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The Great American Myth: American History

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American history books are full of facts that should both thrill and sadden the hearts of anyone who hungers for truth. Unfortunately the history books used by the public school system and also the majority of homeschool associations do not include facts based on truth. Most of these books paint simplistic pictures of brave heroic figures that provide feel-good history that are not truthful, and honestly, quite boring.

When it comes to Christian homeschooling truth should be paramount in the selection of what our children are learning, but it isn’t. What our children learn about their nation and its founding is only the regurgitated myths passed down over many years to propagate an embellished and overstated storyline. All the stories we read in the textbooks are anticipated; every difficulty has already been resolved or is about to be resolved. They avoid controversy and conflicts of interest which real history is full of. They leave out anything that might reflect poorly on national conscience and character. Any drama that is added ends in exaggeration, because we know that everything always turns out for the good of America. Despite setbacks the United States is depicted as overcoming all challenges; this is the American mindset fostered and fed by what is falsely called American history. If the words of Jesus have any bearing on American history, regarding knowing the truth, then we are doomed to be prisoners: John 8:31-33

“So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free ‘?”

James Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) was an African American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic who made a very informed statement concerning American history.

“American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.”

What James meant, is the reason for this article. The present, not being a source of information for the writers of history books, is the consequence of having to repeat the past. You see, we don’t learn from history because we are never taught true history. Blacks and Indians don’t like American history because they know it is a lie to prop-up an idol, to which every American child is force to bow. World history is primarily a history of shame that every culture goes to great lengths to re-tell, and America is no different. Christian American history books repeat the same myths and instill the same false patriotic blend of hero-worship and national pride as do all the others, only they prefix theirs as the truth, by emphasizing a providential source and outcome. Until Christians are enabled to demand truth they will not understand what James meant or how to live really free lives. Likewise, Christians don’t understand why Indians scorn the celebration of Columbus, when they have been spoon fed the myths of his great [sic] adventures. The perceived need to promote Nationalism is one of the main reasons our children do not get taught true history. The desire to encourage honest inquiry is downplayed by the “duty” to indoctrinate patriotism. Consequently most of what needs to be known about American history is tossed out by the teachers and the text books, and the old saying lives on: “Those who do not know history’s mistakes are doomed to repeat them.”

There have been valiant attempts at correcting the problem by outsiders criticizing high school history books, like Frances FitzGerald’s America Revised: History School-Books in the Twentieth Century, A book about the way the American History non-college textbooks have changed since the late 1800s. In 1979, when her book was a best seller, she made the prediction that, “Text publishers may now be on the verge of rewriting history.” Her prediction did not materialize, even amongst Christians, who should have welcomed it. She recognized the problem and attempted to address it without putting on the required blinders to truth, or allegiances to banners, as do the popular publishers, so the darkness prevails.

The major problem with text book producers is that they are largely clones of former works. Anyone who would query the primary sources – deeds, diaries, directories, speeches, songs, photographs, articles, letters – of which there is a mountain of material, would conclude, as I do, that a great fraud has been forced upon our youth, and their teachers have become complicit, albeit through ignorance.

A secondary problem is “tradition.” Tradition has not only become a problem with our Christian heritage e.g. the Catholic Church’s placement of their tradition above the Word of God, but also with our National heritage; research and truth become subordinate factors to the cherished American myth. Recent research and exposes, by those who choose to color outside the lines of the status-quo, are mostly dismissed as too radical or heretical.

For the Christian teacher or parent – truth – should be the driving force, because it is truth that “sets us free.” Complacency is the enemy of truth, whether it is in our study of Scripture and its history, or in our study of the history of the world and the nation of our pilgrimage. Homeschool teachers believe that simply because they are in a “Christian” environment that this somehow inoculates their students to the world, when in actuality the world has crept into their homes and associations like yeast infiltrating and corrupting dough. Christianity and American history have both suffered along the same lines of complacency, and the consequences are the same: ignorance and stupidity, and neither are acceptable qualities.

The myth is so engrained that to teach the truth will no doubt place the teacher at odds with the majority of Americans who not only love their National lies but will die to preserve them. This is scary indeed considering the Apostle Paul’s message to Timothy that those who live righteously, justly, and truthfully, will suffer persecution. Consequently, the price for truth may be too high for most to pay, so the myth is elevated to the position of truth, and none object.

The first Christians were defenders of the truth, not myth and fantasy. They spoke and wrote on the basis of solid evidence. Peter wrote:

“We didn’t follow any clever myths when we told you about the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and His coming. No. With our own eyes we saw His majesty. God the Father gave Him honor and glory when from His wonderful glory He said to Him: “This is My son whom I love and with whom I am delighted.” We heard that voice speak to Him from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.”

“And we have a more sure word of prophecy. Please look to it as a light shining in a gloomy place till the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Understand this first, that no one can explain any written Word of God as he likes, because it never was the will of a human being that brought us God’s Word, but the Holy Spirit moved holy men to say what God told them.”

Is it only concerning the Bible that Christians are supposed to demand truthfulness, or is it in every aspect of life? I believe that Christians feel some vested interest in propping-up the National myths. Even though the New Testament declares that Believers are strangers in this world with their citizenship in another country, they feel an attachment to their world and nation and an allegiance that is not Biblical. Many of them know what the Bible says in this respect and they are quite sure that it doesn’t mean that they can’t participate in this world as if it was their home. By wearing the blinders concerning American history they have blinded themselves from Biblical truth as well.

There is a movement abreast to throw off the chains that bind people to historical falsehood, but I am sure that it will not succeed in this age of darkness, because the ruler of this world is the Father of lies and his world is the world of darkness and deception. Any attempt to bring truth and light into this world will be met with persecution; that is the law of darkness. But, nonetheless, Christians are commanded to be a light in this world and to expose lies wherever they appear, whether in the Bible or in our history; a lie is a lie and it cannot tolerate the light of truth.

In the next series of articles I am going to light-up a few myths that are national favorites of all Americans, including Christians, starting with the discovery of the Americas. I can guarantee you it will not be the boring stuff you received in American History class.

Stay tuned,

Steve Blackwell

Series NavigationThe Great American Myth: American History, Part 2 >>
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One reply on “The Great American Myth: American History”

The late Howard Zinn’s “Peoples History of the United States” is an exception to the rule. This book, defined as revisionist, is the subject of banning efforts today by several states. Mr. Zinn presents US history from the perspective of those victimized by the aggression of America.

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