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Slavery in the Bible: No, it's not Voluntary and it Certainly is not Indentured Servitude

Updated on May 12, 2012
Slavery voluntary? I don't think so.
Slavery voluntary? I don't think so. | Source

I have written about the inconsistencies and atrocities of the bible before and I am always astounded at the responses from Christians trying to defend and justify slavery in the bible. I've heard everything from it was voluntary in order to repay debt to it was a better way to do things at that time. So, I am writing this article to put an end to this silly notion once and for all. I will try to respond to all of the popular claims to justify slavery in the bible and I will use the bible itself to refute them. To see where I got these common responses from, you can look here http://emmaspeaks.hubpages.com/_3kjgjy673mbcc/hub/Bible-A-Solid-Foundation-for-Atheistic-Belief and here http://titen-sxull.hubpages.com/_3kjgjy673mbcc/hub/Bible-Verses-NOT-to-Live-By.

Voluntary Slavery

Right...I don't think so. I can't fathom any human in any period of time thinking that volunteering themselves for slavery was a good idea. But, Christians seem to think that this happened all the time. There's a term for this strange phenomenon within Christianity. It's called Christian reimagining. "He who controls the present, controls the past." -George Orwell. Basically, Christians like to rewrite history so that they, and their god, come out looking good, or at the very least, so that they don't come out looking like the moral depraved monsters that the bible and their god would suggest that they are.

Now, the very notion that slavery was voluntary is ridiculous. There are so many verses in the bible that plainly state that it clearly was not.

Leviticus

25: 44-46 However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.

This hardly sounds like a voluntary situation to me. It sounds just like what slavery is as we now know it--humans buying other humans as property. And here's what Exodus says about Hebrews, specifically, so not only is this not voluntary, but you have no control over it if you are a certain race, are a wife of a slave after the fact, or were born from parents that were married after the male became a slave.

Exodus

21:2-6 If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.' If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever.

Obviously, the person being bought, as is clearly stated at the very beginning of this excerpt, has absolutely no will, unless he chooses to remain a slave after being set free so that he can stay with his wife and kids. Well, how very gracious of the Christian god to allow for that much.

Slavery as Indentured Servitude

I was actually a little disgusted when I read this comment from a Christian coming to the defense of the bible. I've actually heard this one before, though. Apparently, many Christians think that the slaves in the bible were slaves because they owed a debt and found slavery an appealing alternative. This can be seen as comparable to working at McDonalds, or something. Hmmm...well, I will have to disagree. I think with just the two excerpts above, I have already established that slavery was not in any way shape or form voluntary, but, here is another to drive the point home.

Exodus

21:7-11 When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.

Once again, humans were being sold, not entering into a voluntary contract. And it seems like it was a lot worse for the women--big surprise. I also do not see anywhere where it specifies slaves going into slavery to repay their own debt. It may have been more likely for a slave owner to pay with slaves for his debt. But, again, thanks to Christian reimagining, slavery was voluntary and was no worse than working at McDonalds.

Slavery May Have Been Acceptable in the Old Testament, but not in the New Testament

Well, wrong again. The fact that it was even tolerated is cause for concern. And the fact that most Christians do dismiss the Old Testament is testament to their cherry picking ways. But, no, Christians, the New Testament does mention slavery. It, too is guilty of perpetuating this horrible practice. You can reimagine it all you like.The African Slave Trade DID happen, and 100% because it was okay in the bible. Deal with it.

Ephesians

6:5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.

1 Peter

2:18 You who are slaves must accept the authority of your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you--not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel.

The New Testament even explains how to beat your slave.

Luke

12:47-48 The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. "But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given."

So, this one is from a parable, but how much in denial do you have to be to dismiss that slavery was in fact tolerated and perpetuated in the bible, a book that Christians claim to be morally perfect?

Slavery has Been Around Since Before the Bible

Well, that is hardly a defense, is it? Honestly, Christians, isn't your position that your god and the bible showed a better way for all? How is slavery, in any way, shape or form a better way? It sounds like business as usual, in that aspect. It doesn't sound like a very enlightening practice--one worthy of praise. Wouldn't a truly revolutionary god introduce truly revolutionary concepts? Like, hey, how about we NOT have slaves? How about, instead of me as your god, guiding you in your established practices, I introduce a NEW way of doing this? How about that?

The truth is, there is nothing remarkable about the Christian god just following what everyone else was already doing, and maybe offering some advice on how to beat and sell your slaves. I am not impressed. God never once condemns slavery. He never once says it is wrong. This is what truly would have been revolutionary and moral. So, if the argument is that god perpetuated slavery because it was already an accepted practice, you fail...miserably. You fail so hard that I don't see any way for you to redeem yourself. So stop, please.

A Final Thought

Well, I think I covered most of the big ones. The bottom line is this: the god in the bible, for this reason alone, was a monster. I am only talking about his condoning and perpetuating slavery, now. I will get to the genocide, rape, incest, murder, misogyny, and other fun issues in other hubs. Christians that will try to defend the slavery in the bible beg the question, are you equally morally depraved? Is your sense of what is clearly right and wrong so skewed that you will argue this point? Let me reiterate to make it clear--slavery now, then, or in the future, is NEVER right. It is NEVER a moral practice. The fact that everyone was doing it before, and god did nothing about it, only proves what a monster he was. You can hide behind your lies and your delusions all you want, but the truth is the truth even if no one believes it. Luckily for honest people like me, I am not alone in this sentiment.

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    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 11 months ago from London England

      Initially being bound in servitude to a family whether it Royalty or just successful masters of certain skills. There was a need for their slaves to be the 'hewers of wood, drawers of water'. It was however when merchants decided they could in an enterprising move make money out of human traffic and this was how the slave trading routes came about criss crossing the middle east.

