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Monday, May 14, 2012

Does the Bible Support Slavery? A Reply To Dan Savage

In my last blog post, I gave some "big picture" thoughts concerning the recent allegations made against the Bible, by gay activist, far-left Progressive, and atheist Dan Savage.


I suggested that his tone and rhetoric was one more example of the increase in virulent, fundamentalist atheism in our country (and its acceptance thereof), and that the Church needs to meet this challenge with love, prayer, study and active evangelism.

(It is not necessary to read that last post to understand this one, for I will be quoting Dan directly).

 In this post, however, I will be zeroing in on some of the specific problems Dan has with the Biblical text and seeing what various scholars have to say about his particular claims.

But, before I do that, I want to make something clear from the onset:

I do not pretend to believe that Dan Savage's disgust with Holy Scripture has anything to do with what he thinks it says about slavery.

In other words, if every supposed "pro-slavery" passage in Scripture was removed, he would find something else to harp on.

Why is this?

Because the Bible condemns Dan's homosexual lifestyle choice.

That is not to say that Dan chose to have same-sex attraction (which I don't believe), rather that he chooses to a gay lifestyle, to please his flesh, in the same way that some with SSA choose to live a celibate lifestyle, out of obedience to God.

I think that Dan and I are in agreement that the only thing standing in the way of  total acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle in the United States is the Word of God, and that once the Bible is removed from its place of respect, then the floodgates will open and Dan's position on homosexuality will be the cultural norm.

That is why Dan hates the Bible.

(Not to mention the message of hope for people with same-sex attraction [and those without], found on the pages of Scripture, which directly contradicts his world-view).

With that in mind let's look at some of Dan's claims:

 "We ignore bull**it in the Bible about all sorts of things. The Bible is a radically pro slavery document. Slave-owners waved Bibles over their head during the Civil War and justified it". (emphasis mine)

He then goes on to say, "The shortest book in the New Testament is a letter from Paul to a Christian slave owner about owning his Christian slave. And Paul doesn't say 'Christians don't own people', Paul talks about how Christians own people".

As you can see these are pretty steep charges against the Bible, charges that I believe are based on ignorance of some very key things, crucial to understanding the biblical teachings correctly.

The New Testament and Slavery-
  
Dan indicts the Apostle Paul for not saying "Christians don't own people", in one of the letters Paul wrote to a Christian slave-owner named Philemon.
 
But before we examine the book of Philemon, let's look at what the New Testament actually has to say about slavery.

Dr. Paul Copan, who has a Phd. in philosophy with an emphasis in philosophy of religion, addresses this very issue:

"Though critics claim New Testament writers keep quiet about slavery, we see a subtle opposition to it in various ways. 

We can confidently say that Paul would have considered antebellum slavery with its slave trade to be an abomination — an utter violation of human dignity and an act of human theft. 

In Paul’s vice list in 1 Timothy 1:9,10, he expounds on the fifth through the ninth commandments (Exodus 20; Deuteronomy 5). 

There Paul condemns “slave traders” who steal what is not rightfully theirs.


 One question that remains, however, is that if Paul would have opposed the Southern slave trade, if he were alive then, why does the New Testament seem so quiet about slavery abolishment?"

Let's read further, again from Dr. Copan:

"Critics wonder why Paul or New Testament writers (cp. 1 Peter 2:18–20) did not condemn slavery and tell masters to release their slaves. 

We need to first separate this question from other considerations.

 New Testament writers’ position on the negative status of slavery was clear on various points: (a) they repudiated slave trading; (b) they affirmed the full human dignity and equal spiritual status of slaves; (c) they encouraged slaves to acquire their freedom whenever possible (1 Corinthians 7:20–22); (d) their revolutionary Christian affirmations, if taken seriously, would help tear apart the fabric of the institution of slavery, which is what took full effect several centuries later — in the eventual eradication of slavery in Europe; and (e) in Revelation 18:11–13, doomed Babylon (the world of God-opposers) stands condemned because she had treated humans as “cargo,” having trafficked in “slaves [literally ‘bodies’] and human lives” (verse 13, NASB). (emphasis/underline mine)

This repudiation of treating humans as cargo assumes the doctrine of the image of God in all human beings."

