Monday, August 07, 2017

Today I encountered a Christian who denied that the Bible supports slavery. When I replied that the Bible supports slavery many times over, he then defiantly called on me to find any such support. And then he said this:

"Pretty clear you know nothing about the Bible! Biblical slaves were given their freedom after seven years of servitude, but usually stayed with their masters because they were treated so well! Slaves were bought mostly to save their lives! You are really ignorant to scripture and yet act like you're an authority on God's word! Pretty amazing!"

Ah, yes, I know this response well. I'm often told I know nothing about the Bible by Christians who themselves know virtually nothing about the Bible. So even as it's hard for me to take anyone seriously who uses exclamation marks at the end of each declarative sentence, and even as I am under no illusion of changing the mind of a believer utterly impervious to hard evidence, I offered him this:

"Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves."

-The Torah and Christian Bible, Leviticus 25:44

"If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, he must let her be redeemed."

-The Torah and Christian Bible, Exodus 21:7-9

"Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord."

-The Christian Bible, Colossians 3:22

"Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ."

-The Christian Bible, Ephesians 6:5

"Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive."

-The Christian Bible, Titus 2:9-10

"Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property."

-The Torah and Christian Bible, Exodus 21:20-21

"Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward."

-The Christian Bible, First Peter 2:18

"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."

-The Christian Bible, First Timothy 6:1

You can be forgiven for raping your female slave, but the slave herself must be punished for being a rape victim.

"If a man sleeps with a female slave who is promised to another man but who has not been ransomed or given her freedom, there must be due punishment. Yet they are not to be put to death, because she had not been freed. The man, however, must bring a ram to the entrance to the tent of meeting for a guilt offering to the Lord. With the ram of the guilt offering the priest is to make atonement for him before the Lord for the sin he has committed, and his sin will be forgiven."

Leviticus 19:20-22 (The Torah and the Bible)

If your son is disobedient, you must kill him by stoning.

If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.

-The Torah and Christian Bible, Deuteronomy 21:18-21

"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church..."

-The Christian Bible, Ephesians 5:22-23

"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord."

-The Christian Bible, Colossians 3:18

"But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man..."

-The Christian Bible, First Corinthians 11:3

"Unto the woman He [God] said, 'I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception, in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.'"

-The Torah and Christian Bible, Genesis 3:16

"Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law."

-The Christian Bible, First Corinthians 14:34

"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence."

-The Christian Bible, First Timothy 2:11-12


After this deluge of evidence, the Christian accused me of cherry-picking; he said I took the passages out of context, and then he offered a single Bible verse as rebuttal:

"If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything."

-The Christian Bible, Hebrews 21:2

In the face of this “rebuttal” of my contention that the Bible supports slavery, I had this to say:

Between the two of us, who is the one who cherry-picks? Is it he who supplies numerous verses to make his case or is it he who supplies only a single verse to do so?

Be that as it may, let's suppose your chosen verse carries the day. Let's suppose that after six years, a Hebrew slave must be set free. Is that supposed to make it okay? Are we to take comfort in the idea that the Christian holy book supports slavery — albeit for "only" six years?

And let's not forget that this applies only to Hebrew slaves. Apparently the slaves of other nations have no such "exit clause."

I’m sorry, but there is no context, no interpretation, and no rationale which can sanitize or render acceptable the numerous passages I excerpt and cite from the Bible which give support for slavery.

At this point my Christian friend shifted the topic to the misogynist passages which I cite above. He said the reason for this was the disobedience of Eve — to which I replied thus:

Yes, the male writers of the Bible authored their own artificial justification for misogyny — Eve. Nice and tidy. While men were content to live in utter ignorance, Eve wanted to eat fruit from the tree of knowledge. She wanted to better herself. And of course we can have none of that — right? An educated woman who may know more than men? God forbid.

Besides which, don’t you just love the variety of justice which penalizes a whole class people for the acts of a single individual?

I don't expect to open the eyes of Christian believers. Yes, we all have our share of blind spots, but I'm glad I'm liberated enough to recognize that the pages of the Bible drip with blood. With its advocacy of murder, rape, animal abuse, etc, it's a despicable book.

From my FB friend
Jeff M. 

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