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Is Slavery Moral?

Discussion in 'Ethics & Morality' started by cvanwey, May 13, 2018.

  1. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid A Crash Test Dummy's work is never done! Supporter

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    So......let me get this straight. You think that a 'servant' was always and only a Jewish person, and a 'slave' was always a foreigner? Is this what you're inferring? I have to ask because how you've done the exegesis on this and made the jump assumption that you've made doesn't seem to "just follow," IMO. Maybe you're right (or maybe you're not), but even if you are, what I'm seeing in your form of exegesis is a woodenly rigid interpretive process wherein it seems that you think the legal thought of Israelites only and irrevocably used single verses WITHOUT considering how connotations from any of the other many laws in the O.T. might BLEED OVER into the final act of jurisprudence that the judges of Israel would have administered in their courts.

    Well, that's just too bad if my fellow Americans are that in need of remedial training. And I can say this because............I was in need of serious remedial study when I first became a Christian, too, but through time I became open to the idea that the world is complex and that the Bible requires more study to understand than what my "common man" notions had led me to initially believe those many years ago. Yes, I've gotten frustrated over the years with trying to 'read' the Bible! Who doesn't? But the fact is, it is what it is.

    No, they do approximate jobs as best that various educated people can do. But............the fact remains that obviously language, even the English language, changes through time, so the meanings or articulations that we thought had been used to interpret/interpolate/translate in the past need to be edited and modified for improvement, or for easier reading, or whatever. Thus, we have a kagilleon different English 'versions' all competing in the marketplace of English business. And that's the way it is. Sorry Charlie!

    No, you're not so much "doing it wrong" as much as you are doing it incompletely. (Of course, not one of us can ever REALLY do it completely since we're stuck in singular human bodies which are limited by human cognizance and temporality (by which I mean we don't know it all AND we can't travel through time to verify the full past like we'd like to do).

    Of course they "aspire" to that, but the reality of humanity and human society prevents that outcome from ever happening. (Shucks darn it! God should have made this a perfect world with perfect people with perfect cognition with the perfect environment..................................ad infinitum!) Well, boo HOO!

    Yep. You hit the nail on the head. I still am asking you. [My oh my, isn't doing hermeneutical investigation great?!]


    I'm not switching anything. You're the one who is making the claim that 'such and such' a passage can only refer to and imply this or that about servant and slaves. You are making a positive claim. I have a different positive claim. So, the burden is on BOTH of us, which is why I'm haggling with you about it all, most particularly since you seem to want to utterly refuse to realize that hermeneutics is all about studying the structures and acts of application that are involved in our very own interpretive processes. But, you seem to want to reduce things down and believe .... "eh, it's simple. NO need for all that." And I disagree. It's complex and we all have some work to do. I mean, do you want me to choose a book on hermeneutics that we can read and discuss together? Are you up for that? Or is that asking too much?

    Uh. yeah. So what. That slave needs to convert in order to obtain "freedom in God and society." Duh!!! This kind of goes without saying if we consider the theology and the God being depicted in the Bible. If we don't pay the quarter, we don't get the bubble-gum, although we might if there's some some in 'overstock' that doesn't get sold directly.

    What? You mean this doesn't comport with our modern day notions about pluralism and democracy? That God isn't going to set up economic and societal systems that we hold as sacrosanct today in "just that way?" .....yeah. That's about the short of it. [Ok. Everyone please get out your Ethics textbook and let's turn together to page ..................]

    the above applies.

    ...well, it's likely that a slave (...can we say nasty Canaanite?) who refuses to convert will likely be continually at odds with the worldview and social patterns of the Israelite master. Go figure! That's right. The Bible isn't a pluralistic democracy. But it does allow one to convert to the "narrow way," "...for the wide way leads to death."

    yep. Only the 'meek' shall inherit the earth. (Maybe read the last couple of chapters in the book of Revelation to get an idea as to what this is going to mean in the end....) :dontcare:

    .................no, it would be erroneous to say that all English translations in all necessity convey identical meanings in all ways. No, there are differences, which is why so many Christians squabble about who has the 'best' version of the Bible.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
  2. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to try and make this shorter, so others might actually read this... :)

    Exodus 21:1-11 speaks specifically about 'Hebrew servants,' and also about fathers whom are selling their daughters. If it stopped there, that would be one thing.... Meaning, one could almost attempt to argue legitimate 'indentured servitude' and 'debtor' agreements.

