Interpretation is in the Eye of the Beholder (While We Were Sleeping Part 8)

Yesterday, I got in a little debate over history with my fellow “Facebookers.”  One of the posts was written by my local librarian who happens to have a degree in history.

E.H. Carr,  wrote on the writing of history and yes I have a degree in history. ‘Interpretation is in the eye of the beholder but you can’t change fact only the mere interpretation of the facts. Opinions change as society changes based on many factors; this will affect how we tell our stories: personality, maturity, social economical status, gender, religious beliefs all color our views of life and our sense of history, discussions on history, should be in the examination of facts, the bias of historians, science, morality, individuals and society, and moral judgements in history. No historian is without flaws, but I believe some of the best historians will tell their story and admit those short comings first let the reader know where he/she is coming from, their point of view, their bias because there is always bias. Better to put it out there first, makes the historian far more credible.

I know to some it will seem strange that I used a quote from E.H. Carr considering where I stand.  I know,I find it strange myself; however, there seems to be a lot of truth to his statement.  [I would like to point out that the person, Christopher Brown, who posted this quote,  knew nothing of the topic we are discussing as the Facebook discussion was related strictly to a topic on history.]

Yes, some would take this to mean that historians regarding the founding of our country were biased and that is why we are now just learning of our founding father’s “anti-Christian” stances.  I would point out that this quote backs up what I was saying originally:

You can find evidence to support whatever you want to believe.

If you want to believe this country was not founded on Christian principles, then you tend to see , consider, and believe evidence that supports your claim and vice versa.  Why?  Because we have a hard time overcoming our bias.

It is my opinion that more and more people are starting to buy into this “new” history because our society has changed.  

While Christianity is still the number one religion in the United States, its influence on society is almost nonexistent now.   For me, it feels as though we are now the minority.  I say this because many people still claim to be Christian, but they are not practicing Christians.  They are simply carrying on the religion of their parents and grandparents.  So while Christians may have the numbers, we don’t have as many willing to stand up for our beliefs.  With Christianity at an all time low, it should not come as a surprise to find that more and more people are willing to believe that this country was not intended to be “One Nation Under God.”  It all goes back to what  E.H. Carr was saying in that our opinions and retelling of stories are affected by what we believe because of our biases.  Those opposed to the original telling of our nation’s history for the reason that previous historians were biased can’t see that their own bias is affecting their version of history as well.

I don’t usually post on a Saturday, but I found the quote to be very helpful and thought it would be helpful to you all as well.







2 thoughts on “Interpretation is in the Eye of the Beholder (While We Were Sleeping Part 8)

  1. Excellent post, Missy!

    I like your point about people believing what they want to believe. It is something I am always trying to drill into my children because a person will only believe what he has already decided to adopt as his belief.

    I think the reason so many people are moving away from Christianity is that we have lost the connection between God and goodness. These days, if anyone happens to comment on my character, or tells me I am “nice”, I try to remember that I am not good on my own. I have too much experience with myself to forget where any goodness in me actually comes from. If I remember to do so, I try to tell people “Jesus is MY ONLY REASON TO BE NICE TO YOU. I am not naturally nice or good because true goodness comes only from God.” I think if more Christians (not “Church-ian” ‘s — i.e., pew-warmers) would let the world know that we know that we are no different from other people on our own — that it is only God’s goodness that makes us different from what we could have been or used to be earlier — then more people would see a need for God in their own lives. But it is never too late to start praying and keep praying for revival.

    You are in my thankful prayers, Missy.

    Keep up the good writings!



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