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  1. #1
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    Slavery in the Bible

    Here we go. Make sure you've read Apok's thread before posting to this, as I have.

    The Bible condones slavery. What can we say about a book that tells us to love our neighboor and throw shackles on him at the same time? In a few select passages, it condones racism. Here are some passages:
    Quote Originally Posted by The Old Testament
    Leviticus 25:44-46:Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.
    Exodus 21:1-4: "If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself."
    Deuteronomy 15:12-18: "And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee.And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty: Thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the LORD thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him."
    Exodus 21:7: "And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do."
    Leviticus 25:48-53: "After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him: Either his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself. And he shall reckon with him that bought him from the year that he was sold to him unto the year of jubilee: and the price of his sale shall be according unto the number of years, according to the time of an hired servant shall it be with him."
    Quote Originally Posted by The New Testament
    Ephesians 6:5-9: "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him."
    1 Timothy 6:1-3: "Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;"
    Now, the only arguement I've heard agaisnt this was that slavery in the time of the Bible was totally different from (oh, what a horrible choice of words) modern slavery. Modern slavery was based on race, while the slavery talked about in the Bible was not. While this is debatable, the fact still remains: slavery is slavery. You're taking (and keeping) someone agaisnt their will, to work. Immoral is an understatement.

    I hope you all read Leviticus 25:44-46, I took that one from the King James' Version of the Bible, as I hear it's the most popular among Bible thumpers. I believe that those three passages are the most damaging part of my entire claim. But, even without that, the plain fact that the Bible tells us how to regulate slaves is absolutely absurd.

    So I believe this leads us to the first few of a litiny of questions: Does the Bible condone slavery? Should I go get one?
    "The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent." 1984, By George Orwell. Part 2: Chapter 9.

  2. #2
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    Re: Slavery in the Bible

    The other argument is that slavery at that time was not nearly as harsh, more like being an indentured servant, and that it was usually from debt or the like. Still, I agree, not a moral practice.
    孟柏民
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  3. #3
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    Addendum

    Quote Originally Posted by Neverending
    The other argument is that slavery at that time was not nearly as harsh, more like being an indentured servant, and that it was usually from debt or the like. Still, I agree, not a moral practice.
    Further, it wasn't based on race, and a person could buy their own freedom.
    Montalban has left this forum

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    Re: Slavery in the Bible

    We must realize that, in the Bible's many translations, certain nuances are inevitably lost, such as that between "indentured servant" and "slave".

  5. #5
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    Re: Slavery in the Bible

    Quote Originally Posted by Nev
    The other argument is that slavery at that time was not nearly as harsh, more like being an indentured servant, and that it was usually from debt or the like.
    I've actually seen no evidence of this, save the fact that if a slave ran away, he was free unless found first by his master.
    Quote Originally Posted by Montalban
    Further, it wasn't based on race
    Actually, the rules governing it were. Reread the passages from the Old Testament I've posted, they specifically speak of Hebrews going free.
    Quote Originally Posted by Montalban
    ...and a person could buy their own freedom.
    Oh yes, because slaves are really rich, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Kev
    We must realize that, in the Bible's many translations, certain nuances are inevitably lost, such as that between "indentured servant" and "slave".
    Actually, I've read the opposite: the 'servant' or 'maid' mentioned is not as it says, and it is indeed a slave.
    "The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent." 1984, By George Orwell. Part 2: Chapter 9.

  6. #6
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    Re: Slavery in the Bible

    6 years of being a slave, and the slave was set free. People could SELL THEMSELVES into slavery. Slavery was a part of every nation's and tribe's culture only until modern day (the last few hundred years). For thousands of years, it was not only accepted, but to do otherwise (not have slaves), was absurd. The Greeks' most intelligent and profound philosophers even believed that it was necessary that slaves exist...that people were by default, merely only suited to be slaves for their entire lives.

    However, in ancient Israel, we don't see this same concept. It is a part of their culture, but it is not comparable to other cultures' practice.

    As far as being held against their will, this isn't entirely true. It was customary to become a slave when you were unable to pay off your debts. You could sell yourself for your debt. You would in this case, essentially work it off, then be freed. And when they go free, certain goods were given to them so that they didn't have absolutely nothing and had no hope to start over. The owner now OWED them.

    Also, masters of slaves, could not harm their slaves or threaten them (in the NT). Paul had quite a bit to say to and about slaves (that I will point out later) considering that slaves along w/ their masters were a large part of the audience.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Slavery in the Bible

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis
    Slavery was a part of every nation's and tribe's culture only until modern day (the last few hundred years). For thousands of years, it was not only accepted, but to do otherwise (not have slaves), was absurd. The Greeks' most intelligent and profound philosophers even believed that it was necessary that slaves exist...that people were by default, merely only suited to be slaves for their entire lives.
    Appeal to tradition, doesn't make it right or true.
    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    However, in ancient Israel, we don't see this same concept. It is a part of their culture, but it is not comparable to other cultures' practice.
    Straw man, we're talking about just that region, we don't care, at the moment, about other cultures.
    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    Also, masters of slaves, could not harm their slaves or threaten them (in the NT). Paul had quite a bit to say to and about slaves (that I will point out later) considering that slaves along w/ their masters were a large part of the audience.
    Any scripture to back this up?
    "The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent." 1984, By George Orwell. Part 2: Chapter 9.