    However, Exodus 21:12-36, paints a whole new picture. It then mentions slaves, and in NO WAY, appears to be attached or relayed back to the former passages referencing 'Hebrew servants'. Slavery does not appear to bleed over and reference back to servants. It is also the first time in the chapter the slaves are mentioned as PROPERTY, can be kept for LIFE, can be BEATEN just sort of death, and can be INHERITED. These are all classic attributes of what a 'slave' was thought to be then, and now. Servants do not serve for life. Servants would not be considered property for life, but instead, be considered the 'help', and temporary until later retirement of a contractual end.


    Therefore, the later half of Exodus 21 appears to reference slaves (not indentured servants - Jewish or not Jewish), and what to do (and) not to do with them. Pretty much every English version eludes to a similar conclusion. Though words may change from one English version to the next, all versions result or conclude the same main point... Meaning, they are slaves, whom can be bought, kept for life, referred to as property, inherited, and beaten just short of death. No rational definition of an indentured servant would fit such a description. And it appears to pertain to ethnicity. Meaning, if you are not a Jew, then game on.


    Honestly, applying hermeneutics appears to be a slight waste of time. You already admitted that differing interpretations happen. To actively search and seek for a possible alternate conclusion, which may so happen to be more pleasing for your specific position (in another language), appears dishonest. Again, the Bible is not be to 'compared' to other ancient texts. Meaning, it claims to be God inspired, as others are not. Therefore, the standards have no choice, but to become different for the Bible. Meaning, if the 'Word' is translated that poorly, then one may blame the 'author' and not the reader in this case. I would assume God would author a book which appears more universal, and not the same as EVERY OTHER TEXT WRITTEN IN IT'S TIME PERIOD. This does not appear divine.

    In the end, after much study, this is my conclusion...

    As stated prior, many passages in the Bible look to be written to enforce laws, and to state they came from 'God' to make them objective and validated (when they instead appear only human concocted). During the time these passages were written, slavery was much more common place...

    In the end, as I've told others, if it's demonstrated to myself, that many of the verses appear to be originated and comprised from humans alone, then why is the Bible the authoritative and inspired word of God?.?.?.? (Rhetorical question)

    This thread is not to prove or disprove the existence of a God. But is to instead ask if slavery is moral? And to also point out, that if the Bible actually was God inspired, God appears to be 'a okay' with classic slavery, under practically any form. And like others have said, and you may have heard many of times now... If God can tell humans not to eat shrimp and not to mix fabrics...

    It just seems so shamelessly written by humans to support human needs, at the time it was written. That is all...
     
  3. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid A Crash Test Dummy's work is never done! Supporter

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    ok. I see you're a bit stuck on this Exodus-Leviticus 1-2 combo punch, and I'll just have to interject at this point and say that until you're willing to do two things here, we're not going to make any further progress. And those two things are:

    1) You need to read the Torah in its entirety and pay attention to minute details about the treatment of strangers/aliens/foreigners who sojourn in or near Israel,

    And

    2) Come to the understanding that Jewish jurisdprudence required judges to consider ALL of the implications embedded throughout the Mosaic Law when considering a case, not just hone in and cite some little law--like the one or two tiny bits that you're harping on--and make some huge judgement based on those little laws alone.

