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Old 07-23-2001, 10:01 AM   #11
Toto
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Can I summarize the Christian point of view as - all Christians are bondslaves of the Lord, but some are more degraded than others?

I found Tercel's explanation breathtaking. Why would any modern person want follow a religion that is based on the social structure of despotic pre-industrial middle eastern kingdoms?
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Old 07-23-2001, 10:32 AM   #12
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Tercel and other Paul apologists simply refuse to address the issue of rebellious slaves. I brought it up in another thread and Michael has brought it up again here. In an essay I wrote for the Secular Web about evangelical hypocrisy in exegesis, I did not argue that the Bible supports slavery "per se," but that the Bible explicity and clearly forbids a slave's resistance to a master. Period. I asked hypothetically why evangelicals demand that evolution not be taught because of what the Bible says, but then don't have a problem with the glorification of runaway slaves like Harriet Tubman. I must have brought it up ten times with evangelicals and they've all tripped over it. No offense, but Tercel's response to this point was pitiful. When passages were pointed out that unequivocally stated that slaves were to submit to their masters even under harsh conditions he asked, "where does it say slaves cannot run away?" Folks, these are the kinds of exegetical backflips and somersaults Christians will do--and quite frankly, it's irritating.

Michael hit the nail on the head right here:

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Luke could just as well have written. "Free your servants, and feed them. You owe them a debt, so help them start a business. He who forces a hungry man to watch him eat is a morally contemptible person."
Amen! Any time Paul or a NT writer could have said "free your slaves and look after them." But the NT writers said just the opposite, as the article Tercel cited notes:

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Paul was not opposed to manumission if the opportunity was offered (1 Cor vii 21), but studiously refrained from putting pressure on owners, even where personal sentiment might have led him to do so (Phm 8,14).
As Tercel notes, a master's relationship to his slave is analogous to the relationship God has to man. Well, I think that's a serious problem.

BTW, Galatians 3:28 is a canard. Sure we're all equal in some mystical spiritual sense, but what about conditions on earth? This line has been used by oppressors to justify all kinds of things. Don't worry, we're all equal in Jesus, so your reward will be in heaven. I agree with Ecclesiastes--there is nothing new under the sun.

-Brian
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