Hush up what history?

Some people want to hush up the history of the University of Cambridge’s connections with the slave trade which is being researched.  You might think: why not investigate this? Or about time! Yet those attempting this research have found opposition from some colleges.

A detective with a magnifying glass. Can he look at a uni's archives?

A detective with a magnifying glass. Can he look at a uni’s archives?

Which side am I on?

History is on nobody’s side. I had thought that universities believed in seeking the truth in history as much as in science or anything else. In a recent post, I said we need answers to many questions before we can pass judgment on anyone for the slave trade. I want the truth. This means we have to ask awkward questions and think about the answers. Anyone who takes sides prematurely  is likely to oversimplify issues.

Hush up our patriotism?

I love Britain but I want it to be an honest country. We have much to be proud of. However, like anyone else, we’ve got some skeletons in our cupboards. Only by facing the past can we live confidently in the present and build a better future. Secret, lies and fake history do not help us.

Why is to hush up history like no-platforming?

I find some people’s views repulsive. and find some of the facts of history very unpleasant. I have come to realise that I need to think about those views, if only to enable me to understand why I disagree. Similarly, I need to know about the nasty bits of history as much as the nice ones. Otherwise I could be in cloud-cuckoo land.

How does this affect my faith?

Ever since becoming a Christian, and for some time before that, I have had to listen to opposing views. That has strengthened my faith, because I don’t suspect I have swept under my mental carpet awkward facts and arguments. In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church burned heretics and permitted only approved doctrines to be taught. How could anyone have real faith when there was no alternative? The Church, of all denominations, is now much smaller than it was then, as a proportion of society. However, it is actually  much healthier. Do you see a parallel with no-platforming and hushing up history?

A monk studying the Bible. Was he a heretic?

A monk studying the Bible. Was he a heretic?