New York Times religion test

Monday, October 11, 2010
By Frank Lockwood

Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times has written a religion pop quiz.

There are 13 questions (and a few of them are trick questions.) See how many of them you can get right. Bonus points if you can spot the questions where “All of the Above” is the correct answer.

P.S. I got 12 out of 13.

No Responses to “New York Times religion test”

  1. José

    Nice going, Frank. I only scored six correct but then again I am neither atheist, nor Jew, nor Mormon.

  2. Caleb Powers

    I got them all but one, too, not by knowing anything, but by predicting the bias of the questions. I figured any “good” quote was from the Koran, and that any “bad” quote was from a Judeo-Christian source. And if it was bad enough, it was all of the above.

  3. Good strategy, Caleb. I missed the one where the correct answer was the prophet Amos. Which one did you miss?

  4. Julian Malakar

    To my opinion, answer to question# 5 (Which holy text is sympathetic to slavery?) should be none of the above, instead of all of the above. Because the Bible does not oppose slavery, does not mean, it had sympathy to masters who were cruel and unjust to workers who were slave at that time. In commenting on answer to question# 6 (In the New Testament, Jesus’ views of homosexuality are: never mentioned), I would like to say for clarification that Jesus never mentioned homosexuality, because there was no controversy over morality of homosexuality issues like today, and no body asked question to Him whether homosexuality is as natural like holy matrimony. People asked question to Him whether or not divorce is permitted as Moses advised and we know Jesus’ answer to divorce that what God joins no one should separate them.

  5. Caleb Powers

    Julian, the point is that slavery by kind masters is wrong, too. And the Bible is indeed sympathetic to slavery.

  6. Caleb Powers

    Frank, first, sorry for my absence for awhile (perhaps it allowed peace to reign), and second, I missed the one about the suicide bombers. I figured something that evil had to have been invented by Christians, but no . . .

  7. Julian Malakar

    Caleb, right or wrong on biblical teaching of slavery system depends on which political glass we wear in using biblical teaching in today’s political issues. But let’s not forget that slavery has not had recent slavery of black race in America only, it started at the dawn of human civilization, e.g. Egyptian civilization. The biblical teaching helped preserving slaves’ right, e.g. six years of term for Hebrew slave and seventh year he was set out free for nothing, Exodus 21; 2-6 regulated slavery institution. It is like today’s corporate world, business entity buys me with salary and as long as I work for them I have to please my boss for my hunger, even though I may not like oiling boss.

    New Testament teaches slave’s real master is God Himself and instructs to obey his corporate boss like today’s business regulations. Bottom line we are slave to evil spirit even now. We can not be a good person even we choose to be but by grace of God we could free ourselves from evil sprit if we choose to and be righteous persons thru Jesus Christ. That is the teaching and sympathy of gospel towards slavery.

  8. Caleb Powers

    Julian, buddy, do you realize that you’re defending slavery? Do you really want to do that?

    All theological tripe aside, Julian, slavery is WRONG. And that’s true no matter one’s religion or how “well” one treats his slaves. If you can’t understand that, I doubt that you’re much of a Christian. And that six and seven year thing may have had some applicability to the Hebrews at some point in deepest antiquity, but it had nothing to do with the form of Roman slavery defended in the New Testament, in which the slaves were NOT freed after a period of years. And it certainly didn’t apply to the Egyptian slaves, or anybody else’s slaves, including our own right here in Kentucky. I don’t know where you live, Julian, but if you had to walk down streets every day, as I do, that were built with slave labor, and if you had to walk past the very place where Abraham Lincoln first saw slaves being sold at auction, I doubt if you’d have such a flippant attitude about slavery.

    So far, you remind me of Lord Acton’s famous quote that “There is no error so monstrous that it fails to find defenders among the ablest men.”

  9. Caleb Powers

    And, Julian, not to pile on, but the suggestion that slavery is in any way the equivalent of a person working for a salary or wages is just ridiculous. If you don’t understand the difference, I invite you to go to one of the third world nations in which people are still sold into slavery and offer yourself for sale; you might get a good price, and given that you seem to think slavery an acceptable human condition, you’d be right at home.

    In our own society, we at one time allowed people to indenture themselves as servants for a term of years, to secure their passage to the new world, and to learn a trade. Thousands took advantage of this, and many were ultimately freed, with a trade, in this great new world. But even that was wrong, and we abolished it as well as the older forms of slavery as well. I don’t know why this is hard for you. You can prattle on all you want to about Christ being the master of all of us, but we still have a duty to treat our fellow man with respect, and not to enslave them. And if the Bible doesn’t support that, the problem is with the Bible, not the morality.

