Dan Barker's Bible Quiz Answered

Dan Barker offers his own polemical "Bible Quiz," but it's not impressive to those who do the scholarship. When using this we assume you have Barker's quiz in front of you -- this is a reference, with mostly links, which will take you to the answer to each question and criticism; thus we have not even reproduced the questions.

Some links may not work; if they do not and you need an answer, drop me a line.

  1. See here, and here for added remark on women as property, and here on Matt. 19.
  2. Merely argument by outrage.
  3. As in all Ancient Near Eastern cultures, God (and people) can and did have multiple names based on authority or purpose. The simplest example is the use of shortened names by kings (i.e., Pul = Tiglath-Pileser).
  4. Merely argument by outrage. See Crenshaw's Education in Ancient Israel for an understanding of the need for such an extreme in this context. A reader adds:
    But, does the text say we should stone *children*? You assume it does. This is a natural assumption for you to make, since you live in a culture where sons and daughters are required to obey the parents *only when they are children.* When the children become adults, they can pack up, leave, and do "whatever they want" - even if it's against the will of the parents - with no repercussions from society.
    But the culture in which Deuteronomy was written is different. Sons still had the command to "honor their mother and father," be respectful to them and listen to their words. So how old is the "son" in this passage?
    The Hebrew term for "son" (ben) employed here is indefinite. It is sometimes used of children of both sexes, but most often of the male. The word "son" here does not give any indication of age. It can refer to a child or to an adult son. Age must be determined from the context. In this case, the son in view is not a child, for the sins brought forth in testimony are gluttony and drunkenness (v. 20).
    Furthermore, the actions of this son are severe. This is not the case of a child who has failed to do his chores, spoke back to his parents, or even committed a serious act of disobedience, but of a son of dissolute character who is in full rebellion to authority. The text says that the son is "stubborn" and "rebellious."

    Both of these descriptive terms are active participles, thus indicating habitual action. The son does not display a stubborn streak now and then, or act rebelliously from time to time, but is continuously stubborn and rebellious. The word "stubborn" refers to one who is obstinate in his resistance to authority. This son is living a life without restraint, and is a serious danger to his family and to his community.

    One must ignore much to believe this verse condones murdering little Johnny for not cleaning his room.
  5. See my response here. Also on the application of law see here.
  6. Merely argument by outrage.
  7. See here on law application and here on rabbits. C is answered here and, see off-site, here.
  8. See here.
  9. See Chapter Chapter 5 of The Mormon Defenders -- these are not "God's angels". See also here.
  10. Merely argument by outrage.
  11. See here and here.
  12. See here and here.
  13. See here.
  14. See here.
  15. See here.
  16. Merely argument by outrage.
  17. See here and here.
  18. Merely argument by outrage. How this represents a "rain/fertility ritual" is not explained. It is not.
  19. See here.
  20. See here and here.
  21. None of these answers is correct. I would suggest that Job was meant to serve as a living example of our proper reaction in the face of suffering.
  22. Barker doesn't have an appreciation for the apocalyptic genre of vivid unreal images, known from apocalyptic literature in many cultures. See also here.
  23. Merely argument by outrage, plus see here.
  24. See here; this is a comment worth adding in:
    What is interesting about this passage is that the redemption value for women is LOWER than that for men. What this CANNOT mean, however, is that the value of female slaves is LESS THAN the value of male slaves, because the law concerning the murder/manslaughter of these indicated IDENTICAL values (cf. Ex 21.20-32 placed the exact same monetary values on both sexes). What this passage nets out at, then, is that the Law simply made it easier for women to buy their freedom than for men (or to have someone else buy it for them)! Perhaps this is a simple recognition of the lower earning power of female slaves(?), but in any case, God made provision for His daughters to have a better shot at buying their freedom than His sons!

    See the same link (and same misapprehension exposed) for birth uncleanness.

