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Why would a benevolent god condone slavery?

Discussion in 'Christian Apologetics' started by Brother Billy, Sep 30, 2018.

  1. Halbhh

    Halbhh The wonder and awe of "all things" Supporter

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    "If God desired the end of slavery, he could just end slavery..."
    Think carefully on it, since slavery is against the Golden Rule, Matthew 7:12, then the question in general form really is this one:
    "If God desired the end of evil actions, he could just end evil actions...."

    Well, of course, we learn over and over in the Old Testament (OT), and new (NT), that indeed He will, and that meanwhile we are being watched and warned, individually, about the ultimate end of evil that He's carefully and repeatedly given us choices about, that we turn before it's too late for us, as individuals.

    It is true the incremental nature of the progression of Law in the OT is like steps, up a stairway, to a more and more advanced change in human society.

    Servitude gets more and more regulated, even to the extent servants can simply end an obligation at any moment, without any fear, which is close to making the servitude just mere employment. And for outright slaves, more and more regulation, that increasingly constricts.

    Until....

    "he could make clear in the Bible that he disapproves and that we should stop it (he never did). "
    Ah, you might want to be more skeptical of your own knowledge on this one (in general this is good advice for every person, all the time). For instance, not only the many regulations that limit and control that non-indentured slavery in the OT, but also the revolutionary changes becoming evident in the NT, not just Philemon, itself radical (making the servant not only equal, but radically more equal than modern Americans often are in reality), but the real implication of putting Philemon together with Matthew 7:12, where the only qualifier is flatly "In everything" meaning without any exceptions at all, ever....is too radical for the average American today, but it's the command to Christians.

    Experience teaches us when we think at some point some broad unqualified characterization such as yours (seeming so reasonable...), it's always a very good moment to stop and at wonder: "hmmm...I wonder if I got that right or might there be other regulations/laws/instructions that radially alter the situation to be sharply unlike my characterization?"
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
  2. timewerx

    timewerx the village i--o--t--

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    This is why I don't trust Saul / Paul.

    Paul had been given every opportunity but keeps on rejecting Christ.

    Paul's "conversion" experience on the desert is doubtful. Since Paul was intimidated by the being he encountered on the way to Damascus. Christ would never appear in a very intimidating form when preaching the Gospel (so they might believe and repent). As Christ only went for those who would love the Gospel, not those who would only accept, short of forcing it to them by intimidation.

    I doubt it is Christ he encountered but a counterfeit / deceiving spirit. Not only this being is uncharacteristic of Christ's behavior (including mentioning its name as Jesus which Christ never did!). The Christ also warned us against anyone who would claim to see Him in the desert.
     
  3. Al Masihi

    Al Masihi Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The Bible treats slavery as a practice within the context of its time, naturally there must be laws on how to treat your slaves, which is a very different thing from banning slavery. People in the United States in the 1800s about 200 years ago could barely cope with abolishing slavery as a long process, you think people would cope with a direct abolishment to slavery in the Bronze Age? There’s only specific cases of people being slaughtered for worshipping other gods and it’s not usually solely for just worshipping another god. I’d also like to point out Paul didn’t think slavery was a good thing:

    Every one should remain in the state in which he was called. Were you a slave when called? Never mind. But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity. For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. So, brethren, in whatever state each was called, there let him remain with God (1 Cor. 7:20-24).
     
  4. timewerx

    timewerx the village i--o--t--

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    The Christ doesn't call His disciples slaves, not even servants. He simply calls them friends - John 15:15. And you weren't bought at a price. All you need to do is believe and belief doesn't make you in debt. It's free.

    Just another contradiction than only brings further doubt if Paul was ever an apostle.

    It's no coincidence that the false doctrines and false prophets Jesus warned against, would tolerate slavery which includes the doctrines of the Old Testament.
     
  5. Halbhh

    Halbhh The wonder and awe of "all things" Supporter

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    Do you mean since the New Covenant? Paul to help us begin to see the answer already in the very short (1 page) letter to Philemon, and we have to generalize it, with the universal command in Matthew 7:12. Paul helps us see how to speak to a brother that is not yet doing as he ought to do back in a time when various forms of slavery were common.

    In a time like that.

