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Saturday, August 4, 2007

D’oh! -- The Simpsons Bible Quiz

By David Buckna

Special to ASSIST News Service

CANADA (ANS) -- After 18 seasons and 400 episodes, The Simpsons--described by Time magazine as the "best television show of the twentieth century," released The Simpsons Movie on July 27th. Test your knowledge of Springfield's most famous family.

"Faith gets a sympathetic and understanding ride on The Simpsons, and it has for the past two decades. One of the chief gifts of the long-running, award-winning series is that the characters' fundamental beliefs are animated but not caricatured. Sincere belief is not questioned. God is not mocked, nor is God's existence questioned....True to its reputation, The Simpsons is consistently irreverent toward organized religion's failings and excesses, as it is with most other institutions and aspects of modern life."--Mark I. Pinsky, author of The Gospel According to The Simpsons

"Goodness is taken very seriously in The Simpsons. Not in a solemn or moralising way, but the values of honesty and generosity and forgiveness are ones that, quite clearly, the programme endorses." --Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury


Reverend Timothy Lovejoy

1. In a dream Homer once had, how does he describe God?

2. Who knelt by his bed and prayed: "Well, old-timer, I guess this is the end of the road. I know I haven't always been a good kid, but if I have to go to school tomorrow, I'll fail the test and be held back. I just need one more day to study, Lord. I need Your help!"

3. What personalized license plate does Ned Flanders have on his Geo station wagon?

4. What Sunday night radio call-in show does Reverend Timothy Lovejoy co-host with a rabbi and priest?

5. What's the title of Krusty the Clown's biography?

6. In one Hallowe'en segment, when the Flanders family is condemned to the stake in a reprise of the Salem witch trials, who refuses to participate in the burning, quoting Matthew 7:1: "Judge not, lest ye be judged"?

7. When disaster threatens, she prays: "Dear God. If you stop this hurricane and save our family, we will be forever grateful and recommend you to all our friends." Who?

8. The 'world's pretty much only religious satire magazine' has concluded, "There is more spiritual wisdom in one episode of The Simpsons than there is in an entire season of Touched By an Angel." Name the magazine.

9. In an effort to enliven the music at the First Church of Springfield, what new "hymn" do Bart and Milhouse print and distribute to the congregation?

10. In what episode does Homer say to Bart and Lisa: "Look at this Bible I just got--15 bucks! And talk about a preachy book. Everybody's a sinner! [points to a verse] ...except for this guy."

11. Whenever God appears in an episode, usually in a dream, what is different about the way His fingers are drawn?

Questions 12 - 25 are derived from "The Simpsons Movie" (contain spoilers)

12. As Green Day's barge sinks into Lake Springfield, band members quickly switch to violins and begin playing what hymn?

13. What message is visible on the First Church of Springfield's marquee as the Simpsons arrive late for the service?

14. What image is seen on the front of the lectern (stand) Reverend Lovejoy uses?

15. After Reverend Lovejoy tells the congregation: "Let the Lord's light shine upon you....Feel the spirit. Let it out!" who begins to prophesy? (foretell future events)

Homer shopping in the "Gospel for Less" store

16. Who asks Homer: "What is the point of going to church every Sunday, when if someone we love has a genuine religious experience, we ignore it?"

17. What license plate is seen on Homer's car as he illegally dumps a silo of pig manure into Lake Springfield?

18. What was Ned referring to when he told Bart: "Well, this certainly seems odd, but--heh--who am I to question the work of the Almight-en-y? Oh, we thank you Lord for this mighty fine intelligent design! Good job!"

19. As a giant glass dome comes down over Springfield, what do the people inside the First Church of Springfield and Moe's Bar do?

20. Channel 6 news anchor Kent Brockman reports: "Now, as always, heh-heh, we end our news on the lighter side. It’s the time of year when the swallows return to Springfield.” What Bible verse states that swallows “observe the time of their coming"?