  10. Julian Malakar

    Caleb, I am not saying slavery is better system than today’s corporate law in labor management. All I am saying those who blame the Bible for immoral activities, they need to study in-depth of biblical message specially in relation to spirituality with socio-economic and political context at that time. We need to remember that the Bible is for spiritual salvation with existing law and practice, not for social reform. American democratic value is not same in Islamic country, but Christians are not encouraged to fight for their right. Christ is the spiritual savior not a reformist. With comprehensive study of the Bible and prayer rather than cherry pick question and answer, they would find problem is not with the Bible but with themselves in understanding.

    Biblical instructions in slavery upheld slave’s basic right, when corporate law was nonexistence, such as food, shelter, clothing and protection of human life with family in lieu of his labor for his master. Providing food shelter etc. was the term of contract in buying a servant/slave for money. Buying and selling was in free will of both parties, no force was involved. The Bible condemns racial and forceful slavery as it happened in 19th century by salve traders from Africa. Hebrew was slave in Egypt not by choice but because they were Hebrews and we know how God saved them forcefully. Like Moses, Martin Luther King, a Baptist minister, never blame the Bible for immorality of slavery, rather he said before he was killed that he saw the glory of God. We do not understand pains of slavery more than Moses and Martin Luther King who were victims of slavery.

  11. Caleb Powers

    Julian, since you’re so in favor of slavery, I think you should go to countries that still have slavery and volunteer to be one, and see how well you like it.

    And you should be ashamed to even type the name Martin Luther King, after spouting some of the beliefs you do. Martin Luther King was a member of the NORTHERN wing of the baptist church. It was NORTHERN because the SOUTHERN baptists, still in existence today, split off from the national body because they supported SLAVERY. Do you think MLK didn’t know that? Of course he did, and of course he knew quite well that Christians have supported slavery for millennia. I suspect that if you look a little deeper into his writings, you’ll find this. Of course, you might also find some enlightenment, which you sorely need. I truly worry about someone who simply can’t see what is before his very eyes, Julian.

    And I don’t think those Biblical requirements that slaves be treated well were honored much by our American slaveowners, all good Christians.

  12. Julian Malakar

    Caleb, if you set your minds on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God, not on earthly things like human intellectual, you would understand what the Bible talks about slavery and what I am trying to explain to you on God’s righteousness on slavery. As I posted before, I do not endorse slavery in present time, it is like many other, primitive stage in human development in economic sector. I gave thanks to God removing this social sickness thru people like Moses, MLK and many others of His believers like you.

    I have experience of pains of poverty and I do not need further as you suggested for being a slave for a short period of time. May be you need some for first hand knowledge of exploitation by rich over poor and understand what God talks thru His living words in the Bible. It is true in all time with few exceptions like Abraham, that people’s inner eyes get blind with plenty of wealth and do not hesitate to exploit another human for greed even if they are declared Christian. You know that you can not blame Jesus for irrational behavior of some people southern or northern Christian. Why do you hesitate blaming a whole religion for few disarray believers in other religions? But you are blaming the whole Christian including me for few southern believers. Are you jealous about Christians for majority believers in America? Please answer.

    The slavery you are talking about is that kind of exploitation and be noted that God never allowed that form of slavery. Do you remember, Jesus said that rich would have difficulties in going to heaven like camel have difficulties in finding a needle on the ground? It is because of their greediness, lust etc. I do not mind to be a slave of rich people like Abraham in the Bible who had many slaves and God blessed him with a child at old age, no people on earth have that blessing so far. Abraham had provided dignity, honor and means for living with joy for all of his slaves like today’s kind owner of a company where people works for their life with joy. You know there are many peoples who worked life long in one company. In olden time slavery is one way of earning bread and butter in legal way like today’s entrepreneurship where people works for lively hood. I wonder those who point finger to God and His living words in the Bible on slavery, know or not that another finger of their hand points towards them. Caleb, you should watch out that another finger of yours pointing towards you when you say it is the Bible’s problem.

    God does not praise rich guys who exploit poor and become richer with advantage of economic hardship in any time of human history. In today’s American economic report says that rich is becoming richer and poor is becoming poorer in America. It is possible only by exploitation of poor by rich and affluent people in society like you. God bless you, Caleb.

  13. Caleb Powers

    Julian, I grew up in Appalachia. I think I have a sufficient understanding of the way the rich exploit the poor — and their natural resources. My point is that slavery was wrong. If it takes you five paragraphs to respond to that, and your response is dissembling (“I don’t endorse slavery in the present time”), I don’t worry a bit about pointing the finger, Julian.

    And if you think slavery was EVER right, no matter what the Bible says, you obviously have missed the whole point of Christianity. We are all sinners, Julian, and slavery was one of the sins our ancestors committed. I don’t know why you can’t admit that. I grew up in a time and place when the Klan still burned crosses, Julian, and you remind me of them: They also supported their ideas from the Bible.

  14. Asinus Gravis


    Not only are you essentially wrong on slavery, you are further wrong on trying to make it out that the Bible is not interested in political, economic, and social issues. Anyone who thinks that way has obviously ignored the prophets, most of whom pronounce God’s condemnation of precisely such political behavior, economic behavior, and social behavior.

