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3 Bumps

Can you truly understand one without the other?

If you don't know the history surrounding the events behind the stories of a religion, can you really understand the stories at all? And by history, I mean the independent, academic research supported by the same accounts appearing in the writing done by scholars and governments and historical letters and books of the time, not the history as presented in an actual religious text or the writings done by representatives of the church?

Is it enough to teach someone about Moses leading people out of Egypt or the Crusades fighting the "bad guys"? Or is it only meaningful is someone understands what was going on in the bigger picture in Egypt, like who was ruling and how, and what was going on outside the Pope's office, thousands of miles away, while he was giving his blessing to a war?

Answer Question

Asked by NotPanicking at 4:30 PM on Jun. 22, 2011 in Religious Debate

Level 51 (421,174 Credits)
Answers (12)
  • I think the events should be studied in context to historical information that we have for that time, what challenges were the people facing what else might have been happening. 


    Answer by RyansMom001 at 4:50 PM on Jun. 22, 2011

  • I want to add that history is complex and we don't get a full picture of events, only what we are able to uncover and try to understand.  We never can have the full picture.


    Answer by RyansMom001 at 4:53 PM on Jun. 22, 2011

  • I believe you can get something from the Bible by itself.

    I, personally, find I get new levels of understanding the more I learn about the historical significance, or look directly back at the original languages.

    But to say you HAVE to have that to get understanding from the Bible? No, I don't agree with that.

    As for the Crusades, I find that to be a matter of history, and not a matter related to my personal faith at all. Not that it's not worth studying, but it doesn't have any bearing on my faith or understanding of the Bible and the truths contained therin.

    Answer by KateDinVA at 5:03 PM on Jun. 22, 2011

  • I don't think that without an historical critical understanding of the Bible you can ever get anything beyond the face value...and at face value, the Bible is a mess of contradiction and hypocrisy. Parroting Bible verses without understanding of their historical context, actual authorship, etc is a very shallow sort of faith in my book.

    IMO--real meaning comes from the Bible once you actually see it as the all-too fallible work of men inspired by God. Just as real meaning comes from all mythology once you explore the symbolism and allegory within the story. Something doesn't have to be factual to have truth...but without an understanding of the when and who and why it was written, you can't get to the real meaning of the words.


    Answer by thalassa at 5:24 PM on Jun. 22, 2011

  • Oh, I agree with you, I think understanding the historical context is very important. :)

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 5:26 PM on Jun. 22, 2011

  • I like the question! I definitely think that you would get a "full" picture through a more academic study of the history, but I am not religious. I can see where someone of faith might find it a bit sacrilegious to do the extra research as it might come across as questioning their religious text.

    Answer by Mom-2-3-Girlz at 5:44 PM on Jun. 22, 2011

  • It depends if you want to understand and participate in the religion or just want to put the religion into historical perspective with a rationalistic secular world view.

    Unless you are very good at suspending disbelief, rational analysis will erase faith for the less than careful.

    Answer by isabellalecour at 7:00 PM on Jun. 22, 2011

  • I think teaching the whole story is a necessary part of teaching history.

    Answer by -Eilish- at 7:24 PM on Jun. 22, 2011

  • It is necessary, though, if one is looking for a secular explanation to certain phenomena or situations. Sadly, it's been my experience that more often than not history and arcaheology are used to try to discredit religion rather than to find the actual truth. To me, that's misusing historical knowledge.


    Answer by momto2boys973 at 7:46 PM on Jun. 22, 2011

  • I believe you can get something from the Bible by itself.

    Answer by H-Tina at 9:27 PM on Jun. 22, 2011

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