21. When Homer unfolds his large map, what 3 words are seen directly beneath the word "Alaska"?

22. Marge says in her videotaped message: "Homer, I’ve always stood up for you....Lately, what’s keeping us together is my ability to overlook everything you do, and I overlook these things because...well, that’s the thing. I just don’t know how to finish that sentence anymore..." What Bible book says love "keeps no record of wrongs"--I Corinthians, 2 Thessalonians, or 3 John?

23. She tells Homer: "Now to cleanse your spirit by the ancient Inuit art of throat-singing." Who?

24. Who tells Springfield residents (via giant TV screen) that the U.S. government is commencing Operation Soaring Eagle?

25. What name does Ned Flanders tell his sons to call Jesus when they meet Him?


1. "Perfect teeth. Nice smell. A class act, all the way."

2. Bart. His prayer is answered when a snowstorm closes the school for one day. After passing the test by a single extra-credit point, Bart tells Homer: "Part of this D-minus belongs to God."

Ned Flanders

From: “The Gospel According to The Simpsons” by Mark I. Pinsky: "I like to think that Bart Simpson is in line with Abraham and Moses in that he talks to God directly," says Robert Thompson [of Syracuse University]. In his previously discussed Willow Creek sermon, Lee Strobel deconstructs this exercise and finds that this example is also theologically consistent with the New Testament concept of prayer. In Matthew 6:6, believers are advised, "When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." In Philippians 4:6, they are told, "In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." And Proverbs 28:13 instructs, "He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy."

3. JHN 143 (John 1:43, in which Jesus says to Philip, "Follow me"). Ned's Bible collection includes the Aramaic Septuagint, the Vulgate of St. Jerome, the Living Bible and the Thump-Proof Bible.

4. Gabbin' about God, sponsored by Ace Religious Supply, whose motto is, "If we don't got it, it ain't holy."

5. Your Shoes are Too Big to Kick Box with God, ghost written by novelist John Updike. In the 1991 Emmy-winning episode, 'Like Father, Like Clown', Krusty (whose real name is Herschel Schmoikel Krustofsky) is reunited with his father, Rabbi Hyman Krustofsky.

6. Lisa. In Season 13, Lisa enters Springfield’s Buddhist temple where she meets Lenny, Carl and actor Richard Gere. After hearing and reading about the virtues of Buddhism, she tells everyone that she's a Buddhist. (

7. Marge

8. The Wittenburg Door (

9. In the Garden of Eden by 'I. Ron Butterfly.' Outside the church, the marquee features a variety of weekly messages such as 'God, the Original Love Connection, 'Sunday, the Miracle of Shame,' and 'No Shirt, No Shoes, No Salvation.'

10. 'Itchy & Scratchy Land' (Season 6)

11. God is drawn with five fingers, unlike the 4 fingers typically drawn on cartoon characters since Disney. (

12. "Nearer, My God, To Thee"--the 19th-century hymn associated with the RMS Titanic. Passengers reported the ship's band played the hymn as the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912. The hymn is based loosely on Genesis 28:11-19, the story of Jacob's dream.

13. Turn Off Thy Cell Phones

Marge: "I hate being late!"

Homer: "Well, I hate going! Why can't I worship the Lord in my own way? Like praying like hell on my deathbed!"

14. a dove with an olive leaf in its mouth.

When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him. (Genesis 8:10-12)


"See the bird with the leaf in her mouth/ After the flood all the colours came out/ It was a beautiful day" - U2, "Beautiful Day"

15. Abraham Jeremiah Simpson (aka Grampa): "Horrible...horrible things are going to happen! Twisted tale! A thousand eyes! Trapped forever!...Ee-pa! Ee-pa!"  (

While Grampa is prophesying, Lisa tells Homer: "Dad! Do something!" Homer (flipping frantically through the Bible) replies: "This book doesn't have any answers!"

David Yonke writes: "Offensive? Or does Homer represent people who have no clue what’s in the Bible, turn to it only in desperation, and don’t know where to look or what to look for?" (Toledo Blade, August 4, 2007)

Not long after, hundreds of helicopters sent by the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] use suction cups to place a giant glass dome over Springfield, trapping residents inside.