So in the New Testament we see a ringing condemnation of the very core of slavery, as it was understood in South and elsewhere. 

Furthermore, Dr. Glenn Sunshine expounds on the folly of immediate abolitionism in Roman times:

  "Christianity has in fact been history’s major force for the freeing of slaves. Immediate abolition was realistically impossible in New Testament times: The Romans would have treated it as insurrection, and the inevitable bloodshed to follow it would have produced greater evil than would have been alleviated by abolition. 

The injunction to “obey” was thus temporary and contextual. It was also tempered with instructions to masters to treat slaves reasonably, as fellow human beings. Eventually slavery “virtually disappeared” from Europe under Christianity’s influence, as social historian Rodney Stark stated in “For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-Hunts, and the End of Slavery” (p. 299)."

Rather than (1.) blithely going around shouting "free the slaves", which would have resulted in a bloody and immediate put-down, leaving those in in servitude worse off than they were before,  or (2.) developing an ethic of "how Christians own people", as Dan suggests is the case in Scripture, Paul and other biblical authors advocate that slaves should be treated absolutely the same as anyone else, that they should take hold of freedom if possible, and that to treat a slave or any person in such a manner as to disparage their God-given dignity is sinful.

It is these principles that would eventually lead to the abolitionist movements in Europe and the United States.

Philemon and Onesimus-

For my readers who are not Christians, the book of Philemon concerns a slave (Onesimus) who runs away from his Christian slave-owner (Philemon) and becomes Christian himself, as a result of meeting Paul the Apostle.
  
Now while Dan is right that Paul doesn't use the words "Christians don't own people" when talking to Philemon, no honest person could construe his words to Philemon as pro-slavery.

In the book (only one chapter long) Paul implores Philemon to accept Onesimus unto himself as a "beloved brother" not a slave (v.16), to "welcome him" as he would Paul, as a "partner"; (v.17).


Here is further insight from Copan:

"Paul, who had declared that in Christ there is “neither slave nor free” (Galatians 3:28), could appeal to Philemon based on (a) Paul’s personal knowledge of Philemon (who wasn’t a physical threat to Onesimus—which Exodus 21:16
presumes); (b) the spiritual debt Philemon himself owed Paul
; and (c)
the new brotherly relationship in Christ between Onesimus and Philemon. (empahsis/underline mine)

Thus Paul elsewhere can appeal to Christian masters—who have
their own heavenly Master—to treat their slaves justly, impartially, and
without threatening (Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1). And if slaves can
gain their freedom (1 Corinthians 7:21), Paul encouraged this" 

 This was not a treatise on how Christians "own people", but a description of how Christians are to treat people--all people--regardless of their status, slave or free.

So we can see that Bible is not a "radically pro-slavery document" or a "pro-slavery document" at all, in any sense, as Dan contends.


One is left to wonder if this step-by-step approach to slavery also taken by Abraham Lincoln, would have branded Lincoln "radically pro-slavery" in the eyes of Dan Savage?

Christian Anti-Slavery Leaders-

Space does not permit me to expound on the massive effect that the Bible had on the anti-slavery movement in Europe and the U.S., but I do want to highlight believing men and women who took up their "Swords" (Hebrews 4:12; Ephesians 6:17) and fought for the dignity of all of God's creatures.

