Yes, Biblical Slavery Was the Same as American Slavery (2 of 2)

Yes, Biblical Slavery Was the Same as American Slavery (2 of 2) May 4, 2018

In part 1, we looked at the popular Christian notion that biblical slavery was a benign form of servitude, quite unlike American slavery. In fact, it turns out that they were almost identical.

Now, let’s look at a companion article from the Cold Case Christianity blog, “Why Would God Have Permitted Any Form of Servitude or Slavery?” Christian Jim Wallace tries to salvage God’s reputation despite his support of slavery.

What’s the big deal?

Let me again start with a positive observation. There’s a popular but flabby apologetic that Wallace didn’t appeal to. This argument says that the difficulties in our lives here on earth will count for nothing in the grand scheme of things. In other words, finite difficulties on earth ÷ an infinite afterlife in heaven = nothing to complain about. Paul said, “Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

So you lived in barbaric conditions as a slave—big deal. A trillion years from now as you’re helping yourself to hors d’oeuvres at heaven’s all-you-can-eat buffet, that life will be an insignificant memory.

As our own appetizer, let’s dismantle this argument. Compare it with an analogous situation: you and I are arguing, and I get so frustrated that I punch you in the face. After a moment to collect myself, I realize that I’ve made a big mistake, so I offer you a million dollars in compensation. You accept and promise not to press criminal charges.

Yes, you’ve received overly generous compensation, but of course the injury was still morally wrong. Compensation acknowledges the injury; it doesn’t erase its existence.

The same is true for the fate God gives you. Trying to dilute the Problem of Evil (why would an all-good God permit the evil that we see all around us?) with the infinite time of heaven doesn’t get God out of his moral jam. He’s still responsible for the problem.

Spiritual sandpaper

Wallace begins his defense of God by arguing that hardship can improve us, using the analogy of sandpaper shaping wood. This doesn’t explain why some of us get growth-encouraging hardships while others get devastating hardships such as abusive relationships or devastating disease or injury. Hardship can improve, but it can also tear down.

And, of course, this simply presupposes God and selects the facts to support that conclusion rather than following the facts where they lead.

Slavery, according to Wallace, is spiritual sandpaper.

We mustn’t confuse God’s use of an institution to accomplish something good, with God’s approval of an institution as something inherently good. Even though slavery is not part of God’s heavenly plan . . . He does use human evil here on earth to accomplish his goals for all of us.

So God used slavery without approving of it? Let’s test that with another institution. The book of Proverbs admonishes merchants to use fair weights and measures—four separate times, in fact. For example, “The Lord detests differing weights, and dishonest scales do not please him” (Prov. 20:23). Does this mean that God used the wicked institution of commerce without approving it? There’s no evidence to imagine this. A smart guy like God who spoke the very universe into existence, who drowned the world for its wickedness, and who demanded the death penalty for breaking his commandments wouldn’t feel shy about making his feelings known about human institutions. His regulation of commerce makes clear that he approves of it when correctly done, and his many rules about slavery—nicely documented in Wallace’s previous post—make clear that he approves of that, too.

The slavery question is no better dealt with in the New Testament.

All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves. (1 Timothy 6:1–2)

I’m sure Wallace disapproves of slavery, and so do I, but there’s no justification for reading our own morality into the Bible. Let it speak for itself.

Societal vs. individual focus

Wallace tries another gambit. He argues that God’s focus is at the individual level, not the societal level. Sure, slavery was bad, but so what? Society’s problems aren’t on God’s radar.

God can (and has) used what is clearly evil at a societal level to accomplish something beneficial at an individual level.

But what’s “clearly evil”? We moderns agree that slavery is evil, but you’re reading your own morality into the Bible imagine that condemnation there.

Overturning slavery in the time of Jesus?

Wallace quotes Paul’s letter to Philemon, asking him to treat his returning slave with kindness. Wallace concludes,

The Bible does reflect God’s desire to seek the end of slavery, but it does so one heart at a time.

