Religion and Slavery

A person who often replies to this blog…and me…are in a discussion on slavery in the Bible.

I feel that by condoning the practice in many places in the Scripture, the Bible is letting us know that Christianity and the Bible is not ‘Divinely Inspired’ or the actual work of a God.

For those who want to look it up, here are a few places to go:

Exodus 21:4-6 Guidelines for buying, selling, treatment, etc.
Deuteronomy 15:15-17 Handle your maid slaves
Exodus 21:7-9 Sell your daughters into.
Joel 3:8 Sell off your sons and daughters
1 Timothy 6:1-2 Masters are worthy of honor
Matthew 10:24 and John 13:16 Masters are better, maid slaves be submissive in ALL ways
Ephesians 6:5 and Colossians 3:22 ‘Slaves obey your master’
10 Commandments, numbers 4 and 10 recognize and therefore give tacit approval to slavery.
Matthew 8:5-13 Jesus heals Roman centurions slave while praising centurion.
Luke 12:47 Jesus recommends the beating of slaves.
Matthew 24-25 Jesus reminds slaves they are not better than their masters.
Neither the Old nor New Testament condemns slavery. By not condemning, there is tacit approval given.

There is Christian Apologetics out there that try to minimize what they were teaching and practicing.
It took secular leaders and common people to finally get together and condemned it. As you know a war was fought over it…surely a God would know this, and put a verse in the Bible to call Christians together to end slavery…never happened.

If you put yourself into the position of the writers of the Scripture and realize that they were brought up seeing slavery all around them. Their fathers and grandfathers and so on were brought up with the practice all around them. Some of them were slaves maybe. There was no thought that slavery is a BAD (unless you were one) thing…that a God would not allow it, or condone it. So they wrote slavery into the Bible as common everyday stuff.

One of the lines of apologetics for slavery follows:

Another crucial point is that the purpose of the Bible is to point the way to salvation, not to reform society.” http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-slavery.html

I believe that yes…religion, God, and the Bible’s purpose IS to reform; not only society, but also man himself. This Bible is used all the time as an example to reform man and society. Jesus was set up to be a shining example of how a human should be.

So the Hebrews did not realize when they wrote their ‘holy text’ that slavery wasn’t normal, it wasn’t a Godlike thing to do, and a real God would not condone enslavement. This of course speaks to the Bible not being inspired by God, but written by man.

And lets not forget all those Old Testament babies being bashed against the walls, and the pregnant women being run through with a sword…at God’s direction. No amount of apologetics can explain these actions as the works of a loving God.

The only reasonable explanations for all of the carnage, rape, murder, torture, and slavery that is recorded by the old Hebrew scribes and Paul is…it is a product of human minds…not a God creature.

“Once there was a time when all people believed in God, and the church ruled. This time is called the Dark Ages.”

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Interested in family and friends,grandchildren, photography, darkrooms, history, archaeology, scuba diving, computers, software, fast cars, journalism, writing, travel, ecology, news, science, and probably most other subjects you could think of. Did I mention family and friends?? I require iced tea or cold brewed coffee and a internet connection to be fully functional. Sometimes there are just so many words in my head they spill out.

13 Responses to Religion and Slavery

  1. Justin says:

    The Bible points to Jesus and salvation. When someone is saved (born again) they are completely changed by the Holy Spirit and would not want to treat people wrongly. He was more concerned about seeing people saved than condemning the way the culture’s economy worked. If you have slaves, you should not treat them poorly.

    You say “I feel that by condoning the practice in many places in the Scripture, the Bible is letting us know that Christianity and the Bible is not ‘Divinely Inspired’ or the actual work of a God.”

    Even if God did condone slavery, this would be a bad argument. You would be saying “I don’t like what God said, therefore He didn’t really say it.” Bad logic.