    • Ron Henzel profile image

      Ron Henzel 13 months ago

      Emma,

      I know you probably mean well, but as a history teacher I can tell you that your article would have benefited from you consulting some standard secular works on the history of slavery. If you had, you would have discovered that voluntary slavery was, in fact, a common phenomenon in ancient times:

      "In general, most forms of slavery and serfdom have been regarded as involuntary institutions. This view is based primarily on the cases of the New World slavery of the European powers and of serfdom in Russia, where this depiction is clearly most appropriate. Yet, given the many cases of slavery and serfdom, it is of interest to see when those statuses were the outcome of voluntary and mutual decisions. Some such cases included arrangements to provide the labourer with subsistence or defence, in exchange for the giving up of some control over work and living arrangements. These varieties of social security could be important where levels of income were low and highly variable or where societies were warlike and chaotic. ...

      "Voluntary slavery generally existed where income levels were low. Although this clearly cannot explain the existence of the major modern slave systems in the New World where, particularly after the demographic disaster that followed the first contact, population densities were low, resources abundant, and opportunities for high incomes present. Voluntary slavery was a means taken to offset famines at low levels of subsistence (a circumstance that also played a role in providing late nineteenth-century indentured labour). It often entailed the selling of children to avoid starvation, an alternative to infanticide for solving the problem of excess children. Voluntary enslavement could be, for adults, the outcome of a prior build-up of debt that could not be otherwise repaid. Whether or not this was due to lender entrapment is a matter for historical debate."

      —Stanley L. Engerman, “Slavery, serfdom and other forms of coerced labour,” in M.L. Bush, ed., Serfdom and Slavery: Studies in Legal Bondage, (Oxford, UK and New York, NY, USA: Routledge, 1996; 2013), 20-21.

      Dr. Engerman is an economic historian at the University of Rochester.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 16 months ago from London England

      Three points to raise here on slavery in antiquity. In chronoligical order. Firstly in Egypt. In a recent B.B.C. documentary (that i did not see, but read the review.) the presenter a Professor at the Athens, Greece university offered the theory that there were no slaves in Egypt until the Pytolemic era. I find these hard to believe. Yes those ancient monuments did require stone cutters and skilled craftsmen. The Pharaohs must surely have had slaves. Next, King Solomon in all his wisdom decreed that no Israelite could be bound in servitude, so their slaves were procured from the Phoenecian sea faring traders and reputedly numbering in the thousands. But, i dispute the great number of wives and concubines Solomon was reputed to have had.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 16 months ago

      Read Zechariah Sitchen's Earth Chronicles. His translation of the Babylonian tablets is that the gods created man to be his slaves in the mines, fields and the homes. The word "Adama" or "Adam" means slave in the Babylonian tongue. The god of the Israelites, Jehovah, was a cruel taskmaster who demanded total allegiance of this tribe. They were not to follow or worship his brother or sister of any of the gods-relatives. "Thou shall have no other gods before me." If they created the slaves, why wouldn't Jehovah condone slavery?

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 18 months ago from London England

      My way of thinking is; that God personally does not require slaves. Although we did not actually learn this but it is fairly safe to say that the patriarchs in the scriptures did retain slaves in their following. They were constantly on the move from place to place and needed carriers for the baggage.Am inclined to think that they were treated fairly. Freedom may have been available after a period of time. The commercial trade of buying and selling human beings is however some what abhorent.

    • MVKilgore profile image

      M. Victor Kilgore 18 months ago

      I suppose it's easier to believe we all started from nothing (not), if you denounce God's existence.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 19 months ago from London England

      It is not only man that enslaved fellow human beings, i've heard that ants capture their own species and force them to work as slaves.

      The most disgusting and depraved aspect of slavery in antiquity has got to be the custom of emasculating a slave to render him unable to procreate.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 19 months ago from London England

      My theory on Biblical slavery is that those with natural born leadership skills had aquired affluence through their position whether they be merchant or artisan and there may have been a requirement for some one not so skilled to be available to assist the master in that calling. As the concept of money was not yet prevalent the slave would perform simple tasks in return for food and shelter. As money became available when communities became cities so did a trade in the buying and selling of slaves. Further to this, slavery was often a punishment metered out by judges in law courts to criminals. It would be a fair assumption that slavery has been the basis of all (so called) civilizations.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 20 months ago from London England

      When rulers or those in authority had to live apart from the community to exercise there powers in courts it would be beneath their dignity to perform domestic work so they would retain others to do this function. Thus, conveniently forgetting to pay for the services but on the other hand being kept at the masters expence. The more powerful the ruler the greater number of slaves were in servitude. It is a common misconception that the pyramids were built by slaves but numerous water channels dug ti irrigate crops would have been done by slave labour.

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      Jonathon 2 years ago

      Exodus 21:16 says: “He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.” Deuteronomy 24:7 states: “If a man is caught kidnapping any of his countrymen of the sons of Israel, and he deals with him violently, or sells him, then that thief shall die; so you shall purge the evil from among you.”

      Kidnapping and enforced slavery are forbidden and punishable by death. This was true for any man (Ex. 21:16), as well as for the Israelites (Deut. 24:7). This was stealing a man's freedom. While aspects of slavery are Biblical (for punishment and restitution for theft, or for those who prefer the security of becoming a permanent bondservant), the Bible strictly forbids involuntary servitude.

      Any slave that ran away from his master (thus expressing his desire for freedom) was to be welcomed by the Israelites, not mistreated, and not returned. Deuteronomy 23:15-16 states:

      You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. He shall live with you in your midst, in the place which he shall choose in one of your towns where it pleases him; you shall not mistreat him.

    • Joseph O Polanco profile image

      Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

      Except that kidnapping anyone and then selling them was punishable by death. (Exodus 21:16)

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 2 years ago from London England

      I've always held the belief that in a biblical sense, household slaves were also regarded as members of the family that they served as opposed to the slaves in the labour gangs where conditions were harsher. It was also permitted to set free household slaves after so many years of faithful servitude.

    • profile image

      Something to consider 2 years ago

      I would love to see an article on murder and cities of refuge in the bible.