Huh? Of course it doesn’t! If God desired the end of slavery, he could just end slavery. Failing that, he could make clear in the Old Testament that he disapproves and that we should stop it. Failing that, his earthly representation as Jesus could make clear that he disapproves. Failing that, one of the epistle writers could make clear that he disapproves so the Bible could say at least something against slavery.

Fail. Don’t say that God doesn’t like slavery when there is no evidence for this. Don’t imagine your own morality coming from God, playing God like a sock puppet.

Wallace anticipates this:

The Roman Empire had 60 million slaves living amongst its citizenry. To call for an end of slavery in this culture and context would have resulted in mass murder and civil war.

God is magic, remember? If God wanted a different world—one with a healthy Roman economy not dependent on slavery, say—he could make it. To imagine God constrained by mankind’s social institutions is to imagine a puny God.

The shackles that hold God back

Wallace also asks us to “remember the cultural context of the ancient world.” But can God be constrained by the social conditions of the moment? God didn’t feel bound by the status quo when he introduced the Ten Commandments, with the death penalty backing most of them. Whether it was convenient or not for stick collection on the Sabbath to suddenly become a capital crime (Numbers 15:32–6) didn’t bother God.

It would be . . . unfair to judge God based on what we think God should do about slavery.

What do we do then? What do we make of this conflict between the obvious wrongness of slavery and the obvious support of slavery in the Bible? Should we just presuppose God and then figure that he has his own good reasons for acting in a way that, in any other situation, you’d call “immoral”? Or should we drop any special pleading and evaluate the Bible as we would any other claimed moral source? I’m certain Wallace wouldn’t take this approach to avoid critique of any other holy book.

The problem for Wallace is that if you evaluate the Bible, you’ll find no baby. It’s just bath water.

I would rather have a mind opened by wonder
than closed by belief.
— Gerry Spence


(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 8/27/14.)

Photo credit: Wikimedia


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  • Norman Parron

    Dimwits like Wallace are NOT any of the above examples. Or he would not be says all that suffering and slavery is OK! And he is a LIAR4jesus as he KNOWS nothing of heaven, as he was NEVER there and the buyBull is nothing but wishful thinking. As been said anything stated without evidence can be dismissed without evidence!!!

  • Bob Jase

    “Wallace begins his defense of God by arguing that hardship can improve us, using the analogy of sandpaper shaping wood.”

    That must be very comforting to fetuses that arre miscarried – see, it was all for your own good!

    • Kevin K

      Heck, abortions are good for the woman … teaching her resilience in the face of all those protesters.

    • TheBookOfDavid

      It’s a very Christian analogy, though. After all, raw timber has no presumed right of self determination or bodily autonomy, no influence over its disposition, and it is used exclusively for the benefit of its handlers without permission. It cannot even quit its job to work for another household under more favorable wages and working ccondition, because it is property. Also, sandpaper works destructively; it may remove surface irregularities, but never adds a thing.

      • evodevo

        Hey. If any of these people took their claims to a logical conclusion, their heads would explode from the cognitive dissonance overload …

  • katiehippie

    “hardship can improve us”
    What for? If god wants us all in heaven, what’s the point of improving ourselves here? Do we get to go to a better heaven?

    • eric

      It’s one of the paradoxes of Christian theoloogy: they want to claim hardship has some very important function/value, but also want to claim those Christians who don’t suffer much of it can still find complete fulfillment in heaven and realize their full potential.

      Suffering is Schroedinger’s benefit! When an atheist asks about it, it’s absolutely philosophically necessary. But when a Christian infant dies, don’t worry, it wasn’t necessary for their heavenly existence.

    • epicurus

      More legroom and free checked luggage

      • Greg G.

        As long as it isn’t a middle seat.

  • The Bible does reflect God’s desire to seek the end of slavery, but it does so one heart at a time.

    Whenever I hear this kind of excuse, I immediately point to the Exodus 21. My personal “favorite”* example is right there at the beginning of that chapter, in verses 1-6.

