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Slavery in the bible.

Discussion in 'Ethics & Morality' started by Par5, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. DogmaHunter

    DogmaHunter Code Monkey

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    That didn't really answer my question, I'm sorry to say.
     
  2. DogmaHunter

    DogmaHunter Code Monkey

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    Sorry, I simply do not agree that ancient Rome could have only existed while practicing slavery.

    Just like it is ludicrous to suggest that the United Stated could only have come about while practicing slavery.

    Having said that, this is again kind of avoiding the issue. We are not talking about humans, but about a God and his "guidance" on how humans should behave and organize.

    Are you really telling me here that this all-knowing, all-powerfull, benevolent God couldn't come up with a solution to this? Really?

    We puny humans could, eventually... how come such a god couldn't immediatly?

    And once more: there is NOTHING in the bible from wich you can derive this reasoning. There are no conditions place on slavery like "until you find a better economic model" or "it's not nice, but for the time being" or anything... Not even a single tip or hint or suggestion on trying to work towards a model where it is no longer "required".

    Nothing at all. It just says: do it, it's fine.

    You are welcome to believe what you believe off course... But you have zero biblical support for it.
     
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  3. DogmaHunter

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    I think it is a huge problem, in terms of the religion. Because if the authors could be wrong about 1 thing, they could be wrong about many things. They could be wrong about everything. So now, we need a methodology on how to decide which parts are correct and which aren't. And this methodology must be independent / objective. It can not be based on our emotions, beliefs, likes or preferences....

    So yea, that is a problem.

    So, how do you know it was actually a vision, and not just a hallucination or a meaningless dream or something?

    I find it a problem yes, because it's rather clear that there is no proper methodology here to answer those questions.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2017
  4. Gulielmus Beta

    Gulielmus Beta New Member

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    I'm sure I'm a rather strange sort of Christian. Many Christians would say I am certainly no such thing, and many atheists would tell me I am just an atheist in disguise, sort of like my favorite philosopher and thinker, Benedictus de Spinoza. It is indeed, extremely complicated. I believe that, after Christ, Spinoza was the world's greatest teacher. Teacher with a small 't', whereas Christ has the big 'T'. How and why do I believe this? Well, you would have to be me, in order to understand that. Since you are not me, all you can do is get an idea, based on what I type here, in this space, about what I think, what I believe, and why.

    We're all individuals, yet we are social creatures. The 'I' is precious, inviolate, and absolutely necessary; but taken too far, the 'I' becomes a mere animal, seeking nothing but its own survival. God, in His infinite wisdom, gave to mankind the ability to put a muzzle on the 'I'. Man (kind) saw that, in order to survive, I am forced to use my brain, since I, unlike the birds, who know how to make their nests without being taught, do not know how to make a teepee, or an igloo, just by instinct. I need to be taught how to do it. ie: I am like the other animals, and yet there's a difference, and a great difference.

    etc, etc...but that's for other threads.

    This thread is about the Bible. I do regard the Bible as sacred, but then I regard almost all text as sacred, since text is mankind's way of transferring information to other beings, and also storing, and saving information, external to the brain, on tangible objects, like stone, wax, or paper. The Bible is sacred, but so is Spinoza's Ethica, Milton's Paradise Lost, Keats's Hyperion fragments, and George Eliot's Adam Bede. Etc, etc.

    I do not believe that the Bible is inerrant. In fact, I think it's just as "errant" as any other collection of texts. Let's not forget: the Bible is not one book. It's a big collection of books, written over the course of several centuries, in different languages, by various individuals, identified or anonymous, translated and re-translated, over and over, for two millennia. Naturally, such a collection of documents are going to be flawed. It seems so to me. As a matter of fact, I'd say it's a miracle that we have anything substantive and coherent, intercontextual, and in some kind of concordance, after so much shuffling, translating, selecting (Nicea), chopping, editing, embellishing, interpreting, etc, etc, over all that time, and in so many hands.

    I'll have more to add later, as I need to go to work in a few hours.

    All I can say is, I believe in God, the Father of fathers; I believe that Jesus Christ came to speak His word, at that time, in that place. I also believe that the game of telephone was on, instantly, due to our fallibility, our emotions, our private, personal designs and schemes, our corruption, our agendas, etc, etc.

    I believe that Jesus Christ knew, from a very early age, exactly what He was supposed to do, and what that would entail. I believe He was a Man of supreme courage, intelligence, and perseverance. I believe He was also divine, though my puny human brain does not understand exactly what that means.
     
  5. DogmaHunter

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    That is completely false.

    Yes, tobacco is regulated. But EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK there are red flags planted saying how bad it is and how everyone should quit. Manufacturers are even forced to put it right on the packages as well.