      Hi, I know I may be a little late on posting to this but I want to linger on why God's people may had been given the right to slaves. I will not address indentured servitude as that is a little different in my eyes. The following questions are not to put you down or judge anyone, but are thoughts on the subject of slavery in the bible.

      Weren't the slaves usually the leftover people from a conquered land or battle. Didn't these people oppose God's laws, worship pagan gods, and actively fight against the Israelite's because they we smaller in number? Why then would God treat these people on the same level as his chosen people (remember this is the same God who flooded the world because he regretted creating man)? Why then would these conquered wicked people be given the rights of a human being (isn't revenge God's)?

      Logically, if the God's chosen people let the enemy go they would have undoubtedly regrouped, maybe joined others against them, and come back to utterly wipe the Israelite's from the face of the earth (no one takes the wiping out of their culture lightly). Therefore the only options they thought to take upon these people (or the instructions of God) was to murder the captives or slave them. Which would you prefer (these people where not trusted enough to be given the option of indentured servitude)? Much like the forced African slaves in the 1700's, the slaves of the Israelite's would soon line their beliefs with that of God, which is what I suspect would be the effect God was looking for. The slaves could also pollute the Israelite community with that of pagan beliefs (this backfired with Santeria and Voodoo, as well as other forms of half-God half pagan worship in the 1700-1800's but more so within the slave community the white southerners) and worship if God's people weren't faithful and were seduced by the enslaved; and this happened at least once in the bible when God's instructions and law was not kept.

      If the story of Noah is to be believed, Noah would've had to spread his descendants throughout the land to restart the spread of humans across the earth. And there was another curse like that of Cain on Noah's son, Ham. The Descendants of Ham were cursed by God, and as an effect probably chose not to worship an entity that cursed them. I believe the people who the Israelite's' slaved were the descendants of Ham.

      Although I don't know for sure, I believe that Africans in the 18th Century were also put into slavery by the southern Christians to fill the labor force so to avoid the high cost of indentured servants. I also believed the American southerners fulfilled the ancient curse of Ham. This, in my opinion, fulfilled the curse of Ham as well (I'm a descendant of African blood so I'm no racist for thinking this way, its just my opinion). Of course the Southerners tried to justify their slavery, but the Africans were no threat to them in African and no war was waged before these people were taken as slaves. A weak answer to keep the industry of an agrarian culture going, but one that ultimately failed (although I don't like eating GMO's either).

      History is often written by the victor and the Israelites' (though not the best at sports) almost always won battles if they were on the side of God. Its also important to know that slavery was not only in the Jewish community but all around the world. Even African tribes did it to other tribes, but most of the time it was because they wanted something from the other tribe or did not agree with something. Just the same, God even allowed his Chosen people to be slaves to other people (Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and finally the Romans and onward through history), usually to serve as a reminder of what happened when they disobeyed his laws or did evil the same as the slaves they captured. This query makes sense up until the New Testament and the new Covenant (when the temple barrier was torn; part of the reason I don't believe I need to see a priest about my sins). After the disappearance of God, man's evil is seen through using religion for his needs. The Crusades for the riches of the Jewish and Arab lands, and the Persecution of the Protestants by Catholics at the Charge of "Bloody Mary" as revenge for Catholic persecution years earlier.

      I ask myself these questions and I would be glad if you took the time to take a gander at some of them.

      Cheers, are reader.

    • profile image

      jj 2 years ago

      jj abrams doe

    • profile image

      Gadfly 2 years ago from Olde London Towne

      Could it be that in the Hebrew thinking the words for 'slave' and 'servant' are interchangable as with in Latin 'servi' covered both serfs and slaves. At the dawn of civilization we learn that the first slaves were captives taken in battle. In ancient Egypt it was common for families to keep household slaves whilst in Israel it was Solomon who owned the most, they were put to work smelting copper and building his monuments. The most repugnant era in slavery just happens to be here in the 21st century where it is estimated people kept in miserable conditions performing sweatshop labour number in the millions whilst thousands more are trafficked to lands far away to serve the priviledged rich.

    • profile image

      Nana 2 years ago

      Reading over the comments, I see Emma has a common theme of not understanding that God in fact does condemn slavery as we understand the modern use of the word, opposed to indentured servitude.

      Slavery means a person was kidnapped against their will and used as a slave. Exodus 21:16 ("He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.") prohibits this understanding of slavery as a capital offence.

      Indentured servitude means a person sells themselves for a period of time. This is what was called slavery in Scripture. There is a definite difference in the use of the word.

      This is not uncommon, as words evolve over time. Look up 'presentism', and then consider times when modern use of a word means something different than prior use. 'Gay' refers now to a homosexual, not an adjective describing a degree of happiness. 'Fantastic' refers now to something incredible, not something existing only in someone's imagination (i.e., from 'fantasy'). 'Awful' refers now to something bad or something great in quantity, not something that inspired awe. So someone looking at older texts need to avoid anachronistic interpretation.

    • profile image

      Nana 2 years ago

      "I can't fathom any human in any period of time thinking that volunteering themselves for slavery was a good idea."

      This is fallacious Argument from Incredulity. Your disbelief (or anyone's) is irrelevant to reality. Study some history. Indentured servants abound throughout time, where people owed a debt and signed contracts to avoid debtor's prison, to those who left the country of their birth in search of a different life, to those who did it to gain land and provide for their families, etc.

      Slavery in the common parlance involves kidnapping, which is expressly punishable in scripture as a capital offence, e.g. Exodus 21:16 ("He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.").

