If you’re not doing anything tonight — and I know you’re going to clear your schedule for this — Kirk Cameron will be hosting the premiere of the National Bible Bee Game Show beginning at 8:00p (ET).
It’s a 30-episode series (!) in which “seventy-two young people ranging from 7 to 18 years of age compete for $270,000 in prize money” by regurgitating memorized Bible verses and answering trivia questions. It’s like the Spelling Bee, but with fewer brown people.
From each age division the top 3 percent of contestants compete in the bracket-style Scripture-knowledge tourney. In preparation, young people commit to memory up to 840 verses from the Bible in just 90 days prior to the competition.
“There is something special that happens when young people commit the Bible to memory,” says Steve Green, Chairman of Museum of the Bible, which opens in November in Washington, D.C.. “These kids are having fun and we are excited to be a part of its ground-breaking premiere on Facebook Live.”
According to Facebook, there are more than 1.9 billion people active every month on the Facebook platform. This will be the first ever television series to broadcast on Facebook Live. Bobby Downes, CEO of ChristianCinema.com, says “Facebook Live is the future of television. It allows us to choose our audience, pick the airtime and, most importantly, engage with the viewers as they watch this incredibly inspiring competition.” Downes added, “Over the span of this show we anticipate 30 million people will tune in and for those who miss an episode, a season pass or individual episodes can be purchased on-demand at ChristianCinema.com.”
This is just a bad idea from start to finish.
There’s the over-enthusiasm about the show being on Facebook Live, as if they seriously rejected offers from traditional cable channels. (Stop trying to make “fetch” happen, Christians.)
It’s not working, either, as you can see from this hilarious Facebook screenshot:
There’s the panel of judges… which makes no sense for a trivia competition where answers aren’t subjective. (There’s a reason Jeopardy! only needs Alex Trebek; everyone else is behind the scenes.) That said, if part of the show involves voting out the least Christian child, I could get behind this.
There’s the push-ups and surfing motions. Which I still don’t get after repeated viewings of the commercial.
There are the awkward moments with kids who clearly don’t know why they’re being put on the spot and just want to answer the damn questions.
And then there’s the faulty premise of the entire show, which suggests that memorizing verses is the best way to teach kids the lessons of the Bible. Any student or teacher will tell you that cramming for an exam by shoving information into your head is arguably the worst way to retain the material afterwards. What matters is application, not recitation. They ought to give the prize to the kindest, gentlest, most Jesus-like child, not the one who spends weeks on end memorizing a long series of begats.
Sure, you could make some of the same arguments about the Spelling Bee, but at least knowing Greek roots and countries of origin can help kids work through words they’ve never seen before. No one’s asking them to memorize the dictionary.
While we’re at it, can you imagine the evangelical freak-out if there was a Qur’an Quiz that required children of Muslim parents to memorize verses from their holy book? Holy shit, they’d be at DEFCON 1.
The show airs on the ChristianCinema.com Facebook page. Not on TV. In case you were wondering.
Remember: It’s the only game show where everyone loses.
(via Christian Nightmares)