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Old 06-16-2001, 11:59 PM   #21
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Tercel:
Sheeesh, I hit a raw nerve there somewhere. I would like to respond to all the posts here but unfortunately I am going to be extremely busy for the remainder of the week (convenient I know ), so I'll respond to what I have time for now.

First a little thought exercise. What would have happened if Paul had written large complaints against slavery?
Would the Roman society have:
a) Not cared?
b) Told Paul he was doing a good job?
c) Got annoyed and removed Christianity from the face of the earth?
The Roman treatment of the slave rebellions merely demonstrates that danger Paul would have faced in writing against slavery.
To remove slavery from the Roman empire would have been nigh impossible, as the system was part of the very basis of society throughout the empire.
So instead of wasting dangerous words against the concept of slavery, Paul did the only logical thing possible: He told slaves to be obedient and love their masters and the masters to treat the slaves well. Is this ILLOGICAL or IMMORAL or unworthy of being in the Bible? Anyone who thinks so is living in a different universe to me.
</font>

First, this is a completely unsupported, personal interpretation. You are ASSUMING that Paul was not against slavery because he was afraid of what might happen. There is no evidence in the scripture to support this assumption.

Not only that, you have refuted the Bible being God's Word with your own argument. If the Bible was truly God's Word, than it should be a timeless guide to morality. By your own admission here, we can't trust everything that is told to us in the Bible as being a guide to our present day morality. And thus, the Bible cannot be God's Word. If God was truly speaking through Paul, and God was against slavery, than Paul would have spoken out against slavery. But Paul did not, and actually supported it by encouraging slaves to be obedient to their masters. So we have 2 possible conclusions from this:

1. Your God condones slavery
2. The Bible is not the Word of God

Either way, you lose.

To leave no further doubt that Jesus and Paul actually condoned slavery, I am going to leave a quote from an article by Austin Kline, who writes atheist/agnostic articles for About.com:


"The New Testament, unfortunately, is little better. Jesus never even comes close to expressing disapproval of the enslaving of other human beings, and many statements attributed to him reveal a tacit acceptance or even approval of that inhuman institution. Throughout the Gospels we read passages like:

A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master (Matt. 10:24)

Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. (Matt. 24:45-46)

Although Jesus is using slavery in order to illustrate larger points, the question still remains why he would directly acknowledge the existence of slavery without saying anything negative about it?

The letters (rightly or wrongly) attributed to Paul are even worse, making it clear that the existence of slavery is not only acceptable, but that slaves themselves should not presume to take the idea of freedom and equality preached by Jesus too far by attempting to escape their forced servitude.

Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be blasphemed. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful to them on the ground that they are members of the church; rather they must serve them all the more, since those who benefit by their service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these duties. Whoever teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that is in accordance with godliness, is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words. From these come envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, and wrangling among those who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. (1Tim. 6:1-5)

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ; not only while being watched, and in order to please them, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. (Eph. 6:5-6)

Tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to talk back, not to pilfer, but to show complete and perfect fidelity, so that in everything they may be an ornament to the doctrine of God our Savior. (Titus 2:9-10)

Slaves, accept the authority of your masters with all deference, not only those who are kind and gentle but also those who are harsh. For it is a credit to you if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, what credit is that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God's approval. (1Pet. 2:18-29)

What are we to make of passages such as those quoted above? We must conclude that the author(s) did not disapprove of the institution of slavery and probably regarded it as an appropriate part of society. Again, slavery was common in all contemporary societies, and it would be surprising to find condemnation here. But if those authors were indeed divinely inspired, as is commonly thought by Christians, then we must conclude that God's attitude towards slavery is not particularly negative. Christians are certainly not prohibited from owning slaves, and anyone who does not agree is directly condemned. There is, then, no conflict between being a Christian and being an owner of other human beings.

No "common sense" interpretation can deny such things without doing violence to the text itself, and nothing can be criticized as having been "taken out of context." Christians should perhaps consider admitting that their Bible was written in a primitive, barbaric age and as such represents the primitive, barbaric attitudes of that age."


[This message has been edited by JamesKrieger (edited June 17, 2001).]
 