    1 Now these are the judgments which you shall set before them:
    2 If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free and pay nothing.
    3 If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him.
    4 If his master has given him a wife, and she has borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself.
    5 But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’
    6 then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.

    That disgusting practice is, to me, even more horrible than chattel slavery. Chattel slavery is a violation of people, an insult to all humanity, and one of the worst things humanity has ever created … but this kind of heartless manipulation is Evil, pure and simple. And this is how the fictional God commanded them to treat other Israelites! Apparently “God’s desire to seek the end of slavery” means something completely different than the words would indicate. He didn’t just support it. He didn’t just make rules about it. He also gave slave owners nice little tricks like this to ensure that they’d not lose their “property.”

    *A much of a “favorite” as raw atrocity can be, anyway.

    • Greg G.

      God is OK with using family values to make a man choose to become a slave for life. But I think Exodus 21 was just getting warmed up with that opening. It has the death penalty for cursing a parent and allows a slave owner to kill a slave as long as the slave suffers a while before death. Then it goes into an eye for an eye.

      • That chapter is, indeed, the pinnacle of objective morality.

        Oh, wait. My mistake. I meant objectionable morality.

      • Kodie

        And you don’t think slave owners forced their slaves to marry, right? Christians always suppose this gives slaves a choice, the choice of freedom or responsibility, assuming while they were enslaved, they happened to have a nice meet-cute, having something in common, and decided to fall in love to keep each other company, to keep each other warm at night, and married because that’s what they wanted to do. It’s sort of my understanding that people didn’t marry for love, or maybe they did, but … you don’t suppose slave-owners used these rules to their own advantage, like, say, animal husbandry only people. So not only manipulating their slaves to do the responsible thing, but making sure they had a family to be responsible for. All kinds of nasty. I’m just … supposing. Those in power always try to exploit those not in power, and god says it’s ok, because these are his rules, not something humans made up.

        As it is, I do not prefer to argue what god intended by things like condoning slavery, but that people and culture precede what god will say, because they want what they want, and judge others. What is a religion, it’s not a “worldview”, it’s a system of government. If everyone agrees to the rules, and everyone agrees these rules are immutable, because the deity can’t be contacted or controlled, then society will run smoothly. These people figured out how to make their society run smoothly, assigning people to classes, it works on a societal level. On the individual level, it means a lot of people are opportunistic assholes, and many people are victims of opportunistic assholes using an untouchable deity to threaten them or keep them in place, thus assuring the continuing smooth running of society. Like a fucking machine. Religious people are still trying to control society, and I know people prefer things a certain way, but they’ve proved their god mutable by people becoming disgusted by this previous regime and changing “god’s” mysterious reasons and preferences to reflect modern sensibilities. This is why I call them sick fucks. They pretend to be good for hating slavery, and then glorify their imaginary friend for causing/allowing slavery or other conditions of suffering, so that it becomes good for other reasons. And then they have the fucking nerve to call the bible a history book.

        These rules how to keep slaves are how god keeps slaves, his Christians. They have “free will”. They can gnaw the trap off their foot and abandon their family like a terrible person, or submit to their abuser like a good person. There is nothing about owning people or using people or manipulating people that is good. God doesn’t use people, people use god to own people, use people, and manipulate people. That’s what atheism is about. There’s nothing to this bullshit talk, we’re listening to a lunatic tell us we have to do what their imaginary friend tells them to tell us to do via their church training them that’s what they need to do to be a good person. People who think they’re in power doing whatever they have to do to drag everyone kicking and screaming to their preferred societal system, which works, but the hitch is, humans have brains, we’re not machines, we can point out what’s wrong with what’s wrong. Slavery didn’t end because “god” changed any hearts, but humans with brains could see this was wrong, they had empathy. Christians pretend they have empathy, but they are really the product of a societal shift that slowly changed to hate slavery. Society with slavery ran smoothly (I guess), and emancipation kind of fucked that up and plenty of people were resentful. Their hearts were never changed. They died hating these commie pinko liberals freeing their slaves. White supremacy is still a thing. I am not sure if they would be in favor of enslaving black people, but it’s hard to figure out what kind of segregated society they see, or where black people should go so their society runs the way they want it to. I think no one thinks it through, they just don’t want their own community to be tolerant or diverse, or the federal government or the media to show families that look different than their family… kind of like how certain people never see themselves on tv. Let’s suppose they don’t wish to enslave people, but they don’t care about their preferences or comfort or sense of belonging at all, but we’re supposed to cater to theirs.

