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The above link is an audio file originally broadcast on KBYU-FM (approx. 30 mins). It is a very interesting discussion about one specific topic, though it tangentially addresses a second one. I highly recommend taking the time to listen to it.

The primary topic is how often the Christians were martyred by the Romans (answer: not very often). The reason the Christian world believes that the early Christians were being martyred left and right by the oppressive Roman tyrants is largely the result of some propaganda and the fact that it was a desirable bit of mis-information (desirable by Christians as a rallying cry and for the “poor me” attitude) and the group who would have sought to clear up the misunderstanding (the Romans) was crumbling in upon itself and did not persist long enough to set the record straight. The offended (or affected, as you choose) group saw the benefit in not correcting this incorrect assessment of reality as time went on and so the oral tradition grew unchecked.

The topic that is touched on in a tangential way is the way in which we (collectively) remember history and how it is important to make sure that we don’t simply repeat hearsay as actual fact and to make sure that we consult recorded history as a means to maintain accurate perceptions of past events. I think about all the times we (collectively) claim history went a certain way and it is so widely accepted that we fail to feel the need to have or consult documented primary sources.

This is all the more true in our always-on internet connected twittering, facebooking, blogging society. We are able to spread information person-to-person much more quickly now (in the span of seconds and minutes rather than days, weeks, and months). Due to the amount of information we take in each day, events that happened only months ago begin to feel much further removed in the past and we rely on vague recollections of what we read from a text message or on a blog at one point. If we doubt our memory, we can search for the tweet or the facebook entry where we first read the new information, but how often do we consult accurate first-hand reporting of the issue at hand rather than what we read from some removed source?

Food for thought.