I focus on information literacy skills in my course on the Bible – i.e. the ability to identify and utilize reliable sources of information amid the wide array of sources of varying degrees of reliability – and ridiculousness – that abound on the internet. And so I asked them at the end of class last time to come up with something bizarre that they have found or can find online that relates to the Bible.
Then I will ask them what makes it bizarre, and what the difference is between something that is nonsense or untrustworthy as opposed to something that is from a reliable source but might nevertheless still be wrong. In other words, starting to focus on the difference between scholarly views (and determining whether a given topic is characterized by consensus or division among experts), idiosyncratic scholarly views, and non-scholarly views.
If they do not come up with good ones, I might show them the video below which John Byron shared, about a topic I mentioned briefly in an earlier post, namely parents who are concerned that a palm vein scanner in the school cafeteria might be related to the “mark of the beast.” What makes it idiotic nonsense is not just that the Bible has no reference to such technology, but also the fact that the scanner scans the veins that are already in your hand, and has nothing to do with anyone getting a mark or microchip. And so the fears are at least doubly unfounded.
Is that a good example of the category of Bible-related nonsense? What other good and perhaps better examples can you come up with?