        Anyway, I think slave owners are pimps.

    • Doubting Thomas

      You’re just overlooking the point that this is clearly an example of the Bible bringing families closer together.

  • Otto

    I would like to see a US judge’s reaction if any of these were used by a defense attorney.

    ‘But Judge…my client was just using slavery to help them become better people!’

    • Michael Neville

      Some years ago there was a preacher who said that atheists should be slaves of Christians so that the atheists would receive guidance on living good lives. He got a lot of push back, including some from Christians.

  • PacMan

    Wallace anticipates this:

    The Roman Empire had 60 million slaves living amongst its
    citizenry. To call for an end of slavery in this culture and context
    would have resulted in mass murder and civil war.

    There is not even the wishy washy endorsement that celibacy got. We are told that it is better not to marry at all, but marrying is better than sinning, so go ahead and marry if you cant control yourself.
    Surely God could have said something like: “It is preferable not to keep slaves, but if you find you must, at least treat them well.” or “If you must have slaves, it is preferable that you treat them all by the ‘fellow Hebew’ rules, not the ‘captured enemy’ rules”.

    • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

      And even before Israel was conquered by the Romans, the Bible endorsed slaves held by the Hebrews.

      But in the context of the New Testament, which was not written with the assumption that Christianity would take over the Roman Empire, this argument is silly. Jesus and Peter and Paul could have told aspiring Christians, “You must free your slaves”, and this would not result in the immediately release of 60 million slaves and the Chaos Wallace tries to warn about.

  • Otto Tellick

    We mustn’t confuse God’s use of an institution to accomplish something good, with God’s approval of an institution as something inherently good. Even though slavery is not part of God’s heavenly plan . . . He does use human evil here on earth to accomplish his goals for all of us.

    In other words, as far as God is concerned, the ends justify the means. OK, then, let’s add that to the idea of us being created “in his image” — I guess we should apply the same logic. Oh, yes! Of course! That explains why Tump is the darling of evangelicals: he’s the perfectly evil thing being used to accomplish so many Christian goals.

  • Ficino

    We conclude that for Christianity, slavery is not wrong. That’s why the SBC came into existence, no? Because those abolitionists got the Bible wrong?

    • Zeropoint

      I’ve had repeated run-ins with a Christian street preacher who insists that slavery is NOT always wrong; he thinks it’s fine when it’s “God’s judgement” on the enslaved people.

  • Orange East Yellow

    Looks like an attempt to salvage the reputation of the one true Book, rather than God. In order to salvage the reputation of the one true book, seems, blame is being shifted to God. Prob is not with God, prob is with the book.

    • Doubting Thomas

      Or both the book and the god just kinda suck.

      • Orange East Yellow

        Maybe. But before doing that, you have to establish there’s a direct link between the book and God. You arent there yet.

        • Greg G.

          To do that, you must establish the existence of a god.

        • Orange East Yellow

          yeah. That is also another problem. Agree.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Is there a book that has had a direct link established between it and god? If not, where are you getting your god info?

        • Orange East Yellow

          Leave out how I get my god info. Its my personal matter. I think I have given you enough answer.

        • Doubting Thomas

          I would encourage you not to come here and make god claims on an atheist site without expecting to get challenged on them. If your god info is a personal matter, then posting it on a public blog is probably a bad idea.

        • Orange East Yellow

          I am not asking you to believe anything. I am fine with atheistic irreligion. You can see, I am trying to avoid giving you god info.

