Many Christian apologists try to give the impression that slavery was upheld in the Old Testament only. The fact is, it was also upheld – by none other than Jesus himself – in the New Testament. It’s gospel! Here’s the verse (Luke 12:47 – 48) . . .
“Beat slaves who did wrong with many stripes, unless they knew not their wrong, then few stripes.“
. . . Paul and Peter also upheld slavery in the New Testament. Come to think of it, there’s not a single word against slavery in the entire Bible.
There’s all kinds of immoral acts condoned, upheld or even encouraged in the Bible: bloodlust, incest, genocide, vengeance, battlefield atrocities, slavery, etc. But, as far as I know, human subjugation (slavery and male dominance over women) is the only one endorsed by BOTH the Old and New Testaments. This fact is important because it preempts the old apologist cop out: “That was the old covenant of the Old Testament but Jesus changed things with his new covenant of the New Testament”. They can discount the Old Testament all they want but slavery is also upheld in the New Testament by the ultimate authority: Jesus himself . . . God in the flesh.
Apologists are persistent, so next they’ll likely attempt to claim the word, ‘slave’, is a mis-translation. But it’s not. The Greek word, ‘doulos’, plainly means slave and is used unambiguously in the Bible. Some translations of the Bible soften the word into ‘servant’ but that’s an intentional attempt to mask an obvious weakness.
Once you shoot down that lame claim, you’re likely to be told slavery was kinder and gentler back in the Biblical era. The other day, one such apologist claimed slaves were better treated because their masters knew that, by law, they had to manumit their slaves after 7 years (some experts claim it was actually 6 years) . . . and this foreknowledge “tempered the master’s temper”. However, that claim was a conscious, calculated, misrepresentation. The fact is: only indentured Jewish MALE slaves – Hebrew MEN who sold themselves into bondage because of extreme poverty or debt – had to be manumitted. But non-Jewish slaves (mostly Canaanites) were chattel for life and could be passed from generation to generation through inheritance. And guess what? Females sold into slavery by their families – even if they were Jews – were slaves for life! That’s right, Hebrew male slaves get manumitted after 7 years . . . but Hebrew female slaves were chattel slaves for life. The human subjugation double-whammy, in the Bible, is reserved for women.
The bottom line is that real slaves (not the indentured, Jewish, MALE, slaves) were property for life and could be whipped or raped at the discretion of his/her master. Chattel slavery is chattel slavery: human subjugation is not kind or gentle. Or moral.
Some will claim that, when Jesus spoke (in Luke 12:47 – 48) about beating slaves, he was telling a parable. That’s not true. He wasn’t telling a parable – he was explaining one (Luke 12:35 – 40): clarifying a point about responsibility and accountability. But even if he was . . . parables take commonplace ideas to convey, by comparison or analogy, deeper ideas. So, if Jesus used the beating of slaves to convey lessons about responsibility and accountability . . . what does that say about his concern for slavery? It says he doesn’t give it a second thought! It’s a natural part of the order of things as far as Jesus is concerned.
The final, desperate, maneuver of the Christian apologist is to claim the “culture” or “prevailing attitudes” were different in the Biblical era. And that is the final nail in the coffin of the hapless apologist. By suggesting slavery is morally relative – justified by prevailing attitudes – one is admitting the immutable word of God is subjective, not objective, and not immutable or perfect or moral after all. Besides, God had always upheld slavery . . . nobody needed “prevailing attitudes” to make it okay.
Apologists can’t have it both ways. Either God’s word is immutable or it’s not. Either God is good and perfect, or he’s not. Either God is the source and final arbiter of morality or he’s not. Either the holy Bible is true and the divinely inspired word of God or it’s not.
And if God and the Bible are moral, true and perfect, then so is the slavery they uphold. But we know better. Don’t we? Slavery can no longer be upheld. We’ve grown beyond that. There’s no way in hell we will ever re-normalize slavery in order to align mankind’s morality with God’s. That slave ship has sailed. It’s over.
This fact puts slavery out of reach of Christian apologetics. Anybody can see – unless they refuse to – that if God’s morality grows outdated, it was never true or perfect to begin with. Clearly, God’s word is not the objective truth. In fact, God stands corrected by us ALL: believers and nonbelievers alike. If we must overrule God, we’re better off without him.
The single issue of slavery is all it takes to prove God is not moral, timeless or perfect – and neither is his split-personality scripture. If the allegedly omniscient, omnipotent, God or his scripture can’t stand the test of time, they’re frauds.
Of course, all this presumes the Biblical God exists in the first place.
© Copyright 2012 AtheistExile.com