1 year ago: Jeff Foxworthy, Mr. Gradgrind, and Bible trivia

September 18, 2012, here on slacktivist: Jeff Foxworthy, Mr. Gradgrind, and Bible trivia

I’m not questioning or disparaging the intent of the show’s creators. This problem isn’t a function of intent, but of structure. It can ask about lists and place-names, but not about meaning — about what, where and who, but never about why.

This misleads in the same way it always does when someone “teaches to the test.” When the Bible becomes raw material for a trivia quiz, its readers become people who can buzz-in and correctly provide both sets of names for Daniel’s three friends, but not people who can tell you anything about what it means to live faithfully in exile.

Details disregarding context produce an out-of-context understanding of the text and a disregard for its meaning. I’m not speculating here. I grew up among young-earth creationists and premillennial dispensationalists, so I know exactly what it means to approach the Bible primarily as a source of out-of-context trivia. And thus I also know what it means to later have to re-learn to read the Bible.

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And his own received him not

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  • SergeantHeretic

    Fred, as I am sure you are well aware, this kind of proof-texting and trivia searching and random Bible verse memorizing is in fact specifically desighned to create and foster exactly this kind of contextless contenless belief in “The Buy-Bull” with a total ignorance and failure to graps the overarching message of social justice, and true mercy and forgiveness.
    The Bible is being deliberatly chopped up into little bite-sized nuggets of content-free, context-free trivia specifically in order to insure that a “Bible believing Christian” remains completly ignorant of what the bible is talking about.

  • Eric Boersma

    Just as a note: when I click on the Slacktivist banner or the “Home” link at the top of the page, I redirected to a URL that is very much not Patheos, not sure why. If I got to patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/posts, I can see the page, but the home page seems to have a URL redirect script going on that you might want to get sorted, Fred.

  • Looks very patheos-y to me when I click the banner. :O

  • AnonaMiss

    I experienced something similar with one of the blog entries on Love, Joy, Feminism.

  • Eric Boersma

    Looks like it’s fixed now. Hopefully not a problem in the future! :)

  • Evangelicals believing in Biblical inerrancy are always going to chose certain verses and accept their literal meanings while distorting the original meanings of all contradictory verses.

    The worst thing (which is likely to cause me to vomit) is their insistence, their absolute confidence that their contrived interpretation of the contradictory verses is the right one.

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son