Author Topic: On the Bible and Slavery  (Read 1160 times)

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Offline Benny

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On the Bible and Slavery
« on: July 03, 2012, 12:20:48 PM »
I've posted this on various Christian websites to no avail.  How do Christians explain the following Bible verses?  God seems to completely approve of slavery.

Exodus 21:20-21 "Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property."

1 Timothy 6:1-5 "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. Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves."

Titus 2:9-10 "Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive."

(all verses from NIV, courtesy of BibleGateway.com)
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: On the Bible and Slavery
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2012, 12:34:44 PM »
I've posted this on various Christian websites to no avail.  How do Christians explain the following Bible verses?  God seems to completely approve of slavery.

Yes, he does.  He gives rules about how to treat slaves, how long you're allowed to own them, and what to do with them and their families if and when you release them.  There is nowhere in the bible that slavery is condemned.  For Christians (and I suppose Jews as well), this is what you might call an "inconvenient truth".

Modern-day apologists sometimes try to excuse it or explain it away by saying something to the effect of "slavery" back then being more like what we could call indentured servitude today, and that it's therefore a question of semantics and/or cultural context, or other things like that.  Funny how they didn't start saying that until humanity began rejecting slavery.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: On the Bible and Slavery
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2012, 01:13:54 PM »
How do Christians explain the following Bible verses? 

[apologetics]
It wasn't slavery as we know it.  It was more like indentured servitude.  Like, if you had a debt, you could work it off.  So really, we are all slaves in that way since we all have some debt we are paying.  God is just and loving.
[/apologetics]

Okay, so why is there no commandment against owning people?  yhwh saw fit to specify no murder, theft, adultery, sassing your parents, cooking goats in milk or wearing blended fibers.  Why no "thou shalt not own people"?

[apologetics]
God is just and loving.
[/qpologetics]

That doesn't answer my question.  Why is there no comman...

[apologetics]
I SAID GOD IS JUST AND LOVING! YOU ATHEISTS HAVE NO MORALS!
[/apologetics]

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Offline springrain

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Re: On the Bible and Slavery
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2012, 11:32:51 PM »
God has reasons for everything he says or does. He has plans which we cannot understand. We just need to believe and have faith in Him....jeezz! I have heard these nonsensical answers and believe me, I rest my case. We, atheists, can't reason with these believers. We can't even make them "see" all the cruelties in the Bible.
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Offline Brakeman

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Re: On the Bible and Slavery
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2012, 06:19:00 AM »
Slavery is not just the physical cruelty, it has a huge mental aspect as well.  Ask why the bible doesn't address the mental cruelty of being treated as a lower class citizen, how a slave does not have to ability to nurture a family and retain relationships as necessitated by following the master.

Have any of you reas Chas (Charles) Carrol on the subject?

Read a little of this to get the True Christian TM point of view on this.
http://www.biblical-truth.info/In%20the%20Image%20of%20God%20-%20by%20Charles%20Carroll.pdf
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: On the Bible and Slavery
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2012, 06:39:26 AM »
Someone who is a slave has to do what their master tells them.  Suppose their master told them they were not allowed to worship Yahweh, or follow his commandments?  You'd have thought that would be BIG problem - that there might be people who, from birth to grave, were unable to follow and of Yahweh's commands.

Oopsie.  Of course, all the discussion of slavery in the Bible relates to HIS chosen people keeping OTHERS as slaves, so no problem there - in fact, that may be why its a good thing, because a good loyal Yahweh-worshipper could force his slaves to worship too, thus saving them from false gods and heathens.

See?  Slavery IS a good thing!
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline The Gawd

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Re: On the Bible and Slavery
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2012, 04:42:19 PM »
I got into a recent discussion via Facebook in regards to this when some non bible reading xtian said that "god's law has always been against murder, slavery, rape (and something else I cant remember)..." kid fell for my set-up hook line and sinker.

Anyways he stopped responding when I asked why "god" took his chosen people out of slavery in Egypt if it wasnt 'slavery' as we know it. It just doesnt make any sense. Its a good way to "win" but bad if you want the discussion to continue.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: On the Bible and Slavery
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2012, 05:29:15 AM »
.....I asked why "god" took his chosen people out of slavery in Egypt if it wasnt 'slavery' as we know it......

Excellent point that's not occurred to me before!
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline joebbowers

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Re: On the Bible and Slavery
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2012, 08:02:40 AM »
Because God <magic decoder ring shines brightly, nonsensical bullshit spews forth>. Don't you see?
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Offline oogabooga

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Re: On the Bible and Slavery
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2012, 07:55:27 AM »
[apologetics]
It wasn't slavery as we know it.  It was more like indentured servitude.  Like, if you had a debt, you could work it off.  So really, we are all slaves in that way since we all have some debt we are paying.  God is just and loving.
[/apologetics]
Oh, oh, oh, I love this one, I really do. You deserve an ice cold beer for bringing it up.

Your male and female slaves [1]are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.  You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

This is from Leviticus 25:44-46 (NIV). There is absolutely no mention of indentured servitude. But there's is a very specific mention of buying and selling people of different nations and owning them as property for life. What did those people owe the Israelites to have to work it off? There is also absolutely no mention of people selling themselves into servitude, the only act described is the one of buying slaves.

There's also a clear distinction between slaves and servants in the Bible. Israelites can be sold and held as servants for six years (one can even sell his daughter - not her daughter, mind you - into servitude), not slaves, not to mention that they can't be sold to foreigners. And I quote:

If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. 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. Exodus 21:2-4

And:
If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself,he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money. Exodus 21:7-11

Actually, this could also indicate that women 'servants' were meant as sex slaves ('marital rights' can't really be interpreted in any other way) and that marriage itself was fully considered servitude or slavery for the woman.