        • Doubting Thomas

          You can see, I am trying to avoid giving you god info.

          ….by posting god info on a public website.

        • So that we’ll all burn?

        • Orange East Yellow

          No. Not believing in god, because you have no evidence of god, is a no-crime. IMHO, you have do some actual wrong/evil activity, to claim an entry into hell.

        • Greg G.

          You are the first person I have seen use “IMHO” since I saw this xkcd cartoon, yesterday:

        • Are you just making it up?

        • Orange East Yellow

          No. That’s what I believe.

        • I’m sure that you do, but where’s the evidence? We have evidence for a heliocentric solar system, for example. I don’t see any evidence for your view of God or indeed anyone’s view of God.

        • Orange East Yellow

          I have no evidence. You were accusing me of having some hidden/hateful reason, based on some illogical belief, for saying that its fine to be atheist. I told you that I have no such hidden reason, because I dont believe is such unreasonable concepts. If you are still unsatisfied, I dont see how you can be satisfied. Perhaps, you should first prove that I believe in the ridiculous concept that souls go to hell simply for not believing.

        • Michael Neville

          I’m definitely getting the idea that OEY is trolling us. We ask questions and get “I’m not going to tell you, so there, nyah!” as a response.

        • Orange East Yellow

          If you think I am trolling, you can end the discussion at any time. I am perfectly OK with that.

        • Michael Neville

          Your arrogance and condescension, along with your refusal to answer questions, are the reasons I think you’re trolling. Thank you for the confirmation.

          If you wanted to have a discussion then you’d reply to the many questions and comments made to you. Instead you say things like “I think I have given you enough answer” when the answer you’ve given amounts to you saying you’re noncommittal.

        • Damien Priestly

          No we should not leave out how you get your god info. How did you do it? If you cannot answer, perhpas you did not communicate with any god.

        • Otto

          Sooo…you came on here to tell us we have it all wrong when it comes to God and when asked for a foundation for your claim you say it is none of our business.

          Do you see the inconsistency?

        • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

          It’s like coming in insisting everyone admit that Arthur Conan Doyle was a liar and Moriarty was actually a really nice guy.

        • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

          We’re talking about the God described in the Bible.
          If you want to talk about another God, you’ll need to provide some information about him that we can discuss.

    • Michael Neville

      The book is supposed to present the thoughts, likes and dislikes of God and is a written representation of him. So if the Bible says slavery is good then it’s saying that God says slavery is good.

      However there are people like Ken Ham who worship the book rather than any god. Ham has said that if reality is contradicted by the Bible then reality is wrong.

      • Orange East Yellow

        It isnt as if God threw down the book from the sky, and everyone saw God throwing down that book. There are many books which are supposed to present the thoughts, likes and dislikes of God, and supposed to be a written representation of God, and there are numerous versions of this same book too. I can also write up something and claim that its the new book of God, many others have already done the same. God should not be blamed for what such books say.

        • Doubting Thomas

          How did you determine that the authors of the Bible got god wrong?

        • Orange East Yellow

          Someone comes up with a book supposed to be book of God, telling people how to live properly in this world. Then, turns out, this world is facing massive probs because of the book. …. You get my line of thinking now?

        • Doubting Thomas

          So where should we look for reliable information about god?

        • Orange East Yellow

          Ask God, not me.

        • Doubting Thomas

          God doesn’t answer me. And when he answers believers, he always seems to agree with whatever they believed in the first place.

        • Orange East Yellow

          You asked me a question, I gave you the answer I have. Maybe I should have added, “Ask God with a pure heart, again and again.” And I never said its going to be easy to get God to answer to your, or anyone’s call.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Why should I try so hard if god isn’t going to just tell me? If he has something important, shouldn’t he just let me know, regardless of my cardiac purity?

        • Orange East Yellow

          I already said I have given you enough info. You can ignore it if you dont like it.