    But, since today we live in a nation where slavery in obvious forms is outlawed...(it's not necessarily outlawed in all the less obvious forms, because a law unenforced is effectively moot).

    Today, for an American holding a slave, I'd seek to bring the Good News to them, that they might be converted, and live (instead of going to the 2nd death).
    Regardless of whether they think they already heard, not assuming they have even if they say they have. A converted Christian begins to follow Christ, not the world. Over time, they become less and less worldly, and do more as He said.
     
  6. Al Masihi

    Al Masihi Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Jesus never called his disciples disciples either. Paul was an apostle according to his acceptance by the apostles who knew Jesus.
     
  7. David Cabrera

    David Cabrera Catechumen

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    Well, the Israelites of the time of Moses and the Kings had a different idea of what God was supposed to be like even being idolaters most of the time. The captivity in Babylon helped the Jews to change that view.
     
  8. Brother Billy

    Brother Billy Member

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    Why couldn't the Israelite's cope if slavery was banned? Look at all the instances throughout history and the world where slavery was once an integral part of society, but where slavery was subsequently banned. In all cases, people managed to work through it and became stronger and more prosperous in the long term as a result.

    If pagan nations (Like the Maurya Empire in India during 3rd century BC) recognized how evil slavery was and put a stop to it, why couldn't the Israelites (who had the god of the universe guiding them) do the same?
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
  9. Brother Billy

    Brother Billy Member

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    I disagree. Employers don't own their employees as permanent property which they can pass down to their heirs as inheritance. Employers don't force their employees to work for them. When an employee has a child, that child doesn't automatically become an employee.
     
  10. Brother Billy

    Brother Billy Member

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    Why would a benevolent god tolerate one of the most evil practices ever created, because of economics? Are you saying he placed money above morals?
     
  11. Brother Billy

    Brother Billy Member

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    The Golden Rule was not a pronouncement against slavery! If it was, why wasn’t it obvious to the large swaths of “Founded as a Christian Nation” America for over 200 years?

    Also Mathew 7:12 is just Jesus repeating Leviticus 19:11-18. Jesus’ audience, well-versed in their scriptures, would have known that he was quoting from Leviticus, one of the “Five Books of Moses.” They would also have known that these books include Deuteronomy, which commands Israel to invade and enslave distant cities, and Exodus, which says that slaves are just “property” and may be beaten so severely that they can’t even get up for just shy of two days. Unless we are prepared to say that one book of the Pentateuch contradicts another, it’s hard to see how the Golden Rule in Leviticus overrides the slavery passages Deuteronomy and Exodus — at least not for Jesus’ audience.

    For that matter, Leviticus itself grants Israel permission to buy foreign slaves. Would Jesus’ audience have thought Leviticus could contradict itself? Would Jesus? Would today’s Bible-believing Christians? I think not.

    So, in the minds of Jesus’ audience, and possibly for Jesus himself, it would have been far from obvious that the Golden Rule outlawed slavery. In their minds, the two concepts had coexisted in the scriptures, presumably without contradiction, for centuries.

    If Jesus had intended his statement of Leviticus 19:18 to override the slavery commands and regulations also found in the Five Books of Moses, surely he would have made that more obvious to an audience for whom those books were a central feature of spiritual life.

    But in fact, Jesus’ explicit statements about the Hebrew scriptures were overwhelmingly supportive, as when he said, “…anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands [of the Law] and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19).

    At a minimum, we can say that if Jesus meant the Golden Rule as a command to abolish slavery, then millions of slaves in the next 1800 years would wish he had made his intent far more obvious.

    How is slavery in the bible more regulated than the slavery that existed in America? Do you have any proof to back up your assertion? Every US state had laws that protected slaves from being abused, see below:

    Southern slave codes made willful killing of a slave illegal in most cases. For example, in 1791, the North Carolina legislature made the willful killing of a slave murder unless it was done who was resisting or under moderate correction. Historian Lawrence M. Friedman wrote: "Ten Southern codes made it a crime to mistreat a slave.... Under the Louisiana Civil Code of 1825 (art. 192), if a master was "convicted of cruel treatment," the judge could order the sale of the mistreated slave, presumably to a better master."
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
  12. Samaritan Woman

    Samaritan Woman Active Member

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    I went to this Wikipedia article and did a word search for "slavery", "slaves", and "slave" within the document, none of which showed up as being present. Not only that, but the article was flagged for potentially unreliable and unclear sources with insufficient inline citations.

