How do you KNOW which version of history to believe?

@miamilady (4924)
United States
September 2, 2007 2:57pm CST
I was taught that Columbus discovered America. Well, apparently that isn't necessarily the case. Disney made a lot of money on the movie Pocahontas. Apparently their version was a bit off. Last year my daughter took a history class in middle school. Her teacher taught his class the alternative (or alternate) versions of History. Apparently most of the things I was taught in school were lies? Or perhaps just wrong? Now, she's going to a Christian school. She is taking World History. From a Christian perspective. My point is this. Every day, I hear people saying they "know" what happened, because they read a book about it. They "know" that this account was wrong because they read a book that said so. The same comes up with religion. Some believe the bible as if it is fact while others believe it is a manmade text and it is fiction. So, my question is this. Do you think you KNOW what happened back then? If you weren't there, HOW do you KNOW?
6 people like this
21 responses
@Destiny007 (5820)
• United States
3 Sep 07
The better question is, how does anyone else know what actually happened?... It is getting to the point where you can't depend on the schools to teach the real history, they try this new sanitized version where everything we were taught is school is now wrong. As for the Bible, well it is supposed to be the word of God as given to man and then written...and to my knowledge there is no one alive today who was there over the time period that it took to write the Bible, therefore there is no one in any position to say that it is false. Either you believe it's words or you don't.
1 person likes this
@pismeof (855)
• United States
2 Sep 07
There is a saying that "History belongs to the Victor" and in many ways I believe that is true.Certainly no one in battle would want to save for posterity any form of defeat,Thus the winner's wrote the History.But,Just like today their are the pundits and the spin cycles and what future generations read about our time is all up to the spin mysters. There are numerous things that have been written into the Bible that seem A)appalling and B)utterly ludicrous .I think more often then not you must investigate different theories on your own or at the very least try to use common sense when making judgement on certain "FACTS" that have been written into history books.
1 person likes this
@DavidReedy (2411)
• United States
2 Sep 07
Well, there is the cliche' "History is written by those who do the hanging." We can never trust a Disney version of a story. Sleeping beauty wasn't woken with a kiss exactly. The hunchback of notre dame didn't have a happy ending. Pocantas was gang-raped and forced into marriage about age 12. The best we can do is do as much research as possible, and consider what's factual for the times. In the cases of religion if you do a little research you find out they rip off from each other. The "sign of the cross" for example is shorthand for the sign of the zodiac. Easter is named for "Istar" a fertility goddess, thus the whole searching for eggs in grass and straw. I think there are many in government, in media, etc., who don't count on the average person doing their homework.
@RobinJ (2501)
• Canada
3 Sep 07
I have to agree with you if you weren't there then we must take someone's word for it, and not only that who knows what has happened to those words, so what i have to believe is scientific facts. because science is an investigation of something and then gives its conclusions and data to authenticate their conclusions. the reader or viewer of such investigations is left to accept or reject the findings.
@barehugs (8992)
• Canada
2 Sep 07
The Vikings had a colony on the coast of whats now canada several hundred years before Columbus. History is like the Bible, just a bunch of Myths and fairy stories. Actually there is usually something that can be found on the ancient site that can be carbon dated. This might help but carbon dating doesn't work that well on recent (like 300 to 1000 yrs ago) sites. so we are up the creek on that one. Your guess is as good as anyones!
@urbandekay (18314)
28 Jan 08
Even with carbon dating great care needs to be taken and consideration given to what you are measuring. Carbon dating of the Turin Shroud is a case in point; carbon dating suggested it originated in the medieval era until it was realised that the sample was taken from the perimeter of the item, where in medieval times it had been frequently handled, the carbon dating was accurate but it gave an accurate measurement of contamination to the item that occurred in medieval times. Recently the item has been shown to be much older. Always when measurements are made we should ask, "What exactly are we measuring?" all the best urban
• Atlantic City, New Jersey
28 Jan 08
History is exactly that HIS-STORY- so thier are many many versions as to what really happened back then. Being a bit of a conspiracy theorist I have always thought that our "school books" tend to keep alot of pertinant information from us as to not allow us to discover the real truth. I personally do not believe Columbus discovered America from reading many books and articles written by different types of people who have studied these subjects such as professors and historians. I believe that we only know what "they" want us to know about the real history of America. They only tell you about the blood shed in but a few times revolving around the discovery of America. I personally believe the discovery of America is filled with so much violence towards the natives here that it would be impossible for the real truth to be told. I guess I know these things because I can feel them. When I read about different topics I try to see them from every angle- just just my own perception- before I come to my own conclusions.
