America is, and should be, a country of religious freedom. The roots of the winter holiday season, though, are based on the beliefs of Judaism and Christianity expressed in the Bible. (Currently, more than 70 percent of Americans consider themselves either Christian or Jewish and all but two of our Presidents have been officially affiliated with some form of Christianity.)
Although the Bible is seen as the word of God by many, according to the American government, “the Bible is not just a religious text. It is also a historical account.” Taking this point of view, the government has studied the existence of brain injury in the Old Testament. In 1995 and 1997, the NIH reviewed, “the death of Sisera by the hand of Jael (Judges 4: 21; 5: 25); the skull fractures of Avimelech incurred at the tower of Tevetz, (Judges, 9: 53, 54); and the slaying of Goliath by David, (Samuel I 17: 49-51).” In addition, the government studied the child of the Shunammite woman in II Kings 4. They determined that the child had a subarachnoid hemorrhage, also known as bleeding around the brain. In 2010, an NIH study entitled New insights to the neurological diseases among biblical characters of old testament found evidence of stroke in 1 Samuel, Psalms 137 5-6 and Ezekiel.
Notwithstanding the conclusions of these new studies, the Hebrew and Christian Bibles are ultimately religious books – the government calls them books of love, peace and hope. Searching through the Bible, I discovered a quote that expresses love, peace and hope to all brain injury survivors: “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame,” (Romans 5:3-5).