      Try not engaging in presentism and instead read Scripture with an understanding of historical context. And, for goodness sake, please leave off the fallacious arguments from incredulity/outrage. It's one thing to not comprehend something, but quite another to argue against it from a position of 'I don't like it'. SMH.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 3 years ago from London England

      Life in tymes of antiquity were very cruel indeed right up until the age of enlightenment albeit isolated individuals standing up for the common good. Regarding the scriptures, how was it that Adam and Eve had two sons but who were the other people to procreate? Living in those tymes ran you the risk of getting slaughtered but i question some of the figures (40000 slain) Numerology highly significant here. When it comes to cruelty the Roman Empire in the guise of civilization stamped out the practice of ritual sacrifice by the Druids but they themselves enjoyed seeing victims publicly suffer just for entertainment. Finally i wonder if it were possible that the Holy Family were served by slaves.

    • profile image

      Frantz 3 years ago

      - "Slavery" in its common definition is not supported in the Bible, and I believe it was not God's ideal plan for Israelites (Matt 19:8)

      - The Hebrews wanted to *sell themselves* as "bondservants"(slaves) , but in Leviticus 25 they are told that if they could *buy* them inhttps://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Slavery-i... surrounding nations, they could only buy hebrews for 6 years of service max (then those would decide if they want to stay definitively– Deuteronomy 15:16-18).

      They couldn't consider hebrews as "bondservants" because they belonged to God: *"For unto me the children of Israel are servants; they are my servants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God."* (Leviticus 25:55)

      "And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing to day." (Deuteronomy 15:15)

      - From these verses and considering the kind of relationship God has with his people, the love that defines his character and which he expresses throughout the Bible, and how the Bible teaches that God's ideal for us is that we may reflect his character of love in our relationship with others, the kind of "bondage" practiced by the hebrews, must be considered from a completely different perspective to the one we are used to, because they were to treat those who served them the same way they were treated by God.

      ** "Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt." (Exodus 23:9)

      ** “Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Deut 10:19)

      ** “But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” (Lev 19:34)

      - Look how *the way they are to treat strangers, is directly linked to the fact that they were strangers in Egypt, in fact they were slaves! : They are commanded not to reproduce the wrong behavior, instead they must show love*

      There are many other verses that explicitly told what God expected from them, regarding how they should relate to others. (specifically love towards the neighbor, the poor, the widow, the stranger, etc...)

      ****

      - If you allow me a “daring” analogy, just consider adoption vs child trafficking. In both cases you pay a certain amount (not everywhere but often in a foreign countries for adoption) and in both cases the child is "tied" to the family or person. In the first case the child is loved and respected, in the second children are often abused or molested.

      - To conclude, even if hebrews mistreating their bondservants could sometimes get away with the hebrew *civil* laws of the time :

      “ And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money. ” (Exodus 21:20-21)

      *However*, the same civil law also showed mercy towards a mistreated bondservant : “ Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee: He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him. (Deuteronomy 23:15-16) - (Exodus 23:9)

      ** *And* even if they got away with the *civil* law ruling in a practical way the nation of Israel, they were also instructed in God's *moral* law based on love (Matt 22:37-40 _ see below), and for which *“ every one of us shall give account of himself to God. ”* (Roman 14:12)

      “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. ” (1 Cor 4:5)

      “ Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth.

      He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness. ” (Psalms 96:13)

      “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. ” (Matt 22:37-40)

    • profile image

      Frantz 3 years ago

      - "Slavery" in its common definition is not supported in the Bible, and I believe it was not God's ideal plan for Israelites

      - The Hebrews wanted to *sell themselves* as "bondservants"(slaves) , but in Leviticus 25 they are told that if they could *buy* them in surrounding nations, they could only buy hebrews for 6 years of service max (then those would decide if they want to stay definitively– Deuteronomy 15:16-18).

      They couldn't consider hebrews as "bondservants" because they belonged to God: *"For unto me the children of Israel are servants; they are my servants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God."* (Leviticus 25:55)

      "And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing to day." (Deuteronomy 15:15)

      - From these verses and considering the kind of relationship God has with his people, the love that defines his character and which he expresses throughout the Bible, and how the Bible teaches that God's ideal for us is that we may reflect his character of love in our relationship with others, the kind of "bondage" practiced by the hebrews, must be considered from a completely different perspective to the one we are used to, because they were to treat those who served them the same way they were treated by God.

      ** "Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt." (Exodus 23:9)

      ** “Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Deut 10:19)

      ** “But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” (Lev 19:34)

      - Look how *the way they are to treat strangers, is directly linked to the fact that they were strangers in Egypt, in fact they were slaves! : They are commanded not to reproduce the wrong behavior, instead they must show love*

      There are many other verses that explicitly told what God expected from them, regarding how they should relate to others. (specifically love towards the neighbor, the poor, the widow, the stranger, etc...)

      ****

      - If you allow me a “daring” analogy, just consider adoption vs child trafficking. In both cases you pay a certain amount (not everywhere but often in a foreign countries for adoption) and in both cases the child is "tied" to the family or person. In the first case the child is loved and respected, in the second children are often abused or molested.

      - To conclude, even if hebrews mistreating their bondservants could sometimes get away with the hebrew *civil* laws of the time :

      “ And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money. ” (Exodus 21:20-21)

      *However*, the same civil law also showed mercy towards a mistreated bondservant : “ Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee: He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him. (Deuteronomy 23:15-16) - (Exodus 23:9)

      ** *And* even if they got away with the *civil* law ruling in a practical way the nation of Israel, they were also instructed in God's *moral* law based on love (Matt 22:37-40 _ see below), and for which *“ every one of us shall give account of himself to God. ”* (Roman 14:12)

      “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. ” (1 Cor 4:5)

      “ Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth.

      He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness. ” (Psalms 96:13)

      “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. ” (Matt 22:37-40)

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      Ben 3 years ago

      Exodus 21:16 says “Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.” NIV

      Paul goes equally as far in 1 Timothy 1:9-10 saying “We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine.” Timothy 1:9-10 (NIV)

      The taking of involuntary 'slaves' was punishable by death. The Greek and Hebrew words used in these passages, 'doulos' and 'ebed' respectively, are equally translated as 'servant'. I suggest looking at the Greek and Hebrew text and along with the rest of scripture for context - leaving out portions that contradict your premise is academically unsound at best, and at worst shows bias.