Grampa: "That crazy old man in church was right!"

16. Marge.

Marge: "Right, Grampa?"

Grampa: "I want bananas on my waffles!"

Homer: "I rest my case."

17. license plate:1PHL07

In the King James Version, Philemon 1:7 reads: "For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother."

"Bowel" does not refer to "intestine", but to "heart"--typically defined as the center of one's being and emotions. A modern translation, such as the New International Version, reads: "Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints."

18. a severely mutated squirrel, having 18 eyes! [Do 18 eyes represent 18 seasons of The Simpsons?] The extra eyes pop into existence as a result of jumping into polluted Lake Springfield. The squirrel ends up with 19 eyes when a cheek eye pops up.


Mutations: Questions and Answers

The Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture ( supports research by scientists and other scholars developing the scientific theory known as intelligent design.

19. Switch places. Fearing the end is near, churchgoers run inside the bar, as bar patrons run inside the church.

20. Jeremiah 8:7 (KJV). Kent Brockman began his broadcasting career as Kenny Brockelstein, and wears a pendant around his neck with the Hebrew word C’hai (life).

21. A fresh start.

2 Corinthians 5:16-19 "Because of this decision we don't evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don't look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins...." --Eugene H. Peterson's "The Message" (NavPress)

22. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails...."

William Langley writes in his opinion piece, The secret of The Simpsons: “There's just one thing going for the Simpsons, and it is love. Love for each other, and love, in a sense, for the humble life they have built together. “ (The Daily Telegraph, July 29, 2007)

23. Medicine Woman

Homer: "How long are we doing this?"

Medicine Woman:  "Until you have an epiphany."

Homer: "OK...what's an epiphany?"

Medicine Woman: "Sudden realization of great truth."

Homer: "OK."


Homer: "Ah, do whatever you want to me. I don't care about myself anymore."

Medicine Woman: "Because..."

Homer: "Because other people are just as important as me! Without them, I'm nothing. In order to save myself, I have to save Springfield! That's it, isn't it?"

The word epiphany comes from the Greek ipiphaneia, “manifestation.” The Feast of the Epiphany takes place on the 12th day after Christmas (January 6) and is of Eastern Orthodox origin. Epiphany was originally a celebration of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, and included the commemoration of: his birth; the visit of the Magi; childhood events; his baptism in the Jordan river; and the miracle at the wedding at Cana in Galilee.

From ( “Katadjak’, or throat-singing, is a form of vocal-verbal art common to many (but not all) Inuit (Eskimo) cultures. Banned by Christian priests for almost a hundred years despite its apparently secular nature, it is most commonly practiced by women--generally by two women facing off against each other in a form of friendly competition. “

From ( “Throat singing is usually performed by two women who stand face to face, with one singer leading the song and the other repeating the sound of the first. The cyclic sound mimics the calls of birds and animals and other sounds of nature in a fast rhythm.”

Susan Aglukark is a Canadian singer-songwriter who blends the Inuktitut and English languages with contemporary pop music arrangements to tell stories of her people, the Inuit of Arctic Canada. Her 2004 album [Big Feeling] begins with 18 seconds of throat-singing [Katadjak]. Susan's first performing experience came at age nine, singing in the Pentecostal church where her father was minister. Aglukark has recorded a version of "Amazing Grace" in Inuktitut. (

24. Russ Cargill of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)

Cargill: "Attention Springfield. Your government has realized that putting you inside this dome was a terrible mistake, therefore we’re commencing with Operation Soaring Eagle..."

Springfield residents: "Yey!!!"

Cargill: "...which involves killing you all."

Springfield residents: [quietly] "Aw."

The words “soaring eagle” are reminiscent of Isaiah 40: 31

"But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles..."

25. Ned: "OK, boys, when we meet Jesus, be sure to call him Mr. Christ."

Todd: "Will Buddha be there too?"