    So, it seems to me that the linchpin in this entire evaluative process, which you're wanting us to make about the morality of slavery as it pertains to the ancient Israelites/Jews, resides in Exodus 21:20-21. Because, let's face it, if Exodus 21:20-21 could not actually be carried out with the utter and blind vociferousness with which you seem to imply that it always could be by Israelite slave masters, then the whole comparison between Jewish ""slavery"" and that kind of slavery which predominated in the Atlantic Slave Trade and thus in the United States becomes a huge contrast instead, and what we can readily see is that the slavery which existed in the U.S. had very little in common with biblical slavery. In fact, U.S. slavery was just a travesty of biblical slavery and it probably wouldn't be too much say that we can better compare U.S. slavery, as the extremely oppressive and inhumane institution that it was, as having been more fully in line with the Egyptian slavery the Hebrews experienced under the hand of Pharaoh.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
  4. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

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    I'm afraid this response does not address any of my bullet points... I will reiterate them yet again... Also, this is a forum exchange of ideas. If you have smoking gun evidence, then bring it. Receiving a book list from others does very little to accomplish resolution to a raised topic. If you have crucial and specific knowledge, which refutes my bullet points below, then demonstrate them. Otherwise, as it stands, none of your responses refute the obvious facts, as laid forth by the Bible:

    - slaves for life
    - property for life
    - beating for life
    - inherited for life

    And as you have admitted prior, if slavery was again made legal somewhere, under a Christian theocracy, there appears to be no verse which would denounce such a new law. So I'm, not sure why you bring up transALT slavery. I'm not even talking about any specific slavery in the past, just ANY slavery, as it pertains to be condoned from the Bible.

    It appears written by Jews, and not God. God would not favor a specific race over another. God would not instruct to own another humans as a slaves for life. God would not instruct humans to own other humans as property for life. God would not condone beating, as long as no death occurred in 48 hours or less. God would not state that if you are not a Jew, you are to be kept for life, and passed down to the kids as property.

    Assuming God is just, loving, neutral, and equal to the entire human race, in which apparently humans were made in His image, the following passages appear to be man made, and do not appear to be inspired by any actual claimed God.

    In conclusion, if some passages appear man-made, then how might one know if any of the Bible came from above?
     
  5. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid A Crash Test Dummy's work is never done! Supporter

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    What in your estimation "qualifies" as smoking-gun evidence? Ay? Can you share with me what your criteria are on this? :rolleyes:
     
  6. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

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    The Bible states:

    Property for life
    slaves for life
    beating for life
    inherited for life

    This is classic slavery. You have made no effort to demonstrate that the Bible does not actually say this. Which means, one may only conclude, that 'God' condones such behavior. Which means, either A) God allows slavery (or) B) humans wrote it in a time to support what they wanted.

    So is it A) or B)?

    If it's A), then God does not appear just or fair. If the answer is B), then what other passages were NOT God inspired?
     
  7. Daniel Newhouse

    Daniel Newhouse Member Supporter

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    I thought of slavery as a means of sending people to hell. In fact, cvanwey makes it sound like hell. There is something called a "letter of manumission." This is to free someone from slavery. It may sound a bit too Roman. I need to finish reading the robe to see how it works. If the president could use a manumission power, in this world and the next, perhaps we could have allowed slavery historically? Or perhaps it would be a way to recuperate prisoners.
     
  8. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid A Crash Test Dummy's work is never done! Supporter

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    Who said that we have to begin by assuming that ANY of the bible is God inspired? I didn't. And if I remember right, I've already told you previously that my approach requires no such initial thesis. In fact, any consideration about the Bible being 'inspired' by God in any kind of theoretical capacity need only come........................at the very END of our full process of personal evaluation. (Besides, the epistemolgical indications in the Bible say that some amount of your ability to believe will have to come from God and whether that comes at the beginning of a persons quest or at the end of it is only something you can decide.)

    Anyway, we need not assume "Godly inspiration" as an axiom just to give us some kind of artificial impetus to get us going. Instead, we can simply employ the field and discipline of hermeneutics in our attempt to understand what the writers/editors of the Torah (and the O.T. in full, really) wanted to convey. But, if you're not personally vested or interested in "finding out," then there's no reason for us to continue.