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      Anonymous Christian 3 years ago

      From Leviticus:

      39 “‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and *sell themselves* to you, do not make them work as slaves. 40 *They are to be treated as hired workers or temporary residents among you*; they are to work for you until the Year of Jubilee. 41 Then they and their children are to be released, and they will go back to their own clans and to the property of their ancestors. 42 Because the Israelites are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt, they must not be sold as slaves. 43 Do not rule over them ruthlessly, but fear your God.

      44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 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. 46 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.

      47 “‘If a foreigner residing among you becomes rich and any of your fellow Israelites become poor and *sell themselves* to the foreigner or to a member of the foreigner’s clan, 48 they retain the right of redemption after they have *sold themselves*. One of their relatives may redeem them: 49 An uncle or a cousin or any blood relative in their clan may redeem them. Or if they prosper, they may redeem themselves. 50 *They* and their buyer are to count the time from the year *they sold themselves* up to the Year of Jubilee. The price for their release is to be based on the rate paid to a hired worker for that number of years. 51 If many years remain, they must pay for their redemption a larger share of the price paid for them. 52 If only a few years remain until the Year of Jubilee, they are to compute that and pay for their redemption accordingly. 53 *They are to be treated as workers hired from year to year; you must see to it that those to whom they owe service do not rule over them ruthlessly.*

      For your convince, I have added asterisks to highlight the 'sold themselves' part. Clearly, people sold themselves. There were no government safety nets for people without jobs.

      A question for you. What gives you the authority to determine right from wrong? Clearly you are an atheist. How can you have the right to impose what is right and what is wrong on another person? How can you know right from wrong to begin with; without something already being ingrained into your heart? There is so obviously a standard for humans. In my mind's eye, if there is no god (which I know there is), right and wrong are simply arbitrary concepts. I'm not trying to play the 'holier-than-thou' bit, but I want you to think about it.

      God Bless you.

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      a real person 4 years ago

      Emma, Like it or not, one day you will bow your knees to that God who you hate. But it won't help you then. May God help you!

    • emmaspeaks profile image
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      emmaspeaks 4 years ago from Kansas City

      The bottom line is that if there is a god and he is supposedly all powerful, why not just eliminate evil? Why not declare right form the start that slavery is wrong? It's clear to me that there is no god, other than the god that humans imagined, and that is why this god has so many human flaws. Things like idolatry should be inconceivable to an all powerful god, yet time and time again we see this as a main concern to the god in the bible. It's absolutely ridiculous.

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      Chaordinum 4 years ago

      It seems to me that this whole discussion begs the question "What is God?" Is God a collective idea that a group or tribe uses to enunciate their collective identity and special place in the universe, or is God the actual source of all things visible and invisible - the ground of all being? The first is clearly an idol. It can be used to justify any political, military or financial action that a people wish to enact. The second is a transcendent mystery - beyond human comprehension and definition. If God is the source of all things visible and invisible, then all people are "God's people". By the same token this God knows that evil exists for reasons that fulfill his/ her/ it's purposes. The idolatry suggested by the first example also exists only at the will of this incomprehensible source. Individually, we need not be trapped in worship of the idol as we try to comprehend our place in the world that emanates from the source.

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      emmaspeaks 5 years ago from Kansas City

      Nice Christian morals and ethics.

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      JAthLSSJ 5 years ago

      HEY EMMA!

      I HATE perversion!

      I HATE assumptions!

      I HATE mockery!

      I HATE stereotypes!

      I HATE slanders!

      I hate SELFISH PRIDE!

      I hate YOU for making God look like freak, a bastard, a DEMON, ANY of what you've called Him.

      You disgust me!

      You call yourself a Christian YOURSELF, but you bigot OTHER Christians like there's no tomorrow!

      If anything, YOU should be a fucking slave master and see how YOU treat flesh and blood!

      You are a ruthless, HEARTLESS spirit who won't even stop to THINK that you've been rejecting the TRUTH!

      You don't deserve to live. In fact, why don't you try killing yourself NOW to settle this DAMNING score you SO long to receive. I'm pretty sure you'll be rewarded greatly for that.

      Filthy, gruthesome, mulatto BITCH!

    • emmaspeaks profile image
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      emmaspeaks 5 years ago from Kansas City

      And you keep skirting the issue. Did god ever once denounce slavery? No he did not. End of story. The reasons humans had for keeping slaves, or any other immoral practices, are not my concern. But when what christians claim to be an all powerful god not only permits, but issues laws for slavery on how to beat him or her, that is beyond forgivable. If YOU applied some critical thinking instead of closing your eyes like every christian sheep has to to get through the day, you might learn a thing or two.

    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 5 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ

      The justification for the laws concerning slavery under the Mosaic law were for the rights of individuals that were in unfortunate circumstances at that time.

      Laws are put into place today for situations like bankruptcy so the creditor does not abuse the person who is in a financial crisis. We have a right to agree or disagree to those terms under the law, or choose other options if there are any.

      In Biblical times, there was unfortunately no other option than to become a servant, which was a means of survival.

      There are laws and legislation today for poverty, war, misfortune, and predators; the list could go on and on. To denounce laws put in place in Biblical times, as well those we have today, would be a monstrosity to those who are in a unfavourable circumstances.

      ("I have a huge issue with your god making laws about slavery and okaying it and never once denouncing it.")

      You still do not understand that you are erroneous on what you are talking about.

      If you applied your zeal to the slavery of the South, and showed how Scripture was used out of context to justify racial immoral behaviours, you would be more on target.

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      emmaspeaks 5 years ago from Kansas City

      All you are doing is trying to explain the practice of slavery in those times. I have no issue with that at all, that is history. I have a huge issue with your god making laws about slavery and okaying it and never once denouncing it. That is a monster and there is no justification for it.