Elijah Parish Lovejoy (November 9, 1802 – November 7, 1837) was an American Presbyterian minister, journalist, newspaper editor and abolitionist. He was brutally murdered by pro-slavery mob in Alton, Illinois during their attack on his warehouse to destroy his press and abolitionist materials. (Wikipedia)

 Charles Grandison Finney  (August 29, 1792 – August 16, 1875) In addition to becoming a popular Christian evangelist, Finney was involved with the abolitionist movement and frequently denounced slavery from the pulpit. In 1835, he moved to Ohio where he became a professor and later president of Oberlin College from 1851 to 1866. Oberlin became active early in the movement to end slavery and was among the first American colleges to co-educate blacks and women with white men. (Wikipedia)


Harriet Beecher Stowe (June 14, 1811 – July 1, 1896) was an American abolitionist and author. Her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) was a depiction of life for African-Americans under slavery; it reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and United Kingdom. It energized anti-slavery forces in the American North, while provoking widespread anger in the South. (Wikipedia)


William Wilberforce (24 August 1759 – 29 July 1833) was a British politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade....In 1785, he underwent a conversion experience and became an evangelical Christian, resulting in major changes to his lifestyle and a lifelong concern for reform....and he soon became one of the leading English abolitionists. He headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for twenty-six years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807. (Wikipedia)



There are hundreds of others, but I think you get the picture.


                          Conclusion-
 Hundreds of books and articles have been written on the subject of the Bible and slavery, on both sides of the issue so for Dan Savage, a sex-columnist, to think that he can just proclaim that the Bible supports slavery is naive at best, but I think we've shown that it is also untrue.

As evidenced by his proof-texting of Deuteronomy 22:13-21, Dan shows himself unable or unwilling to make the distinction between prescriptive laws ("thus sayest the Lord") and descriptions of laws, and God's temporal and specific commands, versus general and fixed ones.

Christians must understand that the world will not sit calmly as we explain the biblical positions on contentious issues as long as the "Savage Mentality" spreads. 

 The New Atheists are only concerned with the eradication of religion, not the truth about God or Bible doctrines.

While we know that in the end there pursuits will prove vain, undoubtedly many will be duped into believing the muck that has been raked onto the inspired text of Scripture and be led astray.

It is our job to convey to the world what the Bible actually says about these subjects and so much more, so that we can remove the veil of moral and intellectual superiority from the eyes of fundamentalist atheists and show them their sin so that he may be saved.

 This is a tall order, but by the grace and power of God it is possible.



Sources used:



Apologetics 315



I'd also recommend this longer refutation of Mr. Savage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxIWf7qrcZM






18 comments:

  1. I do not believe that Mr Savage is claiming to only "hate" the Bible because it condones slavery. I think, overall, this is a statement against OT law in general. While you have been able to argue against one of his points and attempted to reinforce your statements with examples from scripture, this is not his only belief.

    What he is saying is that there are MANY laws and statements in the Bible about controversial topics that would be taboo today, or even illegal, such as slavery. This includes the "homosexual" lifestyle you so blatantly dismiss as being evil.

    I would ask you to question yourself: do YOU have SSA? and if so, how can you speak out against yourself.

    You seem so passionate about this topic, I would venture a guess that you feel lust towards males, and it is hard for you to tolerate since you were raised in such a Christian household, so much so, that you have to overcompensate by preaching against those evildoers that choose to love someone of the same sex.

    If you accept who you are, and accept your fate, you will be a much happier person. You will not need to spend so much time being angry and insulting groups of people, such as the homosexuals. Take a hard look in the mirror - what do you see?

    Why do I say that I believe you have SSA? It has been a hot topic of yours for weeks. You seem to have a mild obsession with it, and you continue to speak out against it.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you annonymous! Pretty much said it all.

      Eric, you need to get real! Stop taking the words of these so called doctors. Here are some links you NEED to read. They are scholarly, peer reviewed and valid. Get a grip on your mind. You have to stay grounded in order for people to take you seriously.

      http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/warren/warren.html
      http://www.religioustolerance.org/sla_bibl2.htm
      http://www.religioustolerance.org/sla_bibl1.htm

      You also need to to do some research on the history of slavery in general.

      http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/ava358013.shtml
      http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/01/arts/from-noah-s-curse-to-slavery-s-rationale.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm
      http://divinity.uchicago.edu/martycenter/publications/sightings/archive_2009/0713.shtml


      If you are talking about Hebrew slaves in Egypt, they were not slaves. Nope. Slaves did not build the pyramids. If you get paid for a job, then you are not a slave. Your justifications are borderline delusional. Seriously, you are really reaching here. Or in denial? There has been scientific studies that show that closeted homosexuals hate them more vividly.
      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120406234458.htm

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    2. I'm a little disappointed, Anonymous, that you seemed to miss the entire point of this blog post, which is not about homosexuality, but about the Bible and its supposed "support" of slavery.

