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Does the Bible condone slavery?

Discussion in 'Christian Apologetics' started by InterestedAtheist, Oct 8, 2020.

  1. muichimotsu

    muichimotsu I Spit On Perfection

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    If you just keep trying to say something wasn't as bad, you're still engaged in cognitive bias towards your preconception that the Bible cannot be immoral, which is dangerous thinking to never question something because of your sentiments towards it

    The laws as they are described are potentially not the same as, say chattel slavery in the Atlantic slave trade, that doesn't mean there aren't similarities that make them both thoroughly immoral and dehumanizing. You're making pedantic nitpicks to defend your holy book instead of being honest and considering that maybe you shouldn't have an all or nothing approach to revelations that were supposedly progressive in nature, and thus shouldn't be seen as a package deal, as if the message absolutely requires concluding that there was a historical exodus of ancient Israelites or such, when evidence is slim to none on that in the first place
     
  2. AV1611VET

    AV1611VET SCIENCE CAN TAKE A HIKE Supporter

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    Man ... in you Buddhists' eyes, did God do anything right?
     
  3. DamianWarS

    DamianWarS Follower of Isa Al Masih Supporter

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    I don't agree with slavery. I don't know how my idea of slavery fit in an ancient world view for an ancient Hebrew in the middle east and I don't even know if it was a negative/positive impact with surrounding cultures at the time. You don't know these things either. I'm not defending slavery as per biblical practice I'm saying we don't know what the practice is to responsibly have a conversation about its impact. if we want to cement a definition of slavery in as well as the treatment of slaves then superimpose this over biblical practice then we are not really commenting on the biblical practice we are commenting on a form of slavery that we have more knowledge of.
     
  4. Tone

    Tone "Whenever Thou humblest me, Thou makest me great." Supporter

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    Romans 6:16
    Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?


    The spiritual aspect of any topic in the Bible is primary.

    Man enslaving man, is the visible manifestation of the more important reality of slavery to sin.

    Well, yeah, we should take the entire... overarching message of the Bible into consideration.

    Okay, I see your spin on it. but I don't agree with it.

    Well, it probably wouldn't be a woman, but a girl. Do kids have a choice when put up for adoption?

    The video does a good job of explaining why this would've been necessary due to poverty and inheritance issues.



    This may be something like "use of force" regulations, which law enforcement has established even today.

    Well, we do have the corrections institutions don't we?



    Again, the theme of the Bible is about how slavery (servanthood) should only be to the good Creator.

    We are creatures, therefore, we will serve.

    God Himself served.

    The fact that man enslaving man exists at all is a testament that we are designed for a servant role.

    Though, it has been twisted, as the enemy sets out to do with all good things.

    It is good for mankind to first serve God and then to also serve one another as He Himself set the example.

    Matthew 20:25
    But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
     
  5. muichimotsu

    muichimotsu I Spit On Perfection

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    Don't acknowledge God in Buddhism, especially not in any sense that deserves worship, but I'll hold my tongue lest the admins ban me again for things I have no issue saying elsewhere.
     
  6. muichimotsu

    muichimotsu I Spit On Perfection

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    It was a positive impact in the sense that their economies couldn't function without it, but we were moving away from that as early as the late 18th, early 19th century with the Industrial Revolution, yet it was still argued as a natural state by white supremacists in the Confederacy and was rationalized through the bible by slave traders and buyers alike in the Atlantic slave trade

    I didn't say I knew with certainty, but I'm pretty sure experts are not saying it was anything good, given its existence was effectively just the best port in a storm where the alternative was death, rape or starvation, among other terrible things that were merely alleviated by submitting oneself in a relationship that was not remotely equal even if it seemed magnanimous.

    Slavery exists on a spectrum, it's not a static phenomenon that gets fenced off when we move into another generation or era. The slavery in the Bible was indentured servitude if we're being nice, meaning there was some amount of constraints to it versus just chattel slavery in the sense of abductions, which the Bible does condemn and doesn't appear to contradict itself on. But even in the NT, there is nothing saying that slavery in that system was bad, and arguably is trying to make it seem positive in the idea of a slave's relationship to their master was mirroring that of a Christian to Christ, that they should serve even cruel masters rightfully because they were indebted more to God in the end for real freedom.

