Slavery Debate with Pastor
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12-09-2016, 06:32 PM
Slavery Debate with Pastor
I'm engaged in a debate with a rural pastor of a Baptist church. I asked him how the bible could condone slavery and his reply is below. I thought you all might enjoy his thoughts.


Pastor wrote:
" The primary topic of Exodus 21:18-36 is not slaves but a man’s liability when he causes harm to another. For instance, 18-19 says that if one free man hits another free man and injures him, he is liable for all of the injured man’s time, plus medical expenses: “he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall have him thoroughly healed.” Now, building on that legal principle, if a free man strikes his slave, he cannot be liable for his lost time, because the slave’s time belongs to his master (time lost being the legal measurement for the aggressor’s liability). That’s why it says “if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.” The master owes no financial responsibility to the slave.
                This cannot possibly be an endorsement of the Master’s right to beat his slave anytime he wants because the very next passage (26-27) says that if the master causes any lasting bodily harm, the slave is to go free. The law of “eye for an eye” (which is the OT way of saying the punishment should fit the crime, 23-25) applies just as much to the slave as it does to the master, up to, and including, the life of the master, if his beating costs the slave his life (“he shall surely be punished”)."

I replied:
"The very existence of the word slaves is an endorsement of “well, you wacky humans are going to own other humans, so I better lay down some rules so that you know that if you beat them the Tome rules apply as if you’d beaten a free man”.

Why, when the bible talks at all about slavery, doesn’t it say “Thou Shalt Not Own Slaves”?

Humans were already killing each other, yet the bible has no problem saying “No, don’t do that.” Same for lying, stealing, etc."


Pastor wrote:
"So if I said that the "whacky humans" principle was actually a long-held approach to the OT Law, and that the point is to get them to stop being whacky, and that within the Bible itself it says that once the wackiness ceases, we'll be in no further need of the objectionable accommodations found in so many places of the law, would that seem legit to you? For instance, the Levitical code has some pretty loose case law on divorce, but Jesus says that it was given, "because your hearts were hardened," or as you put it, "whacky," and his position is traced back to the prophets.  Point is, the law is a bottom line, from which we're meant to rise, and the Bible sketches the paths we're to rise on through the prophets and ultimately Jesus himself. "In Christ there is neither slave nor free." I know it's all  hogwash to you, but my point is that it is internally, and morally, consistent.

Also, kidnapping-based slavery was a capital offense in the Hebrew law both for the seller and buyer. There's a clear prohibition of most morally repugnant forms of slavery in Exodus 21:16, and its echoed in 1 Tim 1:10 and Rev 18:13. So, if that's the case, it's hard to justify lumping slavery in the Tome moral echelon as murder. And "endorsement" is far too strong a word for something that is merely regulated and legislated, and that in a way that gave slaves more rights and protections than any culture has ever given slaves."
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12-09-2016, 09:05 PM
RE: Slavery Debate with Pastor
I wrote:

Tom,

Leviticus 25:44
"As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are around you."

Is that not taking people against their will?


BTW, I didn’t say that slavery wasn’t as bad as murder, I said that it’s WORSE than murder, because murder ends, slavery, in many cases, does not. 

You said "it's hard to justify lumping slavery in the same moral echelon as murder.”

Let me put it this way, I can’t speak for you but for me, I’d MUCH rather be murdered than enslaved, I don’t care how “good” the masters were told by their god to treat me.


J



I wrote:

Tom,

RE your statement:  "What would slavery be in history if every culture had obeyed that simple command for the last 2,000 years? “

Are you suggesting that if not for the bible that mankind’s history would have a lot MORE slavery, and that it would have been even MORE cruel and inhumane than it was?

Please, please, please tell me that’s not what you’re suggesting.


J
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12-09-2016, 09:26 PM
RE: Slavery Debate with Pastor
I can tell you one thing. This pastor is trying every way possible to convince himself Biblical slavery is moral. You just happen to be the one asking the questions.

Your replies are spot on, by the way.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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13-09-2016, 02:25 AM
RE: Slavery Debate with Pastor
He's squirming. Definitely squirming.

The Law of Moses as described in Exodus actually condones slavery. It even allows a man to sell his daughter "If a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant...." (verse 21:7) And it's okay to beat your slaves; even if they die you won't be punished, just as long as they survive a day or two after the beating (see verses 21:20-21). But avoid excessive damage to their eyes or teeth. Otherwise you may have to set them free. 21:26-27.

Keep asking those awkward questions.

The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike
Excreta Tauri Sapientam Fulgeat (The excrement of the bull causes wisdom to flee)
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13-09-2016, 06:38 AM
RE: Slavery Debate with Pastor
"Now, building on that legal principle, if a free man strikes his slave, he cannot be liable for his lost time, because the slave’s time belongs to his master..."

The lengths they go to in order to try to twist it into something not quite so blatantly evil never cease to amaze me. It's OK to beat a slave because their time is not their own.... what the actual fuck? The whole point is that the "master" doesn't have a moral right to own the slave or the slave's time in the first place.

