Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Bible tells me so

At various points in my life, I’ve been invited to Bible study classes.

It’s entirely possible that I have actually attended some of them, but it would be impossible for me to verify where or when that I did. My favorite local church has “beer and Bible nights” at various times of the year, which I would definitely consider attending. In the absence of beer or other alcoholic beverages, however, I’d be much less inclined to contribute what my interpretation of the Holy Book might be to a group of fellow Christians.

As I rode north to Kenosha on my bicycle last week, the thought occurred to me that it would be interesting to conduct a “Bible quiz” for some of my friends and family members. I’ve listed the questions below, and have provided the answers at the end of the article. This IS an open book test, so you ARE permitted to use whatever version of the Bible you would like to check your answers. In order to keep it simple, I have limited the number of questions to the 10 that I thought were particularly relevant.

Here they are:

1 - What does the Bible say about sausage pizza?

A. it will multiply if put into baskets
B. it should only be eaten on unleavened bread
C. it should never be eaten with anchovies
D. it is forbidden

2 - What does the Bible say about punishing children?

A. always be nice to them
B. hit them with a rod
C. take away their allowance
D. stone them to death

3 - What does the Bible say about fish?

A. never cook it in the microwave
B. OK to eat if it has fins and scales
C. you can eat any kind of fish that you want
D . check for mercury levels before eating

4- Alcoholic beverages are:

A. recommended
B. not recommended
C. permissible for Irishmen
D. a and b above

5 - The first person to translate the Bible into English:

A - was elevated to sainthood
B - belonged to the English House of Commons
C - was an English teacher at Oxford
D - was strangled and burnt at the stake

6. Homosexuality is:

A. an abomination
B. a sin
C. God’s punishment to evil parents
D. permitted

7. Slavery is:

A. permitted
B. forbidden
C. OK for me, but not my neighbor
D. a and b above

8. Circumcision

A. is recommended
B. is condemned
C. hurts like crazy
D. takes away a boy’s manhood

9. Adultery

A. is forbidden
B. is allowed
C. is permissible if you are more than 18 years old
D. is permitted on Sadie Hawkins Day

10. Marriage of a sister is :

A. condemned
B. allowed
C. permitted if you live in Kentucky or Arkansas
D. a and b

Many of the references mentioned above comes from the website listed below. Although Islam is the most popular religion in the world, closely followed by Roman Catholicism, “ none of the above” is actually the most popular “religion” in the world, which is why I quoted from a website whose purpose is to convert folks to atheism.

I swear to God that I’m an atheist


1 - d - see Leviticus 11:7-8

2 - a, b, and d {Colossians: 3:21, Proverbs 23:13-14,
Deuteronomy 21:18-21)

3 - b and c - see Leviticus 11:9, and c - Genesis 9:3

4 - d - see Proverbs 31:6,7, 1 Timothy 5:23, Psalm 104:15, Proverbs 20:1, Proverbs 23:31,32

5 - d - see link below:

who was William Tyndale?

6 - d- see John 13:34,35. It’s inconvenient to Christian ideology that as many as 10% of the people living in America would be considered to be “gay”. Those who argue that same sex unions would destroy the sanctity of marriage ignore that fact that roughly 20% of all marriages in America have at least one partner who has “strayed” from their marital fidelity obligations during their marriage. In my lifetime, I have attended a LOT of weddings, but only ONE same sex “union”. The most love-filled of all of them, however, was the ceremony that joined together two people of the same gender

7 - d - See Genesis 9:25, Leviticus 24:45,46, Joel 3:8, Isaiah 58:6, Exodus 22:21, Exodus 21:16, Matthew 23:10

8 - a and b - see Genesis 17:10 and Galatians 5:2

9 - Answer: a and b - see Exodus 20:14, Hebrews 13:4. Numbers 31:18, Hosea 1:2, Hosea 2:1-3

10 - d - see Deuteronomy 27:22, Leviticus 20:17, Genesis 20:11,12,


2 or less: you’ve been watching too many TV evangelists
3-5: you need to do more independent thinking
6-8: you’ve strayed a bit from the Baltimore catechism
9-10: how soon can you start teaching Bible study classes?