Judges 1:28 also describes how Canaanites were 'pressed into forced labor'. The same goes for Judges 1:30, where Zebulun subjected them to forced labor. There is no mention of 'indentured servitude' or 'working off debt'. I don't see any ambiguity anywhere in those verses. Or should we understand them 'metaphorically' like everything the apologetics don't have an answer for?
 1. Bolding in all Bible quotes is mine.
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Offline Turbo SS

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Re: On the Bible and Slavery
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2012, 10:22:53 AM »
I use that first verse alot when they say oh slavery is meant like a job.  I dont know anyone who would work for an employer that is allowed to beat them or nail their ear to an awl to determine their price.

Or they say its like disciplining children with spanking.  So you would nail your child's ear to an awl?


They usually call me dumb or say out of context or you not reading it right.  I feel like I at least have some intelligence.  I have a masters degree.  Doesnt mean I am super smart but I dont think I am tarded either.  So if I cant read it right how are people that are barely literate supposed to be able to interpret god's word?

Offline changeling

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Re: On the Bible and Slavery
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2012, 02:01:38 PM »
^^^^ With the help of the Holy Spirit don't you know.
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Offline oogabooga

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Re: On the Bible and Slavery
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2012, 03:18:08 AM »
They usually call me dumb or say out of context or you not reading it right. 
Those verses aren't taken out of context, you can point that out quite freely. Reading whole chapters reveals that, but it would probably drive people mad if I quoted them here. This is the standard cop-out Christians tend to use when you point out something unpleasant, especially when you point out that their god is far less loving, just or human than those who invented him.

As far as 'reading it right' goes, I really don't know how else to read it. The Bible says what it says. It's a supposed word of god (or writings inspired directly by god) so it's either 'true' or god has serious communication issues. The need for a special decoder ring to read something that's supposed to persuade you to worship a certain deity kind of defies the purpose. You have to believe in order to believe. Circular reasoning at work.
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Offline Lectus

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Re: On the Bible and Slavery
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2012, 02:55:10 PM »
Tried asking this and Christians just ignore it.

They only see what they want from the bible.
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Offline Garja

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Re: On the Bible and Slavery
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2012, 03:29:16 PM »
comment withdrawn
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Offline Poseidon

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Re: On the Bible and Slavery
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2012, 07:01:14 PM »
Biblical references and rules of slavery is a hackneyed subject that is used often by we heathens. Actually we are flogging a dead horse here. We can move on to the more serious deal where David killed those 200 guys or the one about where whatisname and his warriors were commanded to go to a nearby city and kill all the men, women, children, and all the animals, which they did. The practice of slavery is small potatoes. The massacre of whole tribes of people must surely be larger potatoes for which the inerrent word of god, bible people can try to explain. If one of the major commandments forbids killing then how come all those people were instructed to kill all those other people?

Oh, and the bit about flogging dead horses reminds me that we are still using animals as slaves. Horses, mules, camels, and even dogs are still used as beasts of burden..Are those animals not creatures of gods own making?

Offline oogabooga

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Re: On the Bible and Slavery
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2012, 03:21:29 AM »
Biblical references and rules of slavery is a hackneyed subject that is used often by we heathens. Actually we are flogging a dead horse here. We can move on to the more serious deal where David killed those 200 guys or the one about where whatisname and his warriors were commanded to go to a nearby city and kill all the men, women, children, and all the animals, which they did. The practice of slavery is small potatoes. The massacre of whole tribes of people must surely be larger potatoes for which the inerrent word of god, bible people can try to explain. If one of the major commandments forbids killing then how come all those people were instructed to kill all those other people?
That same question has been posed at least a hundred times on this forum alone. I haven't come across a coherent or even partially understandable answer to it. God demanded murder, rape and genocide of every living creature who didn't believe in him. It was that simple and it is impossible to interpret it in any other way. Even later on god prohibited Christians from spreading his love to those he found a tad too stubborn (remember the bit about pearls and swine?). So it's not just genocide he's guilty of, is it? We can't be saved because he doesn't want us to be saved. So he's performing genocide on the entire effing human race, save for the 144 thousand virgins. All male, of course.

Quote
Oh, and the bit about flogging dead horses reminds me that we are still using animals as slaves. Horses, mules, camels, and even dogs are still used as beasts of burden..Are those animals not creatures of gods own making?
Actually, no. They were given to us by god to use as we please. Genesis 1:28 says the following:

Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

So we can flog horses, dead or alive, as much and as long as we want to. They're ours to flog.
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Offline Energized

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Re: On the Bible and Slavery
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2012, 11:08:01 AM »
I just had a christian explain that slaves under jewish law were better off than slaves under Egyptians.

He may very well be right (I'm not sure how he would know this, though? I don't know of any Egyptian rule book being published like the bible) but he missed the point entirely.

Better treatment doesn't make it OK to own another human being. The fact that the simplicity of the argument can be boiled down to this basic tenet seems to elude the fundies.

I don't get it. Moreover, I can't believe I used to believe this shit.

The infuriating part is a comment was made by another poster (rather snidely) that we pick and choose verses out of context, yadda yadda yadda...

In or out of context is irrelevant. Bible-god condoned owning other people.

Got it, fundies?

INDENTURED SERVITUDE OR NOT - YOUR GOD SAID IT WAS OK TO RESTRICT THE FREEDOM OF OTHER HUMAN BEINGS FOR YOUR OWN PERSONAL USE!

Deal with the reality of it and quit trying to make it sound better than it actually was, ok?

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Perhaps it is time to die?'

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