Perspective can have a strange meaning. It can be tempered by time, or it can be eroded. It all depends upon the person, or the people involved.
When I was eleven years old, I decided I would read all the way through the Bible. I had not been a Christian very long at that point, so I sought to learn what the Bible offered for me as a new believer. So, I read the Bible from cover to cover. By the time I was through, I was twelve years old. It had taken me over a year, and I found many things I didn’t know. It was a very hard thing to do at that age, because of the way the King James version was written. It was a journey of discovery at that point in my life. It was fueled by love and dedication.
I read parts of the Bible many times during the ensuing years of my life, and then undertook to read it all the way through again in my mid-thirties. At this point, I was looking more for understanding. This time, I read the “New International Version” of the Bible and was able to read it all the way through in a period of several months. This reading was fueled by a need for a clearer meaning to some of the more difficult issues I was having to deal with as a father and a family-oriented person. I found that I agreed with much of what I had read, but had some questions about the meanings of certain things.
I re-read the Bible again in my mid-fifties. I went back and read the KJV again, because I had read research that said the KJV was 98.3% “pure” when compared to the Greek manuscripts from which it was being translated. I found a lot of things, especially in the Old Testament, with which I did not agree. I had read many, many other books in the years since I was eleven years old, including other versions of scripture and the books on which other religions are based. I also factored in other scientific and spiritual readings. This reading was fueled by a need to know if my former beliefs were warranted.
Three different eras of my life where I used my own personal perspective, with three very different outcomes.
I will not say at this point in my life where my personal beliefs now lie. They differ from most other people with whom I have been associated all my life. But, that’s really not the point of this writing. The point is, that no matter what our perspective on some issue is, we can be sure that it is different in some aspect…perhaps small differences, or perhaps very large differences, from other people.
The politics and beliefs of what constitutes a cohesive country and a real democracy, have changed tremendously over the past 15 or so years, mainly due to the difference in perspective between different groups of people in our country. If you belong to one certain group, then you believe one thing, while the other groups believe things which are 100% diametrically opposed. Many factors have gone into these changes in perspective, but I can understand how these things occur. I look at my experience with reading the Bible, and compare it to how people read the Constitution of the United States, and the vast differences which different groups see. To look at the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence and think of how I perceived them when I was a High School student in a Civics class, as opposed to how I see them now….it’s a vast difference.
To know that we were not taught many things in History classes that could have made a difference in our perspective of our country, makes me doubt that the system of government which we now have in our country will “long endure” as Lincoln put it.
I don’t think it will.
Countries change perspective, just as I changed perspective over the years of my life. Our democracy’s life is possibly on life support. But, that’s just my perspective.