The Bible is not actually a “book” as we define that term. It is essentially a compilation of writings that were produced over a period of roughly 1500 years. The original versions were written in Hebrew, Egyptian, and Aramaic (the language of Jesus Christ). In all, there are 66 books in the Bible (39 in the Old Testament, and 27 in the New Testament), and the EXACT CENTER of the Bible is Psalm 118. Psalm 118.8 has particular relevance:

"It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people".

That's why it's especially important not to take people like Jimmy Swaggart, Fred Phelps, Terry Jones, or Harold Camping very seriously.

Several versions of the Bible are currently in circulation, but virtually all current editions of the Bible have been through a number of revisions over the years.

The Bible that I have on my bookshelf is the King James version, my wife used the New Living Translation version. and our "family Bible" is The New American Bible for Catholics. Technically speaking, though, NONE of the versions that we own are complete versions of the Bible because they do not contain the Gnostic Gospels If you're not familiar with the Gnostic Gospels, they are a collection of 52 texts that were written from the 2nd to the 4th century A.D..If you've seen the 2003 movie, The DaVinci Code, or the 1999 movie, Stigmata, you've had at least a brief exposure to them.

The purpose of this story isn’t to criticize those who are avid readers of the Bible, nor is it meant to chastise folks who could care less what the Good Book says. It’s simply an exercise that will allow you to take a broader view of what your religious beliefs are, as well as what they should be.

Lost in the shuffle of all of the religious discussions that seem to be an unending dialogue throughout the world is that the vast majority of the people in the world share a common ancestor - Abraham. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are all called “Abrahamic religions” because of their common link. Although I haven’t read the Torah yet, I HAVE read the Koran, and currently have two copies on my bookshelf. I also wrote a “book report” of more than 4000 words about the Koran shortly after I finished reading it.

The Koran is 361 pages in length, roughly the size of the New Testament. Although there are a number of stories in the Koran that were originally written for the Bible, the strongest connection is the story of Joseph, which is found in Genesis 39-50, and retold in its entirely in Sura (chapter) 12 of the Koran.

Would I encourage people to read the Bible for guidance on how to lead their lives?


Do I believe that “the Word of God” should be taken literally?

Absolutely not.

If I had to pick ONE verse in the Bible that I’d recommend as good advice for anyone, I’d recommend Proverbs 17:22:

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones”.

Translated into modern English, the Good Book is telling us to set aside our differences, and to always look on the bright side of things.

That makes sense to me, because the Bible tells me so.


  1. You lost your footing on question 6. To indicate that a verse instructing us to love each other is evidence that homosexuality is 'permitted' is not a stirty argument. I can see that you feel that is what you want the bible to say, but the Bible is more clear on the issue of homosexuality than on many other controversial issues.

    One thing is for sure: We should love gay and straight people. You don't necessarily need to approve of someone's actions in order to love them.

    1. Caleb:

      I absolutely agree with you that we should love gay and straight people. I have a close relative who is a lesbian. If you had the chance to meet her, I think that you would agree that she is a charming, intelligent, and very decent human being, as is her partner. I have absolutely no problem with her relationship.

      A lot of emphasis is put on Leviticus 20:13, but if you go back a few verses, you'll find Leviticus 20:10.

      If you take the Bible literally (which I don't recommend) all of us would be compelled to stone Newt Gingrich, Donald Trump, a minister in Hammond, Indiana, and a LOT of politicians around the world.

  2. Here is one quote from the Baha'i Scriptures for today's Feast of Questions (Dec 13, 2015: "In thine esteemed letter thou hadst inquired which of the Prophets of God should be regarded as superior to others. Know thou assuredly that the essence of all the Prophets of God is one and the same. Their unity is absolute. God, the Creator, saith: There is no distinction whatsoever among the Bearers of My Message. They all have but one purpose; their secret is the same secret. To prefer one in honor to another, to exalt certain ones above the rest, is in no wise to be permitted. Every true Prophet hath regarded His Message as fundamentally the same as the Revelation of every other Prophet gone before Him. If any man, therefore, should fail to comprehend this truth, and should consequently indulge in vain and unseemly language, no one whose sight is keen and whose understanding is enlightened would ever allow such idle talk to cause him to waver in his belief." -- Bahá'u'lláh

    1. Dave: the above paragraph is just as appropriate today as when it was published .. today's target is the Islamic religion, but Jews and Catholics have also faced a lot of discrimination over the years .. modern right wing "Christians" are anything but that