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13-09-2016, 07:01 AM
RE: Slavery Debate with Pastor
The Bible does condone slavery. There is not a inch of a doubt about it. It clearly states how, why and what you can do to your slaves and how you are supposed to aquire them (by breeding them or by conquering other nations to enslave them). To be fair though, ancient hebrews were indeed less «cruel» with their slaves than Romans or Greek and, millenia later, Western Europeans (but about as much as Egyptians or Persians). Hebrews were not a slaver power. Their economy and social organisation didn't rely on slavery as its main work force and slaves were usually something more commonly seen amongst the rich and the powerful as servants or concubine. Since slaves are rarer, and that the idea of being a slave merchant is by all account prohibited, slaves are thus better treated, but no less under their master's will to dispose of them however he wishes. Slavery is bad, but one could make an appeal that ancient Hebrews were not that bad in ths domain. Of course, slavery wasn't a universal institution and many civilisation never practiced it or were even more «tender» with their slaves than the Ancient Hebrew so we can't even say that they were the least monster of the era.

Freedom is servitude to justice and intellectual honesty.
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13-09-2016, 07:05 AM
RE: Slavery Debate with Pastor
Sorry, isn't this Pastor Jewish, practically speaking?

I mean, he is interested almost solely in what was addressed to the ancient Jews (the kids of humanity) though the updated teachings, provided by Jesus to the adults of humanity, supersede and go beyond all previous ones on the Old Testament.

Kerim

Facts that don't need evidences:
Sheep for milk live in peace because it is the will of their rich owners.
Dogs obeying rich masters deserve much better food and shelters than free dogs do.
Whoever has ears will hear.
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13-09-2016, 07:12 AM
RE: Slavery Debate with Pastor
Check this out. Matt does a pretty good job addressing this very subject.

https://youtu.be/TDL0FttPX-4

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The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
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13-09-2016, 01:40 PM (This post was last modified: 13-09-2016 01:46 PM by bigjay.)
RE: Slavery Debate with Pastor
The next salvo:


J,

Quite the opposite, J. Every culture in the world has had slavery, and all of it morally appalling. But if every culture in the world held it to be an inviolable moral truth that kidnapping and selling human beings in order to force them to work for no pay is wrong (like the bible says several times), slavery would've ceased to exist a long time ago. My point is that while it seems (to you) to flinch on certain aspects of slavery, the bible is unequivocal that taking people against their will and selling them as a commodity is a moral abomination.

And by the way, making a moral argument about slavery vs murder based on what you'd prefer is very weak ground indeed. Lots of people would prefer that Muslims with ties to al-Qaeda or ISIS be waterboarded and have their toes dipped in acid, instead of letting them blow up another hospital or orphanage, but that's not morally right either.

The bible's moral logic runs something like this:

Major premise: The death penalty is the most fitting punishment for the most morally grievous offenses.
Minor premise: Dealing in kidnapped slaves is a capital offense.
Therefore, dealing in kidnapped slaves is a morally grievous offense.

Now, I'm going too long here, but my assertion is that the moral logic in the bible, between the outright prohibitions and the protections against abuse, right through the promises of liberty and freedom in the prophetic books, leads to the eventual rejection of slavery by all of God's people. It was abolitionists like William Wilberforce and John Newton, a former slave trader, who quoted the summary of the Bible's moral logic in order to campaign for the abolition of slavery: Love your neighbor as yourself.

Tom

++++++++++++++

Tom,

You keep asserting that the bible condemns slavery, yet it explicitly does not.

I will ask again, where is the clear, concise wording that says “Do not own other people as property”?


"between the outright prohibitions and the protections against abuse” (beat them as long as they don’t die within a day or two) Wow, what a great and generous character your god is in this play! Do you ever go back and read the things you typed, Tom? If someone were to beat you so severely that you died on the 5th day after the beating, would you think that person deserves no punishment?


"leads to the eventual rejection of slavery by all of God's people.” Really? Why eventual? Why wasn’t the path to us not killing each other an “eventual" path, instead of the very explicit “Thou shalt not kill”? along with the rest of the Thou Shalt Nots?


Also, please elaborate on how my making a moral argument about slavery v murder is weak. I am the author of my morality, (as are you and everyone else that ever existed), I don’t get it handed to me by a capricious dictator who, himself, has morals far, far beneath mine. My morality stems from human well being and the ethics of reciprocity.

I wonder if you had ever been enslaved if you’d think differently about this whole affair. I suspect you would. And no, I have never been enslaved, but I have empathy.

Finally, do not ever forget that your bible was held up by many in the old south here in the US as proof that the slave trade was not only moral, but that it was endorsed by your god!

If your god is omniscient, why didn’t he see that coming? Why didn’t he see that maybe his disdain for slavery should be worded more clearly?

I’m a fairly literate man, Tom, and your bible is one of the worst examples of communication I’ve ever read. Either the god who guided its production was inept or just screwing with us or it was all a fabrication of man.


I close by asking yet again, where is the clear, concise wording that says “Do not own other people as property”? No more tap dancing around it, Tom. Where is it?

Where?

Best,

J
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14-09-2016, 03:53 PM
RE: Slavery Debate with Pastor
I have a request. This pastor seems to place a lot of value on the idea that slavery was already happening and that the regulations in the bible concerning it were god's attempt to get the slavers to eventually rise above their sins and stop engaging in the slave trade eventually.

I call balderdash, but I'd like an analogy to ask him. So can you guys and gals come up with a good analogy related to maybe a parent and child that is the same as the god/human scenario? One where the parent, instead of flat out telling the child in no uncertain terms to STOP what they're doing, instead tries to regulate what they're doing in the hopes that the child will eventually give it up?

Thanks!
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