  8. #8
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    Re: Slavery in the Bible

    Quote Originally Posted by KneeLess
    Appeal to tradition, doesn't make it right or true.
    Incorrect use of a fallacy call. It isn't the case that because it was accepted, it is "right" or "true". You showed a lack of knowledge about the nature of slavery. To fully explore certain aspects of slavery, you must possess at least some basic understanding of it as an institution. Stating that this was an accepted and practiced part of ever culture, tells us that slavery then, wasn't seen as it is seen today when it is not accepted. And that early reformers of that practice then, were radicals and a radical minority. So any deviation from the norm, is quite noteworthy. Thus, enter ancient Israel's philosophy of slavery.

    You are wanting to make a case against Christianity/the Bible condoning slavery, without ever trying to understand what is meant by slavery, its nature, how it has been practiced, all its different models, etc... You unquestioningly accept, that all forms of slavery are equitable, and this is simply not the case. It is a clear sign of the misunderstanding or lack of knowledge of the subject. So to discuss the issue intelligently and objectively, one must have at least a basic knowledge of its history, practice, economical value, social impact, etc... There is NO SUCH THING as 1 form or model of slavery. Get that silly idea out of your head quickly my friend. You are wanting to argue from the only model you are aware of, that of the African-American slave trade/practice.

    For example, did you know that some "slaves" in the OT were actually royal courtiers and officials? Or that some were royal dignataries Or that some were royal soldiers? Did you know that when addressing Abraham and Moses, that the Israelites called themselves their slaves? That's right, they were slaves to Abraham and Moses. Were you aware that all the subjects of Israel and Judah are called slaves of their kings, including even wives, sons, and brothers of the latter? Did you know that under their legal system that slaves were under a variety of categories? Are you aware of what these categories are and what their purpose is? Did you know that the Levitical tithe of every 3rd year was to be shared with all the poor, included SLAVES? No...I sincerely doubt you knew of any of the above. And it probably matters little to you. You hear or see the word "slave" and an instant red flag goes up and without question, it MUST mean the only thing that you have ever known slavery to mean.

    What you know as slavery, is not the only model of slavery practiced, nor is it hardly what was practiced in ancient Israel, nor what is condoned by the Bible. Details forthcoming in a new thread (see below).

    Straw man, we're talking about just that region, we don't care, at the moment, about other cultures.
    Again, you misunderstand the nature of the fallacy. I think I will start a new rule here at ODN soon to be posted. If you wish to call out a fallacy, you will now start having to explain how what you object to, IS fallacious.

    Any scripture to back this up?
    ....I think we can see the true motivation of your argumentation here. It isn't an objective study, but just another "rip" on a belief system that isn't your own.

    Had you any objective intent here, I think you would have noticed...that one of your OWN QUOTED VERSES in your opening post, is what is being referred to here. Also, I'll save the support from scripture for the new thread. I fully intended to address this topic, but not in the manner of this thread. I'm taking more of a historical, legal, cultural and objective approach.

    The case of slavery is more complex than what you want to make it. There is no monolithic 'institution' of slavery in the bible. The OT has SEVERAL models of what might be called 'slavery' and much of what passed as slavery is no longer considered such in socio-economic understandings of the period and area. And of course, scholarly support will be provided.

    I think I will wait to create my own thread on this subject as I said I would. There appears to be too much ignorance of history, Israel, Jewish Law, the Bible...and more than enough of a dose of an attempt at Bible-Bashing. Without the facts, you'll never be able to provide a well-thought out argument IMO.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Slavery in the Bible

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis
    You showed a lack of knowledge about the nature of slavery. To fully explore certain aspects of slavery, you must possess at least some basic understanding of it as an institution. Stating that this was an accepted and practiced part of ever culture, tells us that slavery then, wasn't seen as it is seen today when it is not accepted. And that early reformers of that practice then, were radicals and a radical minority. So any deviation from the norm, is quite noteworthy. Thus, enter ancient Israel's philosophy of slavery.
    Oh, so the Bible, in this sense, doesn't apply to today? Therefore, we can consider at least some of its teachings outdated.
    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    You unquestioningly accept, that all forms of slavery are equitable, and this is simply not the case.
    I absolutely do not think so, show me where I've said that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    There is NO SUCH THING as 1 form or model of slavery.
    Again, I never claimed that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    No...I sincerely doubt you knew of any of the above. And it probably matters little to you.
    Wow thanks Apok, that hurt.
    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    You hear or see the word "slave" and an instant red flag goes up and without question, it MUST mean the only thing that you have ever known slavery to mean.
    It really seems that this has little to do with the arguement I'm presenting. I want to call an ad hom, but you hate me using those...
    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    Had you any objective intent here, I think you would have noticed...that one of your OWN QUOTED VERSES in your opening post, is what is being referred to here.
    I highly doubt that. Show me. Why do you keep telling me that I've said the wrong things, but don't show me how I've done such a thing?
    "The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent." 1984, By George Orwell. Part 2: Chapter 9.