  2. brianshaw says:

    Although the Bible is inspired by a perfect God, it’s about a world that has been made imperfect by the freewill given to man by God and the struggle of man to reconcile himself back to God. “Spotlighting” man’s struggle does not make it any less inspired by God. The Bible is not intended to be so much about position / stance / rules but about principles / standards / relationship; in other words, man does not reconcile himself back to the Holy God by following rules but by getting to know the heart of God (through a relationship with His son Jesus Christ.) Only by doing so can man determine what is truly good and righteous.

  3. thewordofme says:

    Hi Justin, thanks for writing.

    I think the majority of people on earth would think badly about slavery and agree perhaps that a real god would not condone the practice. It argues pretty strongly that IF El, Yahweh, Jehovah, Elohim, Lord, Adonai, etc. are real He, Them, or It, does not much care what happened to humans.

    All ‘He’ had to do was put one verse in the Bible to start stamping it out. Humans have been so impressed by the condoning of this practice that it flourished for thousands of years.

    The real irony of this is that the Christians proselytized to the slaves…trying to convert them to a religion that recognized they should be slaves…they were not better than their masters, etc. How brainwashed are those poor people…hoping that one of the roots of their oppression is going to save them?

    How blindingly stupid of people to believe in this line of thought?

    Do you think all those saved and holy people from thousands of years ago who thought slavery was perfectly OK will be, or are, good people, good spirits? Do you really think that this was an acceptable practice and not something a god would want to stop…after all we were His creations.

    You write:
    ” Even if God did condone slavery, this would be a bad argument. You would be saying “I don’t like what God said, therefore He didn’t really say it.” Bad logic.”

    I’m not saying He didn’t really say it. I’m saying it’s all a creation of man, not a God. A God should not, would not, condone slavery. He (in mans writing…the Bible) is shown as obviously condoning it.

    Now of course this just falls in line with so many other things in the Bible and it’s exegesis that points to the whole of Christianity as false religion. Islam is not immune to these arguments either…don’t feel I’m just picking on Christianity.

    In actually there is no truth to any religion. Magic and mysticism…Dark Ages stuff. Humanity needs to grow up.

  4. thewordofme says:

    Hi brianshaw, nice of you to write.

    Sir, I’m sorry, but your argument doesn’t cut it, and smacks of blather and apologetic folderol. 🙂

    A ‘perfect God’ and a ‘God of Love’ does not condone or direct the massive inhumanity to man that He has evidenced to us. Those scriptures in the Bible are man’s work, not a Gods.

    Christian man’s struggle has been to try and keep the myth alive in a world that no longer has need of a phony, misogynistic, plan to keep men/women in line and under control emotionally, financially and intellectually.

    The Bible has been presented to me as a plan of how one should live, how one should treat others. Slavery doesn’t appear to be a choice of anyone, and the Bible’s tacit approval doesn’t seem to be ‘Godly’ thing, and yes I can, as one of the possibly affected peons, make a judgment of this practice of something/someone that claims to be a ‘Loving God.’

    Civilizations throughout the world have come up with their own ‘Golden Rules’ and have, independent of religion, come to realize that something’s condoned in the Bible are not right and have no place in society. You know, like slavery, Godly murder, genocide, Kingship’s, being friends with murderers and adulterers, (David, Solomon) and other crud from a cursory reading of the Bible.

    You have been brainwashed by an insidious, intellectually bankrupt cabal…called religion. 🙂

  5. cobbmic says:

    Let me say that I am a Christian. Also, I plan to post more thoughts on this post on my own blog. But I want to make a few points.

    First, you say, “I feel that by condoning the practice in many places in the Scripture, the Bible is letting us know that Christianity and the Bible is not ‘Divinely Inspired’ or the actual work of a God.”

    Unlike the previous commenter, I don’t think this is illogical. It is, in fact, quite logical as far as the argumentive structure goes. Christians will dispute you on the specific premises, but that doesn’t mean your logic isn’t valid (just that your argument isn’t sound because your premises are false.)

