Tag Archives: Slavery

The Death of Christian Apologetics


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
eMail: AtheistExile@AtheistExile.com

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Slam Dunking God

The naturalist understanding of morality asserts that we have evolved empathy as an impetus to cooperation. Combined with personal experience, empathy leads most of us to a “Golden Rule” sense of morality. From experience, I know what hurts me: with empathy, I know the same things likely hurt you too. Experience and empathy is all we need to decide most moral matters. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you . . . because we need each other to survive and prosper.” We are complex social animals, so this rule of thumb isn’t sufficient for every moral decision but it is fundamental to most. Without this impulse for cooperation to counter our impulse for violence, we would probably squander the intellectual prowess responsible for our survival advantage.

It’s a fallacy (with obvious religious motivations) that “we can not be moral without God”. Our morality is part of the human condition and existed long before Moses. Morality is not a dispensation from God: it is subjective and personal and, because it is informed by experience and empathy, develops as we mature. As a matter of fact, we ALL use our personal morality to overrule Biblical morality. And by ALL, I really do mean ALL: believers and nonbelievers alike. This fact is amply demonstrated by our universal rejection of slavery and the subjugation of women (well, maybe not the Muslims so much). Even though God/Jesus condoned the subjugation of our fellow humans in both the Old and New Testaments, we ALL overrule God’s morality with our own and reject such human subjugation. Not only is God NOT the source of morality but he stands corrected by us all. WE decided what is moral. WE decide what is religiously worthy. NOT God.

You need to ask yourself: “If we overrule God, why do we need him at all?”

This subjugation of our fellow humans is a failing of Biblical morality that can’t be reasonably addressed by apologetics. This is critical for all believers to understand. THEY CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS. Either God is perfect or he’s not. Either the Bible is divinely inspired or it’s not. Either God is the source of morality or he isn’t. Even a believer, if he’s honest with himself, must admit that if God’s morality grows outdated, it was never perfect and timeless to begin with. The alternative is to claim that God is right and that the subjugation of our fellow humans is NOT at all immoral – that it is, in fact, desirable. But we ALL know that’s an untenable position. We all know that is WRONG. We will not reverse our hard-earned moral progress to align it with God’s morality. This is why the issue is out of reach of apologetics.

The truth is that the Old Testament, New Testament and Quran reflect the morality and level of ignorance that existed in their respective eras and areas . . . precisely as they MUST if they’re written without the benefit of God’s input. These ancient tomes are NOT divinely inspired. God is NOT perfect. The issue of human subjugation proves that the personal, revealed, theist, God of the Abrahamic religions is irrefutably false. This doesn’t completely close the door on God, however: there’s still supernatural hope for the impersonal, cosmic, God of deists and pantheists.

Empathy is a human trait that spawns a number of other human traits just as naturally as it spawns morality. Empathy also spawns human dignity and worth, cooperation and compassion. We can live moral lives without God but not without empathy.

Choosing faith means rejecting truth. Which do you really want?

© Copyright 2012 AtheistExile.com
eMail: AtheistExile@AtheistExile.com