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      PlanksandNails 5 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ

      emmaspeaks,

      ("You waste so much time trying to think up ways to explain this, but the truth is, your god was a monster, and you worship him.")

      These are facts that I have pointed out to you, which can be sourced with those who have extensive qualifications on this subject matter, not personal bias.

      You have not acknowledged any of the facts and have choosen to ignore them with more emotional ranting of a proselytizing layman.

      ("I really don't give a crap about context.")

      Indeed! when you do not acknowledge context, you have isolated your discourse to an emotional rant, which cannot be interpreted as reasonable behaviour.

      The law was set within the certain circumstances in Israel's society. If you would make an effort to look into the Mosaic law more closely, there are explicit prohibitions of the oppression and exploitation of servants.

      “So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. - Deuteronomy 10:19

      Without any context, we can take "alien" to be E.T. or Jar Jar Binks.

      It is obvious that you do not have any knowledge of the Mosaic legislation, nor the circumstances surrounding the legislation which addresses the economically and socially vulnerabilities within that period of history.

      You have not shown the ability to accurately define or apply slavery, which has been obviously determined.

      If you would look up the Greek translations for the word "slave," there are subtleties that distinguish its five meanings.

    • emmaspeaks profile image
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      emmaspeaks 5 years ago from Kansas City

      Planks, all I hear are excuses and justifications, and quite frankly, it's sickening. Bottom line, there is absolutely NO excuse for a god that so many people worship to have NEVER once said, "Slavery is a sin." I really don't give a crap about context. There's no context big enough to excuse him not making that statement and for you and any christian to stubbornly defend it is outrageous. YOu waste so much time trying to think up ways to explain this, but the truth is, your god was a monster, and you worship him. That's it. It's no different than the Mayas worshiping gods that demanded blood sacrifice, but wait, your god demanded that too. It's disgusting that in the 21st century there are still scum bags like you that want to defend this barbaric behavior. YOur god is the reason slavery went on for 400 years in the modern age. Take some responsibility and at least acknowledge that your god isn't perfect. He made a HUGE mistake. Period.

    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 5 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ

      ("My intent was to show how the bible is contradictory.")

      emmaspeaks,

      By your title, I assumed that you were trying to convey that slavery in the Bible was not voluntary or indentured.

      ("Why don't you explain why god never once denounces slavery in the bible?")

      Before you write a piece on the Bible, it is always a good idea to understand the context accurately; otherwise, a distorted understanding is the result. A word that was defined in the past may be quite different than what it defined as today.

      You are alleging that the term "slave" is someone owned as a possession by another and has no rights, which is misleading in the context of what your applying it to.

      Indentured servants in Israel were to be treated in a human way and the laws were there to protect them from inhumane abuse. The Old testament law makes a distinction between a servant and a free person. If a servant was abused, he/she would be set free. As stated above, after seven years the servant was debt free and able to move out on their own as a free individual in society.

      The near eastern law codes such as the Code of Hammurabi stressed distinctions in class and legislation pertaining to free persons, government officials, priests, slaves, etc... In contrast to these codes, the OT laws were more non-hierarchical, meaning they applied to everyone, including the kings.

      Since there were conditions such as poverty and war which were not ideal in those times, the laws on servitude were put in place as sensitivity to those who were in that predicament.

      God reveals His intention that all humans should be equal and each person under His care be his own "master."

      Each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken. - Micah 4:4

      ‘In that day,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘every one of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and under his fig tree.’” - Zechariah 3:10

    • emmaspeaks profile image
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      emmaspeaks 5 years ago from Kansas City

      Not at all. My intent was to show how the bible is contradictory. Yours it to justify and explain slavery. Why don't you explain why god never once denounces slavery in the bible? Let's get right to the point shall we.

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      PlanksandNails 5 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ

      Emmaspeaks,

      ("Trying to prove your point by quoting the bible to me is useless.")

      Have you not done the same to make your point?

      ("I will try to respond to all of the popular claims to justify slavery in the bible and I will use the bible itself to refute them.")

      Doesn't this statement self-destruct based on the above statement you made?

    • emmaspeaks profile image
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      emmaspeaks 5 years ago from Kansas City

      Trying to prove your point by quoting the bible to me is useless. The bible is not a historical document it is a hagiography. You can color it any way you like, it only shows how your morals haven't evolved as much as mine have. Trying to justify slavery in any time period is just beyond immoral. Good night.

    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 5 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ

      emmaspeaks,

      ("Right...I don't think so. I can't fathom any human in any period of time thinking that volunteering themselves for slavery was a good idea.")

      Historical facts and context take precedence over personal feelings.

      From what you are asserting about slavery is that it means that someone is someone else's sole property that has no rights and is stripped of identity, which could include racial, social, family, or marital.

      There is this type of slavery, but there is a distinction with that of the Hebrew servant, which was quite different. For the nation of Israel, the laws were about regulating or controlling; servitude was an unfortunate result of poverty where the person entered into it voluntarily, the law was to protect the servant from potential abuses. Here are some verses that support this:

      “For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.’ – Deuteronomy 15:11

      ‘If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave’s service. ‘He shall be with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner – Leviticus 25:39-40

      The law was never about sanctioning or institutionalizing slavery, but working with a less than optimal situation in that time, just like the acts of war. If you do a comparison with the servant system in the ancient near East, you will realise that Israel’s system was very tame.

      (" I also do not see anywhere where it specifies slaves going into slavery to repay their own debt.")

      Once the debt was paid off, the servant was free to go. After seven years the debt was completely cancelled. The servant laws existed to help the poor and needy, not to harm them. If you read Deuteronomy 15:1-18, the goal expressed is to eradicate debt-servanthood realising it was an inferior condition; this why debt remission took place every seven years.

    • emmaspeaks profile image
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      emmaspeaks 5 years ago from Kansas City

      rlcaslme, I hope you are not suggesting that as long as the slave was foreign it was okay. And no, consent is not necessary when buying a slave. I just really have to ask at this point, are you apologists really that dumb or are you so in denial that you just make stuff up? Yeah, it's best that you don't continue because you have already incriminated yourself as being for slavery.