    None of such "red flags" or equivalents are found anywhere in the bible. It is treated as a mega trivial thing as if there is nothing particularly wrong with it.

    The tobacco thingy is actually an excellent analogy, in that respect. Because we DO warn people, en masse, of the dangers. You can't say "tobacco" without immediatly also thinking "danger, lung cancer, harm to children, not in public places" etc etc.

    In the bible though, none of those triggers are present concerning slavery. It's just okay, unconditionally, without any red flags.
     
  6. Allandavid

    Allandavid Well-Known Member

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    Now, about that slavery..........
     
  7. DogmaHunter

    DogmaHunter Code Monkey

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    Nobody is saying that God should have overthrown civilisation and triggered major civil wars.

    The only point being made here is that there is NOTHING in the bible that speaks against slavery. It's the opposite, it just says: do it, it's okay.

    Saying nothing at all about it (not pro, not con) in itself would already have been infinitly better then to say "it's not a problem, you can keep slaves, buy, sell and inherit them - they are your property".

    He could have also gone the extra step and just say that it's not nice to keep slaves because it harms human dignity, without explicitly prohibiting it and putting punishments on it.

    Or something similar.

    Anything would have been better then the current reality, where it just says that it's okay without any further acknowledgements about anything.
     
  8. Gulielmus Beta

    Gulielmus Beta New Member

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    Well, read the rest of my post. I do not condone slavery. Did GOD condone slavery? I don't know the mind or intention of my Creator.

    What I can tell you is this: If I were to awaken at 3:00 AM, and saw a giant face or figure before me, and it said, in an extremely loud, presumably baritone voice:

    "William, pick up thy bed, and rise, and go seek thou a slave. Take unto thee a slave from the other nations, but not of thine own nation; and let it be that that slave shall be pleasing unto you, and care for thy needs."

    My answer would be: "No. I will not, and would never, take a slave, as slavery is, to my mind, which Thou hast created, an abhorrence, and a stigma, and a plague on humankind."

    and then...having said my peace, I would settle and take whatever comeuppance came, come hell or high water.
     
  9. Allandavid

    Allandavid Well-Known Member

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    I don’t think many Christians (or Jews for that matter) realise how serious the slavery issue is for the future of their religion/s.

    I’ve been an atheist all my life, so haven’t had to wrestle with the loss of any faith. But I would venture that a very large percentage of the people I know who have vacated their belief in god, did so over not being able to rationalise the support for slavery in the bible.

    It’s a deal breaker...
     
  10. Allandavid

    Allandavid Well-Known Member

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    You don’t have to know his mind...you just have to read his supposed words! And those words certainly DO condone slavery...

    Again, you don’t need that 3 am call...your god has already made it abundantly clear, if you believe that the bible conveys his wishes...

    I probably wouldn’t need to resort to Jacobean English, but mine would be a similar reply...;)
     
  11. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Evangelical Catholic Supporter

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    This argument against theism is only something that would appeal to someone who was philosophically sophomoric. It is the sort of junk polemics that Richard Dawkins jabbers on with. It's just a crude mixture of ignorance and contempt.

    Bertrand Russel never bothered with these sorts of ridiculous arguments. You guys can do better.
     
  12. Radagast

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    And an incredible letter it is. Let me paraphrase and summarise it:

    Dear Philemon,

    Greetings! I thank God in my prayers that you're such a kind and loving man. I am sending this letter with my very dear friend and helper Onesimus, who used to be your slave (and legally still is). In Christ, I could order you to set him free, but I know that (being a kind and loving man) you'll do the right thing on your own. He is your brother in Christ, after all.

    And, by a happy coincidence, I'll be coming to visit you a few days after you get this letter. Not to pressure you or anything, but I know that you'll have done the right thing by then.

    Love, Paul
     
  13. Radagast

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    Faith groups and individuals that deny the full, eternal deity of Jesus Christ or His incarnation whereby He, as God, took on human flesh (becoming fully God and fully man in one person), are considered non-Christians at CF.
     
  14. Norbert L

    Norbert L Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Perhaps you read my comment fast and missed we I said God condoned the behavior because it was necessary for mankind to progress and evolve civilization. He had no other choice.

    It's called free moral agency and even today a segment of society believes government should put in place legislation that can fix their problems for them. It's called passing the buck.

    Besides from my perspective when the "God did it" argument for cosmology is used, numerous atheists have been critical of it. Now from what you're saying of abolishing slavery in the past, God should of done it.
     
  15. DogmaHunter

    DogmaHunter Code Monkey

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    Where in the bible does it say that?

    But it's not a point of this god/the bible leaving it upto humans... It's a point of this god/the bible downright making no issue of it and simply saying, uncondotionally, that it's fine to keep slaves.

    You might have a point here, if the bible didn't mention slavery AT ALL. But it doesn't. It does touch upon the subject. And it says that's just fine to practice it.