        • Doubting Thomas

          And you can ignore me if you don’t like my questions. I still think it’s dumb to come post your thoughts on god on an atheist blog and then insist that your god thoughts are personal. I hope you can see the contradiction between your words and your actions.

        • Damien Priestly

          You have not given any info? Saying — “Ask God with a pure heart, again and again.” — is the same as dialing a wrong number again and again. If there is no answer, either there is no God, or God is rude and does not answer…either way it is a pointless exercise.

          We are stuck…so what next?

        • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

          I would expect God to want to do something about the slander that Orange East Yellow insist millions of Christians accept as fact.

        • Doubting Thomas

          I’ haven’t made it all the way through the Bible, but so far the best way to play it seems to be “When in doubt, go ahead and stone them.”

        • TheNuszAbides

          what, and give up the All-Time Hide & Seek Championship? not on your life!

        • Doubting Thomas

          Also, where did you learn that the way to get answers about god is to ask him?

        • Orange East Yellow

          If you dont like the answer, you can ignore it.

        • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

          Maybe God just makes bad rules.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t blame God for drowning people with the Flood nor do I blame God for existing while allowing unnecessary suffering.

        • Michael Neville

          There are large numbers of Christians who claim the Bible is the inspired Word o’Gawd™ and a smaller number who say that God dictated the Bible word for word.

        • Otto

          Just out of curiosity do you go to Christian sites that espouse the Bible as the word of God and tell them they are at least to some extent incorrect? I ask this because I always find it amazing that atheists blogs always get criticism for getting the Bible wrong, but I really haven’t seen evidence that these same people criticize Christians who are also obviously getting it wrong too. Is it just easier to have criticism for the godless take or is there some other reason they are not held equally accountable?

        • TheNuszAbides

          but I really haven’t seen evidence that these same people criticize Christians

          yeah, but what’s the ratio of comment censorship?

      • Ficino

        Exactly. Fundamentalist interpretation does not seek to get at the meaning of a given passage as the primary goal. Its primary goal is to remove appearance of contradiction between any two assertions made in the Bible.

    • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

      Christians love to say the one true Book is the Word of God.

      We can assume that the One True Book is NOT the Word of God, but then we know nothing about God, except what we can assume by what he doesn’t do.

      • Andrea Fitzgerald

        Exactly. “The buybull is not the word of god (I’m not even going to capitalize it anymore). It is an ancient library of books (written over a span of 2,000 years by different authors, in different places, with different theologies and conceptions of God) that plagiarizes myths, legends, and stories that occur in a world that does not exist.” Steve Ebling

    • Otto

      If God is supposed to have any connection to the book…problem is with God

      • TheNuszAbides

        problem is with God

        fixed for clarity(?)

  • God can forbid divorce, yet not slavery? At the time, divorce was commonly practiced too, explicitly allowed by Jewish law (well, for men anyway). This argument is such a crock.

    • Doubting Thomas

      I guess at a time when wives could be purchased, the Christians just thought allowing divorce was sort of like letting your slave go free.

      • Perhaps. I know for a long time under Christendom they were basically. They had more rights in some pagan lands.

  • Otto

    Christians and atheists welcome. Please stay on topic. Civility is preferred, though frank comments are allowed.

    I thought Frank got banned…?

  • skl

    If it hasn’t been done already, someone should take a shot
    at getting the bible banned as a hate speech book.

    • al kimeea

      Banned? no. Held up as a prime example…

    • First Amendment.

    • kaydenpat

      Not banned but not sugarcoated.

  • SeeingClearly

    It is both laughable and and appalling how much Christian apologists will vacillate and rationalize the inconsistency that reasonable people see between the Bible and a deity worth acknowledging, let alone praying to. Well, come to think of it, when we have the President we do, and we see an even greater level of hypocrisy regarding him, maybe it’s not so amazing.

    • Kodie

      It’s a coping mechanism.