    The OT's slavery may not have persisted into the present, mostly because the Israelites experienced the diaspora and such, though there's a whole other discussion I'll admit I'm not well versed on with Roman slavery, but even if we argue that was magnanimous in a similar fashion, it doesn't mean it should be regarded as good, especially in regards to the Bible as being ahistorical in some respects, according to believers, not something that apparently can be judged based on present standards because they're, I suppose, "God's standards", which transcend history.

    The question remains: why would God, in all its power that can nonetheless respect human free will, not do something more revolutionary in regards to slavery, especially if God also wanted to provide wisdom and make it abundantly clear it isn't just a tribalist fantasy?

    It seems to boil down to authoritarianism even if I throw out my condemnation of slavery being condoned as acceptable even if it's ultimately said to be wrong as mistreatment of people. And how is that you ask? Because God seems to demand obedience in faith and will not countenance rebellion insofar as it is persistent and utilizing reason that God supposedly bestowed us with to question whether an entity that practices the longest game of hide and seek should be taken seriously in terms of people claiming it does things we have no reason to believe happened or have any compelling evidence for beyond anecdotes
     
  7. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

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    Your response looks like nothing more than a series of deepities.


    I reiterate.... The topic of 'slavery' is left virtually ambiguous. Reading Exodus 21 and Leviticus 25, you are left wondering who is and who is not excluded from the 'allowables' list for condoned slavery practices.


    ?????

    The author of the video skips vast parts of Exodus 21. Your given response is vexing.



    It's not merely a 'spin.' If the "servant's" wife bears children, while in 'contract', and the wife was given to the male 'servant' while in 'servitude', his offspring are deemed the "servant's" master's property for life. Do you really think the "servant" will abandon their own flesh and blood when the 'contract' is up?

    Furthermore, it's likely not all "servants" have been disclosed of all cited 'rules' and 'conditions' prior to the 'contract' ;)

    Please tell me why you disagree?



    Are adopted children also beaten for life, at will, with condoned complete impunity from the Bible?



    You are really reaching here.... You did not address my response anyways. I directly address Exodus 21:16. Rules and regulations for the free look to differ from the rules and regulations issued towards the 'enslaved'. The enslaved are deemed money/possession/property. The Bible does not look to limit these deemed individuals only as 'prisoners', 'military', or other.

    As indicated, the offspring of many servants are also considered the slave master's property for life. If they should have kids, their children are also deemed the master's possession for life. And so on, and so on, and so on. Generations and generations of born-into slaves likely existed. Furthermore, is perfectly legal and binding, as per Exodus 21 and Leviticus 25.



    Addressed immediately above...
     
  8. Par5

    Par5 Well-Known Member

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    You may believe that we don't have enough knowledge to make a proper assessment of biblical slavery, but one thing we do know for sure about biblical slavery is that the slaves were considered to be the property of the slavers. It says so in Exodus 21:21.
    So, do you think it is moral to consider another human being to be your property?
    The biblical slave trade is predicated on the assumption that certain human beings can be considered property.
    I think that is reason enough to know that biblical slavery was wrong, and immoral.
    Christians can make all the excuses they wish about biblical slavery, but no matter how they try to cover it in excuses, the problem of claiming another human being to be nothing more than property always makes its way to the surface.
     
  9. DamianWarS

    DamianWarS Follower of Isa Al Masih Supporter

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    In a western abstract vacuum you're right. In an Eastern ancient world view I don't know for sure the negative/positive impact of belonging to another as slave/master but I would think it is positive provided the name you belong is honorable and gives you higher status.

    Christians belong to Christ and this is not a negative association the bible also teaches that a wife belongs to her husband and her body is not her own, it also says a husband belongs to his wife and his body is not his own.

    Western thinking glorifies the individual at the highest level where eastern thinking looks to the community where not belonging to something greater than you means you're lost and is shameful. The way this thread is approaching this topic has no understanding of eastern honor based systems and how important it is to belong to a community and how honor driven people were. This thread only seems to comment on their own world view then forces that on a biblical world view and it just doesn't work, it's sloppy, agenda driven and insincere to the point.