    But the bible doesn't deal with cosmology, nore is it the subject of discussion.

    Not necessarily. The point is just that God / the bible said that it's fine to practice slavery. And the bible makes no mention of any of the excuses you are giving here. It doesn't say "for the time being". That's just you, adding to what the bible actually says.
     
  16. DogmaHunter

    DogmaHunter Code Monkey

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    This is not an argument against theism. At all.

    For the purpose of this point, I shall define theism as the belief that a theistic deity exists.

    Contrary to what many people apparantly assume, I don't see why such a deity would necessarily have to be benevolent, just or moral. It's not even clear to me why such a deity would require being "all-powerfull".

    To me, such a deity should be only just "powerfull enough" to create a universe.
    To me, such a deity should not necessarily be just, benevolent, moral,....

    I don't see why a creator deity can't, for example, just be a bored and sadistic deity that created a universe with biological entities for his own entertainment, enjoying whatching them suffer.

    This is not an argument against a god's existance. At best, it is an argument against that god's claimed moral standards.
     
  17. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Evangelical Catholic Supporter

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    God is good because he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to be the Savior of the human race and to grant eternal life to all who believe in him. He did this despite the human race doing nothing to deserve salvation, having continually rebelled against his will.

    That is why God is good.

    I don't claim God is good in some abstract philosophical sense. You need to brush up on apophatic theology. We only know God by his actions towards us. We do not fully know God's nature. There are many things God chooses not to reveal, and he is not obliged to do so. Due to God's nature being more dissimilar than similar to a human being, there are real limitations on how far reason can take us in trying to understand God.

    We do not deny that God has wrath towards sin, that he has reserved woe and destruction for all those who love evil. If you choose to see God as harsh or evil, then we are not surprised that is what you find in God. God is not a cosmic Care Bear who has only nice things to say to everyone.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2017
  18. mark kennedy

    mark kennedy Natura non facit saltum Supporter

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    In those days a slave could be put to death for trying to escape, Aristotle actually agreed with this. Paul says receive him as you would me and if this has cost you anything charge that back to me.

    I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. For this is perhaps why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. (Philemon 1:10-16)
    Not as a slave, as a beloved brother. Show me anywhere in antiquity a writing like this that freed a slave. Your mockery of the text is just plain wrong, if you really hate slavery you should love this. Onesimus is believed to have been pastor of Ephesus, the most important church planting ministry of the first century I kid you not. This was written probably between 60 and 70 AD. This church was responsible for planting no less then 7 churches, including Colossae which is where Onesimus and Philemon were converted. According to church tradition he was pastor in 95 AD, which would have made him the successor of the Apostle John, who in his older age could not fulfill the duties of Pastor. The suggestion here is that Onesimus came to Paul during his imprisonment to minister to him, one of the very few who did.

    The skeptics like you who want to moralize about this are oblivious, or otherwise ignore these obvious facts. In the New Testament there is a mutuality that existed no where in the first century world. Onesimus fled as a slave and returned as a brother, did you miss that or do you just ignore the obvious as a matter of course.
     
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  19. Radagast

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    I certainly wasn't mocking the text. My summary/paraphrase was rather loose, but Biblical:

    Greetings! (v 1) I thank God in my prayers that you're such a kind and loving man (v 4-7). I am sending this letter with my very dear friend and helper Onesimus (v 12), who used to be your slave, and legally still is (v 16). In Christ, I could order you to set him free (v 8), but I know that, being a kind and loving man, you'll do the right thing on your own (v 10, 14-21). He is your brother in Christ, after all (v 16).

    And, by a happy coincidence, I'll be coming to visit you a few days after you get this letter (v 22). Not to pressure you or anything (v 14), but I know that you'll have done the right thing by then (v 21).


    Paul is saying "set Onesimus free!" in words a mile high (Philemon didn't really have much choice). In doing so, in a letter circulated to the whole Church, Paul was encouraging all other Christian slave-owners to do the same. And by arranging Onesimus' return just before he himself came to visit, Paul was also making totally sure that Onesimus really would get his freedom.

    I really do think you have me mixed up with somebody else.

    Onesimus returned with the instruction "treat him as a brother!" I presume that Philemon would have registered his manumission with the authorities the day after receiving the letter. Onesimus remained, legally, a slave until that was done.
     
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  20. mark kennedy

    mark kennedy Natura non facit saltum Supporter

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    Paul is not really telling him what to do, he is telling him I'm returning your brother to you and treat him as you would me. Slavery is all but gone now and while we can say this and think that ending the practice in the first century was impossible. Paul was gracious about all of this and this the grace that saved Onesimus saved Philemon, and Paul for that matter.. In the New Testament we have the solution to slavery, it in no way institutionalizes it.
     
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