    Here is how I would write your argument:

    1. If the Bible teaches that an immoral fact is actually morally permissible, then it cannot be from God.
    2. The Bible teaches that Slavery is morally permissible.
    3. Slavery is immoral.
    _____
    Therefore, The Bible cannot be from God.

    This is logically valid; it is a simply application of modus ponens.

    However, I think Christians can deny the truthfulness of your premises. I would deny #1, and deny #2 but the reasoning is slightly more complex. (Of course, fundamentalists will have a more difficult time denying either #1 or #2; I think they are forced to deny #3…)

    But I will blog about this later when I have time. When I do, I’ll post a link to the comments.

    Also, your interpretation of Scriptures is either ignorantly or willfully wrong–even an anti-Christian interpretation would have to be more generous than you have given it.

    Just a quick example: you reference several Scriptures in the NT where slaves are told to be submissive to their masters or to honor their masters. Yet, I don’t see why this is condoning it. Jesus told people to be submissive to those who oppress them, to love those who do evil. One would have to be ignorant or have a ridiculously low reading level to think that Jesus was trying to implicitly condone evil or oppression in doing so. Yet, you have made a similar mistake in the verses you reference.

    In 1 Peter, Christians are told to be submissive to *every* authority instituted among men. Why? Because God condoned these institutions? No: “For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.”

    I hope to post more later. I’ve really enjoyed reading your thoughts, though, and I am anxious to hear you responses to my comments (and, later, my post).

  6. cobbmic says:

    Oh, and don’t you think that the Golden Rule would prevent much of chattel slavery? Even if you think that the Bible elsewhere condones slavery, then you’d at least have to think that it contradicts itself. I would think that many people in the past who have owned slaves wouldn’t want to be treated like they were treating their slaves.

  7. thewordofme says:

    Hi cobbmic, thank you for your reply.

    I appreciate your taking the time to answer my writing. I wish you well on your own blog.

    You write:
    ”1. If the Bible teaches that an immoral fact is actually
    morally permissible, then it cannot be from God.
    2. The Bible teaches that Slavery is morally permissible.
    3. Slavery is immoral.
    —————————
    Therefore, The Bible cannot be from God.”

    I have not been able to say it better myself. Thank you very much 🙂

    Well you have my curiosity up; on what grounds will Christians dispute the above? We know the Bible, and therefore God, because He inspired it, condones slavery, which we agree is morally indefensible. If we agree that God is perfect, and would not make a mistake of this magnitude…what is the answer?

    You write”
    “However, I think Christians can deny the truthfulness of your premises. I would deny #1, and deny #2 but the reasoning is slightly more complex. (Of course, fundamentalists will have a more difficult time denying either #1 or #2; I think they are forced to deny #3…)”

    I’m already running into #3 denial-here-in real time. I have been arguing with a fundamentalist friend about the subject. I am totally amazed at the contortions that some people will go to when a chink is found in the belief system.

    Exodus 21:4-6
    4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free. 5 “But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ 6 then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.

    Deuteronomy 15:15-17
    15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today. 16 But if your servant says to you, “I do not want to leave you,” because he loves you and your family and is well off with you, 17 then take an awl and push it through his ear lobe into the door, and he will become your servant for life. Do the same for your maidservant.

    Matthew 8:5-7
    5When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6″Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.” 7Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.”
    You are kinda’ right about this one, but Jesus could have used the opportunity to condemn holding of slaves…in a nice way of course. 🙂

    Luke 12:47
    47″That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows.

    Ephesians 6:5-8
    5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, 8because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. *Boy, I bet this passage was used heavily in the South of the 1800’s

    Colossians 3:22
    22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. *This one too of course, although most Bible scholars believe this is copied/rephrased from other writing.

    1 Timothy 6:1-2
    1 All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. 2Those who have believing masters are not to show less respect for them because they are brothers. Instead, they are to serve them even better, because those who benefit from their service are believers, and dear to them. These are the things you are to teach and urge on them.