    • rLcasaLme profile image

      rLcasaLme 5 years ago from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

      Leviticus 25: 44-46 However, you may purchase male or female slaves FROM AMONG THE FOREIGNERS WHO LIVE AMONG YOU. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.

      Anyone can really pervert such verse because it does really say to purchase a slave. But one thing is ignored here. Israel had trespassers, foreigners who went along with them. These foreigners to be granted to be with them have to offer something instead of just going along and in time inheriting something that isn’t theirs.

      One more thing, a slave had to be bought. There is consent here, an agreement between the two. No slave means they have to part ways. However, a slave means a trade.

      Please delete the phrase “from among the foreigners who live among you” to validate your argument.

      Exodus 21:2-6 If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If HIS MASTER GAVE HIM A WIFE while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, 'I LOVE MY MASTER, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.' If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever.

      Now this is becoming funny. His master gave the slave a wife. The master gave something in his possession to the slave and have her as the slave’s wife out of graciousness. The slave obviously had felt love in his master otherwise the verse could have just said “But the slave may plainly declare, 'I love my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.’” not having to say he loves his master. The verse clearly says that the slave have felt love to his master because of his grace.

      I'd rather not continue because what I see in here is just plain perversion of the texts.

      Good hub though.

    • Piper Bennett profile image

      Piper Bennett 5 years ago

      haha i thought we were done :) I would also like to say (since you have much to say on the science thing) that science doesn't necessarily prove Christianity wrong. I think science and God work together just fine. I personally don't find that science contradicts what the Bible says at all. If you are saying that picking up a "science book" will suddenly change my ideas about religion and God, and I don't find any contradictions, then I don't see how my viewpoints on Christianity will change.

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      emmaspeaks 5 years ago from Kansas City

      Ma'am, slavery is NOT open for interpretation. People in the bible thought slavery was okay because god never said it wasn't, so YES, that makes him a monster. If I have avoided anything it's nonsense about god creating you. Pick up a science book sweetie. And once again, you are talking in circles, here. Unless you have something new to contribute to this discussion, I would appreciate it if you moved on. You haven't said anything enlightening. You are just defending the very thing I state in my hub that is irredeemable. You are basically proving me right, so thanks for that, I guess, but hate circular arguments, and you are going nowhere. The issue is slavery and you have stated that you agree it is black and white and that it is wrong. I don't see the need for any other argument here. You have just conceded that your god is immoral, so thank you.

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      Piper Bennett 5 years ago

      No. *sighs*. The BIBLE isn't black and white. Slavery IS. I AGREE with you on that. Did you catch that? I AGREE with you! *everyone claps*

      Don't get so upset. I'm not saying that slavery should even be contemplated as a positive contribution to society. Of COURSE it isn't. I would be foolish to say it is. I'm just saying you can't deface the Bible just because the issue of slavery in the Bible is up for interpretation. Just because people in the Bible thought slavery was ok does not make God a monster.

      You totally avoided what I just said in my previous comment. I didn't mention anything about Slavery being up for interpretation. I'm not embarrassing myself. If standing up for what I believe in with intellectual conversation is embarrassing, then YOU are embarrassing yourself as well. Thanks for the debate. I actually enjoyed it.

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      emmaspeaks 5 years ago from Kansas City

      Slavery is black and white. You can argue all you want, but owning a human is wrong. End of story. You have no claim. We are not arguing about 2+2 here and quite frankly, ma'am, your lowering slavery to such an elementary quibble is shocking. And this hub is focused on slavery so I am not arguing about any other issue in the bible right now. And god may not have said slavery was good, but he didn't say it was bad, either, did he? Ma'am, you are just embarrassing yourself. Unless you have anything new to add to this conversation I think we are done. You have quite proven that you are just as immoral as your god so I wish you luck with that. Good day. :)

    • Piper Bennett profile image

      Piper Bennett 5 years ago

      The Bible is not black and white. Math is black and white. 2+2=4 is black and white. 2+1 does not equal four. I can argue all I want, but it will never equal four. That is what black and white is.

      Read my hub about my interpretation of the play Antigone. Did Antigone have a choice where her future was concerned? Or was she doomed from birth, bound by fate? That isn't black and white. I may say Antigone had a choice, you may say she was controlled by fate. No matter how much we argue, we can never really prove which one of us is right.

      Have you ever met someone (or many someones) who tried to argue with you over the fact that 2+2=4? I haven't.

      Have you met someone (or many someones) who tried to argue with you over what the Bible says? Yeah, you clearly have, considering the number of people who either agree or disagree with you on what you publish is hubs. Does that not say to you that the Bible is up for interpretation? So clearly, it isn't black and white.

      When God gave Adam and Eve to take a bite from the forbidden fruit, what did he give them? Free will. I would not say that God created slavery. Humans created slavery, which was the result of God's gift of free will. I wouldn't even say that God prolonged slavery. Who's to say that God didn't like slavery? You and I will never know. God didn't write the Bible, humans did. It's a result of free choice. The people in the Old Testament wanted slavery? That was their choice. You say that God had the power to end slavery from the very beginning. That's true. Of course He did. But He had the power to do a lot of things. Why didn't Jesus miraculously unfasten himself from the cross? Because Jesus and God knew that the sacrifice had to be made.

      God didn't defend slavery. I don't recall ever coming across a passage where God said slavery was good. If he said it was good, yeah, i think people would have a problem with it. But he doesn't.

      Also, God created me. I think I owe it to Him ten bajillion times over for that, and for forgiving all my sins (that come with Free Will) Not saying his name in vain is the least I can do. Again, sorry for the long post. It may have rambled a little. But i think what I'm saying is important rambling

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      emmaspeaks 5 years ago from Kansas City

      Again, defending it only makes you look bad. What kind of loving god would allow slavery? That is the question that you need to ask yourself. I wish you luck with that.