Old 06-17-2001, 03:10 PM   #22
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Tercel: Slaves in the 1st century could buy their own freedom if they wished. I don't think you understand... it was almost nothing like we think of slavery today. Slavery as we think of it the slaves have no legal rights whatsoever and can be treated however their masters like. This is completely different to a situation where the slaves have the usual legal rights. People in the 1st century volutarily sold themselves as slaves. -A comparison to an employee in the 20th century is much more reasonable.

It sounds as if Tercel wouldn't mind being owned by another person. Or, he wouldn't mind if others are owned.

rodahi
 
Old 06-17-2001, 03:43 PM   #23
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by hubjones:
Tisk tisk. I thought you were slightly more open-minded and "moral" than I see from your comments here. I guess I was mistaken (as I am from time to time).</font>
I am very open-minded. I don't know what I've said here to make you think otherwise. Moral? Yes: very, but you would probably believe me inconsistent in what I consider moral.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">First, you say homosexuality is wrong. Then, you say, in response to Lev. 18:22, that there is "forgiveness". Where is the forgiveness for the homosexual?</font>
Forgiveness is only possible once you have recognised the wrong. You can't forgive someone for a crime you don't believe is one, can you? I recognise that homosexuality is wrong. Period. I don't (or try not to) pass judgement on that person and where relevant (not that it is likely to be my business to do so for homosexuality) I forgive them.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Did God make it so that one who is homosexual is just inherently wrong, when we all know full well that God created homosexuals as well as heterosexuals?</font>
IF there is such a thing as a in-born tendency towards homosexuality then it does not mean that the person is inherently flawed. (We are all inherently flawed through sin at anyrate - remember?) It simply means that the person will have to try harder and get strength from God to keep themselves from sinning. I believe that with God's help and one's own will all natural desires can be defeated.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Also, how is it that you can discredit everything that Lev. says about various crimes (and call for this "forgiveness"), and still leave homosexuality (which was part of that list) as being wrong? What did they ever do to you to deserve to be thought of that way? What ever happened to "treat others as you want to be treated"? You probably think people choose to be homosexual (like people 'choose' to jump off a building). But that has, in my opinion, no merit because 1. people don't choose to be heterosexual 2. people are born with many diseases, deformities, and (yes) sexual orientation, and 3. God (according to the Biblical account) created everything (going back to our other argument), including BOTH GOOD AND EVIL. God even admits it, so don't try to get out of it.</font>
Whatever happened to your open-mindedness?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">You have got to be kidding. How the hell is slavery in the 1st century different from slavery in the 19th century? IT'S IMMORAL EITHER WAY.</font>
Why? Because it goes against the modern American number one virtue of individual freedom? Sorry, but I'm not American.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">But Tercel, I am amazed at the lengths you are going to defend the Bible. Don't you realize that what you are saying is irrational? What happened to your "realism"? Taking a break from it perhaps? And, also, I am in doubt that you even know what "morals" are. If this is what makes your life happy, then I really feel sorry for you. Maybe you should repent of your views kind of like God, when he "repented" of the evils he caused.</font>
Wow. And I really thought you were a nice, sensible person. Since we seem to be able to discuss other subjects civilly, perhaps we should avoid this one from now on?

-Tercel
 
Old 06-17-2001, 04:03 PM   #24
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JamesKrieger:
Not only that, you have refuted the Bible being God's Word with your own argument. If the Bible was truly God's Word, than it should be a timeless guide to morality.</font>
I am not a Biblical inerrantist, and do not believe that the Bible is "God's Word" in that sense. However there are I believe many passages in the Bible which are a timeless guide to morality, and many also which reflect the morality of the day.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">By your own admission here, we can't trust everything that is told to us in the Bible as being a guide to our present day morality. And thus, the Bible cannot be God's Word.</font>
Yes to the first. The second is irrelevant to me, but in my opinion it doesn't necessarily follow and a fundamentalist would have very good grounds for arguing that the Bible can still be God's Word.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">What are we to make of passages such as those quoted above? We must conclude that the author(s) did not disapprove of the institution of slavery and probably regarded it as an appropriate part of society. Again, slavery was common in all contemporary societies, and it would be surprising to find condemnation here. But if those authors were indeed divinely inspired, as is commonly thought by Christians, then we must conclude that God's attitude towards slavery is not particularly negative.</font>
Surprising isn't it: in a religion which instructs people to be servants of each other to humble yourselves before others, and where the Son of God himself became as 'a bond slave', slavery is not specifically condemned... how inconsistant. (That is sarcasm)

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Christians should perhaps consider admitting that their Bible was written in a primitive, barbaric age and as such represents the primitive, barbaric attitudes of that age."</font>
I admit the Bible was written in the age it was written and reflects many of the attitudes of the age it was written in. Yet in calling those times "primitive" and "barbaric" I would have to disagree.