  10. #10
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    Re: Slavery in the Bible

    Kneeless, sorry if my response was a little harsh. But I honestly see no objective argument here made and instead, I see the usual argument made from a stubborn position that appears to be unwilling to examine the facts.

    Case in point:
    Quote Originally Posted by Kneeless
    the fact still remains: slavery is slavery. You're taking (and keeping) someone agaisnt their will, to work. Immoral is an understatement.
    That is, all slavery is the same. It is immoral and keeping someone against their will.

    And as was shown in my response above, and will do so in further detail in a longer new thread, this was NOT the case.

    And had you actually known that there are a variety of models of slavery, it makes little sense that you would present such an argument from this position (that slavery is always slavery and people are made to do things against their will). The fact that you believe this, or at least stated this, means that you did NOT know of the things I posted as quick examples of the MANY models, and complexities of the institution of slavery.

    As far as the your verse that you quoted but failed to read...let's recap so we are clear on what is being said:

    Apok: Also, masters of slaves, could not harm their slaves or threaten them (in the NT). Paul had quite a bit to say to and about slaves (that I will point out later) considering that slaves along w/ their masters were a large part of the audience.

    Kneeless: Any scripture to back this up?

    Apok:
    Had you any objective intent here, I think you would have noticed...that one of your OWN QUOTED VERSES in your opening post, is what is being referred to here.

    Kneeless: I highly doubt that. Show me.
    Very well...here is a quick response (as I stated before, I'm saving the actual detailed responses for my own thread).

    On the issue of masters threatening slaves:

    Ephesians 5:9 And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.

    Throughout the NT, it is taught that all are equal to God. Whether one is royalty or a pauper, male or female, Jew or Gentile, Master or Slave. There is NO difference. This concept regarding those who were believed to be "lessor than" in society, was ground-breaking. Never before in HISTORY was this philosophy taught or encouraged in such a way.

    This specific passage is not only one of many that addresses equality before the Father, but also speaks of masters not using threatening punishment towards their slaves. It was wrong for a master to do so. Masters were to be kind, affectionate, just.

    This was in your first post, YOU quoted yet, I commented about it, you objected to its existence, despite you yourself posting about it. This is what I'm referring to when I speak of most of this sort of argumentation that is presented against Christianity concerning slavery, comes of the lack of understanding and knowledge ABOUT the very thing being charged.

    Here's another interesting factoid: Did you know that after 6 years, upon being freed, a slave could VOLUNTEER for another term? They usually did this because it was PROFITABLE for them to do so. Slaves of certain masters who were very generous, had it made. It was not this big, awful, horrible thing that you want to make it out to be, or compare to with the model of slavery that you are more familiar with. It is FAR from it. It's absurd to even compare the two...IMO, it's a ridiculous argument. There are far more challenging arguments against Christianity than the issue of slavery, but I understand that this is a popular one. I submit, that it is only popular, because people easily confuse the nature of slavery here, and do not understand all the facets to this complicated issue, and instead, mistakenly believe that it IS all the same...it IS comparable to what was experienced or known as African-American slavery in the West.

    This is not to say that Israel was guiltless. But the Bible records much of history that it doesn't condone. Your argument is that the Bible DOES condone slavery, and this has not been shown to be true. It is like arguing that the Bible does condone murder, because after all, Moses, and even David, were guilty of that charge and they were highly favored by God. The Bible, records many things it does not condone. It also records the failures and heartbreak. It also records the punishments that God bestowed to Israel for its disobedience and straying away.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; November 21st, 2004 at 11:54 AM.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Slavery in the Bible

    You're right, it was a pretty canned arguement; I just wanted to see what the resident Christians thought about it, because I haven't seen it debated here before. Now I know why. But I still have one last point about it, and then a general question about the Bible in relation to your statements.

    I've heard it said that slaves could forcibly be given wives, and then could have children at the Master's request. Then after his term was up, he was given a choice: go free without his new family, or return to be a slave with them. This was a way to keep slaves forever. I am, as you have seen, no expert on slavery during the times of the Old Testament, maybe you could enlighten me.

    Now here's the good part. I think we can both agree that the slavery talked about in the Bible is outdated by today's standards. I believe this is for better than opposed to worse, but that's besides the point. Therefore we can assume that at least some of the Bible's teachings outdated, which opens the door for possibly more of outdated teachings (ahem, homosexuality ). I can see only one argument for this: The Bible governs the rules for slaves if we were to have them, not having them doesn't affect our following the Bible. But, if you were to say that, I'd promptly show you to Leviticus 25:44-46:
    Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.
    One last thing. It seems that the scriptures tell us rules for Hebrew slaves, and nothing for other ones. Where slaves of other races kept indefinately, as described in Leviticus 25:44-46 (which I find in contradiction with Exodus 21:1-4)?
    "The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent." 1984, By George Orwell. Part 2: Chapter 9.

 

 

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