    Also, you must have ignored the gospels, where it is clear that Jesus got most of his best material straight out of the prophets. Talk about the kingdom of God is discussing what the world is to be like when God is king and Caesar is NOT KING. Perhaps you should examine more closely why the Romans executed him; he was seen correctly as a threat to their running things the way they wanted.

  15. Julian Malakar

    Caleb, Asinus, slavery was not illegal at Abrahamic time and it is not wrong even today’s standard. In capitalistic ideology “my money, my choice”, if I offer a job $10 million yearly salary, only on one condition, has to be faithful until s/he dies. There would be no shortage of applications to fill up the position. Is this historical deal wrong morally and legally? Only few days before a prince of Saudi Arabia has been convicted in London court for murdering his slave/servant for 20 year jail sentence. Prince was not charged for keeping a slave even by press.

    Caleb, you must be remembering Jesus’ parable of hiring a person, one at 8 am and another one at 4 pm to work for their master’s corn field and at the end of the day both were paid same amount of money. Unless your eyes irritate for generosity of their master, there is nothing wrong even in today’s standard for uneven rate of payment. It falls under “my money, my choice”, take it or leave it. I hope both of you have realized the situation of around 5 thousands years BC. Caleb, I do not have guts to say our forefather Abraham committed sin keeping slaves at his tent and Holy God by blessing him. If you like you can do so, you have God given free choice, but I can do pray for forgiveness only.

  16. cheese

    Julian, slavery is wrong, any time, any place. If the Bible condones it, then the Bible is wrong.

  17. Caleb Powers

    As to slavery, Julian, you’re right, slavery wasn’t illegal in Biblical times any more than it was illegal in the Old South. And yet it was morally wrong both places. I don’t know why you can’t understand that. And your analogies to million dollar salaries is ridiculous. In order to make it a clean analogy, you’d have to offer someone starvation wages, horrible working conditions, and write into the contract your ability to beat, starve, whip, and torture them at will. For life. Yes, Julian, I’m sure you’d be flooded with applicants.

    As to your inability to understand that Abraham was morally wrong: That’s exactly your problem, Julian: You don’t have the guts to speak truth to power.

    The fact is that many people in the Bible did things that we would never condone today, slavery being the least of them, the list going from there upward to murder, adultery, incest, and guess what, Julian? They were all sins. The religious establishment of the time may not have recognized them as such, Julian, but we have advanced to the point today that we know the truth, and Julian, the truth will indeed set you free, because it will free you from the inaccurate preconceptions of the past, to which you cling so dearly.

    The traditional Anglican approach to scripture, Julian, recognizes that times change and that things that were not considered immoral at the time truly were, and ought to be considered so. It is only when you take the modern evangelical version of scriptural interpretation, that is, that we can never learn anything more about morality than what is contained in the Bible, that we get into trouble, because that doctrine, like all intellectually dishonest doctrines, doesn’t work well in practice. Under your theory, Julian, we have to say murder is okay, because King David, a man after God’s own heart, committed it, along with adultery. We’d have to say that polygamy is okay, because half the characters in the Bible practiced it, and ditto with slavery. Is that really the world you want to live in, Julian?

  18. Julian Malakar

    “As to your inability to understand that Abraham was morally wrong: That’s exactly your problem, Julian: You don’t have the guts to speak truth to power.”- Cable.

    Caleb, show us some solid evidence without spinning that shows Abraham personally treated his slaves inhumanely, starvation, torture etc. I am not interested your personal moral value which have no basis other than personal agenda to accomplish.

  19. Caleb Powers

    Julian, buddy, you still don’t get it. Slavery is immoral even if the slaves are living in a luxury hotel (which I don’t imagine they were). It’s the ownership of another human being that’s wrong. Don’t you understand that?

  20. Julian Malakar

    Caleb, in what standard or who did tell you that slavery is immoral? Our constitution tells us it is unlawful to buy and sell human like any other animal, but it does not tell us immoral. Why are you telling this immoral, in what standard? Immorality is godly standard. Neither, you nor I could tell the will of Holy God. He created us free and to our standard we can do what we like to do, like “my money, my choice” but constitution binds us not to be wild, prohibiting cruelty to animal as well as buying and selling of human preventing from torture and misuse. Abraham Lincoln fought for that purpose. God and society wants kind and human behavior among us, as commanded in the Bible you know that a) love your neighbor (employee, owner, servant or slave) and b) love your God. I am sure you know that recently one Nepalese family in New York City have been awarded a multi million dollar building in NYC after their master’s death for serving them as long they lived. Is it not encouraging for humanity, whether free or bonded. That kind of behavior our society and God want from us. Abraham and other godly people treated their domestic servants (slaves) in the past like the way wealthy family in NYC did to Nepalese family. Please does not use the Bible as southerners did for fulfilling your agenda? Test and see the Bible is Holy.


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