      You say, "there are MANY laws and statements in the Bible about controversial topics that would be taboo today, or even illegal, such as slavery. This includes the "homosexual" lifestyle you so blatantly dismiss as being evil."

      I would absolutely agree with that! However, when we find one of these "taboos" we have to ask ourselves (1.) is this a descriptive or prescriptive law/Command (2.) what is the greater context of the command (3.) that was the purpose of the command (4.) how best should we understand this command. When we do those things it gives us a better understanding of what the Bible actually says, and I believe that the questioner will come to see that God is not a "moral monster" and the Bible is not an immoral book.

      Now as to your homosexuality question: It is upsetting to me that you seem to think the only basis for condemning homosexual behavior is "anger", or intolerance and not love, which IS the true basis for speaking out against sin.

      Beyond that, your comment that I have a "mild obsession" with same-sex attraction was honestly a "laugh out loud" moment for me. I believe that I have written a total of two blog posts about the subject. That being said, this IS a topic of interest with me because I feel that it is important for Christians to be equipped with love and knowledge when reaching out to their homosexual friends, especially since the stigma of homosexual behavior seems to be slowly fading away in our country, and such evangelism is coming under increasing hostility. And as long as it is an issue, I will continue to speak and write about it, without apology.

      Finally, I am a generally happy person, but I don't seek happiness, I seek a joy that only comes from knowing and loving God and following Him faithfully. If you have not known that Joy, I'd encourage you to seek God and see how he can change your life for the better.

      As always, thanks for commenting!

      Delete
  2. Anonymous #2: I hope it goes without saying that any personal attacks directed this way say more about you than they do about me.

    To be honest, I'd encourage you to really think about what drives you to come to my blog, take the time to find sources that contradict me, and then make personal attacks against me. I'm serious, this reveals a lot about a person's character, that one would hide behind anonymity to attack some who believes enough in what they say to put their name on it and defend their views. Something to think about.

    I'm not even going to bother looking through those links. I was very specific in my argumentation and I expect the very least from any antagonist who is going to have a dialogue with me. Also, nothing I said had anything to do with slaves in Egypt.

    Whether you want to comment again or not is, of course, your choice, but if you do, please be specific in your problems.

    Thanks!

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    1. You are the one taking them so seriously! You are trying to rewrite a hitory you know nothing about! You call me a coward for putting this annonymously, but I told you. I cannot tell you who I am and will not. It should not matter, what should matter is what I say. You won't look at the links? Then you are not willing to budge on your case for slavery. You didn't mention Egypt slaves? Then what Hebrew slaves were you referring to? Who do you think built the pyramids? You need to to do some more research on slavery in general, because you do not know much about it, except for what the Bible says, and that is historically incorrect. I posted links to back up the first annonymous writer, because they said it all.
      I am pretty sure you are gay. Did you hear about Paul Cameron? Sounds like a guy you may look up to. The discredited Doctor who comes out against homosexuality. Yup. He admitted he has been attracted to men since he was 3, on the David Pakman Show. You remind me of Joshua on A.I. Pretty sure he's gay and in the closet.

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    2. OK I get why you won't tell me your name, but obviously I have no way of knowing if I have responded to you or if you are a different anonymous, so I just assume I'm speaking to a new person to be on the safe side.

      You can't have a debate/dialogue with a person who simply refers to a site and expects you to read through all the material and then respond to it.

      I'm honestly not sure what slave reference your talking about, but I'm positive I didn't write about Hebrew slaves in Egypt

      You think I'm gay. I think you're a shifty character with an axe to grind. Who knows! Are you an active member or is it about time you confess that you made the whole thing up?