    Ancient class systems were more complex than just saying slavery is wrong and they should be all free. Freedom for some meant there were unable to participate in society and face starvation. Everyone here seems to enjoy superimposing a narrow view of slavery over the biblical practice and fail to see how irresponsible this is. If you want me to agree with you that your superimposed idea of slavery based on a modern western world view is wrong then sure, it's wrong but that doesn't actually comment on biblical practices it just comments on an out of context world view.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
  10. Tone

    Tone "Whenever Thou humblest me, Thou makest me great." Supporter

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    You always say this when I say something profoundly true, yet you can't expound since you have an automatic shutoff.

    Maybe we need to explore the meaning and origin of that defensive word "deepities"...



    Why do you always magnify something vague that can be construed as completely negative and wrong, and completely overlook all the positive overtones (not sure I used that last word properly...haven't had my coffee)?

    I suppose the piercing of the servant's ear is complete torture huh...no matter that he and his family are being adopted into the household huh?

    More conjecture.

    That's why it was important that all of these rules were taught properly and often.

    I mean, we're still discussing these things that were put down thousands of years ago...you're aware of them!

    Plus, remember what ignorance of the law is...no excuse.



    Ai yai yai.

    More of that stuff.

    I know there's a name for what your doing...I'll look for the word.

    I got a headache right now.


    *Your being hyperbolic.

    That's not the word I was trying to think of, but it will do for now.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
  11. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

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    I mention this term rather rarely, unless the shoe fits. And on occasion, we get a perfect fit.

    But I will address the last statement you made here:


    "Man enslaving man, is the visible manifestation of the more important reality of slavery to sin."

    Are you acknowledging that taking other human slaves is 'sinful'? If so, then no wonder you are trying your darndest to make sure the Bible really does not condone human 'slavery'. :)


    I've said this before, maybe not directly to you however. The Bible does not speak a whole lot about the topic of 'slavery.' But what it does say about 'slavery', looks crystal clear that such a topic is perfectly fine in God's eye's, and not 'sinful'.

    Furthermore, do you finally admit that the Bible promotes things which you view as 'negative and wrong'???


    Again, the Verse is clear... It instructs that a slave's offspring is the slaver's property for life, if produced by a given wife. Yes, your God promotes this. Deal with it....



    More hand-waving I see...

    I went to church for 30+ years, never once did any of my attended churches speak the topic of 'slavery'. And when Exodus was 'taught', somehow certain Verse was skipped. I came across it myself.

    The reason we are still discussing this, at all, is because tradition and legend sometimes carries on. Sometimes some beliefs and traditions last longer than others. If the old Greek God myths were still circulating around more prevalently, we might be arguing something 'negative' from there?

    Furthermore, as stated prior, the rules and regulations for slavery are ambiguous. But what it does state about allowable slavery, may also suit a chattel slaver.

    Do you really think the slaves were literate? Do you really think the slave received 'full disclosure'? Even if they did, maybe in desperation, they would agree to anything to get out of their current situation. And even more, I gather most 'slaves' were the direct product of offspring. It's safe to say there existed a fair amount of born-into children, which were immediately deemed the slave owner's property for life. --- As the Bible condones.

    Remember, slavery has gone on for thousands of years, most of which are deemed slaves from birth. This type of situation is considered free lifetime merchandise for the 'slave' owner, ala - the Bible's direct instruction and allowance.

    Simply gather the very first one, claim they should have known better themselves later, then keep all successive generations of offspring, free and clear.



    Simple questions...

    Does the Bible condone the beating of slaves? Yes or no?

    Does the Bible dictate what reasons a slaver can and cannot beat their slaves? yes or no?
    Does the Bible dictate how often you can beat your slaves? yes or no?
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
  12. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

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    Then I guess such 'slavery' practices are still legal somewhere in the East, for which you speak of as being more enlightened?

    Remember, I doubt a god exists. Thus, I have no basis for what is considered 'right' or 'wrong' :)

    But I ask you some plain and simple questions...

    a. Is it 'moral' to instruct the servant keeper that he can claim all servant offspring as his own possession, for life?

    b. Is it 'moral' to instruct that you may beat your servants, with impunity, as long as you do not knock out an eye or tooth?

    As I've told others here... The Bible does not go into depth about slavery. But if the Bible is going to mention the topic at all, don't be sloppy and leave it virtually ambiguous. -- Enough so to pave the way for a chattel slaver to come along and buy up all successive offspring.
     