@twoey68 (13662)
• United States
28 Jan 08
Since most ppl (Ok, none of us were) weren't around when Columbus discovered America and all of that then we have to take things on faith. It really comes down to what we choose to believe in. I choose to believe that Columbus did discover America simply b/c that is what I was taught. It's what I've believed in for almost 40 years so I don't see me changing that now. The same for God, the Bible, the world being round and so forth. If others want to believe differently that's up to them. **AT PEACE WITHIN** ~~STAND STRONG IN YOUR BELIEFS~~
@ranitam22 (1147)
• United States
24 Sep 07
A lot of things from history are mostly passed down from word of mouth and eventually written down. Sure there is always room for error, someone not interpreting something right, people have different meanings for the same word at times. I was taught in school as well that Columbus discovered America. But how can something be discovered when he encountered live people living there? It doesn't make sense. I'm not sure why the "discovery" of America is so sugar coated for kids only to learn the truth later down the line. but I guess it's just like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny in a sense. I look at History books and things as a tool. I read more than one opinion or more than one account of a story I really want to know about. I usually take what is similar in both as true and the rest interpret it how I see it. Things in the present also tell you things about history as well and things that have happened in the past. I'd say probably half is true and the other half is just someone else's interpretation or sometimes people change stories to fit their own beliefs which mess up the whole meaning. It all depends who is writing the story.
@MrNiceGuy (4148)
• United States
24 Sep 07
The world doesn't work if you have to see everything to believe it...
@gradyslady (4056)
• United States
18 Sep 07
Sometimes it is kind of hard to know what is truth and what is written down to make something or someone look good. I guess it's just whatever you want to believe. I know a lot of people believe we never went to the moon and a lot of people that do believe it. It's an on going battle.
@Eskimo (2329)
5 Sep 07
Eric the Red is supposed to have discovered America and set up a viking colony there around the 10 th century. History has a habit of being changed every time there is a war, and the winners only allow their version of history to be published. The bible was kept in the vatican for many centuries and could have been changed many times over that period, as ordinary people were not usually allowed to read it. A lot of other history has been passed down by word of mouth, and not written, so it could also have changed over the years.
@sigma77 (5385)
• United States
4 Sep 07
This is a good question. How do we really know exactly what happened in the past other than what we are taught or told? Whatever has happened did so in exactly a specific way. But I am not sure if the past is so important.
@Gemmygirl1 (2871)
• Australia
4 Sep 07
This is an odd topic to find because they were just discussing how Captain Cook discovered Australia in the early 1900's or late 1800's - on the TV. Some guy who wants to prove that wrong, has found Spanish coins dated mid 1500's which means chances are the English weren't the first ones to discover the country. He's wanting to dig, to find possible ship wrecks (parts of Oz used to be under water) but the Gov don't wanna let him do it because they don't want to have to re-write the history books of who really discovered Australia! I don't think anyone can really know what went on UNLESS, perhaps, a family member has written down what went on during their life time & it was handed down through generations, being added to as the years went by!
@Rozie37 (15505)
• Turkmenistan
3 Sep 07
I see your point. However, I look at it like this, the Bible tells us to do things a certain way. If we do those things the way the Bible tells us to and they work, then we know that the Bible is truly the inspired word of God. If we do them and it does not work, then we know that it was probably made up by man. So I dare to suggest that we do everything exactly the way the Bible tells us to and prove to ourselves once and for all. God is waiting to prove himself real in our lives.
• India
3 Sep 07
hey! its time to forget history.. all what has happened will not occur again and is gooone for goood. think for future and aim higher and achieve it:-)
• United States
3 Sep 07
When I was a kid in school, we thought the history books were gospel of course. But getting into high school and after school so many things that we learned as gospel turned out to be totally untrue or skewed to a one-sided viewpoint. As an adult anything that is brought up as "historical fact", I look at it from a logical standpoint. If it makes 100% sense and there can be no other possible explanation that makes sense then I'll believe it. Otherwise I file it away as "likely" or "unlikely" true. I've seen so many documentaries where they put things as facts and I can sit here watching it and pick it apart with several other explanations for the same thing. I'm a highly skeptical person and need a lot of proof before I call something a fact. I've just seen too many instances in history where so many things have later been disproved.
@dbhattji (2508)
• India
3 Sep 07
Anyone who can afford to publish a book writes about any topic on the earth and there is no way to check what they write - so we must be very careful about what we read - including history. Check the credentials of the authors, experience and their track record. A lawyer giving advice on medicine should not be acceptable.
@derek_a (10903)
3 Sep 07
I learned a lot of "different" historical things in school too. I can't help but wonder if historical fact is often twisted a little as a sort of propaganda.. Maybe...
@phon4u (2217)
• Laos
3 Sep 07
I think students will get confused for two different resources. They should find out more with the older people or other sources in the library or online free encyclopedia. Or with different professors.
@Lakota12 (42794)
• United States
3 Sep 07
All we can go by was how it was put down to us. and yup I beleive that Columbus did discover America even if it was just an Island off shore he got close and I think out history books were right for they were wrote by or handed down by people that wetre there.