      Delete
    3. I have nothing to confess to! My axe is your lies and completely radical claims.
      I still think you are gay, but maybe you are just feminine. You are very smart, but you are going to waste it at a Bible college to become a preacher of sorts. It's a shame. I feel embarrassed for you, because you have no supporters on your blog. Have you noticed that all you have are atheists commenting? Where are your Christian friends/family? Do they agree with you? Will they back you up? Why isn't your church friends or Bible Bowlers commenting on your page? You dismissed my posts and Priya's post. She addressed your arguments yet you claim she didn't. You really are a brick wall. Can anyone get through to you? I have no problem with your beliefs, I just have a problem with all the lies you believe that go along with it. If you want to believe in a supernatural afterlife, that's fine. My kids believe in the tooth fairy. However, they don't spread lies about slavery, gay people, or want laws put in place that support their beliefs. Do you dismiss all science? My links backed up Priya's claims, so you already heard them. What Hebrew slaves were you referring to then???

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    4. Again, please provide me with the quote about the Hebrew slaves, because I'm not finding it.

      I don't make a habit of responding to comments that are not directly involved with the subject at hand, but I will note that I did respond to Ms. Lynn's critiques despite the bevy of personal attacks levelled against me. You also seem to make a lot of assumptions about me for someone who has never spoken to me.

      Nonetheless, this is my position on this topic, and I have come to it based on my studies of Scriptures as well as reading much material on the subject. I have no intention of twisting arms to get people to agree with me, I only ever ask that a person at least consider the position offered. You can take it or leave it.

      Delete
  3. Eric, I believe you are a Catholic. If so, you should read the rather lengthy essay on Slavery in the Catholic Encyclopedia ... preferably the 1911 or 1913 edition. Even New Advent's current online edition specifically states that Slavery is not against the Natural Law. Scholastic scholars have dealt with this in toto. Please read St. Thomas on Slavery. The Church cannot, nor you, decide to rewrite what has been the Church's perennial teaching on Slavery. It is in Sacred Scripture, one of the Two sources of Revelation.

    Eric, the Church didn't start with Vatican II; and, neither did its acceptance of Slavery being part of the Natural Law.

    However, don't take my word for it. Check the sources.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by Teresa!

      I am not Catholic, so I don't think what Catholics taught on the subject of slavery applies to me. However, I will note that the primary issue (for me) is not about what Church leaders past and present have done (though surely that is of secondary importance), but what the Bible says about the topic, since the Bible is the basis of our faith (if you're a conservative Christian).

      On another note, if you will look at the "About Me" section on right side of the page, you'll see it says that I am a Christian, whose faith tradition is the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement.

      Thanks again!

      Delete
  4. You said "think that Dan and I are in agreement that the only thing standing in the way of total acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle in the United States is the Word of God, and that once the Bible is removed from its place of respect, then the floodgates will open and Dan's position on homosexuality will be the cultural norm.. That is why Dan hates the Bible.".
    That is likely one reason why Dan hates the bible, but it is most certainly not the only reason. The bible describes a disgustingly immoral god and beyond the character's treatement of gays is the associated subjugation of women, condoning of slavery, advising the Israelites to invade there neighbours, make no peace with them, utterly destroy them, kill every man woman and child, except for those woman who are virgins who the god character tells them they may take for their sex slaves. I encourage all christians to read the bible, the quantity of your god's immorality is stunning and to know the bible is the surest way to become an atheist.
    You said ""Though critics claim New Testament writers keep quiet about slavery, we see a subtle opposition to it in various ways....There Paul condemns “slave traders” who steal what is not rightfully theirs. ".
    The fact that you have to falsely claim there is "subtle opposition" to slavery demonstrates the total lack of condemnation of slavery in the bible. Of course Paqul condemns people who steal what is not rightfully theirs. He considers that to be wrong, but his writings clearly demonstrate he considers slaves to rightfully belong to slave traders and not only doesn't condemn the owning of humans, he advizes slaves to be good to their owners and hard working:
    1 Timothy 6:1-3 "Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;"
    You said "New Testament writers’ position on the negative status of slavery was clear on various points: (a) they repudiated slave trading; (b) they affirmed the full human dignity and equal spiritual status of slaves; (c) they encouraged slaves to acquire their freedom whenever possible (1 Corinthians 7:20–22)".
    That is a profoundly dishonest statement. Far from the new testiment writers repudiating slavery they repeatedly condoned it:

    ReplyDelete
  5. Matthew 18:25: "But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made."