  13. DamianWarS

    DamianWarS Follower of Isa Al Masih Supporter

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    I've studied different cultures/languages, modern and ancient, western and eastern and I'm a westerner currently living and working in Asia for the past 7 years as well as raising a family. We (my wife, 5 year old son and 2 year old daughter) speak local languages all of which has given me better understanding of broader and specific differences of eastern and western systems. I don't see how you interpreted my comments to suggest slavary should then still be practiced in eastern cultures today because I said eastern ways are honor driven and prefer group identities over individual. I am speaking of ancient world views and ancient peoples, not modern. The inability to keep to an ancient context in this thread evades me.

    The biblical laws like these are proscriptive and should not be use to draw a moral line of how far you can go nor should we read them as encouragement to meet those boundaries. An ancient Hebrew could also beat his wife, his son and dog all with impunity so an argument could be made a slave was given rights similar to family members but just because there was no legal punishment doesn't implicitly call it moral. There are loads of things we can do that are immoral with impunity.

    I really can't comment however on the moral motivation of owning slaves in an ancient world view. I can disagree and condemn it in my modern abstract western understanding but if I did we're not really talking about biblical practices anymore are we? Sure, I think owning slaves is immoral but my world view has little to do with an ancient hebrew owning a slave 3000 years ago and systems that govern them. And I certainly can't comment how it impacted a slave's livelihood in that system or how they received these roles or how they were valued.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
  14. Par5

    Par5 Well-Known Member

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    I have just finished reading a commentary on Exodus 21 found on the Christian website Enduring Word.
    The tone of the commentary is such that you wouldn't think you were reading about slavery. It felt more that you were reading about a welfare system designed to help the less fortunate in society.
    If anyone wishes to check it out the link is below.
    Exodus Chapter 21
     
  15. muichimotsu

    muichimotsu I Spit On Perfection

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    So the argument seems to boil down to postmodern relativism: we can't judge something by our standards because we cannot claim in any way that we are superior. Except we definitively can in the understanding that their circumstances should not have justified the continued atrocity of putting people in a situation where they had to choose servitude or death, basically a loaded question that favors those in affluence over those who are impoverished
     
  16. Tone

    Tone "Whenever Thou humblest me, Thou makest me great." Supporter

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    Taking advantage of the poor is sinful, as is cruel and unusual punishment.

    So, anybody who is a harsh taskmaster over employees (servants/slaves) will answer for it.

    Just think if Judeo-Christianity had no guidelines for such things. We wouldn't be where we are today with worker's rights and such. We'd probably be more like a caste system.


    No.

    "If"...but false gods will never last.

    You touch upon a key to understanding the culture we are discussing. They learned by oral tradition. Some of these things may have to have been hyperbolized just to keep some concentrate through the many retellings. Even Messiah Yahshua used hyperbole often to make strong points.

    Why do you completely overlook the fact that this was a viable way to become part of the household...to inherit all the blessings?
     
  17. Tone

    Tone "Whenever Thou humblest me, Thou makest me great." Supporter

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    Galatians 4:1-3
    "Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child [nepios], differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage [doulos, servants] under the elements of the world:"

    So then, who are we speaking of?

    People outside of the household (economy).

    What must happen for them to become masters themselves?

    The answer to this is the why of slavery.


    *The Bible is not for slave masters, but rather, for master slaves.
     
  18. DamianWarS

    DamianWarS Follower of Isa Al Masih Supporter

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    anecdotal
     
  19. DamianWarS

    DamianWarS Follower of Isa Al Masih Supporter

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    We can't judge their standards because we don't know what their standards are. All we are judging are standards we superimpose over the biblical practises.
     
  20. muichimotsu

    muichimotsu I Spit On Perfection

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    Except I'm pretty sure historians have gleaned some ideas of their practices, they're not absolutely mysterious as if we cannot assess them at all

    The biblical practices taken on their own are still problematic based on an outdated notion where the only solution perceived was to subjugate people and try to be compassionate about it, as if domination was how civil society should work instead of cooperation as equals. The Israelites demonstrably have a xenophobic sort of system where their own group is treated far better than the outsiders who they can buy as slaves and treat as property. The only constraint is being nice, but that's with the assumption that "nice" means something that pretty clearly is not above raping women (taken from a conquered nation as a wife) or beating slaves under the auspices of "discipline"
     
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