-Tercel

[This message has been edited by Tercel (edited June 17, 2001).]
 
Old 06-17-2001, 04:23 PM   #25
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JamesKrieger:
Leviticus is a good guide to God's opinions?</font>
If Leviticus says "this is an abomination" then I'm inclined to think it probably isn't a good thing to do.

It is important to realise that Leviticus contains a mix of moral, hygienic and other laws - including that age's equivalent of our modern laws. It is only the moral laws which are actually relevant.
After all it would be immensely stupid of someone in 2000 years time to say about our laws "look they gave parking tickets - they must have been immoral". Some things just aren't relevant to morality.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Lev 19:19 "...Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material."

So I guess it's immoral to wear a polyester/cotton blend?

Lev 19:27 "Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard."

So God has a bad opinion of a haircut or shave?</font>
I'm not sure what the purpose of these laws is, but they certainly doesn't appear to have anything to do with morality.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Lev 11:7 "And the pig, though it has a split hoof completely divided, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you."

So God doesn't like it when I eat pork?</font>
Well this is a simple one. Meat from pigs is dangerously unhygienic unless treated properly. I'm sure this law saved a lot of Jews from sickness over the years.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Lev 11:41 "Every creature that moves about on the ground is detestable; it is not to be eaten."

That's funny. I thought it was OK with God to eat a creature that moves on the ground as long as it has a split hoof completely divided and chews the cud (Lev 11:2)</font>
Similarly here. And by the way don't try to find contradictions where there aren't any (I do admit there are some in the Bible).

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Ex 22:2-3 "If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed; but if it happens after sunrise, he is guilty of bloodshed."

So it's OK with God if I kill a thief entering my house at night, but not during the day?</font>
That's what the Law says, whether God actually wrote it is another matter. But to me this particular law appears perfectly sensible.

-Tercel
 
Old 06-17-2001, 04:33 PM   #26
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Tercel,

I am increasingly amazed at the responses you are giving. I am beginning to see that it is quite possible that you just hate certain people and have the Bible conveniently in place to justify your claims. But here it goes.

"It simply means that the person will have to try harder and get strength from God to keep themselves from sinning. I believe that with God's help and one's own will all natural desires can be defeated."

Basically, God is unjust. And why do you need God's help when God created the obstacles? That's very funny indeed.

"Whatever happened to your open-mindedness?"

As I have heard many Christians say, "The truth hurts." My open mindedness does not block my vision of morality. If its wrong, its wrong. I really don't care what the Bible says about it because it is simply immoral. I read the Bible. Do you read anything homosexuals say about being homosexual? Do you know why they want to have basic civil rights? Do you know why they just want to be treated like they are actually humans? And do you know why they say that what they are doing is natural and in no way wrong or sinful? Well, do you? (and I am not talking about a homophobic website either)

"Why? Because it goes against the modern American number one virtue of individual freedom? Sorry, but I'm not American."

Let's assume you're from Mars. Does that make slavery of any kind moral?

"Wow. And I really thought you were a nice, sensible person. Since we seem to be able to discuss other subjects civilly, perhaps we should avoid this one from now on?"

You should get into comedy because you have to be one of the funniest I've ever dealt with. Why would you want to avoid this subject? I will say what I believe and you will say what you believe and we'll both debate based on our beliefs. That doesn't make either one of us right. And you say I'm not being civil? What makes you think that saying homosexuals are wrong is "civil"? How would you like it if the Bible said because you exist, you are sinning? Would you agree with that? Would you say that is "civil"? And I do look foward to debating with you. You are a very funny person. Wrong and misinformed, but funny none the less.

hubj.
 
