The Word of God says in John 8:32, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” If I could change one thing that would make the world better, I would ask that history be taught accurately. As a student of history, I am surprised about how much of the history that I was taught in grade school, Sunday school, college, and even seminary does not stand up to the standard that we are familiar with in court, “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Much of what I was taught as fact was actually propaganda that advanced some agenda and not the truth. Even people who are not as interested in history as I am, intuitively know that there is a lot of error in the way that history is presented. Most people never reflect on how much there is or what are the negative effects of presenting lies masked as truth are.
Let’s start with what we were taught in church about the Bible and people in the Bible. All of my Sunday school books, all of the illustrated Bibles, all of the pictures that I saw of Biblical characters, all of the stained glass windows, and all of the movies I saw about biblical characters portrayed the characters as white. That is simply a lie. Without doing deep genealogical studies, if one reviewed the places mentioned in the Bible, almost none of them are the homeland of people who we consider white. One could easily state that the Bible is an Afro-Asiatic book. If the world knew that Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus were men of color wouldn’t it be harder to maintain that white superiority is God ordained? If the world knew that the major figures in the Bible were men and women of color, how could the Nation of Islam and others’ claim that Christianity is a white man’s religion, be believed?
A few countries in Western Europe embarked on a crusade to subjugate just about everyone else on the planet and take whatever they had. Colonialism created the Americas ruled by Spain, England, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Portugal. After these continents were “discovered,” their wealth belonged to the Europeans. The indigenous people had to comply, submit to enslavement, or face genocide. The story was repeated in Africa; in the sub-continent of Asia, modern Pakistan, India; and Bangladesh; in China, the Philippines, Australia, and New Zealand. History is presented with these conquests presented as noble advances of civilization. What would be different today if #AllLivesMatter was really true? How much better would things be if the humanity of indigenous people, emigrants mattered equally? How much better would it be if we really believed “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
Fake history is worse than fake news. Fake history distorts the reality of who we are, where we came from, and why things are the way that they are. It is an assault on our heritage, our faith, and our very beings. It has been said that if we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to make the same mistakes that were made in the past. If our history is fake history, how can we help but repeated the mistakes of the past? Getting rid of fake news and adopting a commitment to the truth would radically change our world for the better.