    • Piper Bennett profile image

      Piper Bennett 5 years ago

      Also, I would like to point out that frogtalk wasn't condoning slavery, but (i believe they were trying to say this, correct me frogtalk if i'm wrong) that God appears to condone slavery in the Old Testament because the people who were following him and not "sinning" were the Israelites. I believe He viewed it as punishment for the non-followers sins

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      emmaspeaks 5 years ago from Kansas City

      Piper, You fail to understand that god himself was the perpetuator of this crime. Why didn't god just lay down the law, as I mentioned in this hub? He certainly had the power to do so. But he didn't. He let it continue. Nowhere, not even in the ten commandments, does he say slavery is wrong. I think owning a human is a much bigger crime than taking his name in vain. Obviously he was more concerned with that than with the treatment of other humans. As for the interpretation, I think none is necessary here. It's pretty black and white. God had the power to end slavery from the very beginning, but he didn't, he perpetuated it. That is immoral and shameful and anyone that can defend that is equally immoral and shameful.

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      ToasterImp 5 years ago

      # It is morally right if you are a slave to obey

      # your master, it would not be morally right to

      # rebel against him. God is explaining the right

      # behavior in those passages.

      So, given that logic, the American people rebelled against the word of god when they went to war with one another over the slavery issue in 1861. Never mind the fact that the biblical commandments regarding slavery make a mockery of the commandments to "love thy neighbor as thy self".

      # The Israelites were his chosen people and they

      # were the ones that initiated the idea of having

      # slaves and God was okay with it because the

      # slaves were not His people.

      So who are we to love? This doesn't jibe with the later teachings in the bible, as you've already noted. This is why some people tend to dismiss the bible as a book written by men, as it contains so many contradictions that can't be resolved without rationalizing them away.

      # As the creator of the world God has a right to decide

      # what he can do and whether or not it is morally wrong.

      People have understood that things are moral in and of themselves and god only confirms this, he does not make something right and moral just by declaring it to be so. Any deity that declared pedophilia to be holy and just would not change the fact that engaging in such a act is vile beyond belief.

    • Piper Bennett profile image

      Piper Bennett 5 years ago

      I wasn't trying to say that turning the other cheek implied not owning a slave, I was trying to say that the scriptures you shared could also be interpreted to mean that the writers of the new testament believed that obedience and humbleness were key to leading a Christian life, not that slavery was bad or immoral. I was merely trying to point out that you have to look at scripture from multiple angles. I'm sure you can agree with me there. Just like you can interpret a novel, you can interpret the Bible. I understand that slavers were not considered humans by the bulk of society, but many Christians in the past and in current history (ie abolitionists) believed that God's love extends to all people. Therefore, God's and Jesus' teachings applied to slaves as well. Slavery is obviously disgusting and wrong, but just as I am being respectful to you (I am assuming you're not Christian) please be respectful to other Christians.

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      emmaspeaks 5 years ago from Kansas City

      Piper Bennett, you can disagree with me all you like. As for your claim that it was not accepted in the New Testament, please show me anywhere where god says "Slavery is wrong!" Your silly claim that turning the other cheek implied not owning a slave, or doing unto others meant the same, is just sad. Slaves were not considered humans. They were beneath them, so all those lessons of turning the cheek and doing unto others are meant for free people, not slaves, who were considered little more than animals. Educate YOURSELF.

      Frogtalk, I do believe you have condoned slavery in your comment so I see you are one of those irredeemable Christians I was talking about. Stop. You are only embarrassing yourself.

    • frogtalk profile image

      frogtalk 5 years ago

      You are taking these passages out of context. Especially the New Testament ones.

      It is morally right if you are a slave to obey your master, it would not be morally right to rebel against him. God is explaining the right behavior in those passages.

      In Luke Jesus is using an analogy, he's not saying that it's right to give blows to your servant.

      As for the passages in the O.T. God's mission in the O.T. was for his people , the Israelites (in the New Testament it's for the church). The Israelites were his chosen people and they were the ones that initiated the idea of having slaves and God was okay with it because the slaves were not His people. As the creator of the world God has a right to decide what he can do and whether or not it is morally wrong.

      You may think I'm "reimagining" this, but no, it's all in the Bible if you read it without bringing presuppositions.

    • Piper Bennett profile image

      Piper Bennett 5 years ago

      I completely disagree with you, Emma. I cannot argue with the statement that slavery was condoned in the Old Testament. It definitely was. So was genocide and mistreatment of women. I have read the Old Testament from start to finish and that's all in there. When you say slavery was accepted, and even encouraged, by the Christian's god in the New Testament, however, I disagree. Jesus taught people to turn the other cheek. Someone slapped you? Let them slap your other cheek. What you have to understand is that when Luke, 1 Peter, and Ephesians mention treatment of slaves, they are not condoning slavery. Maybe they themselves, as the writer of the book believed slavery was good, but I don't believe Jesus or God condoned it. In those books of the New Testament, the writers are merely trying to say to the slaves, "Humble yourself". Emma, i believe that you're missing the whole concept of Jesus's teachings "The last will be first and the first will be last in the Kingdom of Heaven." The Bible and Jesus especially also stress obedience to your superior, as well as humbleness. Just because the writers of the New Testament instructed slaves to obey their masters doesn't mean that they believe that some people are less equal or less loved by God than others. They are simply saying that God will reward those who obey their masters (people today included, ex. honor father and mother)and that obedience is highly valued. I think that you're too close-minded to examine other angles. Clearly you skipped the rest of the New Testament where JEsus' ministry is taught, and the concept of love triumphs over hate. THis god that you call a monster represents love and forgiveness. Sorry for the long post. I just had a lot to say.

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      Zena24 5 years ago

      A debt are kidding me? I'm glad you put this out. So many just don't get it. Teach them Emma.