It seems, this issue is on the table here at UD again, and it needs to be publicly corrected for record.
As a first step, I link a discussion in response to the oppression thesis used to try to discredit and marginalise the historical contribution of the Christian faith (and to create the false impression that due to “obvious” ethical failure, the gospel can be dismissed). It is also worthwhile to link my recently updated discussion on moral government, objectivity of ethics and law. (While we are at it, here is a summary response on the rhetorical challenge of evil.)
Let me also again put up an infographic that has been featured several times here at UD in response to the rhetorical tactics of too many atheists and fellow travellers:
Now, let me headline a comment just made to Seversky in the boom in honesty thread, given his comment at 26: ” The Bible condones slavery, Darwin condemned it”:
The Bible condones slavery, Darwin [–> a product of the post evangelical awakening, antislavery movement era] condemned it:
With all due respect, over the years you have shown no basis of authority to draw such a conclusion responsibly, as opposed to reiterating convenient new atheist rhetoric, in hopes of exploiting emotive responses when in fact since Plato in the Laws Bk X 360 BC it has been known that evolutionary materialism has no basis for ethical comment. Indeed, it is demonstrably an open door to nihilism.
Perhaps, too, you are unaware of the significance of
[a] the difference between ameliorative regulation of what is present and established in culture due to the hardness of hearts (cf. Divorce regulations with the outright declarations that “I hate divorce” [Mal 2:16] and “what God joins, let no man put asunder” [Mt 19:1 – 6]. Also,
[b] the historical and current significance of this argument by undermining, written by the apostle Paul while literally chained to Roman soldier guards and while awaiting trial before Nero Caesar on a potentially capital charge where evidence of supporting Spartacus like uprising or harbouring escaped slaves would lend to the accusations already on the table. So, whatever he did to deal with an escaped slave [who seems to have stolen money] had to be subtly, carefully done. [–> it seems the latest form of WP is allergic to square brackets, another bug not a feature]
I draw this to your attention, as it literally is the textual source for the motto of the Antislavery Society: Am I not a man and a brother?
Philemon Amplified Bible (AMP)
1 Paul, a prisoner [for the sake] of Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed), and our brother [–> a highly loaded term here] Timothy,
To Philemon our dearly beloved friend and fellow worker, 2 and to [your wife] Apphia our sister [–> cf the telling secondary Antislavery Society motto: “Am I not a woman, and a sister?”], and to [a]Archippus our fellow soldier [in ministry], and to the [b]church that meets in your [c]house [–> thus, of the upper classes; also, this is a PUBLIC letter to the church, to be read out to them and responded to by you as an instruction from God]: 3 Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philemon’s Love and Faith
4 I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, 5 because I hear of your love and of your faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the [d]saints (God’s people). 6 I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective and powerful because of your accurate knowledge of every good thing which is ours in Christ. 7 For I have had great joy and comfort and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints (God’s people) have been refreshed through you, my brother. [–> notice power of repetition, building up what is to come; also framing his commitment to gospel theology and gospel ethics, with a major lesson to follow]
8 Therefore [on the basis of these facts], though I have enough confidence in Christ to order you to do what is appropriate, 9 yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—since I am such a person as Paul, an old man [–> thus, elder/senior brother], and now also a prisoner [for the sake] of Christ Jesus [–> note the implied comparison, prisoner, slave]—
A Plea for Onesimus to be Freed
10 I appeal to you for my [own spiritual] child Onesimus, whom I have fathered [in the faith] while a captive in these chains. 11 Once he was useless to you [–> a pun on the name: Useful], but now he is indeed useful to you as well as to me. 12 I have sent him back to you in person, that is, like sending my very heart [–> returning the escapee but in a new context]. 13 I would have chosen to keep him with me, so that he might minister to me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel; 14 but I did not want to do anything without first getting your consent, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will. [–> heart softening through gospel ethics]
15 Perhaps it was for this reason that he was separated from you for a while, so that you would have him back forever, 16 no longer as a slave, but [as someone] more than a slave, as a brother [in Christ], especially dear to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh [as a servant] and in the Lord [as a fellow believer]. [–> boom!]
17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome and accept him as you would me. 18 But if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account; 19 I, Paul, write this with my [f]own hand, I will repay it in full (not to mention to you that you [g]owe to me even your own self as well). [–> I will cover the costs of manumission and losses due to theft] 20 Yes, brother, let me have some benefit and joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ.
21 I write to you [perfectly] confident of your obedient compliance, [h]
since I know that you will do even more than I ask. [–> As in, this is an ethical implication of the gospel]
22 At the same time also prepare a guest room for me [in expectation of a visit], for I hope that through your prayers I will be [granted the gracious privilege of] coming to you [at Colossae]. [–> I too hope for freedom, this is a natural right of the human being, made in God’s image and morally governed as responsibly and rationally free.]
23 Greetings to you from Epaphras, my fellow prisoner here in [the cause of] Christ Jesus, 24 and from Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.
25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Philemon 1:2 Perhaps the son of Philemon and Apphia.
Philemon 1:2 Philemon was responsible to see that this letter was shared with his fellow Colossian believers.
Philemon 1:2 Prior to the third century a.d. churches customarily met in private homes.
Philemon 1:5 All born-again believers (saints) have been reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, made holy and set apart for God’s purpose.
Philemon 1:11 Paul makes a play on words here because Onesimus means “useful” or “profitable.”
Philemon 1:19 By writing this with his own hand, Paul accepted legal liability.
Philemon 1:19 Philemon evidently was saved through Paul’s ministry and therefore owed Paul a debt that could not be repaid.
Philemon 1:21 This was probably a subtle suggestion by Paul to emancipate Onesimus.
In 107 AD, there is record of a certain Bishop Onesimus of Ephesus. It has been suggested that this manumission letter was contributed to the then gathering collection of the NT by him. Thus, contrary to your ill-founded accusation above, the Bible contains in it a devastating counter to enslavement and by the like unto this and a fortiori principles, any other similarly oppressive institution. But, it does so in the context of heart-softened reformation and moral enlightenment, not ill advised radical calls for violence and imposition by force.
I suggest, you need to do some rethinking. Especially, as this has been on the table here at UD several times over the years.>>
In addition, we would be well advised to take note of Plato’s warning, which appears in my comment 35:
>>PS: I clip Plato’s warning, as it is directly relevant to any assertion of moral claims by advocates or fellow travellers of evolutionary materialism:
Ath [in The Laws, Bk X 2,350+ ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . .
[Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-
[ –> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics and law: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by “winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . ” cf a video on Plato’s parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]
These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,
[ –> Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”) . . . ]
and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ –> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ –> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush — as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them [–> nihilistic will to power not the spirit of justice and lawfulness].>>
I think this needs to be noted for record, as a corrective to a now drearily familiar atheistical talking point against the heritage of Christendom and against gospel ethics. END