If you’ve had any interaction with the Bible then there is a good chance you are familiar with leprosy.
For those of you who haven’t picked up a bible lately, leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is a chronic infection that causes skin disfiguration, nerve damage and muscle weakness. The disease has been around since ancient times and often caused its patients to be shunned as outcasts.
The skin disfiguration terrified people and caused panic. During a leprosy outbreak, it was not uncommon for people to be forced out of town and even killed.
It is crazy to think that people were killed just because their skin looked different. While it is indefensible, maybe it is not that hard to believe how people could do this.
Without advanced science, biblical communities couldn’t figure out what was causing these folks with leprosy to look different. They figured it had something to do with a curse or the person’s sins. Because they didn’t understand what was happening to the person’s skin, they became afraid. Afraid enough to kill.
People fear many things. We especially fear what we don’t understand.
Recently, someone asked me how I decide what I am going to write about on this site. I thought about it for a while and came up with two answers:
First, I write about things that I find interesting/informative and think others will too. Second, I write about things I want to have a better understanding of.
I was not very happy with that answer. It sounded vague, boring and ended with a preposition.
However, the more I thought about it, the more I am okay with my answer. I ask questions, like Wonder Why Wednesday, because I want to learn. I post stories like, I Wish I Wrote it, because I want to share something I found interesting.
And most of all, I create posts like, 5 Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects, because I want us all to better understand the world around us.
By having a better grasp about what is happening around us, we can reduce the fear of the unknown.
As time has progressed, the fear of leprosy has subsided. Thanks to terrific technology and modern medicine, we can recognize that this once terrifying disease is very treatable. Because of that understanding, we are not afraid of the skin disfigurations and we no longer resort to shunning and killing lepers.
All this thanks to reducing the fear of the unknown.
That is a big part of why I write. To better understand what is happening around me. Writing is my way of making the unknown, well, known. And if you can absorb something from my learning, then we are all a little better off.
Photo credit: Wikipedia