It never ceases to amaze me how many people think that the Bible was written by the Creator Himself, or dictated word for word to the Apostles, with gentle taps on the fingers whenever they misspelt a word. This is clearly not the case. I can easily recall a half-dozen places where the Scriptures differ from objectively observed facts. It is an even greater mystery to me why this would diminish its worth in any way. Had the Apostles only known a fraction of what we have discovered through hard work, careful theorising, ruthless culling of all things untenable, then the Bible would have been an entirely different book. What we see are the facts, blurred and distorted by the very Human urge to embellish, and the also very Human ignorance. Whoever wrote the Bible was not in possession of all the facts that we now have, but they saw things that we can only speculate about. There is no shame in ignorance. Persisting in ignorance once new facts or insights become available, though, is an entirely different matter. And that is the crucial difference between the scientist and the dogmatist.
– Prof. Alan Wadcroft, “Never the twain shall meet”
This part of our adventure takes us to the city of Khartoum, the stage of many romantic tales of our time. Of course, these romantic tales have had their teeth and stings carefully removed. leaving one, perhaps, with the wrong impression of what might have happened in that part of the world. It is important to remember when dealing with the local people that “on good terms” is very much a sliding scale rather than an on-or-off variable.