Before get into those claims, however, please notice that almost all of the claims begin with, "The Bible was written at a time..." That is a very specific claim, indicating the author of the meme knows exactly when the Bible was written, and based on these claims, also knows exactly what happening during that time; and it establishes the premise that the Bible was written during a relatively short period of time, in a single geographic location. The Bible, however, was written over a period of more than 1,500 years, on three different continents (Asia, Africa, & Europe), by more than 40 different authors, and in three different languages.
Given these irrefutable facts, then the meme would obviously be true, although terribly misleading. During that 1,500+ years there would have been a time somewhere on one of those three continents, among some group of people where women would have been the property of men, slavery would have been commonplace, death would have been the penalty for minor offenses for at least some people, there would have been some people somewhere who believed in various gods as well as magic, and who used their gods as an explanation for the unknown, and they may very well have known less than the average 12-year-old of today. At least some people, somewhere, at some time during that 1,500+ year time span. But common sense tells us that these claims were not universally true over that entire time span, and over all three continents, and among all people. History tells us this.
But let's examine those claims, shall we?
1. The Bible was written at a time when women were the property of men.
As has already been noted, there were no doubt some people, some cultures, over that 1,500+ year time period, and somewhere on those three continents, where women were considered the property of men.
However, since the meme is clearly targeting the Bible, in an attempt to discredit the Bible, it is important to understand that the Bible teaches women are not the property of men, but rather the equal of men. To be sure there were and are areas where women dominated men, and areas where men dominated women. But the Bible is very clear that men and women are equals.
Just imagine how wonderful this world would be if everyone accepted this simple truth. Of course that would mean obeying the Bible, so atheists would be adamantly against this, especially those who do not believe that men and women are equal.
2. The Bible was written at a time when slavery was commonplace.
First we need to define what slavery is. Every relationship between an authority figure and a worker is not necessarily slavery, even if your boss makes you feel like a slave. Slavery is defined as taking a person against their will and forcing them to labor without compensation. This is also known as "Chattel Slavery." Sometimes those taken against their will are forced to labor for those who took them. Sometimes they are sold like a product to another person, and forced to labor for them. The defining factor, however, is that it is against their will.
With that definition in mind, this claim is absolutely true, and true because slavery has been commonplace throughout all of human history, from the earliest days of mankind through to today where slavery is practiced in virtually every country, on every continent, and among every people on the planet. In the western world, the most common form of slavery today is sex trafficking. And isn't it so very interesting, so very curious, that there are loud voices clamoring about the enslavement of people in America 150 years ago, but those same voices are so very, very quiet when it comes to the enslavement of women and children in the sex slave market.
To put this in perspective, according to figures from Statista and the Library of Congress, the number of black slaves in the United States in 1860 was 3.9 million, and by 1870 that number had grown to 5.4 million. using figures given by the U.S. Department of State in 2004 there were an estimated 600,000 t0 800,000 men, women, and children sex trafficked each year. Over a ten year period that number skyrockets up to 6 million to 8 million. This is not meant to diminish the staggeringly horrible enslavement of Africans in America, but that was 150 years ago. The sex trafficking is happening now, and those voices that are seemingly the loudest in crying for reparations and equity and so forth as based on the enslavement of Africans, don't say a word in protest against the sex trafficking enslavement of men, women, and children.
The Bible, on the other hand, actually condemns slavery (as defined above), and those who enslave people, and those who own slaves. These people are not only condemned in Scripture, but the Bible calls for them to be put to death, and forbids those who are unrepentant from entering heaven. Therefore, this claim has no actual bearing on the Bible whatsoever.
3. The Bible was written at a time when death was the penalty for minor offenses.
As with slavery, execution for seemingly minor offenses has taken place throughout history in various parts of the world, and it continues even to this day. In some places today one can be executed if found guilty of "Charlatanism." So while the statement is true, it is terribly misleading.
Obviously, the author of the meme is insinuating that the Bible supports and or promotes the death penalty for minor offenses. But does it? The answer to this is, No. It does not.
The problem here lies not with the Bible, but rather with the person who authored the meme, and those who promote it. They are attempting to impose their personal standards and western views on the people and cultures of thousands of years ago, and living in an entirely different culture and area.
They somehow believe that their personal standards are the standard by which all people of all times and all places and all cultures are to be judged. They have made themselves the objective moral standard for everyone. In short, they are making themselves out to be gods, which is at best hypocritical.
4. The Bible was written at a time when belief in gods and magic was ubiquitous.
As with the other statements in the meme, these beliefs have always been ubiquitous, and still are. They are not limited to the 1,500+ year time period, or even the people who wrote the Bible.
Again, as with the other meme statements, the author is trying to manipulate those who read the meme into thinking or believing that the men who wrote the Bible were superstitious people who believed in gods and magic, and that simply isn't true.