    Joel 3:8
    8 I will sell your sons and daughters to the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, a nation far away.” *The LORD has spoken. The ‘LORD’ has spoken…Hmmm.

    1 Peter 2:18-21
    18 Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. 20But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. *This has got to be the very best scripture to read to the slaves.

    Thanks for this one cobbmic…I totally missed it before.
    Re-reading all of the above has made me stronger in my belief that the Bible is a fraud

    I enjoy reading your response and hope you continue to write. Again, good luck on your blog. twom

  8. brianshaw says:

    First of all, I appreciate your interest in the Bible and respect your passion for the subject at hand. You likely study the Bible more in depthly than most Christians.

    I beg to differ with you, though. I have not been “…brainwashed by an insidious, intellectually bankrupt cabal…called religion” as I don’t cling to any religion. What I have is a relationship with Christ, which is beyond your understanding.

    Also, you say, “In actually there is no truth to any religion. Magic and mysticism…Dark Ages stuff. Humanity needs to grow up.” Then where is there truth–there must be truth somewhere? It’s not in science and it surely is not in humanity. And where do the absolutes that determine right and wrong come from in your estimation of things?

    I only know where Truth, as I know it, comes from. And I don’t claim to know it like I should or how it operates yet I believe it none-the-less by faith, something else you probably can’t understand.

    I am not a Bible scholar by any means, I’ve never been to seminary, nor do I have a pastoral calling in my life; I’m just a proverbial squirrel trying to get a nut in this life and strolled upon this blog that peaked my interest. I am way out of my league even commenting but it’s been fun anyway. I pray that you someday have a “Paul moment” and find the truth that you so passionately long for. The irony of it all is that if there is a Creator, aside from whether he is the God of the Bible or not (I believe He is), his intelligence would be far too supreior for any capacity of human logic.

    Thanks for allowing me to particpate. Its been fun so maybe I’ll stop back by once in while to see how it’s going. Good luck to you!

  9. thewordofme says:

    brianshaw,

    Thank you for your participation and comments. I value all input I get…for or against. twom

  10. Johanna says:

    I would just like to let you know that I’ve quite interestingly read your post.
    I’m not a believer of any religion, though I generally agree with you on the concept of contradictions in many writings said to be somewhat “holy”, not only in christianity but other religions as well.

  11. thewordofme says:

    Hi Johanna, thank you for your reply.

    The Christian Bible is passed around all over the world and of course there are something like 1 to 2 billion claimed Christians…so how could it possibly be wrong?

    Long story, but the bottom line is that it is…wrong. Blame peer pressure for a lot of the numbers. Blame pure stupidity on another big portion…They refuse to look at anything which causes them to doubt their religion.

    I only write my blog because I have to get my feelings about this religious blarney out of my system. My hope is that one or two ‘Christians’ will read it and it will cause them to think a little more critically…and maybe pass it on.
    thanks twom

  12. thewordofme says:

    Hi Brianshaw,

    Your comment somehow got totally lost in my stats page and I missed your message. Very sorry…if you are still visiting occasionally I have a short reply to one part of your message.

    You write:
    >>”Also, you say, “In actually there is no truth to any religion. Magic and mysticism…Dark Ages stuff. Humanity needs to grow up.” Then where is there truth–there must be truth somewhere? It’s not in science and it surely is not in humanity. And where do the absolutes that determine right and wrong come from in your estimation of things?”<<

    Who says there has to be truth or that you should be privy to it?

    There is truth out there however and yes science has some of it and humanity has some of it.

    Religion does have some…but, there is falseness there as well.

    As for the determination of right and wrong…it is a construct of the human mind…I could determine this when I was a child and had no religious instruction at all. As you grow you are constantly viewing and analyzing human behavior, both your own and others.

    Confucius came up with the Golden Rule 500 years before Jesus…so I don’t think there needs to be a God for humans to act morally…I do it all the time and I don’t believe.

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