Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Guest Author: Nancy Madore

Standing Behind My Source

When I tell people that I use the Bible as a historical reference, they always give me a funny look. If they’re Christian, they wonder if I’ve gone from one extreme to the other (having written erotica previously). They ask me if I found ‘the Lord.’ If they’re nonbelievers, they simply ask me if I’ve lost my mind.

Okay, I get that religion is a touchy subject, but what has that got to do with the Bible? Whether you believe the Bible was inspired by God or not, shouldn’tit still have merit as a historical work? I mean, even if you discount every single claim the Bible writers made, can’t we still learn something about our ancestors from it? It’s strange; we’ll take one tiny fossil and create an entire race, right down to their population, but we find literally hundreds of eye witness accounts and they’re worth zip?

I’ll agree history is relative. It’s largely influenced by the people who write it. This hasn’t changed. Do you suppose, for example, that the Vietnamese history books tell the same story about the Vietnamese war as the American books? I daresay both versions are heavily seasoned with patriotism, prejudice, culture, education and a host of other things. I doubt either one is completely true. But does that mean we should throw out all the history books for that period and declare that the war never happened?

I’ve always maintained that the Bible, as problematic as it can be at times, is an extremely informative history book. And if you don’t believe me, consider how the Bible influences our lives to this very day (in the examples below, I’m referring to the Old Testament):

The most obvious connection we have to the people of the Old Testament is religion. There are way too many religions to discuss them in detail here, but the vast majority (Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths) can be traced to a man by the name of Abraham. And his story is told in quite a lot of detail in the Old Testament. This is significant, and I think this extraordinary legacy merits an acknowledgement that the man existed, at the very least. Who was he? How did he get so many followers? (that last, in particular, interests me, as a burgeoning twitterer)

Call me crazy, but talk about religion always makes me think of war. Interestingly enough, many of the wars we fight today are merely continuations of the wars that began in the Old Testament. Certainly the problems in the Middle East have their roots in unresolved issues from that past. Throw in a little business and a lot of greed and you have a real mess on your hands. But if the Bible has no merit, why are people still killing each other over it?

Most interesting is the connection between the Bible and our modern day culture. This is what intrigues me most about it. Our beliefs, our interests, our superstitions and even many of our fears were bornin those years just before the first book of the Old Testament, Genesis, was begun. Angels, demons, ghosts, monsters, vampires and yes, even (the concept of, at least) aliens—all emerged from that very exciting time in our history, which many scientists consider the ‘dawn of our civilization.’ In the midst of one of the most critical stages of human development we find widespread accounts of angels and giants and spirits, both evil and good. Where did these ideas come from? And why were they so eerily similar in all the surrounding yet distant lands?

Like I said before, the Bible is a great historical resource for ancient history. And don’t give me that funny look. You know you’re curious (they may not have told you that all this was in the Bible in Sunday School, but it’s in there). Go ahead. Open it up and see for yourself.

The Hidden Ones by Nancy Madore


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