Wanna Have Faith? You Gotta Memorize!

This one was found at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. It’s titled The Bible Memory Man at the Creation Museum, and it has no author’s by-line. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Tom Meyer is known as the Bible Memory Man because of his unique ability to quote over 20 complete books of the Bible dramatically from memory [Gasp!], and you can currently hear from him on Wednesdays [Every Wednesday?] at the Creation Museum! Tom presents the Bible from memory in an engaging and powerful manner and encourages guests to defend their faith by memorizing Scripture as well. Learn more about his presentations below.

That’s fantastic — defend your faith by memorizing the bible! Let’s keep reading. AIG says:

In the Hall of Faith (Hebrews 11), the word “faith” is used 26 times. [Wow!] The author uses the word to summarize the short account of Old Testament saints’ lives of faith. Now, out of all 39 Old Testament books, the author of the Hall of Faith referenced the book of Genesis more than any other. In fact, Genesis 1–11 is referenced in the Hall of Faith more than any other portion in the entire Old Testament. [That’s important!] God knew that there would come a day when it would take real faith to proclaim and defend the truths of Genesis 1–11.

Right. Evidence isn’t important. You gotta have faith! After that, AIG tells us:

Join Tom Meyer as he weaves together from the heart, like a beautiful tapestry, Genesis 1–11 with the examples of faith mentioned in the Hall of Faith. The answers are in Genesis.

Fantastic! AIG continues:

Technology has information at our fingertips, but our relationship with God needs to be one of the heart, not the smartphone. Go deeper into Scripture by learning techniques from Tom that will help you memorize Scripture and enable you to defend your faith better.

Yeah, phooey on technology! Like our title says, if you wanna have faith, you gotta memorize! And now we come to the end:

Tom’s presentations are included with your museum admission. [Wow!] Start planning your trip [Link omitted!] to the Creation Museum today, and be sure to check your daily schedule [Link omitted!] to see if you can hear from Tom while you are here as well!

Tom must be important, because Wikipedia has an article on him: Tom Meyer (Bible Memory Man). That’s all you need to know, so make your plans to see him perform at Hambo’s creation Museum — and tell ’em the Curmudgeon sent ya!

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18 responses to “Wanna Have Faith? You Gotta Memorize!

  1. Laurette McGovern

    WTF! And I mean that with all due respect

  2. I would be interested if one had an ability with the original languages of the Bible: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.

  3. They are mesmerised with Genesis. The New Testament used to be the central part of the Bible for Christians. When did that transition happen?

  4. @TomS: Yes, I’d be impressed if he memorized each book in the language in which it was originally written. And I wonder if memorizing the multiplication table is essential for defending maths.

  5. So I guess he’s like a mega-hafiz.

  6. Dave Luckett

    My grandmother won a Sunday school prize for a flawless recital of the Book of Ruth from memory. The interesting thing was, it was from the Welsh Bible. My mother, who nursed her on her death bed, told me that she (my grandmother) began reciting it again with her last breaths. She had by that time regressed to Welsh, which was her mother-tongue, and that was one of the reasons my mother was nursing her – she also spoke it.

    But here’s the thing: my grandmother by that time could not remember who my mother was, nor where she was, nor understand anything that was happening to her. I hope she was made free of all fear thereby. But she could remember what she had memorised in Sunday school, seventy years before.

    Truly, the human mind is a really weird device, you know?

  7. Follow up.
    There is a Wikipedia article ״Standing on the shoulders of giants” which debunks the interpretation that Newton was making a snide remark in a dispute with Hook.

  8. Dave Luckett

    No, he’s not a hafiz. I’ll guarantee that he has memorised one translation, probably the KJV, of the text in question. A hafiz can recite from memory the entire Qu’ran in the original.. The Qu’ran is about the length of the New Testament, about 80 000 words, considered to be equivalent to a medium-length novel these days.

    However, there is one aspect in which this bloke resembles a hafiz, and that is that neither of them necessarily know what the words they have memorised actually mean. The hafiz need not understand the seventh-century Arabic of the original, and what has been absorbed might be no more to them than a sequence of meaningless sounds, which makes the feat truly remarkable.

    But I think it very likely that Meyer, also, has no real knowledge of the translation difficulties or controversies involved in rendering the original early (9th to 5th century BCE) Hebrew into English of any date, nor of how English itself has changed since the KJV was produced, nor of the brief the translators were working to, nor of the provenance and closeness to the originals of the source documents they were working with. That is to say, his recital of any of the words he has memorised, for example, “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth” does not include any understanding of the alternative meanings that the ancient Hebrew could reasonably support, and hence he has no real understanding of it. What we see here is on the same level as the performance of a well-drilled parrot, with as much significance.

  9. @Dave Luckett
    IMHO it is an easy way to approach teaching to require the students to memorize a text. Even if the text is is in an unknown language I have heard that the only instruction in one’s religion might be to memorize the in Latin other than the Italianate pronunciation. And in early days in the USA, native born kids who were monolingual in English would learn their prayers in the old country language.

  10. The confusion of memorization with knowledge shouldn’t surprise me as much as it does.

  11. @Paul Braterman
    Wikipedia has an article on the phrase “Standing on the shoulders of giants”. The discussion of Newton’s use debunks the idea that it was meant sarcastically. At the time, Newton was friendly with Hooke, their disagreement arose later.

  12. “and encourages guests to defend their faith by memorizing Scripture as well.”

    Or they could try smart phones. Way more better than memorization because of all the lame-excuse, oops I mean apologetics, web pages everywhere.

  13. “Technology has information at our fingertips, but our relationship with God needs to be one of the heart, not the smartphone.”

    How is anyone going to understand the gobbledygook if Biff from apologetics-R-us doesn’t tell them what it all means. Imagine randomly running across a Bible not knowing anything about it and then reaching all the conclusions that everyone else pretends are obvious. That would literally take a miracle.

  14. In Stendhal’s novel The Red and the Black, an ambitious young cleric memorizes the entire Bible, in Latin. Of course that was fiction, but presumably the character was plausible to readers of the day, because there were plenty of real world examples.

  15. Acts 8:30-31
    “Understand thou what thou read?”
    “How can I, except one guide me?”

  16. Stephen Kennedy

    I can not think of a bigger waste of time and effort than memorizing the bible.

  17. @TomS If they had smart phones back then, the verse would say, “How can I, I did not install TikTok.”

  18. I have heard (but not verified) that the best scrabble players in the world are non-english speakers who have memorized the official scrabble dictionary to know all the possible words without knowing what they mean.