    Mark 14:66: "And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest:"

    Luke 12:45-48: "The lord [owner] of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more."

    Ephesians 6:5-9: "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him."

    Colossians 4:1: "Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven."

    The false claim that New Testament authors encouraged slaves to acquire their freedom whenever possible is based on christian lies about what Corinthians 7:20–22 actually said. The writers of the New International Version of the bible initially set out to provide an accurate translation of the bible. As the process went on a number of the people working on the project quit in disgust because they could see the goal of translation was not an accurate reading but to provide words that reinforced the dogman of the translators particular sect of christianity. A prime example of this is Corinthians 7:20-22. The New International Version changes the actual words to say "If you can gain your freedom do so." when what was actually written said "Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.". This obviously is not advice to "gain one's freedom however possible". it is a statement that if the slave owner wants to free you in accordance with the rules governing slavery at the time, accept it. And even if we were to wrongly accept that this was advice to a slave to run away at best that would contradict the previous passages advocating the slave to honour his master and serve him well, leaving the reader, as is often the case, to puzzle over why the god character tells people to do contradictory things.

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  6. Once again, your dishonesty is apparent in your false claim that Revelations 18:11-13 condemned Babylong because the god character opposed its practice of slavery. If one reads the passage in fact what it says is that the world would stop buying all Babylon's goods and lists amongst slaves a wide variety of products no one has ever assumed were immoral to traffic in:
    "11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:
    12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,
    13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.".

    Babylon wasn't punished for selling slaves, its punishment was that no one would buy its wide variety of goods which included slaves.

    You then try to hang your hat on Philemon to falsely claim this somehow repudiates Paul's clear condoning of slavery in other passages. In Philemon Paul tries to gently persuade Philemon to give Onesimus his freedom of his own free will. Paul does not come out and order Philemon to do so by exercising his authority as an apostle of the christ character because he cannot outright call for Onesimus's freedom without violating Roman law. “In the ancient world slavery was regarded as a legitimate and necessary segment of the social order, and . . . severe laws punished those who interfered with the rights of slave-owners.” (The New Oxford Annotated Bible, 1973 ed., p.1453.) And Paul himself had written that everyone is subject to the governing authorities, because their authority comes from God, and violating the state’s laws is tantamount to opposing God’s own commandments. (Romans 13:1-2)
    It is clear that Paul wasn't advocating breaking the laws of slavery, he was simply hoping Philemon would relinquish his rights of ownership willingly because Paul had a soft spot for Onesimus as he had become a christian.

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  7. You go on to laughably claim that it was christianity that was responsible for the end of slavery in the U.S. when in fact it was by and large Christians who opposed setting slaves free and regularly quoted the bible as justification for the practice. Although a minority of christians at the time opposed slavery the vast majority did not and in fact the Southern Baptists were formed solely on the basis of their desire to own slaves. Like the hypocrites christians such as yourself are, you now claim responsibility for the justice you opposed and there is no doubt in the future when gays have equality there will be christians like you claiming it was christians themselves who brought this about.
    One of your commenters posted several links showing the truth of slavery in the bible and like the coward you are you responded:
    "I'm not even going to bother looking through those links.".
    This proves you know in your heart you are wrong and you're afraid to see the evidence that shows it. Your mind is closed and you are willfully blind to any perspective that may contradict your pre-judged conclusions. And then you have the audacity to claim you are about the truth. You hide in fear from the truth and the hatred you promote in the name of primitive bronze age bigots pretending to be a god.

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  8. Further to your statment "Though critics claim New Testament writers keep quiet about slavery, we see a subtle opposition to it in various ways."

