Mccording to the web page at http://tinyurl.com/ylahahw the inaugural National Bible Bee was held recently. That is a contest to see who has done the best job of memorizing the Bible.
MY question: why?
Wouldn't a more useful contest be to see who could do a better job of analyzing the Bible? Wouldn't it be a much better test to find out who could write the best paper explaining the message in some passage in the Bible?
It's like memorizing how to spell a word. Knowing how to spell a word doesn't guarantee that you know what the word means. The word "antidisestablishmentarianism" is widely known as one of the longest words in the English language. Most people who have heard that word couldn't tell you what it means (even though the meaning can be fairly easily deduced by analyzing the word). Isn't knowing what something means more important than knowing how to spell it?
Similarly memorizing the first few verses in Ecclesiastes doesn't mean that you necessarily understand them. As a matter of fact if you are memorizing something you are probably NOT analyzing it. That would be too distracting.
I've always believed that one of the many bad things about believing in Biblical inerrancy is that it actually tends to actually DIMINISH the amount of thought and analysis given to the Bible. For example, if you believe that the book is inerrant, then you're generally not allowed to ask WHY something happened. The Bible says that it happened. Therefore it happened. End of story.
Why did God send a global flood rather than use some other method for killing all evil humans? You're not allowed to think about such things. God did it so it must have been the best way. Q.E.D.
Alas, Biblical literalism could be actually argued as anti-Bible as well as anti-God and anti-Christian.