  • Daniel H

    I was hoping this would be an informative post with historical insights regarding first century slavery. Sadly, it’s a post that’s more of a response to this Jim Wallace fellow than to the Bible. Nearly every claim or statement made in this post could be rebutted, but I only have the desire and time to respond to one: regarding God, the author says: “he could make clear in the Old Testament that he disapproves [of slavery] and that we should stop it.” It doesn’t take too much Old Testament skimming to realize that slavery is viewed in a very negative light, not only by God but by the Israelites. The central event of Israel’s historical identity is her exodus from slavery in Egypt. Over and over throughout the OT ( God reminds his people that they should serve him because he brought them “out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” (Exodus 13:14, 20:2, Deut. 5:6, Joshua 6:8). Slavery in Egypt is compared to being inside of an iron furnace (Jeremiah 11:4, 1 Kings 8:51), and is often referred to as “oppression” (see 1 Samuel 10:18). This freedom from slavery is the central salvation act of Israel’s history in the OT, and to overlook it and claim that the OT nowhere shows that God “does not like slavery” is misinformed.

    • Jim Wallace’s posts did a good job of outlining the Christian arguments. I need evidence if I’m saying that Christians say this or that about slavery. That was the purpose of using his posts.

      Nearly every claim or statement made in this post could be rebutted

      The floor is yours.

      It doesn’t take too much Old Testament skimming to realize that slavery is viewed in a very negative light, not only by God but by the Israelites.

      Yeah? I wonder why one of their first actions once they returned to Canaan was to enslave the Gibeonites. Seems to me that slavery was just peachy with them, as long as they were on the giving side.

      This freedom from slavery is the central salvation act of Israel’s history in the OT, and to overlook it and claim that the OT nowhere shows that God “does not like slavery” is misinformed.

      Huh? You’re arguing that the Israelites didn’t like being enslaved. Yeah, obviously. No one does. Nevertheless, the Bible makes clear that enslaving other people for life (or fellow Israelites for 6 years) was OK.

      I should’ve written a post about it. Oh, wait a minute. I did.

      • Daniel H

        Don’t be a smartass. Who cares what “Christians say” about biblical slavery? I was just hoping for a post that delineated exactly how biblical slavery was the same as American slavery (since that was the title), something with more historical scholarship (although I’m aware that this isn’t your field of expertise, so I’m not trying to be hyper-critical).

        • I love being a smartass and seize opportunities to be so. Unfortunately, this wasn’t one of them. Drop by when I hit my stride.

          I have no idea what your complaint is. My goal was to give a thorough review of the claims Christians make and show that they’re BS. Looks to me like I did it, and the title seems on target. You’ll have to show me explicitly what was missing.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Seriously? Are you for real?

        • Greg G.

          The OT says foreign slaves could be bought from foreigners. Colonial slave masters did that.
          The OT says slave could be treated “like slaves” as opposed to fellow Jews who were not to be treated harshly. Colonial slave masters did that.
          The OT says that slaves could be bequeathed upon the death of the slave master. Colonial slave masters did that.
          The OT has a provision for indentured servitude for non-foreigners. Colonial slave masters did that.
          The OT says indentured servants worked for six years and got a bonus at the end. Colonial slave masters did that.
          The OT says that slaves could be beaten. Colonial slave masters did that.
          Jesus says that slaves could be beaten. Colonial slave masters did that.
          The OT says that the children of slaves belonged to the slave master (even if the father was a Jew). Colonial slave masters did that.
          The OT says that the slave master could choose a wife for a servant to have children with. Colonial slave masters did that.
          The OT has examples of the slave master’s religion being imposed on the slaves. Colonial slave masters did that.

          The ideas for colonial slavery came from the Bible. In the lead-up to the Civil War, Christians wrote books defending slavery by citing the biblical principles.

        • Bob Jase

          Ya see, colonial slave masters were just bad at reading metaphors – thas the problem.

        • TheNuszAbides

          when are we gonna cut the metaphor already, and get to the Objectively Absolute Phor?

        • Greg G.

          All we get are metaphors and shampoo. Why don’t people use real phors and wash their hair with real poo?