    However, I did do various searches on slavery in ancient India but with little success as there seems to be a dearth of in-depth information; cited sources are scanty at best. What I did find confirmed my knowledge regarding the caste system that has long existed in India along with its negative and oppressive effects on the lowest caste. In fact, one page I found said that to be on the lowest "rung" was almost worse than slavery...or at least tantamount to it. Considering that the country's caste system is not in dispute, I honestly don't see how it can be held up as a pillar of morality with regard to this issue.
     
  13. Brother Billy

    Brother Billy Member

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    This was the guy who banned slavery:
    Who was Emperor Ashoka?
     
  14. Al Masihi

    Al Masihi Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Nothing in there about the Mauryan empire banning slavery. If your talking about the rules on Dasas, then I’d just point out that the Dasas were servants not slaves. Slavery itself was never banned in the pagan Mauryan empire, infact India still has trouble with slavery in some parts. Took a while to cope didn’t it?
     
  15. Al Masihi

    Al Masihi Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Besides his edicts, there has been no credible biography of Emperor Ashoka’s life, while we know he existed that’s about as far as it gets, most scholars think the majority of parts written about his life are mere myths.
     
  16. Al Masihi

    Al Masihi Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Practically every faith based religion has tolerated slavery for a long degree of time. Some religions like Islam don’t ever want to abolish slavery. And religions Zoroastrianism permitted slavery at one point, yet I never saw an Athiests and skeptics point fingers at Ahura Mazda as being an evil and non benevolent god for permitting slavery. It just seems to work with the Abrahamic God these days, doesn’t it?
     
  17. Par5

    Par5 Well-Known Member

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    Slavery is wrong no matter who permits it. This is the CF so we are discussing the actions of the biblical god. It's not a case of anyone saying that the god of the bible was the only god that condoned slavery, but if it makes you feel better Ahura Mazda, whoever he was, was every bit as wrong in permitting slavery.
     
  18. Halbhh

    Halbhh The wonder and awe of "all things" Supporter

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    Would you like to learn more on that?


    Slavery has existed, in one form or another, throughout the whole of human history. So, too, have movements to free large or distinct groups of slaves. However, abolitionism should be distinguished from efforts to help a particular group of slaves, or to restrict one practice, such as the slave trade.

    Drescher (2009) provides a model for the history of the abolition of slavery, emphasizing its origins in Western Europe. Around the year 1500, slavery had virtually died out in Western Europe, but was a normal phenomenon practically everywhere else. [What religion was influential locally, in domestic, local life in Western Europe in 1500?] The imperial powers – the British, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and Belgian empires, and a few others – built worldwide empires based primarily on plantation agriculture using slaves imported from Africa. However, the powers took care to minimize the presence of slavery in their homelands. ...
    The continuing profitability of slave-based plantations and the threats of race war slowed the development of abolition movements during the first half of the 19th century. These movements were strongest in Britain, and after 1840 in the United States, in both instances they were based on evangelical religious enthusiasm that said that owning a slave was a sin, and stressed the horrible impact on the slaves themselves.
    ...
    History of slavery - Wikipedia

    Did that help?

    I felt I should stop here, because why get lost in the weeds if your beginning idea is already non-factual?


    But this was something we should answer though:

    "Also Mathew 7:12 is just Jesus repeating Leviticus 19:11-18."

    No, not if you read.

    If you read you see the words "In everything", which is not the same as 'only for these certain things' or some other limited set of situations.

    "In everything" means always, everywhere, in all things. That's a vast extension past specific laws.

    Have you read all in this post?
     
  19. Halbhh

    Halbhh The wonder and awe of "all things" Supporter

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    See post just above.
     
  20. durangodawood

    durangodawood Dis Member

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    My point was that slaves have not been traditionally given "neighbor" status. This is why, almost 2 millennia after Jesus commanded "love thy neighbor", the Bible loving southern US culture could cling to a horrific slave system.

    If your material interest and cultural preservation make it difficult to 'love your neighbor', then simply redefine "neighbor", or even "human".
     
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