  25. See link above re ancient mores.
  26. See here.
  27. See here.
  28. Merely argument by outrage, though it is also an expression of rage against an enemy that has already done the same thing and reflects what morally depraved humans will indeed feel -- it is hardly an endorsement of smashing babies.
  29. See here for genealogy issues; evolution issues beyond our scope.
  30. Jeremiah 10:2-8 does not refer to a "Christmas tree" -- it refers to an idol hewn out of wood and overlaid with gold or silver. How can it be Christmas in the time of Jeremiah?
  31. Luke 12:33 and parallels is advice given to one person, not everyone. See here for further understanding. Otherwise: Jesus did not mock tithing, but hypocrisy.
  32. See here and here, the latter on Matthew 10.
  33. See here.
  34. See here and Matthew 10 note above.
  35. See here.
  36. See here, and links above.
  37. This verse represents a one-time instance of miraculous intervention, not general medical advice. As for James 5:14-15: In the first century medical care as often as not resulted in no cure, or making conditions worse; and only the very rich could afford a physician's care, and there was no Medicare or Social Security to pay the poor's way. Prayer by elders, even in Barker's naturalistic world, may have even been a better choice (in terms, as he would see it, of no care at all) than doctors if the latter were an option at all.

    Not that it matters: James ties in this healing with forgiveness of sin, suggesting that the sickness is not a normal one, but one that is itself the product of judgment, and therefore is removable by intercession and would not be affected by medical treatment. However, anointing with oil was in fact a form of medical treatment of the day, so the verse does suggest that the doctors of the time were to be called in to do what they could.

  38. See item 9 above. Much of the rest may have some valid points as even those inside the church have noted.
  39. See here for a series of rebuttals.
  40. See here.
  41. See here.
  42. One would like to see an exegesis from Barker showing that the 144,000 are the only persons saved. The text does not say this.
  43. The Trinity is found in the Bible, not the word, but the concept; see here and here. Word counts in the KJV mean nothing. On "flat earth" see here.
  44. On the comment: "Nowhere in the bible will you find an acknowledgement that human beings have inherent rights to life, liberty, happiness, dignity, fairness, or self-government. In the bible, humans are sinners, worms, and slaves--God has all the rights."

    But the best Barker can do to prove this is cite Proverbs and admonitions to behavior. One wonders then how religious men like Locke and American founders derived the concept from Scripture.

  45. 2 John 10-11 refers not merely to visiting, but allowing others who teach false doctrine to use your house as a residence.
  46. Well, if Barker wants to kiss other men in church, he can go ahead; but this is a culture issue -- as Muslim men still kiss today, after a fashion, this was how it was done. The handshake has replaced this culturally. Barker may want to argue that culture makes no difference, but he needs to explain why.
  47. See here.
  48. See here.
  49. Should we pay twice as much if we lose a lawsuit? Only if you are a first century Jew intending to make a point that shames your opposition. Keener [Matthew commentary, 198] notes that this verse -- "And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also." -- offers a "shockingly graphic, almost humorous, illustration of what he means by nonresistance to force his hearers to consider their values." Giving away both garments would have resulted in total nudity, an "intolerable dishonor" in ancient Palestine.

    This act would shame the person who sued you in the first place -- Biblical law required the overnight return of a garment taken as pledge (Ex. 22:26-7) and the person taking your cloak would be quite a grinch.

    The verse does offer a polemic against a litigious society, but it is also no different -- actually better -- than Epictetus' comment that one should surrender one's cloak or even one's body to those who demand it, for none of these things belongs to one anyway. The emphasis is on the kingdom being valued more than things. If this is wrong, then Barker must say that those who perform similar protests -- the Gandhis, or the civil rights warriors -- are wrong too. This has nothing to do with child support or judgments as a whole.

  50. Barker fails to notice that John the Baptist here was only telling soldiers to be content with their wages -- in contrast to not stealing and robbing the poor, as soldiers and others in power often did. As for asking for a raise, there was no such thing in the ancient world.

    -JPH