Old 06-17-2001, 04:43 PM   #27
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by hubjones:
Ok, now that we have a definition, how do you really justify owning other people?</font>
I understand that is going to be impossible to convince any American's here that any sort of reduction in individual rights can ever be a good or moral thing (I know because I've tried this sort of thing on other boards). It merely comes down to the fact that I haven't been brought up to believe that individual freedom and individual rights are the basis for morality. I hope some Americans can think outside their own societies morals.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">All the apologetics in the world won't make slavery moral. It simply won't work.</font>
With freedom of the individual as the definition of morality it certainly won't.

-Tercel
 
Old 06-17-2001, 05:22 PM   #28
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I understand that is going to be impossible to convince any American's here that any sort of reduction in individual rights can ever be a good or moral thing (I know because I've tried this sort of thing on other boards). It merely comes down to the fact that I haven't been brought up to believe that individual freedom and individual rights are the basis for morality. I hope some Americans can think outside their own societies morals.

You know, Terce, if you've encountered these objections on other boards, it is probably because they are damned good ones. I have lived in three countries and traveled in about thirty, and never yet encountered anyone who thought slavery was a good idea.

We won't tolerate a reduction in individual rights; indeed, most of us wish to expand the current sphere so that there are no more selective curtailments of the rights of groups like gays, women, and atheists. I don't ifnd this an exclusively American phenom, I doubt you'd get many Europeans to agree.

BTW, a factual error; only a select few slaves could buy their freedom in ancient Rome. Most could not, and they labored under conditions fully as awful as those of southern slavery. Being a slave in galleys, fields and mines of Rome was a living hell.
"I keep you alive to serve this ship. Row well, and live."

Also, Terce, maximization of individual freedom is the best basis for morality; authority systems, like Christianity, Facism, Islam, Communism, and their ilk create living hells when applied in practice.

Michael

[This message has been edited by turtonm (edited June 17, 2001).]
 
Old 06-17-2001, 06:13 PM   #29
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Tercel-

"quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by hubjones:
Ok, now that we have a definition, how do you really justify owning other people?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I understand that is going to be impossible to convince any American's here that any sort of reduction in individual rights can ever be a good or moral thing (I know because I've tried this sort of thing on other boards). It merely comes down to the fact that I haven't been brought up to believe that individual freedom and individual rights are the basis for morality. I hope some Americans can think outside their own societies morals.

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
All the apologetics in the world won't make slavery moral. It simply won't work.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

With freedom of the individual as the definition of morality it certainly won't.
-Tercel "

I'm just going to act like you didn't say that. I'm going to pretend that you don't think like this because you know it is ridiculous. And I am certainly going to assume that you don't really think that slavery can be justified.

BTW, did you know that Americans aren't the only ones who have a problem with slavery? Did you know that slavery is a crime against humanity?

hubj.

 
Old 06-17-2001, 06:40 PM   #30
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Tercel:
I recognise that homosexuality is wrong. Period. I don't (or try not to) pass judgement on that person and where relevant (not that it is likely to be my business to do so for homosexuality) I forgive them.
</font>

You just contradicted yourself here. First you state that homosexuality is wrong. Then you say you don't try to pass judgement on a homosexual. That is a contradiction. To claim some behavior as right or wrong is to pass a judgement about it.


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">IF there is such a thing as a in-born tendency towards homosexuality then it does not mean that the person is inherently flawed. (We are all inherently flawed through sin at anyrate - remember?) It simply means that the person will have to try harder and get strength from God to keep themselves from sinning. I believe that with God's help and one's own will all natural desires can be defeated.
</font>

Why don't you try something. Try to shut off your interest in the opposite sex for a day. That might be possible, but now try it for a year. Or how about 20 years? This is what you are asking homosexuals to do. It's easy for you to ask them that because you are not homosexual, so you have no idea what it might be like to be one.

Long-term suppression of sexual desire is actually psychologically unhealthy. You are asking homosexuals to deny who they are and how they really feel. You are asking them to give up their basic human right to sexual pleasure with someone else, while you can enjoy it as much as you want, just because they are different from you.


Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Because it goes against the modern American number one virtue of individual freedom? Sorry, but I'm not American.</font>
So you don't value your freedom? So are you saying that you wouldn't mind being a slave? I can't think of any human on Earth who would want to be a slave.

Slavery goes against the basic golden rule - doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. You wouldn't want to be enslaved by someone, and neither would anyone else. So it is morally wrong. It is morally wrong no matter what the time period, no matter what the country, no matter what the planet.
 
 

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