    We've barely begun here to address the issues of the OP, which is sad for me to contemplate when I think about your present dilemma in facing off against disbelief. If I actually thought you wanted to believe, I'd probably sing a different song. But far be it from me to waste time on someone who thinks that my mode and method of study is impotent and essentially ill-begotten. I've pointed you to some resources, so use them. Moreover, when I became a Christian, no one took me by the hand to lead me through the maze which exists in a plethora of existential, historical, epistemological, theological, cultural, even rational studies that are needed to even to try to begin to understand this weird, crusty old Jewish collection of literature we call the Bible. No, I had to figure it out by myself by simply reading and comparing various PhD viewpoints.

    So, good luck out there, cvanwey. Let me know when you want to stop hedging with your own version of semantic roulette and actually begin to take seriously reality and study and address this topic in a hermeneutical fashion. If you decide not to stop, then just know that I think you're an intelligent chap and I'm sure you'll make your way just fine without my help. :cool:
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
  9. Moral Orel

    Moral Orel Proud Citizen of Moralton Supporter

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    Just asking for a bit of clarity, not picking a fight... this time. I get that the whole "God breathed" passage may have different interpretations as to how direct/indirect the inspiration is, but the story behind OT Law is that God specifically told Moses what the laws were, right? Could/should that be interpreted as a fiction akin to the way Genesis can be considered a useful/important myth of sorts?

    And since I know you...can I have the medium answer, please. Not really the short answer, but definitely not the long answer.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
  10. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

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    Thank you kind sir. However, I'm looking for your expertise, in regards to the verses which state:

    slave for life
    property for life
    beating for life
    inherited for life

    That's all. All these attributes above, 'for life', has to do with slavery, not indentured servitude. Reading and studying is not going to change such an axiomatic stated canon. Nor, have you made any attempt to correct such translations.

    Again, though I appreciate the sentiment and sincerity, I see nothing which validates such axiomatic verses, from ANY interpretation one chooses to use. The second half of Exodus 21 speaks about slaves.

    Furthermore, I never harped on your prior initial statement from many posts back.... However, I also find it bazaar that you fully admit or convey that the Bible was possibly not 'God breathed' or "God inspired"? If the Bible was just another human written text, then why is it then an authoritative set of 'instructions' and 'laws' from God?

    Thanks
     
  11. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid A Crash Test Dummy's work is never done! Supporter

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    Hi Nik! That's fine if you feel you need some clarification on some of these general points I've been doling out here lately. :cool:

    Essentially 'yes,' if we're wanting to be simplistic and just go with the flow of what we think 'tradition' tells about it all, but the actual nature of that supposed series of events where God is depicted as having given "the Law" to Moses is, as you know, fraught with textual, historical, literary, and other philosophical potholes, potholes that tend to cause the whole topic to remain to open further deliberation by all interested parties (i.e. both those who are yaysayers and naysayers). Right?

    In a way, yes, and in another way, no. Personally, I see ALL human writing as being subject to various human caprices and/or shortcomings; all human writing, however efficient it may be, or however much of a claim there may be within it to express to the reader that there's just "something special about this writing," the writers of all works only end up articulating sentences that fall short of fully representing the reality they attempt to describe. And here's the rub, on top of the fact that the original writers intended to "lay down" some objective approximations about the reality they thought they were relating, there remains the additional fact that later readers will be stymied by their own recognition that there are philosophical conundrums involved in their attempts to cognitively register what was written and actually meant by those writings. So, this involves not only Philosophy of History, but also the more encompassing realizations of Hermeneutics (such as Jens Zimmerman proposes, and to which I much agree with).

    Of course, there's always more that can be said, but you asked for the 'short' of it, and there it is. ;) So, is the narrative involving the account of God's giving the Law to Moses a form of 'myth'? Yes and no.
     
  12. Ana the Ist

    Ana the Ist Aggressively serene!

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    Why?

    People sign up for the military knowing that if they "change their mind"....the answer is "too bad, finish your end of the contract or you're going to jail."
     
