For those of you who have taken history classes....

Jan 2012
14
Hi everyone, I've recently taken a humanities class at a college near me, and I am currently taking another one as well. My first class was Greco/Roman humanities, while I am now taking a late Roman/medieval humanities. One thing I have noticed is that both my teachers have shown a lot of bias when it comes to talking about Christianity, and other things relating to religion. My teacher for the first class wasn't so bad, he actually used things to back him up, and wasn't as biased, but my teacher for my current class has been much worse. She tends to teach using the bible as her main source of information, without having any other sources to back her up. For example, the other day she talked about how Abraham supposedly made a covenant with "God" and was told by him to leave his home. She also spoke about how Moses supposedly went up to the top of a mountain where god told him the Ten Commandments, among other rules. Now, I'm not saying I oppose all bias, I understand that we are all human and have our opinions, but I would prefer it if she didn't teach like the bible was her only source of information. Granted this was only in the first and second week of class so far, but still, I felt it was a bit too much bias. My question for everyone is, have your teachers ever been what you felt was too biased, and if so, did you do anything about it? Also, do you think that all bias should be excluded, or is there a fine balance? Personally, I think that a bit of bias is okay, but I like it when my professors teach more than one viewpoint, even if it isn't their own, and that they has multiple sources, and explain what the sources are.

((By the way, I am not trying to use this to start an argument about religion, theres a forum for that, so please don't answer trying to start an argument.))
 

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,815
Australia
When it comes to Christianity, or any religion, their particular holy book is the only source available, therefore there can be no cross referencing and comparing of sources as with other historic events. One is meant to take it on faith, that's why it's religion and not history.
 
Apr 2011
1,461
Melbourne Australia
I taught history and avoided bias by a very simple expedient, I didn't actually teach. What I mean is I did not turn the students into mental blotting paper, soaking up what I had to say without thought. I asked them to teach the class after researching a topic and the class was allowed to question their findings. It happened one very hot Oz afternoon in a portable classroom. The pupils did not want to learn. I was teaching Oz history so I took an illustration of a woman and child. I asked the class to look at the way she was dressed and how it would feel to be like that in this heat. I talked of husbands being away droving, of getting water from the creek and what would happen if the child was sick? After discussion had planted the idea, I then selected a small group of girls and asked them to research what it would be like to be a woman in outback Oz in the 19th C. I told them I would help in research by discussing their findings, not to agree or disagree, but to suggest extra info they might not have thought about. They were brilliant in their presentation, even down to dressing in period costume.
History is interesting so make it so.
As to something as fundamental as the bible. Approach it slowly. Talk of folk tales and how they endure. Discuss inconsistancies carefully. How a folk tale varies from culture to culture. I'm not where you are so I'm not sure how far I could go, but I'd have a small joke such as Moses was an old man and god asked him to climb a mountain. Then he gave him slabs of stone to carry back down when he could have talked to Moses at the bottom and given him a parchment. I'd say it was a miracle he got back down.
My point is do not teach but challenge your class to think.
 
Dec 2011
1,392
Using the bible isn't necessarily a bad thing. It was written during the times of long ago, and as such can give insights into the way people were back then.

Also there are actual historical events contained in the bible. So as a source surely its one of the better ones.
 

jungleplanewreck

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
2,205
England.
I've never found bias a problem, even though I've been taught periods that encompass all religions. I'd suggest talking to your tutor, most of them are pretty sound.
 

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
5,183
Canary Islands-Spain
It doesn't exist neutral history, there is always some kind of bias. The honest way to teach is telling, in conflictive points, that your opininon or opinions of historians you like are the ones that you're following, not the only "truth". However, this is viable in university and to some degree in last years of high school, but not with people under 14-15 years old.

A teacher that teach with the Bible underarm, as the sole sources of Christianity, isn't a history teacher but a religion teacher. History is a science, religion not. As such, every history teacher must apply the scientific method to religion teaching.
 
Dec 2011
1,013
Hertfordshire
Hi everyone, I've recently taken a humanities class at a college near me, and I am currently taking another one as well. My first class was Greco/Roman humanities, while I am now taking a late Roman/medieval humanities. One thing I have noticed is that both my teachers have shown a lot of bias when it comes to talking about Christianity, and other things relating to religion. My teacher for the first class wasn't so bad, he actually used things to back him up, and wasn't as biased, but my teacher for my current class has been much worse. She tends to teach using the bible as her main source of information, without having any other sources to back her up. For example, the other day she talked about how Abraham supposedly made a covenant with "God" and was told by him to leave his home. She also spoke about how Moses supposedly went up to the top of a mountain where god told him the Ten Commandments, among other rules. Now, I'm not saying I oppose all bias, I understand that we are all human and have our opinions, but I would prefer it if she didn't teach like the bible was her only source of information. Granted this was only in the first and second week of class so far, but still, I felt it was a bit too much bias. My question for everyone is, have your teachers ever been what you felt was too biased, and if so, did you do anything about it? Also, do you think that all bias should be excluded, or is there a fine balance? Personally, I think that a bit of bias is okay, but I like it when my professors teach more than one viewpoint, even if it isn't their own, and that they has multiple sources, and explain what the sources are.

((By the way, I am not trying to use this to start an argument about religion, theres a forum for that, so please don't answer trying to start an argument.))
It depends on what they're teaching....

Were they teaching religious studies or history? The Bible is a great source if you're teaching about Christianity, but a very poor source if you're teaching history....
 

DreamWeaver

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
10,445
Wales
not a problem so long as you are taught several different bias/views/opinions/theories to contrast.
 

jungleplanewreck

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
2,205
England.
not a problem so long as you are taught several different bias/views/opinions/theories to contrast.
Good point.

I had a lecturer who at the start would also inform us that what we were about to perceive was HIS views and that for a balanced argument and thus a decent essay we had to read around it.
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,959
Blachernai
When it comes to Christianity, or any religion, their particular holy book is the only source available, therefore there can be no cross referencing and comparing of sources as with other historic events. One is meant to take it on faith, that's why it's religion and not history.
I'm sure that's exactly how Christianity in the Middle Ages should be taught...