Ned: "No!"

Mark I. Pinsky writes in his review of The Simpsons Movie: "Flanders' faith is unshaken as Springfield faces  annihilation. He takes his children to the church, where they are alone in the sanctuary, and prepares them for the end. ‘When you meet Jesus, be sure to call him 'Mr. Christ,’ he tells them. ‘Will Buddha be there?’ one of the boys asks. No, he snaps, with characteristic intolerance."

"And yet there is a sympathetic three-dimensionality to Flanders' depiction that is characteristic of both the movie and the series, and which raises the emotional stakes for the viewer--part of what has made The Simpsons so addictive for so many years. Flanders may be literal-minded and narrow, but he risks his own life to save the Simpsons from an angry lynch mob. He also provides a father figure for Bart when Homer ignores him, but urges the boy to return to his real father when Homer tries to make amends."

The Simpsons Movie: Does Springfield Get Religion? by Mark I. Pinsky

Additional links

The Simpsons Archive

The Simpsons Movie

Religion on The Simpsons

iPod ad campaign spotted in The Simpsons

God and man, and The Simpsons by Terry Mattingly

The Gospel According to the Gospel According to books by Terry Mattingly

Discovering the godliness in 'The Simpsons' by Jennifer Garza

D'Oh! Top Ten (Plus One) Religious Episodes on 'The Simpsons'

D'oh, God: 'The Simpsons' teaches some spiritual lessons by David Crumm

Simpsons Bible Stories

Lance Wilder Interview

A Bible study on The Simpsons by Dan Wooding

Top designer at The Simpsons tells Christians not to ‘abandon Hollywood’

Blessed Ned of Springfield by Mark I. Pinsky

God and The Simpsons by Gerry Bowler [online booklet]

The Simpsons Movie by Stephanie Zacharek

Simpsons Movie [Visual Overview] by David Bruce

The Simpsons go to church

Religion and the Simpsons [Religion & Ethics Newsweekly]

Homer and Marge as Adam and Eve

Springfield’s Saints by Cary McMullen

Animating Religion: Cartoon Faith and Values by Mark I. Pinsky

Simpsons Movie Review by Russ Breimeier

Heavens! 'Simpsons' movie treats religion kindly by David Yonke 

The secret of The Simpsons by William Langley

What would Homer do? by David Crumm

Simpsons Movie Review by Maurice Broaddus


The Simpsons [Pastor John Van Sloten, New Hope Church, Calgary]



Real Life Simpsons Intro

Protestant Vs Catholic Heaven

No church for Homer!

Homer is praying

Religion and the Simpsons [Religion & Ethics Newsweekly]

Springfield’s Secret Fans [The National, CBC-TV]

Mark Pinsky discusses 'The Gospel According to The Simpsons',0,1258174.htmlstory


Mixing it up with The Simpsons: 12 Sessions on Faith for 9 -13s by Owen Smith, (Church House Publishing, 2007).

The Gospel According to The Simpsons: BIGGER and Possibly Even BETTER! Edition by Mark I. Pinsky (Westminster John Knox, 2007).

Copyright 2007 by David Buckna. THE POP GOSPEL. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Buckna reads email at

Freelancer David Buckna produces -- THE POP GOSPEL -- a column that communicates Judeo-Christian truth to the postmodern culture using a Q & A format. Since December 2002, THE POP GOSPEL has been an occasional feature in the Calgary Herald (Calgary, Alberta, Canada). Questions are gleaned from movies, television, music, literature, current events and other aspects of pop culture: Star Trek, Rock Music, Harry Potter, Calvin & Hobbes, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Matrix, Art Masterpieces, Classic TV, Christmas, The 10 Deadly Sins, Dr. Seuss, Survivor, The Wizard of Oz, Johnny Cash, The Passion of the Christ, Evan Almighty and many others. Buckna's previous quizzes for ANS can be found at the ANS Search Archive page, searching for Buckna. 

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