  13. Moral Orel

    Moral Orel Proud Citizen of Moralton Supporter

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    I agree, it's not common to hear a Christian agree though. That would seem to make the point of this thread moot, though. If we can say that God didn't literally write the law explicitly, then we can simply reconcile the awful things by simply saying, "They're only human, they did their best and it was an improvement, God only offered a little help in the right direction." And then still condemn all the (at least seemingly) bad stuff in the OT that it claims came directly from God without condemning God. That isn't necessarily the correct answer to it all, but it would be valid.

    The folks who take everything literally are kind of stuck, though.
     
  14. Nihilist Virus

    Nihilist Virus Infectious idea

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    Hi peeps. Lots of familiar faces here. Familiar situation, too. 45 pages of Christians not admitting to something that is obvious... and over a week of my favorite Christian philosopher dodging bullets... er, bullet points.

    ·slave for life
    ·property for life
    ·beating for life
    ·inherited for life
     
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  15. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid A Crash Test Dummy's work is never done! Supporter

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    Ah. The simplicity of a simple view (i.e. theirs, not mine). The truth is, I'm not actually "dodging." Rather, I'm refusing to engage further when there's simply no reciprocation. It's not up to me to do all of the heavy lifting around here; no, in my view it's a joint effort. So, no "lifty, lifty" on the part of others, no excessive "lifty, lifty" on my part, either-----supposed burden(s) of proof not withstanding. ;)

    So, I'll just stand by my existing, as yet un-explicated assertion in response to the OP: in a sinful world such as ours, SOME forms of slavery (or servitude generally speaking), at least, may be moral, given the right social constraints, perhaps even qualifiably preferable. (Ew! Eek! Shock of shocks! How could 2PhiloVoid say such a thing? Quick everyone, make a hasty conclusion about why he's said this!!!!)

    .....all of CF falls over in a mass faint.:swoon::swoon::swoon:

    In all honesty, let's put it another way: I'm not going to willingly support or willingly subsidize an otherwise Benthamite social/legal/penal philosophy. And in words reminiscent of those from that MAD but illustrious brother in Christ of mine, @AV1611VET, "Jeremy Bentham can take a hike!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
  16. Nihilist Virus

    Nihilist Virus Infectious idea

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    Heavy lifting. Hmmmm. Yeah. No hair on the side of your head, no shellfish... these things are obviously immoral. But slavery... that's a tricky one, isn't it?
     
  17. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid A Crash Test Dummy's work is never done! Supporter

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    And counting the number of long-term, isolationist, non-restorative, capitalistically oriented, panoptic prisons that existed in Ancient, Old Testament Israel.......is also a tricky one, too. ;)

    And the point that I am inferring is that I think the Ancient Israelite system of slavery, as it pertains specifically to criminal containment, is a good beginning point by which to compare systems of penal philosophy and theory, even between then and now. We can then ask ourselves: Which system ends ups being more "humane" overall and in the long-term?

    Of course, since we ARE on this side of the New Covenant, we'd have to look at the Old Testament code through the additional revision that comes through the patterns of Jesus'/the Apostles'/the Church's teaching, and not simply from within the sole strictures of the Old Covenant........alone.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
  18. Nihilist Virus

    Nihilist Virus Infectious idea

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    Too many bullet points at once... you are unable to answer due to interference, creating a wavy, jumbled response. Perhaps if we send the bullet points one at a time...?

    ·slave for life

    Let's see if your answer interferes with itself even when sent one at a time. If so, perhaps we've established that your brain is the world's first quantum computer.
     
  19. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid A Crash Test Dummy's work is never done! Supporter

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    Yes, some foreign born slaves could be a slaves for life. So what? They should have fully converted to the faith of the Israelites and then they could have had an opportunity to find freedom among the Jewish brethren of the state (which is seemingly implied in Isaiah 56 as one of the griping points of the prophet toward Israel in their spiritual and social failures). If the slaves persist in their own alternative (Canaanite?) religious beliefs, they'll find themselves under the rod for a very, very long time. If we take the texts in wholesale fashion, should the Israelites have respected the Canaanite beliefs? I think not.
     
  20. Allandavid

    Allandavid Well-Known Member

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    This makes a rather large assumption that people can choose their beliefs...
     
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