One place I’ve been finding that biblical scholarship is seriously behind is in using video. I’m know I’m not the first to notice this, but even though someone probably has, it deserves mention again.
Let’s take the issue of Noah’s Ark for example since this latest debacle has brought it up. If someone searches “Noah’s ark” on Youtube here are the primary things that they might learn depending on which videos they choose to watch:
- Noah’s ark has been found
- Noah’s ark has really been found somewhere else
- The story of Noah is ridiculous and shows that God is a vindictive punk
- The story of Noah is sweet like other cartoons for children (the polar opposite of 3)
One thing that you’d notice if you ran that search is that there isn’t one video in the top results posted by anyone who might be even remotely considered a biblical scholar or real archaeologist.
Now, that’s all fine and well until you realize how many hits these videos have. For instance, there is a video entitled “Discovery of the real Noah’s Ark Part 1.” This video has over 450,ooo views. There’s another video with a similar title with over 650,ooo. These videos are getting more views than I can imagine most print articles on the topic are getting.
Personally, I feel like I’m pretty terrible at doing video. It’s uncomfortable for me, but I’ve been trying to get over it. I think it is going to continue to become more and more necessary.
As a positive, one thing I’ve noticed is that you don’t have to be very good at doing video to get viewed on Youtube. There’s no way for them to crawl a video the same way that content is crawled on the web. So, your video can be a lame screen capture with a decent title and still get noticed.
At the very least, I think biblical scholars need to start focusing in on some of the issues that tend to be more problematic (e.g. noah’s ark, the ark of the covenant, etc…) and recording videos about them to post as video responses to some of the nonsense that one finds on sites like Youtube. Of course, the option to post a video response is not always available, but it is sometimes possible.