    As I pointed out, not only did they not keep quiet about slavery they condoned it plainly, clearly, and repeatedly. To say "we see a subtle opposition to it in various ways" is simply a self-serving way of saying "You have to try extremely hard to torture out something you can claim is opposition to slavery.".

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  9. Further to your statement "I think that Dan and I are in agreement that the only thing standing in the way of total acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle in the United States is the Word of God, and that once the Bible is removed from its place of respect, then the floodgates will open and Dan's position on homosexuality will be the cultural norm.".

    Actually very few people are anti-gay because of the bible. Almost all anti-gay people are that way because they think gayness is icky. They refer to the bible as an excuse to justify their bigotry. The bible's statments on gayness don't influence anyones attitudes towards gayness anymore than its prohibitions on shellfish influence anyone's attitudes towards eating lobster.

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  10. I never quite understood why someone would take the time to write so much against a certain subject, and, yet, completely ignore the arguments presented for the position being argued against. Yes, you quoted me, but you didn't actually deal with the material I presented. Why does that? It just wastes your time and mine.

    It is difficult to respond to what can only be characterized as your attacks on me and my words, considering you mix invective and "argument" together. However, out of respect for you, and for the sake of those who may read your comments I will respond to any relevant criticism.


    You seem to claim that because Paul was not an abolitionist, he thought that slaves rightfully belonged to their masters. This is the farthest thing from the truth, and, in fact, the first verse you quoted refutes that idea.

    I Timothy 6:1-3 gives the reason for why slaves are to obey and honor their masters and it has nothing to do with "rightfully belong[ing] to slave traders".

    (in the case of non-Christian masters)

    1. That the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.

    (in the case of Christian masters)

    2. Because they are brethren
    3. Because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit

    There is absolutely no mention of "obey your masters because they own you", or anything similar, so your claim that the condoned slavery goes unsubstantiated. Furthermore, was stated, to go around shouting "free the slaves" in Roman country would have meant a bloody put down leaving the slaves worse off then they were before.

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  11. Quite strangely, you quote from Matthew 18:26, Mark14:66, and Luke 12, as though descriptions of slavery in the Bible are equal to condoning slavery, which of course is preposterous. If I write a book that describes murder, that is not equal to support of murder on my part.

    Your objection concerning the Corinthians passage makes no sense, not only because you misquoted the quote I referenced that said "acquire their freedom whenever possible", to which you rendered "gain one's freedom however possible", but because the former statement means the exact same thing as "but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather".

    You say, "it is a statement that if the slave owner wants to free you in accordance with the rules governing slavery at the time, accept it". What are the reason you give for completely re-interpreting the verse? Absolutely nothing.

    Concerning the Revelation's passage, see verse 20. Babylon stands condemned for their treatment of God's people, which would include their vile slave trade.

    You say "Paul does not come out and order Philemon to do so by exercising his authority as an apostle of the Christ character because he cannot outright call for Onesimus's freedom without violating Roman law. ". How do you know apart from the text why Paul did what he did? How do you know that Paul was concerned with breaking Roman law over and against doing what he thought was right? I came to my conclusions based on the text itself, however, you seems to just assert your view, without any justification.

    It is a fact of history that entire denominations and the majority of Christians were opposed. The Methodists, northern Baptist constituencies, Presbyterian, some Catholic and Mormon constituencies, and the Quakers strongly opposed slavery. In fact the Methodist, Presbyterian, and Quaker moments were at the forefront of the abolitionist movements. I would recommend the books "For the glory of God", "How Christianity Made the Modern World", and "how Christianity changed the world" for further confirmation.

    I'm not sure what else to say except what I told the other commenter that personal attacks against me say a lot more about you than they do about me, especially when you seem to consistently misconstrue my words and the data.

    I can see that you don't like me, for whatever reason, on a personal level. That saddens me and I hope that in the future if you stick around we can come to some sort of truce. Even if not, I pray that God will touch your heart and lead you to His son.

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