The Bible teaches that there is only one God. Not many gods, not various gods, not gods for every aspect of life. Just one God. The people who wrote the Bible did not believe in the sun god, the moon god, the rain god, the whatever god. Nor did they believe in magic (the Bible actually condemns magic). They believed in the one true and living God, Yahweh, for which they had been given ample evidence of.
Of course, even the belief in one God flies in the face of atheists who dismiss the very idea out of hand, and actually double down when evidence is supporting the existence of God is presented to them, by refusing to accept it, and even refusing to acknowledge that said evidence is even evidence! A Christian presents them with such evidence and their attitude is one of, "A Christian has evidence? Nope! Reject it immediately! We've seen it all before (they haven't) and it has already been refuted (it hasn't), so just reject it!" They are reminiscent of toddlers who squeeze their eyes shut, stick their fingers in their ears, and chant, "LA! LA! LA! LA! I CAN"T HEAR YOU!!!" repeatedly so as to drown out anything they disagree with, anything contrary to their accepted reality, regardless of how true it might be.
5. The Bible was written at a time when gods were used to explain every unknown (which was almost everything).
During the 1,500+ years that the Bible was written, and on the three different continents where the Bible was written, there were no doubt some people, somewhere, who at some time, used their gods to explain everything they didn't understand. But this is certainly not true of those who wrote the Bible. In fact, claims such as this (and the other claims in the meme) are designed to do one thing, and that is discredit the Bible. These claims, however, are made in ignorance of the historical facts.
Ancient civilizations, such as those in existence during the time period of the Bible's writing, were highly advanced. Far more so than many people realize. Many of them were able to accomplish feats of engineering that continue to baffle experts. Structures such as the pyramids and the Parthenon required highly skilled architects and engineers to build. In order to move the stones used in their construction, many weighing several tons, elaborate and complex cranes and pulley systems had to be invented and constructed.
There were also advanced cities and urban areas in the ancient world. Cities such as Mohendjo Daro, the Harappan cities, and others that were huge, housing tens of thousands of residents, and which had city streets that were laid out according to elaborate and well-planned grid systems. These cities had extensive and complex water and sewage systems, and throughout the cities homes contained bathing areas and drainage systems. The architecture throughout these cities was excellent. It is obvious that these cities were constructed according to the plans of skilled urban planners and architects.
The ancient people of the late Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the early Iron Age were far more advanced than many modern people realize. They were skilled metallurgists, they had written languages, standardized systems of weights and measures. They were sophisticated cultures of art, religion, and commerce.
Since the meme is meant to discredit the Bible, let's take a look at some of the accomplishments of those in the Bible. Many of them were fishermen. Not the kind of fishermen who sit on the bank with a line in the water waiting to catch something, but the kind of commercial fishermen who set out on large bodies of water in boats and ships. The Apostle Peter had two boats that he owned, and the Apostles James and John worked for their father Zebedee who owned a fleet of fishing boats.
In order to be a successful fisherman, these people had to have an understanding and working knowledge of celestial navigation, astronomy, mathematics, and oceanography. They had to understand wind dynamics. They had to be able to convert nautical miles to land miles, and they had to be able to do all of these things without all the electronic equipment that is available to and used by modern man. If they did not possess the ability to do these things, not only would they not have been successful fishermen, but they also would not be able to find their way home after their time at sea.
Now let's move inland. Jewish boys -- all Jewish boys, received religious training, which included reading, and in some cases writing as well, from a very young age. They also received training in a secular skill such as carpentry, metallurgy, weaving, and so forth. All in preparation of adulthood. We see the results of this sort of training in the Book of Exodus, chapters 25-31, and the creation of the Tabernacle and all that was in it and on it. Only highly skilled craftsmen could have created such a thing. Could the same be said about modern children? In most cases, no.
6. The Bible was written at a time when men knew less about the world than the average 12-year-old does today.
If we are speaking about geography alone, then this statement is more true than not. However, if we are talking about the ways of the world and the various aspects of the world, then the statement above could not be more untrue. Taking into consideration what we learned in the answer to claim number 5 above, we can add to that the ability of many children -- not to mention men, who grew up either bilingual or trilingual.
Many, if not most children -- again, not to mention men in the ancient world, had a firm grasp on botany, zoology, astronomy, and more. To compare these ancients to the average 12-year-old of today, who generally speaking cannot seem to get off of Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, or their favorite video game is a ridiculous comparison.
The average 12-year-old today may be able to find Lithuania on a map (although I would be very surprised if they could), they know relatively nothing when it comes to the ways of the world and the various aspects of the world and life, and certainly far less than the average 12-year-old in the ancient world.
7. But those days are long gone.
When we look at people who live their lives on social media, those whose thoughts and actions are controlled by the latest cultural fad, those who have distanced themselves from reality by embracing relativism, and those who subscribe to meme's such as the one above while completely ignoring historical fact (I think that covers the vast majority of people), then we can say with great sadness that those days are far from long gone, and in fact have only gotten worse.