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

1 year ago: Jeff Foxworthy, Mr. Gradgrind, and Bible trivia September 18, 2013

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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