We’re all taught that Columbus “discovered” the New World in 1492, with the caveat that the Vikings arrived centuries earlier circa 1000 A.D. This is always added as a bit of a footnote, as if it’s not all that important. Sure, it didn’t have the impact of the Spanish-backed Columbus voyages, but the Viking voyages have always been begrudgingly admitted to existing. Even before ruins were found in the 1960s, the Viking Sagas and other accounts were largely written off as myth. Even after the finds, the story went like this, “Yes, they came here, probably over a couple centuries, but these infamous explorers never did much of anything.” Doesn’t really make much sense, does it? Why the reluctance to give the Vikings their due? In light of the discovery of a new Viking site in Canada, perhaps our prejudices in studying our own history need re-examined. Continue reading
Posts Tagged With: History
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Throughout time, people have often tried to reinvent, revise or bury history that was inconvenient to their beliefs. Ultimately, factless theories and agendas eventually crumble as their holes in logic, lack of facts and contrary evidences are revealed. Perhaps in no time in history have so many tried to rewrite the past. The onslaught of information, the failure of public education and the lack of basic critical thinking skills have created a perfect opportunity for those peddling their personal visions.
Whether driven by politics, religion or simple ignorance, many seek to recreate history to support their views. It is not hard to undo these folks, the problem is few bother trying. Too many just take as fact what they hear or read. Some are just happy living in a world of shifting clouds. Others just don’t care. Some are just too busy in their zombie-like existence in front of the television. Rodney Stark, who has pushed back those trying to revise the history of Christianity and the Western world, writes in Cities of God:
Unfortunately, far too many historians these days don’t believe in evidence. They argue that since absolute truth must always elude the historian’s grasp, ‘evidence’ is inevitably nothing but a biased selection of suspect ‘facts.’ Worse yet, rather than dismissing the entire historical undertaking as impossible, these same people use their disdain for evidence as a license to propose all manner of politicized historical fantasies or appealing fictions on the grounds that these are just as ‘true’ as any other account. This is absurd nonsense. Reality exists and history actually occurs. The historian’s task is to try to discover as accurately as possible what took place…The search for truth and the advance of human knowledge are inseparable: comprehension and civilization are one.