner of the Dilly the Dilettante award:  Robert Sarmast.  According to Cyprus Mail, Atlantis has again been found (I’ve covered this on my dedicated page):

Robert Sarmast has returned to Cyprus after a four-year hiatus ahead of a third expedition to try and locate the lost ancient city, he believes is underwater off Cyprus.

Sarmast said yesterday he wanted to be here for the Kataklysmos festival, or the ‘festival of the flood’. This will be held islandwide next weekend.

“The Kataklysmos festival is really about the great flood that sunk Atlantis, so it’s not surprising to me that the celebrations are unique to Cyprus,” said Sarmast.

Sarmast’s team plan to film a documentary during the Kataklysmos festival, while preparing for a third expedition.

So why are these stories linked and why are they important?  I believe James McGrath sums it up nicely:

The bigger issue is one that I highlighted in another post recently, and which Scott Bailey also highlighted, namely an unwillingness, having been caught ill-informed, to admit that one was wrong.

Apparently fans of Sarah Palin have been rewriting the Wikipedia entry on Paul Revere, in an attempt to make it conform to her version of the story.

I would expect nothing less of politicians and ideologues.

But I hope that any and all will acknowledge that the attempt to fabricate history rather than admit that oneself, or one’s favorite politician, is wrong, is absolutely incompatible with the label Christian.

The moral of the story is that people believe what they want, regardless of facts (they are pesky things) and sometimes in spite of them.  With Tea Party members and Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck and Ken Ham and all sorts of crazies out there attempting to subvert history with their own versions, we, as a collective whole in academia, need to step up and confront these lies.  Now, more than ever, scholars need to acknowledge their responsibility to correct these mishaps and demand that responsibility be taken and apologies be issued when lies are made about the past by people who should know better, but don’t.

 

 

 

One Response

This blog is no longer in use; NO comments will post.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: