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Does The Bible “condone” slavery, even as Darwin opposed it?

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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”:

KF, 34: >> 34 kairosfocusSeptember 10, 2019 at 3:46 am

Seversky,

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)
Salutation

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.
Footnotes:

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

107 Replies to “Does The Bible “condone” slavery, even as Darwin opposed it?

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Does The Bible “condone” slavery, even as Darwin opposed it?

  2. 2
    Fasteddious says:

    What would UD do without Seversky to fan the flames of discussion?
    If he were not a real person, UD might have to create him to generate content.

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    FE, he’s real all right — and there may be a connexion that North American aviation [designers of the P51 IIRC] were previously Seversky. He represents a fairly common pattern of thought among current evolutionary materialists. As such, there is a place to use cases in point to address what is going on in many heads sitting next to us at work, on campus or sometimes even in church. KF

  4. 4
    News says:

    Because the Bible is a collection of books written by different people at different times, in different places, for different purposes, we should not expect it to speak with a single voice on slavery.

    Today, we see slavery through the lens of race-based slavery of African Americans. In the ancient world, people were most often enslaved for debt or as the losers in a war, though sometimes it was a punishment. Slaves could be redeemed for sums of money, usually.

    It was a complicated situation back then. At one point, Abraham worries that if he doesn’t have a son, his slave, Eliezer of Damascus, will be his heir. https://www.gotquestions.org/Eliezer-in-the-Bible.html In short, Eliezer could inherit.

    The law of Moses gave certain rights to slaves. One interesting right is the right NOT to be set free. This makes sense if we consider that it was not always in the slave’s interests to simply set out into the wilderness alone. Here are some texts on slavery.
    https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/biblical-slavery/

    New Testament times present different issues because a good many Christians were slaves themselves. Whatever the apostles may have thought of slavery, encouraging anti-slavery activities would have been a disastrous move for people who were already accused (falsely) of upsetting the social order with their teachings.

    Paul’s treatment of Onesimus gives us some idea of the way people regarded the situation personally.

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    News, I suggest that by making the letter a letter to the church, Paul was teaching a principle and setting an example of feasible reform under prevailing circumstances. Those principles would prevail twice in the history of our civilisation, undermining slavery and similar forms of human trafficking or oppression decisively. My concern is that the cultural marxist oppression thesis is being used to undermine the necessary fabric of moral government for responsible rational freedom, and the framework of justice that provides legitimacy to law and government. This, I have recently expanded discussion on, from here and following — including addressing the natural law principle of built-in moral government (attested to by conscience and prudence alike) and how it shows that law starts from the individual and extends across the civilisation, pivoting on the civil peace of justice. KF

  6. 6
    News says:

    Agreed, kairosfocus. Paul was – as he must have known because his letters were generally shared – enunciating a way of looking at the matter. Classically, he offers no advice to the government (he was, himself, literally in chains and had not long to live) but he makes clear to Philemon, a Christian, how HE should behave. To the extent that Christianity survived, so did the instruction.

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    News, yes, though we can see in the full citation of the Epistle above that Paul explicitly addresses the church sponsored and led by Philemon and family. This makes the c AD 61 letter a letter to a church in parallel with its two companions, the wider letter to the Colossians and the circular letter on Ecclesiology etc we know as Ephesians. I think Paul is here using the case as a case study that teaches a counter culture transformational strategy by example. He uses family and family of God terminology to communicate equality and fraternity of persons, then sets the example by personally absorbing costs. (I think he had recently inherited his late father’s fortune and had become the heretic paterfamilias thus his nephew’s clan-duty warning on the assassination conspiracy in Jerusalem.) Eph 4:17 ff into 5 elaborates that strategy, where 4:9 – 16 sets it against the context of the operational form of the church’s mandate, using the fullness of Christ kingdom fulfillment theme. See my discussion here: http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....ml#kirk_is KF

  8. 8
    PaoloV says:

    Timely insightful OP. I appreciate it.

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    Thanks, thoughts?

  10. 10
    PaoloV says:

    Apparently the term “slave” (in any variation) appears 127 times in the Bible (ESV).
    91 times in the OT and 36 time in the NT

    In the OT it appears in:
    Genesis (4), Exodus (23), Leviticus (8), Deuteronomy (17), Joshua (1), Judges (1), 1 Samuel (2), 1 Kings (2), 2 Kings (1), 1 Chronicles (2), 2 Chronicles (2), Ezra (2), Nehemiah (3), Esther (1), Job (2), Psalm (1), Proverbs (3), Ecclesiastes (2), Isaiah (2), Jeremiah (8), Lamentations (2), Micah (1), Nahum (1)

    In the NT it appears in:
    Matthew (1), Mark (1), John (2), Acts (1), Romans (8), 1 Corinthians (1), 2 Corinthians (1), Galatians (12), Colossians (1), Titus (2), Hebrews (1), 2 Peter (1), Revelation (4)

  11. 11
    Brother Brian says:

    It would be hard to argue that the Bible does not condone slavery. Yes, it is clear that Israelite slaves must only be enslaved for seven years (more like indentured servants than slaves). But the Bible says that people from neighbouring lands (conquered lands) may be enslaved, and that their enslavement can last for their entire life. It even goes into detail about how your slaves must be treated. And this treatment allows the owner to beat his slaves as long as they don’t die within a couple days. That sure sounds like condoning to me.

    If slavery was considered to be morally wrong, the Bible would say this. It was either always wrong or not always wrong. Rationalizing it because times were different does not cut it. I have heard people here say that it has to be taken in context. It was conquered enemies that they were enslaving. If this is morally acceptable, why didn’t we enslave the Japanese and Germans after WWII?

    I accept the fact that the Church played a large role in the abolition of slavery, but we also have to acknowledge that it was some interpretations of the Bible that allowed slavery to flourish.

  12. 12
    ET says:

    Brother Brian:

    If this is morally acceptable, why didn’t we enslave the Japanese and Germans after WWII?

    The “argument” of a 3 year old. Japan made reparations after WWII, Brian.

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, You are not facing the distinction between ameliorative regulation and institution of an institution. The direct parallel is divorce, which you will find law that regulates, but also this in Mal 2:16 (as was already pointed out): I hate divorce, says the Lord. Coming to the gospels, we find this, which is absolutely central:

    Matt 19:3 And Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” 4 He replied, “Have you never read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined inseparably to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 7 The Pharisees said to Him, “Why then did Moses command us to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” 8 He said to them, “Because your hearts were hard and stubborn Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. 9 I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery[a].”

    You are finding it hard to recognise an issue of ameliorative regulation towards reform.

    KF

  14. 14
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    You are finding it hard to recognise an issue of ameliorative regulation towards reform.

    The Bible doesn’t talk about situations by which homosexuality or adultery could be tolerated. It does not allow for any grey zone, let alone fifty shades of grey zones. But the Bible does say that you may own another person against their will. It allows you to keep them enslaved for life. It allows you to bequeath a slave in your will. It allows you to beat your slave with no consequences, as long as the slave lives for a couple days after the beating. It sure sounds to me, and anyone who reads the Bible objectively, that it condones slavery. I am not talking about encouraging, I am talking about condoning.

  15. 15
    Axel says:

    You do not, BB, appear to have the foggiest inkling, or indeed, the rremotest familiarity with the concept of Grace building upon Nature. Christianity would be such a cake-walk, if we only had to make a single act of the Will when rejecting a temptation to any sin – and that wold be it : done and dusted.

    However, it does also happen, fortunately that repeatedly rejecting a sin invites further divine grace thereby strengthening us spiritually; and in similar fashion, acceding to a particualr temptation renders our conscience increasingly obdurate in rejecting the necessary, divine grace for ongoing improvement. Worse, serious sins are not self-contained, but, rather, render can us vulnerable to sins that would be contrary to our conscious volition. Conversely, when we habitually endeavour to reject sins, a synergy is created, so that we will slowly improve in other areas.

    It’s a big subject, dealing as it does with venial sins and mortal sins, and, on the other hand the selfless love, the dying to self, which the spiritual life, the quest for virtue in Christ entails ; not to speak of the angels (Principalities and Powers, Thrones and Dominations et al), and their counterparts, the angels manque, the demons, al pure spirits. John-Paul II wrote a fascinatingly sourced Catachesis on the Angels that is very easy to Google.

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    Jesus did not approve of slavery. In fact He abhorred slavery. Yet Jesus knew full well that the spiritual realm of thought takes precedence over the physical/material realm of slavery and therefore the spiritual root that had allowed physical slavery among men had to be dealt with first and foremost in order to bring about the eventual demise of physical slavery.

    Notes:

    John 8
    To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
    They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
    Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

    Why Was Jesus Silent On The Issue Of Slavery?
    In order to impugn the moral authority of Jesus of Nazareth, New Atheist Sam Harris claims:
    “There is no place in the New Testament where Jesus objects to slavery”
    Is this true? Actually, Jesus did speak to the issue of slavery, but he went after the root of physical slavery: spiritual slavery. Spiritual slavery has led to and continues to lead to immense misery. When Jesus began his public ministry, he stood in the synagogue to read the following passage: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18).
    What a mission statement! Jesus came to set captives free, restore, heal, and transform—that is the good news of the kingdom of God. The good news of the kingdom of God is when “up there” comes “down here” and begins to be embodied by a new community. Given the reality of sinful humans and corrupted institutions, Jesus knew the best way to end slavery was first to liberate the hearts and minds of humanity. The truth sets people free.
    https://www.jonathanmorrow.org/why-was-jesus-silent-on-the-issue-of-slavery/

    Thought precedes action, as lightning does thunder.
    — Heinrich Heine

    Testimony and verse:

    No Longer Slaves (Song Story) – Jonathan & Melissa Helser | We Will Not Be Shaken
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWl6lhodTMI

    Exodus 6:6
    “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.

  17. 17
    Axel says:

    (continued)
    Paul’s anxiety that a slave who had been helping him and whom he was returning to his ‘owner’ should be treated appropriately, as his brother in Christ.

    Of course, Paul was only iterating the most basic Christology, by no means difficult to infer from Christian scripture ; namely, that the first duty of the ‘owner’ apart from affording his slave food and shelter, would be to arrange for him to be evangelised and Christened – following which failure to treat him as a dear brother and the victim of a degree of wickedness as repugnant to Christianity as can be imagined would be – was inexcusable many hundeds of years later.

    However, the entrenched custom of slavery – not quite the cruel, vicious, ‘chattel’ slavery of later Christian centuries – throughout the ancient world that Paul was anxious that Christian converts should not ‘disrespect’, any more than they should disrespect emperor – and for the very same reason. It gives the game away ‘lock, stock and barrel’, the likes of Nero hardly being held up as a role model, when Paul urged them to ‘honour the emperor.

    This ‘temporary’ accommodation with evil, with the World, in other areas, is something Pope Francis is ‘getting it in the neck’ for now from right-wingers, particulary in the US, who, like the Pharisees, prefer a laundry-list kind of theology, wherein they can ‘tick boxes’, and feel good about themsleves according to the score they believe they notched up since their last confession.

  18. 18
    ET says:

    Brother Brian:

    The Bible doesn’t talk about situations by which homosexuality or adultery could be tolerated.

    Right. See Sodom and Gomorrah.

  19. 19
    Brother Brian says:

    BA77

    Jesus did not approve of slavery. In fact He abhorred slavery. Yet Jesus knew full well that the spiritual realm of thought takes precedence over the physical/material realm of slavery and therefore the spiritual root that had allowed physical slavery among men had to be dealt with first and foremost in order to bring about the eventual demise of physical slavery.

    WTF? Adultery was always BAD. Homosexuality was always BAD. Slavery? We have to take it into context? Bullshit. Are you seriously suggesting that slavery may, under certain circumstances, be good?

  20. 20
    PaoloV says:

    Matthew 20:25-28 (ESV)

    25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,[a] 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,[b] 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    Footnotes:

    a. Matthew 20:26 Greek diakonos

    b. Matthew 20:27 Or bondservant, or servant

    20:25–28 In this rich text, the Lord was teaching the disciples that the style of greatness and leadership for believers is different. The Gentile leaders dominate in dictatorial fashion, using carnal power and authority. Believers are to do the opposite—they lead by being servants and giving themselves away for others, as Jesus did.

    20:28 to give His life a ransom for many. The word translated “for” means “in the place of,” underscoring the substitutionary nature of Christ’s sacrifice. A “ransom” is a price paid to redeem a slave or a prisoner. Redemption does not involve a price paid to Satan. Rather, the ransom is offered to God—to satisfy His justice and wrath against sin. The price paid was Christ’s own life—as a blood atonement (cf. Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22). This, then, is the meaning of the cross: Christ subjected Himself to the divine punishment against sin on our behalf (cf. Is. 53:4, 5; see note on 2 Cor. 5:21). Suffering the brunt of divine wrath in the place of sinners was the “cup” He spoke of having to drink, and the baptism He was preparing to undergo (v. 22).

    MacArthur Study Bible

    20:28 ransom. This term refers to the price paid to deliver someone from slavery or imprisonment. The price of freedom from sin and condemnation is Jesus’ life, given for us (1 Pet. 1:18, 19). Since the elect are ransomed from the wrath of God, the ransom was offered to God Himself. Jesus drinks the cup of God’s wrath (v. 23), not for His own sins, but as the means of ransoming many.

    for many. The Greek preposition translated “for” can also be translated “in the place of.” It expresses the substitutionary nature of Jesus’ suffering. That Jesus says “many” here (cf. Is. 53:11, 12) rather than “all people” indicates a specific or definite focus to His redemptive activity. Nevertheless, it is “many” and not a “few.” See notes John 17:9; 1 Tim. 2:6.

    Reformation Study Bible provided by Ligonier Ministries.

  21. 21
    bornagain77 says:

    BB, it is clear that you have no clue about the overall meta-narrative of the Bible. The Hebrew people were slaves to the Egyptians for hundreds of years before God miraculously freed them from their slavery, via Moses, from the Egyptians.

    Egypt is used as a metaphor for sin in the Bible. The slavery of the Hebrews to the Egyptians is used as a metaphor of our slavery to sin in the bible. The miraculous exodus of the Hebrews is used as a metaphor of God delivering us from our sin. Jesus Himself even represents the Passover lamb of God.

    The long term slavery of the Hebrews to the Egyptians and their subsequent miraculous exodus from Egypt to the ‘promised land’ is one of the major themes of the Bible and is key for understanding the Bible as a whole. Understanding both the old and new testaments:

    Exodus: Understanding One of the Bible’s Major Themes
    https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/exodus-understanding-one-of-the-bibles-major-themes

    Thus, although God may suffer slavery to exist for quite a long while in the physical realm, God is clearly against slavery for all humans and His long term plan is to, first and foremost, permanently deliver us from our slavery to sin. And again, God correctly chooses to deal with the root cause of physical slavery in the spiritual realm of thought first and foremost so as to eventually bring about a permanent cure for all physical slavery.

  22. 22
    Brother Brian says:

    BA77

    BB, it is clear that you have no clue about the overall meta-narrative of the Bible. The Hebrew people were slaves to the Egyptians for hundreds of years before God miraculously freed them from their slavery, via Moses, from the Egyptians.

    So, because I was a slave for hundreds of years, which, by the way, is not based in fact, it is morally acceptable for me to enslave others?

  23. 23
    Axel says:

    Sorry. In my #15, it should have been spelled, ‘cat E chesis’: a typo. Vanity, i know, but there you are.

  24. 24
    Axel says:

    BB, it was never God’s purpose to promote revolution, but rather for societies to evolve for the better via this ‘leaven’, this ‘salt of the earth’, this ‘light of the world’ that we know as Christianity. Again, hence the bizarre-seeming njunction to ‘honour the Emperor’.

    On the other hand, the Psalms and books of the prophets are filled with exhortatons to save the poor and oppressd from the rich man and the opperessor, the violent, the fraudulent, etc. Although it can be readily inferred, perhaps, subconsciouly, most people would also have imbibed that slavery was wicked from those books of the Old Testament. At least, before the more recent decades.

    Evidently, Jesus would have known that the reality would be that the best of the secular world would have shown less patieince, all the more understandably in the modern world.

  25. 25
    kairosfocus says:

    BB,

    you obviously have no interest in recognising the hardness of heart principle (which, ironically, respects our collective freedom), and the linked principles that law must be enforceable through significant social consensus, which can move across time due to heart softening and reform. I note this for record, and I point out the implication of the cultural marxism, oppression thesis and clear agenda on your part to impose currently fashionable perversities: such radical revolutionism has a terrible track record of reigns of terror, as the alternative to gradual reform is not waving magic wands, it is revolutionary chaos and reigns of terror.

    The Scriptures advocate a different (and repeatedly successful) model: in a world of finite, fallible, morally fallen and struggling, too often hard hearted and ill-willed creatures, one regulates and ameliorates towards reform as men’s hearts are softened and as minds and consciences are soundly informed. In that context, indenture and even enslavement with regulation are survivable (and in extremis, function as a survival safety net of last resort in a world where there is not the wealth base to erect that welfare state that is the silent premise in many arguments on this or similar matters [in short, lack of historically informed economic awareness is part of the problem] . . . something already evident in Genesis with the story of the seven years regional famine — opening up the onward inherent abusiveness seen in Exodus); by contrast a system of ideas and schemes under false colour of law that in 40+ years has managed to so pervert law that we have a genocide of living posterity in the womb that mounts up at a million further victims per week (and 800+ millions since the ’70’s) manifestly marks a demonically dark, bloodily destructive age. Where in the past 100 or so years, just counting the already born, radical revolutionary terrors have murdered over 100 millions.

    That is the record of history.

    Given that effective choice, the prudent person will heed the counsel of Paul in Philemon every time, instead of listening to the rhetoric of the heirs of Robespierre.

    Second, as we have long since corrected your obsessions with sliding into the sewer, we simply note the fact of your obvious, ruinous agenda. Already, we can see the revolutionary chaos and confusion it is opening up. Not even little girls going to the bathroom are safe. That is a foreshadowing of what is to come if such radicalism prevails again.

    Finally, it is obvious in this light that you are insistent on an agenda that refuses to attend to what the OP raises. Why is that?

    Because, the moral principles of the Bible stand in the way of where you and your ilk want to take our civilisation: Nero-666-Rom 1 chaos. So, you will bend every rhetorical sinew, wrench scripture heedless of any balance or correction, dismiss the actual demonstrated heritage of contribution to reform and freedom in a race to Sodom on the Tiber, or the Hudson, or the Thames or the Seine, or the Hope, or whatever other place.

    We simply note the demonic chaos you would heedlessly set loose, and recognise it for what it is.

    In answer, we start yet again from basics: even your implicit attempt to persuade us that we OUGHT to dismiss the Christian Faith and its Scriptures pivots on our intellectual life being morally governed in a world that is morally founded.

    No worldviews are viable that do not successfully bridge the IS-OUGHT gap at world root level.

    This, specifically, includes evolutionary materialism as was exposed 2350+ years ago by Plato, as the OP highlights . . . and which, of course you predictably studiously ignore in haste to try to discredit what you oppose.

    Thus, there must be a root to the world adequate to sustain creatures inescapably morally governed by duties to truth, to right reason, to prudence [so, warrant and so reform rather than chaos], sound conscience, justice etc.

    (Where, duty to justice, duly enlightened, is precisely the pivot used by Paul in addressing oppressive inequalities in Philemon. But so blind are you that you refuse to register or respond with due regard to what we are dealing with in this short epistle. The charter of human freedom in our civilisation, the original — but too often unrecognised — charter of civil rights. With a proved track record, twice, of opening up culture transforming reformation. That is how it is no accident, that the motto of the Antislavery Society comes from this text. It is that unyielding, blind, ruthless, radical unreasonableness and unresponsiveness on your part that is utterly telling and it is duly noted. Where, we also point to a text in the infographic in the OP that highlights: “1 Cor 7:20 Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21 Were you a bondservant[d] when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.)” The implications are obvious . . . so obvious that the slaves who rose up in the 1831 Baptist War in Jamaica pointed out that they could see it for themselves . . . and even though the dissenter missionaries opposed ill-advised uprisings through the prudence advocated here [they hoped that reform would come from London where fellow dissenters were in the vanguard of abolitionism], and that those trying to use “you fundies support slavery” [yes, we can read subtext, thank you] as a rhetorical club repeatedly ignore this text jointly speak volumes on their wanton disregard for truth, prudence — directly counselled in the text! — and fair mindedness. All of which are big, bright red flags.)

    We can cut to the chase scene: there is precisely one serious necessary being world-root option that answers to the IS-OUGHT gap: the inherently good, utterly wise creator God, a necessary and maximally great being. One, worthy of our loyalty and of the reasonable, responsible, honourable service of doing the good that accords with our manifest nature. I freely say this after years of the unanswered comparative difficulties challenge to provide another alternative under comparative difficulties: ________ (I predict, on that track record, that you will yet again seek to evade this while rhetorically sitting in God’s lap to try to strike his face.)

    Until you provide a serious root for morality independent of God, we need not take attempts to argue against God, theism and linked traditions seriously. They become parasitical attempts to saw off the branch on which we all must sit. Or, to poison the well we all must drink from. Manifestations of potentially ruinous misanthropy.

    Now, we can go further, noting that the pivot of the Judaeo Christian tradition of ethical theism is the gospel, in the context of the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Hebraic Scriptures. In the words of St Peter, on the eve of being crucified by the demonic, perverted mad man and dictator for life, Nero, on a manifestly false charge of being ringleader of treasonous arson against Rome [and in order to deflect suspicions that pointed fingers to Nero due to his increasingly obvious chaotic tendencies], we hear:

    2 Peter 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty . . .

    19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.

    21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

    (Those interested in seriously examining the underlying facts are invited to go here on.)

    KF

  26. 26
    PaoloV says:

    KF,

    Have the objectors pointed to at least one biblical passage that supports their statements?
    Was it taken out of context, as it’s often done in this world?

    Here are the NT passages where the term “slave” (or a variation of it) is found in the ESV translation of the Christian Scriptures:

    Matthew 20:27
    and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,

    Mark 10:44
    and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.

    John 8:34
    Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.

    John 8:35
    The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.

    Acts 16:16
    [ Paul and Silas in Prison ] As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling.

    Romans 6:15
    [ Slaves to Righteousness ] What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!

    Romans 6:16
    Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

    Romans 6:17
    But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,

    Romans 6:18
    and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

    Romans 6:19
    I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

    Romans 6:20
    For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

    Romans 6:22
    But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.

    Romans 8:15
    For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

    1 Corinthians 12:13
    For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

    2 Corinthians 11:20
    For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face.

    Galatians 2:4
    Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery—

    Galatians 3:28
    There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

    Galatians 4:1
    [ Sons and Heirs ] I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything,

    Galatians 4:7
    So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

    Galatians 4:9
    But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

    Galatians 4:22
    For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman.

    Galatians 4:23
    But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise.

    Galatians 4:24
    Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar.

    Galatians 4:25
    Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.

    Galatians 4:30
    But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.”

    Galatians 4:31
    So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

    Galatians 5:1
    [ Christ Has Set Us Free ] For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

    Colossians 3:11
    Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

    Titus 2:3
    Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,

    Titus 3:3
    For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

    Hebrews 2:15
    and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

    2 Peter 2:19
    They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

    Revelation 6:15
    Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains,

    Revelation 13:16
    Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead,

    Revelation 18:13
    cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.

    Revelation 19:18
    to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.”

  27. 27
    ET says:

    Brother Brian:

    Are you seriously suggesting that slavery may, under certain circumstances, be good?

    Yes, as explained in the Bible, duh. You attack someone and lose either you die or become their slave. It’s the price you pay for your aggression. It’s like being a prisoner for your crime.

  28. 28
    kairosfocus says:

    PaoloV, their failure is in the textual context a refusal to take the trajectory of the text into account, as that is rhetorically inconvenient to their agendas. Agendas we understand all too well as we too have read Alinsky on his favoured tactic of demonisation and scapegoating. Meanwhile, foundational challenges and sobering lessons of history are studiously evaded; another warning. It is time to expose the misanthropy at work, and to point to Robespierre and co on the now drearily predictable consequences of such radicalism. 100+ million victims in the past 100 years. KF

  29. 29
    PaoloV says:

    The term “enslaved” is found 9 times in the ESV translation of the Bible:
    3 times in the OT: Nehemiah (1), Jeremiah (1), Ezekiel (1)
    6 times in the NT: John (1), Romans (1), 1 Corinthians (1), Galatians (2), 2 Peter (1)

  30. 30
    bornagain77 says:

    In post 22 amazingly BB tries to deny that the Hebrews were ever enslaved by the Egyptians.

    So, because I was a slave (the Israelites were enslaved) for hundreds of years, which, by the way, is not based in fact,,,,,

    Since empirical evidence does not matter to the Darwinian Atheist when it comes to biological life, (and the Darwinian Atheist believes in Darwinian evolution in spite of the mountains of evidence to the contrary), it should not be surprising that BB is either unaware or that he is purposely ignoring the mountains of historical evidence in regards to the Israelites being enslaved by the Egyptians for hundreds of years.

    Unlike the Koran which is full of historical inaccuracies,,, (The following video reveals that the archaeological evidence contradicts many of the core claims that are made in the Koran):

    Islam, the untold story – video
    http://apostates.weebly.com/is.....story.html

    Unlike the Koran which is full of historical inaccuracies, historically the Bible has indeed proven extremely resilient in its historical reliability with stunning archaeological confirmation:

    50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically – Feb. 12, 2014
    http://www.biblicalarchaeology.....logically/

    Joseph Holden – Archaeology and the Bible: What Stones Tell Us About the Reliability of Scripture – video
    http://vimeo.com/24514152

    Proving the Bible through archaeology Part 3 of 6 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqy9fnOlQcE

    “In Extraordinary ways, modern archaeology has affirmed the historical core of the Old and New testaments – corroborating key points of the stories of Israel’s patriarchs, the Exodus, the Davidic monarchy, and the life and times of Jesus.”
    Jeffery Sheler – ‘Is The Bible True’, U.S. News and World Report, Oct. 25th, 1999, pg.52

    This is a gem of a quote from a Bible skeptic who thought it unfair to use the Bible as a guide in archaeology since quote unquote’‘he knew immediately that, proceeding in this way (using the Bible as a guide), “she would certainly find that building (i.e. King David’s palace)”

    ‘he knew immediately that, proceeding in this way (using the Bible as a guide), “she would certainly find that building”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-it-makes/

    In regards to the Exodus in particular, likewise that has, via archaeology, proven to be historically accurate

    The Egyptian papyrus of the ten plagues – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNtLesHEJLg

    Archaeological and historical articles dealing with the validity of the Exodus-Conquest narratives of the Old Testament, circa 1500-1350 B.C.
    http://www.biblearchaeology.or.....quest.aspx

    The Exodus Case – Dr Lennart Moller & the Caldwell’s Interview
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcnfapLxmP0

    Has the Exodus Really Been Disproven?
    Excerpt: Many archaeologists, Bible scholars and historians continue to conclude from the evidence that the Exodus did indeed occur, among them the editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, Hershel Shanks (Ha’aretz Magazine, Nov. 5, 1999).
    http://www.dovidgottlieb.com/comments/Exodus.htm

    Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition
    James K. Hoffmeier
    ABSTRACT
    Scholars of the Hebrew Bible have in the last decade begun to question the historical accuracy of the Israelite sojourn in Egypt, as described in the book of Exodus. The reason for the rejection of the exodus tradition is said to be the lack of historical and archaeological evidence in Egypt. Those advancing these claims, however, are not specialists in the study of Egyptian history, culture, and archaeology. This book examines the most current Egyptological evidence and argues that it supports the biblical record concerning Israel in Egypt.
    – per oxford scholarship

    Thus BB, since he apparently desperately wants his atheism to be true, is willing to ignore any and all empirical evidence to the contrary and construct his own version of reality out of his own imagination.

    Besides denying, despite much evidence to the contrary, that the Exodus ever even happened, it would not surprise me one bit if BB also tried to deny that Jesus ever existed, must less BB believing that Jesus rose from the dead:

    “And you realize that 99.9% of scholars across the world will acknowledge that Jesus is an historical person. They may not say that Jesus is the Son of God, but they will say there was an historical figure named Jesus of Nazareth. But Tom [Harpur] has very grave doubts about this, so he claims. Now that floored me right there. Because, we have copious evidence for Jesus’ existence. If you don’t like the gospels, go to the Roman historian, Tacitus, who talks about the great fire of Rome and how Nero got blamed for it. To save himself, he blames the Christians. This Roman historian says that they are named for a Christus, who was crucified by one of our governors, Pontius Pilate. What more do you need? That quote alone would establish the historicity of Jesus. Suetonius mentions Christ in connection with the riot of those for or against Jesus across the Tiber. Pliny, the younger, Governor of Asia Minor, says that these Christians get up on Sunday morning and sing hymns to Christ as to a God. The Jewish rabbinic traditions mention Jesus of Nazareth in their own language. Whatmore do we need of witnesses? Josephus mentions Jesus twice.
    I want to point out that Christian faith is based upon fact and not on fiction. The problem nowadays is that so many people are trying to turn fact into fiction.”
    – Dr. Paul Maier (recently retired Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University) quoted from the 100 Huntley Street telecast on March 30/04

  31. 31
    bornagain77 says:

    Here is a live link to Islam: The Untold Story, which exposes the archaeological poverty of evidence for the Koran

    Islam, the untold story – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzKk0L6H1ms

    Here are some more videos defending the Bible (Old Testament) as a reliable historical text;

    Persian History and The Old Testament – Dr Mark Woolmer – video
    http://vimeo.com/426015

    Egyptian Chronology and the Old Testament – Dr Mark Woolmer – video
    http://vimeo.com/410567

  32. 32
    kairosfocus says:

    BA77, the same St Peter about to be judicially murdered by Nero to deflect suspicion on who was responsible for the July 18 64 AD Fire at Rome, wrote in what is his theological last will and testament, “we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty . . . ” Thirty-four years earlier, preaching the very first Church sermon ever, he went on record right there in Jerusalem, a short walk from Jesus’ borrowed tomb: ” Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men [–> i.e. judicial murder by kangaroo court instigated by blatantly corrupt power elites using rent-a-crowd tactics]. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it . . . . This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.” There were altogether 500+ witnesses, and not a single one of them, starting with Peter, could be turned. Not by cross-examination in court — Paul, before a king and a governor, called THE KING as a witness, “as these things were not done in a corner.” Not by dungeon, fire [Nero’s garden parties . . . ], sword, lion nor cross. And since, for 2,000 years millions have met God and have been utterly transformed by him in the face of the risen Christ. The hyperskeptics haven’t got a leg to stand on and that’s why they are resorting to the sort of desperate rhetoric this thread corrects. KF

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Summary article on the credibility of God:

    Over the years, many millions have met and been transformed through meeting God in the face of Christ. This includes countless Jamaicans [and many other people across the Caribbean]. It also includes many famed scholars, eminent scientists and leaders of powerful reformations. Logically, if just one of these millions has actually been reconciled with God through Christ, God must be real and the gospel must be true. (Where, if instead so many are deeply delusional, that would undermine the rational credibility of the human mind.)

    However, for some years now various voices have tried to dismissively question God, the gospel and Christians. So, it is not unexpected to see Mr Gordon Robinson writing in the Gleaner[2] recently (on Sunday, August 26, 2018), about alleged “dangerous dogma promulgated by the Church and its many brainwashed surrogates,” “perverse propaganda spread by Christian churches,” “sycophants” and the like.

    Along the way, he managed to ask a pivotal question: “Who/what is God?”

    Regrettably, he also implied outright fraud by church leaders: “Either the Church has NO CLUE about who/what God really is, or it deliberately misrepresents God’s essence in order to frighten people into becoming church members and tithing. Nothing else makes sense.”

    Fig 1 DNA, Showing the Genetic Code (HT ResearchGate)

    In fact, a simple Internet search might give a better answer. For, thinkers such as a Thomas Aquinas or an Augustine of Hippo or a Paul of Tarsus or even a Wayne Grudem[3] or a William Lane Craig[4] have long since credibly addressed the idea of God and systematic theology at a little more sophisticated level than Sunday School lessons or Internet Atheist web sites. In so doing, they have made responsible cases that rise above the level of caricatures of the art on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling.

    We may begin with Paul in Romans 1, 57 AD: “Rom 1:19 . . . what can be known about God is plain to [people], because God has shown it to them. 20 For [God’s] invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So [people] are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” [ESV]

    Here, one of the top dozen minds of our civilisation first points out how our morally governed interior life and what we see in the world all around jointly call us to God our Creator. But, too often we suppress the force of that inner testimony and outer evidence. (This, predictably, leads to unsound thinking and destructive deeds stemming from benumbed consciences and en-darkened minds.)

    For one, consider how for sixty years now we have known that the DNA in the cells of our bodies has in it complex, alphanumeric, algorithmic code that is executed through molecular nanotechnology to build proteins, the workhorses of biological life. That’s why Sir Francis Crick wrote to his son Michael on March 19, 1953 that “we believe that the DNA is a code. That is, the order of bases (the letters) makes one gene different from another gene (just as one page of print is different from another).”

    Yes, alphanumeric code (so, language!), algorithms (so, purpose!), i.e. intelligent design of life from the first living cell on. Including, us. No wonder the dean of the so-called New Atheists was forced to admit that Biology studies complicated things that give a strong appearance of design.

    1947 saw the advent of the transistor age, allowing storage of a single bit of information in a tiny electronic wonder. We have since advanced to computers based on silicon chips comparable in size to a thumb-nail, with millions of transistors. These microchips and support machinery process many millions of instructions per second and have storage capacities of many gigabytes. Coded electronic communication signals routinely go across millions of miles through the solar system. Every one of these devices and systems required careful design by highly educated engineers, scientists and programmers. The living, self-replicating cell’s sophistication dwarfs all of these; yet we question the all-knowing God, the author of life.

    Figure 2: Crick’s March 19, 1953 letter, p. 5 with a highlight (Fair use)

    Next, Mr. Robinson and others inevitably appeal to our known duty to truth, right reasoning, fairness, prudent judgement, etc. But, where did that inner moral law (testified to by our consciences) come from? Surely, it is not a delusion; or else responsible, freely rational discussion would collapse into nihilistic chaos: might and manipulation (= “power and propaganda”) make ‘right,’ ‘rights,’ ‘justice,’ ‘truth,’ ‘knowledge’ etc. Instead, our conscience-guarded hearts and minds clearly show the Creator’s design that we freely live by the light and law of truth and right.

    Such considerations – and many more – point us to the only serious candidate for the source of reality that can bridge IS and OUGHT: the inherently good (and wise) Creator God, a necessary and maximally great being. Who is fully worthy of our loyalty and of humble, responsible, reasonable service through doing the good. Then, we may readily draw out the classic understanding of God described in scripture and studied in systematic theology: all-good, eternal, creator and Lord with sound knowledge and full capability to work out his good purposes in the right way at the right time.

    Moreover, what we most of all need to know about God is taught by Jesus the Christ, recorded in scripture within eye-witness lifetime then accurately handed down to us for 2000 years now, at fearsome cost: the blood of the martyrs. Martyrs, who had but one incentive: that they directly knew and must peacefully stand by the eternal truth – cost what it will. They refused to be frightened by dungeon, fire or sword, much less mere rhetoric. Why would thousands die horribly to promote a known lie?

    Their record is that Christ is the express image of his Father, Logos – Cosmos-ordering Reason himself, prophesied Messiah, the Saviour who in love died for us on a cross. He rose from the dead as Lord with 500 eye-witnesses, precisely fulfilling over three hundred prophecies that were long since recorded in the Old Testament. (See esp. Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12, c. 700 BC.[5]) He ascended to his Father in the presence of the apostles. He shall return as eternal Judge, before whom we must all account. (Yes, professing and “backsliding” Christians too.) The Bible also records Jesus’ prayer for us: “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and [“thy Son”] Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.” [John 17:1- 5, cf. 3:16.]

    That is the truth witnessed by the church, whether it was 33 AD in Jerusalem before an angry Sanhedrin, or 50 AD before the laughing Athenians (who had built a public monument to their ignorance of God), or today. We therefore confidently invite Mr Robinson et al. to join with us in a serious-minded, substantially informed discussion about “who/what God really is” and about why the gospel is just that: God’s good news that brings salvation, blessing and hope for the positive transformation for our nation. END

  34. 34
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    Finally, it is obvious in this light that you are insistent on an agenda that refuses to attend to what the OP raises. Why is that?

    I directly addressed the subject of the OP. Clearly the Bible condones slavery. If God is going to establish rules around a certain practice, he is condoning it. Note that I am not saying that he is encouraging it. Those are two very different things. Just compare it to other proscriptions in the Bible. He does not provide any rules under which homosexuality and adultery can be practiced, therefore he definitely does not condone those practices.

    I am perfectly fine with accepting the Bible as a series of texts that reflect the society and culture of 2 – 3 thousand years ago and that provides guidance on how to live in those times. Since slavery was common at the time, it makes sense that some rules should be established as to how slaves should be treated. As such, I can accept that society has evolved over time to the point where we now consider slavery, in any form, to be morally unacceptable. Just as we no longer consider it acceptable to kill homosexuals or adulterers, or consider it important to conform to some of the more arcane proscriptions in the bible (e.g., wearing clothes woven from different materials, or eating meat on Friday). But if we are going to accept that the Bible must be interpreted in the context of the times it was written, we are also admitting that it can’t always be applied to modern society.

  35. 35
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, your ability to repeatedly type a false, corrected accusation in the teeth of its direct correction (including here the text of an entire book of the Bible with highly relevant known historical impact) does not constitute addressing the substance, Instead, you are indulging the fallacy of doubling down on error. Thanks for giving us due warning on your attitude and — by repeated resort to corrected fallacy — for confirming to us that you as a known evolutionary materialist, have no objective, world-root basis for bridging IS and OUGHT; thus, no foundation for objectivity of morality or justice, forcing you in the end into the nihilist’s principle, appeal to might and manipulation to make ‘truth’ ‘right’ ‘rights’ ‘justice’ and ‘law’ — a warning sign if ever there was one. So, we may freely infer that you seek to manipulate by refusing to address the trajectory of the text, refusing to engage with the challenges of amelioration and reform (which already puts you and ilk in the Misanthrope camp of Robespierre et al), and resorting to loaded emotive appeals that rely on trying to paint the Christian Faith and its scriptures in the worst light you can as it is obviously a barrier to the sewer agenda you have shown yourself obsessed with. I suggest to you, you would be well advised to reconsider where you would lead our civilisation. KF

  36. 36
    mike1962 says:

    Brother Brian, it’s all just molecules in motion, right?
    Your feelings are irrelevant to the other sets of molecules in motion.
    Plus your particular set of molecules in motion are going to die and disintegrate soon.
    Waaaaa.
    I’m struggling to figure out why should anyone shout give a crap about anything you say.

  37. 37
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    I suggest to you, you would be well advised to reconsider where you would lead our civilisation. KF

    If I could, I would lead our society to accept homosexuality and same-sex marriage, to provide our children with non-judgemental knowledge about sexuality, sexual preference, contraceptives, masturbation, consent and transgender issues. I would lead society to allow women to opt to have a safe abortion if they want. I would lead society to accept the fact that there is nothing wrong with two consenting adults having sex purely for pleasure. I would lead society to a point where people can’t use religious beliefs as a means to deny the freedoms of others. Thankfully, society appears to be going along this path without my help.

  38. 38
    Brother Brian says:

    Mike

    I’m struggling to figure out why should anyone shout give a crap about anything you say.

    Maybe you should ask KF, ET and BA77 that question. They seem to expend a significant amount of energy responding to me. I suspect childhood trauma, possibly abuse. 🙂

  39. 39
    ET says:

    I respond to Brother Brian because it posts total nonsense that cannot just be let go. It’s as if Brian suffered severe childhood trauma that forces it to blurt out ignorant and childish tantrums to try to disparage people it disagrees with. The trauma must have happened in a church or surroundings. But it definitely is getting progressively worse.

  40. 40
    StephenB says:

    BB

    I directly addressed the subject of the OP. Clearly the Bible condones slavery.

    Since you have not defined the term “slavery,” (failing to make the distinction between chattel slavery, indentured servitude, and other kinds of bondage), your comments are meaningless.

    If I could, I would lead our society to accept homosexuality and same-sex marriage, to provide our children with non-judgemental knowledge about sexuality, sexual preference, contraceptives, masturbation, consent and transgender issues. I would lead society to allow women to opt to have a safe abortion if they want.

    Of course, you would. You support the philosophy of barbarianism. So what? That doesn’t make it a good idea.

    I would lead society to accept the fact that there is nothing wrong with two consenting adults having sex purely for pleasure.

    Bad logic. Again, you stumble because you do not understand the meanings of words.
    “A fact is described as the statement that can be verified or proved to be true. Opinion is an expression of judgment or belief about something. Fact relies on observation or research while opinion is based on assumption. The fact is an objective reality whereas opinion is a subjective statement.”

    I would lead society to a point where people can’t use religious beliefs as a means to deny the freedoms of others.

    More bad logic. It is only on the basis of religious principles that a rational defense for freedom can be made.

  41. 41
    Brother Brian says:

    SB

    Since you have not defined the term “slavery,” (failing to make the distinction between chattel slavery, indentured servitude, and other kinds of bondage), your comments are meaningless.

    Really? What about ‘slavery for life, inherited slaves, being permissible to beat you slave as long as he/she didn’t die within a couple days’ didn’t you understand?

    Bad logic. Again, you stumble because you do not understand the meanings of words.
    “A fact is described as the statement that can be verified or proved to be true. Opinion is an expression of judgment or belief about something. Fact relies on observation or research while opinion is based on assumption. The fact is an objective reality whereas opinion is a subjective statement.”

    Are you denying that sex is pleasurable is a fact? Maybe you should find another partner.

    Bad logic. It is only on the basis of religious principles that a rational defense for freedom can be made.

    Thank you for making me laugh. I needed that.

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, if I had to choose on logic between you and SB, there is simply no contest. As a known advocate of evolutionary materialism, apart from emotionally loaded manipulation and warning signs of Robespierre style misanthropy, you simply have no footing to speak. You have continued to be unresponsive to issues on the table, and the prudent should take due note. KF

    PS, as a reminder, Plato’s warning:

    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].

  43. 43
    PaoloV says:

    The term “enslaved” is found 9 times in the ESV translation of the Bible:

    OT 3 times: Nehemiah (1), Jeremiah (1), Ezekiel (1)

    Nehemiah 5:5
    Now our flesh is as the flesh of our brothers, our children are as their children. Yet we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but it is not in our power to help it, for other men have our fields and our vineyards.”

    Jeremiah 34:10
    And they obeyed, all the officials and all the people who had entered into the covenant that everyone would set free his slave, male or female, so that they would not be enslaved again. They obeyed and set them free.

    Ezekiel 34:27
    And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land. And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke, and deliver them from the hand of those who enslaved them.

    NT 6 times: John (1), Romans (1), 1 Corinthians (1), Galatians (2), 2 Peter (1)

    John 8:33
    They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”

    Romans 6:6
    We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

    1 Corinthians 7:15
    But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace.

    Galatians 4:3
    In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world.

    Galatians 4:8
    [ Paul’s Concern for the Galatians ] Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.

    2 Peter 2:19
    They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

  44. 44
    PaoloV says:

    The word “slavery” appears 25 times in the ESV Bible.

    19 times in the OT:
    Exodus (6), Deuteronomy (6), Joshua (1), Judges (1), Ezra (2), Nehemiah (1), Jeremiah (1), Micah (1)

    6 times in the NT:
    Romans (1), Galatians (4), Hebrews (1)

  45. 45
    bornagain77 says:

    BB states:

    “If I could, I would lead our society to accept homosexuality and same-sex marriage, to provide our children with non-judgemental knowledge about sexuality, sexual preference, contraceptives, masturbation, consent and transgender issues. I would lead society to allow women to opt to have a safe abortion if they want. I would lead society to accept the fact that there is nothing wrong with two consenting adults having sex purely for pleasure.,,,”

    So BB basically prefers hedonistic morality of pleasure seeking and simple self gratification over the morality that is based on the much higher noble purposes of God.

    Small problem with BB’s hedonistic morality of pleasure seeking and simple self gratification. It is found to be self destructive. For instance, the gene expression of humans are designed in a very sophisticated way so as to differentiate between hedonic moral happiness and ‘noble’ moral happiness: The following paper states that there are hidden costs of purely hedonic well-being.,, “At the cellular level, our bodies appear to respond better to a different kind of well-being, one based on a sense of connectedness and purpose.”

    Human Cells Respond in Healthy, Unhealthy Ways to Different Kinds of Happiness – July 29, 2013
    Excerpt: Human bodies recognize at the molecular level that not all happiness is created equal, responding in ways that can help or hinder physical health,,,
    The sense of well-being derived from “a noble purpose” may provide cellular health benefits, whereas “simple self-gratification” may have negative effects, despite an overall perceived sense of happiness, researchers found.,,,
    But if all happiness is created equal, and equally opposite to ill-being, then patterns of gene expression should be the same regardless of hedonic or eudaimonic well-being. Not so, found the researchers.
    Eudaimonic well-being was, indeed, associated with a significant decrease in the stress-related CTRA gene expression profile. In contrast, hedonic well-being was associated with a significant increase in the CTRA profile. Their genomics-based analyses, the authors reported, reveal the hidden costs of purely hedonic well-being.,,
    “We can make ourselves happy through simple pleasures, but those ‘empty calories’ don’t help us broaden our awareness or build our capacity in ways that benefit us physically,” she said. “At the cellular level, our bodies appear to respond better to a different kind of well-being, one based on a sense of connectedness and purpose.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....161952.htm

    Moreover, and as would be expected if morality were objectively real as Christians hold, it is now found that atheists suffer physically and mentally as a result of forsaking the objective reality of morality in general and from forsaking God in particular. Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists states that ‘The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally.’,,, lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction…

    “I maintain that whatever else faith may be, it cannot be a delusion.
    The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. If the findings of the huge volume of research on this topic had gone in the opposite direction and it had been found that religion damages your mental health, it would have been front-page news in every newspaper in the land.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – preface

    “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – page 100

    And the following meta-analysis of studies found that Active religious involvement increased the chance of living longer by some 29%, and participation in public religious practices, such as church attendance, increased the chance of living longer by 43%.

    Atheism and health
    A meta-analysis of all studies, both published and unpublished, relating to religious involvement and longevity was carried out in 2000. Forty-two studies were included, involving some 126,000 subjects. Active religious involvement increased the chance of living longer by some 29%, and participation in public religious practices, such as church attendance, increased the chance of living longer by 43%.[4][5]
    http://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism_and_health

    Can attending church really help you live longer? This study says yes – June 1, 2017
    Excerpt: Specifically, the study says those middle-aged adults who go to church, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship reduce their mortality risk by 55%. The Plos One journal published the “Church Attendance, Allostatic Load and Mortality in Middle Aged Adults” study May 16.
    “For those who did not attend church at all, they were twice as likely to die prematurely than those who did who attended church at some point over the last year,” Bruce said.
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/06/02/can-attending-church-really-help-you-live-longer-study-says-yes/364375001/

    Moreover not only do individuals suffer, but society at large also suffers when governments impose secular thinking on society.

    The following video goes over the devastating moral consequences for society at large when prayer was removed from public schools in America:

    The Devastating Effects When Prayer Was Removed From School in America in 1962-63 – David Barton – video
    (excerpted from Barton’s “America’s Godly Heritage’ lecture)
    https://youtu.be/1No–GpdqCY

    And here is a site highlighting the sobering statistics that David Barton highlighted,,,

    AMERICA: To Pray Or Not To Pray – David Barton – graphs corrected for population growth
    http://www.whatyouknowmightnotbeso.com/graphs.html

    And the following site offers a brief analysis of Barton’s graphs

    What Happened When the Praying Stopped? April 6, 2008
    Excerpt: How did the removal of voluntary prayer from the schools of the United States (in 1963) affect our nation as a whole?,,,
    Figure 1 ,,, Statistics have proven that students from private Christian schools showed higher academic achievement and higher test scores.

    Figure 2: This graph shows the increase in sexual activity in unmarried teen-age girls after the 1962 Supreme Court decision.,,,

    Figure 3: Unwed women 15-19 years of age showed a phenomenal increase in the rate of pregnancies after the School Prayer decision.,,,

    Figure 4: ,,,suicides among the same group have increased 253 percent, or an average of 10.5 percent per year.

    Figure 5: ,,,,Divorce, single parent families, couples living together but not married, and adultery are areas of family breakdown which have experienced radical growth in recent years. ,,,

    Figure 6: ,,,The rate of violent crime, as shown above, has risen over 330 percent.
    http://www.forerunner.com/fore.....opped.html

    As the preceding SAT results clearly indicate, perhaps the government should, instead of pouring billions upon billions of dollars into our failing public school systems to no substantial effect, instead put prayer back in schools for a little while and see what happens? It is a free experiment after all!

    Moreover, besides the devastating moral impact on society at large when prayer was removed from public school, the secular mandate that only Darwinian Evolution can be taught in public schools has also had a significant detrimental moral impact for society at large. As Richard Weikart, author of “From Darwin to Hitler’,,,

    From Darwin To Hitler – Richard Weikart – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_5EwYpLD6A

    ,,, states,,, “Only in the late nineteenth and especially the early twentieth century did significant debate erupt over issues relating to the sanctity of human life, especially infanticide, euthanasia, abortion, and suicide. It was no mere coincidence that these contentious issues emerged at the same time that Darwinism was gaining in influence.”

    How Darwin’s Theory Changed the World
    Rejection of Judeo-Christian values
    Excerpt: Weikart explains how accepting Darwinist dogma shifted society’s thinking on human life: “Before Darwinism burst onto the scene in the mid-nineteenth century, the idea of the sanctity of human life was dominant in European thought and law (though, as with all ethical principles, not always followed in practice). Judeo-Christian ethics proscribed the killing of innocent human life, and the Christian churches explicitly forbade murder, infanticide, abortion, and even suicide.
    “The sanctity of human life became enshrined in classical liberal human rights ideology as ‘the right to life,’ which according to John Locke and the United States Declaration of Independence, was one of the supreme rights of every individual” (p. 75).
    Only in the late nineteenth and especially the early twentieth century did significant debate erupt over issues relating to the sanctity of human life, especially infanticide, euthanasia, abortion, and suicide. It was no mere coincidence that these contentious issues emerged at the same time that Darwinism was gaining in influence. Darwinism played an important role in this debate, for it altered many people’s conceptions of the importance and value of human life, as well as the significance of death” (ibid.).
    http://www.gnmagazine.org/issu.....-world.htm

    And here is a site with many more videos documenting the devastating moral impact that Darwinian thinking has had on society at large:

    Dangers of Darwinian Thinking – video playlist
    http://proofthebibleistrue.com.....-thinking/

    Bottom line, BB believes his hedonistic pleasure seeking morality is a better morality than the noble morality that God has for us. As usual, BB is severely mistaken and delusional in his belief.

    Proverbs 14:12
    There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

  46. 46
    PaoloV says:

    The word “slavery” appears 6 times in the ESV NT:

    Romans 8:15
    For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

    Galatians 2:4
    Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery—

    Galatians 4:24
    Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar.

    Galatians 4:25
    Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.

    Galatians 5:1
    [ Christ Has Set Us Free ] For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

    Hebrews 2:15
    and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

  47. 47
    Brother Brian says:

    BA77

    So BB basically prefers hedonistic morality of pleasure seeking and simple self gratification over the morality that is based on the much higher noble purposes of God.

    No, I prefer not to play the pompous, self righteous judgmental A-hole. But don’t let me stop you from filling that role.

  48. 48
    StephenB says:

    BB:

    Are you denying that sex is pleasurable is a fact? Maybe you should find another partner.

    You have the unfortunate habit of forgetting your own words. As you put it, “I would lead society to accept the fact that there is nothing wrong with two consenting adults having sex purely for pleasure.” It is not a *fact* that there is never anything wrong with two consulting adults having sex purely for pleasure.” It is simply your opinion that adultery, for example, is a morally acceptable act simply because it might be fun. You still do not grasp the difference between an opinion and a fact. Your gratuitous comment that I denied that sex is pleasurable was, of course, silly and provides yet another example of your inability to think clearly.

    SB: It is only on the basis of religious principles that a rational defense for freedom can be made.

    Thank you for making me laugh.

    You should be laughing at your own ignorance. You cannot make the argument that humans deserve to be free without appealing to religion. If you think you can, go ahead and try.

    Meanwhile, you have still not made the case that the bible condones slavery.

  49. 49
    bornagain77 says:

    BA77: So BB basically prefers hedonistic morality of pleasure seeking and simple self gratification over the morality that is based on the much higher noble purposes of God.

    BB: No, I prefer not to play the pompous, self righteous judgmental A-hole. But don’t let me stop you from filling that role.

    You seriously need to stop letting your imagination dictate your delusional version of reality to you. You believe in a cartoon CNN version of Christianity that simply is not true. When I was a homeless alcoholic for over a decade, the only people who ever helped me were Christians. They were definitely NOT pompous, self righteous judgmental A-holes. They helped me regardless of the fact that I could not ever repay them. They did not condemn me for being a homeless drunk. Besides feeding me, clothing me, and giving me a bed to sleep in for the night, they also preached a message of hope and love to me. They prayed for me and with me that I might recover from my addiction. They did all this for me even though they could have been doing many other things that would have been far more pleasurable for them, i.e. doing YOUR morality! They, in their altruistic work with the homeless, were in fact seeking to save sinners from their self-destructive sin rather than ever condemning sinners for being, well, sinners.

    True Christians are a far cry from the cartoon version of Christians that you imagine BB. Again, you seriously need to stop letting your imagination dictate your delusional version of reality to you. Most people would prefer to see reality as it really is. You atheism is forcing you to construct an imaginary reality that is far from the real thing.

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft).
    Bottom line, nothing is real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    – Darwin’s Theory vs Falsification – video – 39:45 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/8rzw0JkuKuQ?t=2387

    One final note, comparing BB’s atheistic morality of pleasure seeking to the Christian’s morality of altruism reminds me of this article,

    Atheist Myth: “No One Has Ever Killed in the Name of Atheism” – Nov. 2016
    Excerpt” “where are the army of atheists humanitarian traipsing about Africa and Asia giving hope to the poor and disadvantaged? Certainly none of the famous atheist polemicists have ever done so. Christopher Hitchens was asked on multiple occasions if he or other atheists who similarly had a poor opinion of St. Mother Teresa have actually gone to India and rolled up their sleeves to bathe lepers. I’ve asked many atheists including P.Z. Myers, Patricia Churchland and Christopher Hitchens and none have responded in the positive. Madalyn O’Hair never mentioned having done so. Mao and Stalin were busy killing tens of millions of their compatriots by engineering famines in their respective countries so it’s hard to imagine they also helped poor people. When I volunteered at Mother Teresa’s street clinics in Calcutta, I never met an atheist doing the same work but I routinely met Catholics doing so.”
    http://www.ncregister.com/blog.....of-atheism

    Readers can decide for themselves whether Christian morality or BB’s atheistic morality is better. Personally for me, it is not even close, BB’s pleasure seeking morality is not even a coherent morality to begin with.

  50. 50
    vividbleau says:

    BB
    “No, I prefer not to play the pompous, self righteous judgmental A-hole. “

    Pot,kettle,black?
    Honestly, excluding the A hole part, you hardly qualify as an example of a non pompous ,non judgmental, non self righteous person.
    Vivid

  51. 51
    ET says:

    Brother Brian:

    No, I prefer not to play the pompous, self righteous judgmental A-hole.

    And yet here you are playing the pompous, self righteous judgmental A-hole.

    Nice own goal

  52. 52
    Brother Brian says:

    BA77

    When I was a homeless alcoholic for over a decade, the only people who ever helped me were Christians. They were definitely NOT pompous, self righteous judgmental A-holes.

    Who has said that Christians are pompous, self righteous judgmental A-holes.

  53. 53
    kairosfocus says:

    BB,

    why — given say the history of the past 230 years — do you seem to imagine it is RELIGIOUS beliefs that pose a particular threat to freedom?

    Where, first, freedom and linked responsibilities, duties and rights cannot be accounted for on evolutionary materialism (along with of course that freedom required for minds to be credible).

    Second, from Robespierre on, and with the Communists and Nazis as poster-children in living memory, radical secularist and neopagan ideologies that undermine the theistic foundations of our endowment of rights have demonstrated over and over again just how dangerous secularist utopianism can be. Where, too, when such utopianism is tied to political messianism and to evolutionary materialism, it manifestly opens the door to the sort of nihilism Plato warned against 2350+ years ago.

    Not, that it is likely that you have read either Plato or Philemon with an open mind.

    Where also, it is manifestly demonstrable that historically, Biblical, Judaeo-Christian theism had a lot to do with setting the foundations for modern liberty. And indeed, the very epistle quoted in entirety in the OP was a part of that process — as the primary and secondary mottos of the antislavery society exemplify. And yes, you can see that by simply inspecting the infographic in the OP. (Where the date on the coin is particularly significant, 1838 was “full free” for the British Empire.)

    And, it seems that, again, I need to draw attention to the US Congress call to national prayer for May 17, 1776:

    May 1776 [over the name of John Hancock, first signer of the US Declaration of Indpependence] : In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered by the secret machinations and open assaults of an insidious and vindictive administration, it becomes the indispensable duty of these hitherto free and happy colonies, with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publickly to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against him; and to supplicate his interposition for averting the threatened danger, and prospering our strenuous efforts in the cause of freedom, virtue, and posterity.. . . Desirous, at the same time, to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God’s superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely, in all their lawful enterprizes, on his aid and direction, Do earnestly recommend, that Friday, the Seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies; . . . that it may please the Lord of Hosts, the God of Armies, to animate our officers and soldiers with invincible fortitude, to guard and protect them in the day of battle, and to crown the continental arms, by sea and land, with victory and success: Earnestly beseeching him to bless our civil rulers, and the representatives of the people, in their several assemblies and conventions; to preserve and strengthen their union, to inspire them with an ardent, disinterested love of their country; to give wisdom and stability to their counsels; and direct them to the most efficacious measures for establishing the rights of America on the most honourable and permanent basis—That he would be graciously pleased to bless all his people in these colonies with health and plenty, and grant that a spirit of incorruptible patriotism, and of pure undefiled religion, may universally prevail; and this continent be speedily restored to the blessings of peace and liberty [–> Note, parallel language in the US Const Sept 17, 1787], and enabled to transmit them inviolate to the latest posterity. And it is recommended to Christians of all denominations, to assemble for public worship, and abstain from servile labour on the said day.

    Thus too, the 2nd paragraph of the US DoI in that specific covenantal context of nationhood and government under God:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, [cf Rom 1:18 – 21, 2:14 – 15], that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    By now, you know that evolutionary materialism has no basis to bridge IS and ought in the world root, hence no basis for that due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities that is the essence of the civil peace of justice.

    I suggest, it is time for some fresh, rebalanced thinking on your part.

    KF

  54. 54
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, kindly refrain from vulgar references, even by abbreviations. They are simply not needed or appropriate. KF

  55. 55
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    why — given say the history of the past 230 years — do you seem to imagine it is RELIGIOUS beliefs that pose a particular threat to freedom?

    They have certainly played a role in abolition, and many other freedoms that we enjoy. But you would have to be blind to think that they have not also played a role in denying some freedoms over the centuries. We have fought countless wars over how we worship the same God. The Church (and churches) must also shoulder some of the blame for the centuries long persecution of the Jews. I am not saying that the Bible specifically condones this, but many people have certainly used their twisted interpretation of the Bible to justify the persecution of others.

    Up until not to long ago people were jailed, castrated and denied employment simply because they happened to love someone of the same sex. That intolerance has its roots in religious beliefs. But I am heartened by the fact that many congregations are taking a leadership role in the full acceptance of homosexuals and homosexuality. In fact, I attended a synagogue service a few weeks ago (just before my daughter got married). This was a conservative Jewish congregation and the service took place the week before Pride week. As part of the service the Rabbi mentioned the events that they were planning during Pride week. The one that brought a smile to my face was Drag Queen Story Time.

  56. 56
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, there are many distortions in your last remark,. I will simply point out that so called drag queen story time has recently exploded because of an issue that can be put in one word: GROOMING. KF

  57. 57
    PaoloV says:

    The word “enslave” appears 12 times in the Bible (ESV):

    It appears 4 times in the OT: Nehemiah (1), Jeremiah (2), Ezekiel (1)

    Nehemiah 5:5

    Now our flesh is as the flesh of our brothers, our children are as their children. Yet we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but it is not in our power to help it, for other men have our fields and our vineyards.”

    Jeremiah 34:9
    that everyone should set free his Hebrew slaves, male and female, so that no one should enslave a Jew, his brother.

    Jeremiah 34:10
    And they obeyed, all the officials and all the people who had entered into the covenant that everyone would set free his slave, male or female, so that they would not be enslaved again. They obeyed and set them free.

    Ezekiel 34:27
    And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land. And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke, and deliver them from the hand of those who enslaved them.

    It appears 8 times in the NT: John (1), Acts (1), Romans (1), 1 Corinthians (1), Galatians (2), 1 Timothy (1), 2 Peter (1)

    John 8:33
    They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”

    Acts 7:6
    And God spoke to this effect—that his offspring would be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and afflict them four hundred years.

    Romans 6:6
    We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

    1 Corinthians 7:15
    But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace.

    Galatians 4:3
    In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world.

    Galatians 4:8
    [ Paul’s Concern for the Galatians ] Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.

    1 Timothy 1:10
    the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,

    2 Peter 2:19
    They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

  58. 58
    PaoloV says:

    I fully agree with KF’s request @54.

  59. 59
    Brother Brian says:

    Exodus 21:20. And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.

    Exodus 21:21 Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.

  60. 60
    ET says:

    Brother Brian is conflating what people do with what religions say.

    Brian should go back to that synagogue and talk to the Rabbi. Ask him what the Hebrew version of the Old Testament says and its meaning.

  61. 61
    StephenB says:

    Brother Brian relates the following two passages in the bible and thinks he has proven that the bible condones slavery:

    “Exodus 21:20. And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.

    Exodus 21:21 Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.”

    Obviously, BB doesn’t understand that the “slavery” referred to here is really a kind of indentured servitude, which is nothing like the evil of chattel slavery. That is why I asked Brother Brian to define slavery and is also why he ignored the challenge. The bible does not condone chattel slavery, but BB does not understand (and apparently does not want to understand) the difference.

    In the context of indentured servitude (or similar kinds of bondage) servants were to be released after the seventh year, but often preferred to remain in bondage since they were better off with a master than without one. Further, they were usually not forced into that condition, meaning that they had some say about the situation in which they found themselves.There is nothing inherently wrong with indentured servitude if the one so bound wants to remain that way and had something to say about the agreement. It can, however, become morally wrong if the master abuses his privilege.

    Interestingly, BB also ignores the point that the passages above are about the punishment of the masters, not their slaves, which should have given him some hint that he was off on the wrong track.

  62. 62
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, you have raised relevant considerations. However if BB is unwilling to read the text of Philemon, see its direct impact on liberty and equality issues, addressing ameliorative regulation and reform, he will not acknowledge differing types of servitude and their significance. We need to recognise circumstances. KF

  63. 63
    StephenB says:

    kairosfocus,
    As you know, I am communicating to lurkers who may not be aware of the context that has been ignored so that they will understand BB’s error. I harbor no illusions that BB will provide a meaningful response or take my comments under advisement. The point is that the Old Testament does not endorse slavery (as it is understood today) and that all claims to the contrary can be refuted by the facts and the force of reasoned arguments. This can be done without alluding to the New Testament, though the latter does, of course, provide even more confirmation.

  64. 64
    PaoloV says:

    Exodus 21:20–21 Benefit of doubt was granted to the slaveholder where no homicidal intentions could be proved.
    NIV Study Bible Notes

    21:20, 21, 26, 27 Punishment of slaves was considered the right of the owner (Prov. 10:13; 13:24), but did not allow for violence. Judges were to decide the appropriate punishment if the slave died (v. 20). If the slave lived a few days it was evidence that the owner had no intent to kill, and the loss of the slave was punishment enough (v. 21). A beating without death immediately ensuing was construed as a disciplinary matter not a homicidal one. Any permanent personal injury brought freedom and loss of a master’s investment. The master’s power over the slave was thus limited, which made this law unprecedented in the ancient world.

    NKJV MacArthur Study Bible

    21:20 slave. That the slave did not die immediately was taken as evidence the master did not intend to kill.

    21:21 his money. While indentured slavery was accepted in the Old Testament, the clear implications of the Christian gospel led to its removal (1 Pet. 2:18 note). The laws governing Israel’s life should be interpreted in light of their cultural and social setting. They restrained exploitation and oppression in recognition of man’s “hardness of heart” (cf. Matt. 19:8).

    Reformation Study Bible provided by Ligonier Ministries.

  65. 65
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, I hear the reminder. I would add, that the “for the hardness of your hearts . . . but at the beginning it was not so” ameliorative regulation and reform principle shows too that the Bible did not establish slavery in any form, just as for divorce. That it provides a context that highlights that the focus was what we would call indenture, and that this provided a safety net in the days before macroeconomies could support welfare states, is also likely to be misunderstood. The idea of disposable chattel without any rights has no biblical foundation. And in Philemon we see how, in Christ, the time had come to move hearts softened by the gospel. Which is yet another point that is being missed. KF

  66. 66
    kairosfocus says:

    PaoloV, very useful scripture footnotes by serious scholars. We should note that an implicit point is that killing a family or clan member through blows (even if not intended to kill) could trigger the avenger of blood custom; I suspect in the early days of the ancient commonwealth of Israel a master who killed like that would be weighing not only the direct issues but whether he needed to immediately change address to that of a city of refuge — which would trigger a judgement of the case. KF

    PS: Note, further ameliorative regulation, here of clan feuding through cities of refuge and courts to adjudicate claims. The for hardness of heart principle is latent in a lot of what is there in text.

  67. 67
    Mimus says:

    Obviously, BB doesn’t understand that the “slavery” referred to here is really a kind of indentured servitude, which is nothing like the evil of chattel slavery.

    Seems like you should point out the bible is also quite OK with chattel slavery (just not for Israelites) in, for example, Lev. 25:44-46.

  68. 68
    kairosfocus says:

    Mimus, you inadvertently underscore the point. First, the issue of ameliorative regulation towards reform, given the hardness of heart principle. Second, you seem to be ignorant of the wider relevant scope of the corpus of OT civil law, which e.g. specifically forbids mistreatment of the non Israelite through a double standard of justice. Lets go back just one chapter from the vv you point to: Lev 24:22 “You shall have the same rule for the sojourner and for the native, for I am the Lord your God.” This is in the immediate context that punishment must be only proportionate to crime. Thus, fundamental equity obtained as a controlling principle i/l/o our common status as God’s children made in his image; this would especially obtain in regard to core rights as we would call them. (The OT tended to focus on the dual to rights, duties of care and of justice.) Third, you are projecting an alien concept of law tracing to pagan Roman law and developed through the dynamics and history of plantation agriculture compounded by racist dehumanisation of those kidnapped into slavery, in the main, to the very different circumstances of the early commonwealth of Israel. I am not saying you do this knowingly, there is a lot of confident opinion on this and related matters (some of it with a veneer of scholarship) that is simply ill informed. Regrettably, some of this has been taken up by those with an ideological axe to grind. A key tell is unwillingness to acknowledge the root challenge of bridging IS and OUGHT and how this points to the significance of ethical theism, then a further unwillingness to address the warrant for the truth of the gospel multiplied by intent to undermine gospel ethics as inconvenient to where they would take our civilisation. We need to do some serious re-thinking about our civilisation and the voyage of folly and shipwreck we seem determined to pursue. KF

  69. 69
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: As a reminder:

    It is not too hard to figure out that our civilisation is in deep trouble and is most likely headed for shipwreck. (And of course, that sort of concern is dismissed as “apocalyptic,” or neurotic pessimism that refuses to pause and smell the roses.)

    Plato’s Socrates spoke to this sort of situation, long since, in the ship of state parable in The Republic, Bk VI:

    >>[Soc.] I perceive, I said, that you are vastly amused at having plunged me into such a hopeless discussion; but now hear the parable, and then you will be still more amused at the meagreness of my imagination: for the manner in which the best men are treated in their own States is so grievous that no single thing on earth is comparable to it; and therefore, if I am to plead their cause, I must have recourse to fiction, and put together a figure made up of many things, like the fabulous unions of goats and stags which are found in pictures.

    Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain [–> often interpreted, ship’s owner] who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. [= The people own the community and in the mass are overwhelmingly strong, but are ill equipped on the whole to guide, guard and lead it]

    The sailors are quarrelling with one another about the steering – every one is of opinion that he has a right to steer [= selfish ambition to rule and dominate], though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary. They throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them [–> kubernetes, steersman, from which both cybernetics and government come in English]; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard [ = ruthless contest for domination of the community], and having first chained up the noble captain’s senses with drink or some narcotic drug [ = manipulation and befuddlement, cf. the parable of the cave], they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such a manner as might be expected of them [–> Cf here Luke’s subtle case study in Ac 27].

    Him who is their partisan and cleverly aids them in their plot for getting the ship out of the captain’s hands into their own whether by force or persuasion [–> Nihilistic will to power on the premise of might and manipulation making ‘right’ ‘truth’ ‘justice’ ‘rights’ etc], they compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not-the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer’s art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part of their calling.

    Now in vessels which are in a state of mutiny and by sailors who are mutineers, how will the true pilot be regarded? Will he not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing?

    [Ad.] Of course, said Adeimantus.

    [Soc.] Then you will hardly need, I said, to hear the interpretation of the figure, which describes the true philosopher in his relation to the State[ –> here we see Plato’s philosoppher-king emerging]; for you understand already.

    [Ad.] Certainly.

    [Soc.] Then suppose you now take this parable to the gentleman who is surprised at finding that philosophers have no honour in their cities; explain it to him and try to convince him that their having honour would be far more extraordinary.

    [Ad.] I will.

    [Soc.] Say to him, that, in deeming the best votaries of philosophy to be useless to the rest of the world, he is right; but also tell him to attribute their uselessness to the fault of those who will not use them, and not to themselves. The pilot should not humbly beg the sailors to be commanded by him –that is not the order of nature; neither are ‘the wise to go to the doors of the rich’ –the ingenious author of this saying told a lie –but the truth is, that, when a man is ill, whether he be rich or poor, to the physician he must go, and he who wants to be governed, to him who is able to govern. The ruler who is good for anything ought not to beg his subjects to be ruled by him [ –> down this road lies the modern solution: a sound, well informed people will seek sound leaders, who will not need to manipulate or bribe or worse, and such a ruler will in turn be checked by the soundness of the people, cf. US DoI, 1776]; although the present governors of mankind are of a different stamp; they may be justly compared to the mutinous sailors, and the true helmsmen to those who are called by them good-for-nothings and star-gazers.

    [Ad.] Precisely so, he said.

    [Soc] For these reasons, and among men like these, philosophy, the noblest pursuit of all, is not likely to be much esteemed by those of the opposite faction; not that the greatest and most lasting injury is done to her by her opponents, but by her own professing followers, the same of whom you suppose the accuser to say, that the greater number of them are arrant rogues, and the best are useless; in which opinion I agreed [–> even among the students of the sound state (here, political philosophy and likely history etc.), many are of unsound motivation and intent, so mere education is not enough, character transformation is critical].

    [Ad.] Yes.

    [Soc.] And the reason why the good are useless has now been explained?

    [Ad.] True.

    [Soc.] Then shall we proceed to show that the corruption of the majority is also unavoidable, and that this is not to be laid to the charge of philosophy any more than the other?

    [Ad.] By all means.

    [Soc.] And let us ask and answer in turn, first going back to the description of the gentle and noble nature.[ — > note the character issue] Truth, as you will remember, was his leader, whom he followed always and in all things [ –> The spirit of truth as a marker]; failing in this, he was an impostor, and had no part or lot in true philosophy [–> the spirit of truth is a marker, for good or ill] . . . >>

    (There is more than an echo of this in Acts 27, a real world case study. [Luke, a physician, was an educated Greek with a taste for subtle references.] This blog post, on soundness in policy, will also help)

  70. 70
    Axel says:

    ‘Any permanent personal injury brought freedom and loss of a master’s investment. The master’s power over the slave was thus limited, which made this law unprecedented in the ancient world.

    Take note of the last sentence atheists (notably, BB), and stop peddling your more egregious fantasies – this time concerning the relationship of the ancient Hebrews to God’s law, in contrast to that of the pagan world in its blindness.

  71. 71
    PaoloV says:

    Leviticus 25:44–46 [from the nations]: These slaves included people whom Israel was to either drive out or destroy (i.e., slavery was a humane option) and those who came to Israel in the Exodus from Egypt. -NKJV MacArthur Study Bible

    Did slavery exist before the Jewish Laws were given?
    Check this out:
    Slavery in ancient Greece

  72. 72
    Ed George says:

    This has to be one of the most ridiculous threads I have read here. One side says that the Bible condones slavery, which seems to be borne out by a literal reading of the various texts. The other side is arguing over the meaning of the word “slave”. I don’t see why either side gets so emotionally wrapped up in this subject. Modern civilization, in spite of its many faults, has come to the conclusion that owning another person is wrong. Regardless of what people think the Bible says, we should be celebrating this.

  73. 73
    PaoloV says:

    Slavery in ancient Greece

    Did Jesus destroy the established social order in the first century?

    No.

    Does that mean He supports it?

    No.

    Romans 13:1-7

    Submission to the Authorities ] Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, …

  74. 74
    StephenB says:

    Ed George

    This has to be one of the most ridiculous threads I have read here. One side says that the Bible condones slavery, which seems to be borne out by a literal reading of the various texts. The other side is arguing over the meaning of the word “slave”.

    No. One side is arguing that the bible does not condone slavery and the other side is arguing that it does. Definitions of terms are a necessary condition for rational arguments. though they are not, in themselves, arguments. But thank you for playing.

  75. 75
    hazel says:

    I agree with the second part of what Ed wrote. Irrespective of what people thought in the past, or whether the Bible condoned it or not (so what?), we agree now that slavery of all sorts is wrong. Times change, and what was considered OK at one time is now considered as wrong. That’s progress.

  76. 76
    Mimus says:

    KF, Paolo et al

    The thread title doesn’t ask whether the Israelites where kinder slave-keepers, whether the model of slavery used in the levant ws the same as plantation slavery in the US or whether slavery is better than genocide. It asks if the bible condones slavery. It’s clear that it does, including chattle slavery for non-Israelites. Squirming away from this conclusion in the way you have looks a bit silly, to be honest.

  77. 77
    kairosfocus says:

    Mimus, again, missing the point. KF

  78. 78
    ET says:

    Back in the day of the OT, most slaves were mere prisoners of war. They were held in lieu of reparations for said war.

    The point is the word “condone” carries unnecessary baggage: accept and allow (behavior that is considered morally wrong or offensive) to continue. Keeping PoW’s for slaves was never considered morally wrong or offensive.

    The wording should be that the Bible, specifically the Old Testament, accepted and allowed slavery under certain contexts. And given the state of the prisons, slavery may have been a life-saving option.

  79. 79
    StephenB says:

    Mimus

    It [the thread] asks if the bible condones slavery. It’s clear that it does, including chattle slavery for non-Israelites.

    Bad logic. To *allow* is not to *condone.* God allowed divorce in the Old Testament, but that doesn’t mean that He condoned it. In fact, He doesn’t (and didn’t). So it is with chattel slavery. God (and the bible) condones only what is good and chattel slavery is not good.

    Squirming away from this conclusion in the way you have looks a bit silly, to be honest.

    To instruct the ignorant on the meaning of words is not to squirm.

  80. 80
    Ed George says:

    SB

    Bad logic. To *allow* is not to *condone.*

    Actually, I think that is the definition of condone.

    Condone: accept and allow (behavior that is considered morally wrong or offensive) to continue.

    Isn’t that exactly what is being described in the Bible?

  81. 81
    StephenB says:

    Ed George

    Actually, I think that is the definition of condone.

    Condone: accept and allow (behavior that is considered morally wrong or offensive) to continue.
    Isn’t that exactly what is being described in the Bible?

    Good question – really! Both words do have elements in common, but they also contain nuances that distinguish them. I am using the word “allow” to mean *not interfere with* or *not prevent* and the word “condone” to mean *give tacit approval* or *support the morality of.* In that context, they are different. The problem is that they are being used as synonyms in a context where it doesn’t apply in order to discredit the bible.

    Thus, at that time in history, God does not interfere when the Israelites become captives nor does He condemn them for the practice of adultery, even though He does not approve of the morality of either practice, a point made clear in the New Testament (and also in your parenthetical expression).

    The question on the table, then, is this: Does God (or the bible) approve of the morality of slavery (or adultery). I have argued that the answer is no for the reasons stated above. So far, no one has presented a counter argument.

  82. 82
    PaoloV says:

    Definition of condone by Merriam-Webster:
    : to regard or treat (something bad or blameworthy) as acceptable, forgivable, or harmless

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/condone

    According to the Bible when Christ comes again then everything that is against God’s will should stop for good. Slavery is one of them.
    Christ asks us to treat others as we would like others treat us. He asks us to love our enemies.
    This is the same God through the whole Bible. No change. God allowed His son to be tortured and crucified. Does God considers such a practice acceptable, forgivable, or harmless?

  83. 83
    ET says:

    Condone: accept and allow (behavior that is considered morally wrong or offensive) to continue.

    Ed George:

    Isn’t that exactly what is being described in the Bible?

    No, because it wasn’t considered morally wrong or offensive to keep the conquered as slaves.

  84. 84
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, the crucial principle was put on the table from the OP on. You need to review it. SB is quite right to draw distinctions he makes. The key exemplar is in fact divorce, and the pivotal issue is that OT regulation and amelioration is buttressed by a key observation in Mal 2:16, I hate divorce. In the gospels (esp Mt 19:1 – 7) Jesus highlights that ameliorative regulation is not acceptance as good or harmless, noting that the OT law does not create or establish what is regulated due to the hardness of hearts; contrasting that this is what obtains in a fallen world contrasted with proper creation order for marriage. Indeed, he points out that whoever breaks or perverts marriage is acting against God: what God joins let no man put asunder. This is then paradigmatic and a benchmark for addressing other evils and abuses: the “and the like” yardstick principle as well as the “how much more” a fortiori principles of practical reason informed by inductive approaches by cases. It is in this context that the charter of freedom we see in Philemon becomes a critical test case. Onesimus’ very name — Useful — speaks to the Hellenistic “living tool” view of inferiors especially slaves. In writing a manumission letter to address a case of perceived harbouring of a runaway slave and thief [“useless”], he asserts brotherhood and sisterhood, offering to meet losses. In so speaking he utterly undermined the whole system, indeed it is noteworthy that he is doing so publicly; this is to be read out to the whole church. Note, it is evident that apart from the sign-off on covering losses or costs — the text was dictated to an attendant acting as scribe, WHILE CHAINED TO A ROMAN GUARD, in a context where harbouring runaways or calling explicitly for mass abolition would have set loose the Roman dragon, giving it an excuse for mass slaughter. Recall, this is c 61 AD and he is in Rome appealing a capital accusation of being a rebel and subversive; an appeal he made in the face of assassination plots and hoped for bribery to obtain release. So, there needs to be a reasonable responsiveness rather than attempted gotcha rhetoric and use of loaded language as I objected to in the OP. Historically, this very text — reproduced in entirety in the OP and studiously avoided by objectors in thread and lurking — was a key factor in undermining slavery in gospel-ethics influenced cultures. Indeed, the infographic in the OP documents that this is the source for the primary and secondary mottoes of the antislavery society. That secondary one spoke directly to sexual abuse and exploitation of female slaves. In this context, the persistent refusal to responsibly address the matters in a balanced way reflecting the subtleties involved is itself a sign. KF

  85. 85
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, a parallel (actually, the general case) is that God is creator-sustainer so in him we live, move and have our being. In order to obtain the highest intellectual and ethical virtues, we must be radically free. So, God accepts that freedom can and will be abused through sin. He corrects it and provides redemption. That is by no means a condoning of wrong. Indeed, at the last he will hold us to account. Similarly, in accepting freedom of expression, the law by no means condones torts of defamation etc. We are responsible to do the right and face judicial consequences for refusing to do so; far better than prior restraint on publication by entities with power to control access to expression, i.e. censorship. Those who hasten to try to use terms like “condone” to try to impeach gospel ethics don’t understand that they are in fact attacking foundations of liberty in law. This is often compounded by failing to distinguish [a] liberty under just law in defence of the civil peace of justice from [b] demanding that licence and lawless perversity be treated as though the community cannot have just cause to defend itself from the chaotic, uncivil impacts of such ruinous conduct. KF

  86. 86
    PaoloV says:

    Excellent commentaries @84-85.
    Definitely a “must read” for those interested in this highly relevant discussion topic.
    Thanks.

  87. 87
    Ed George says:

    KF

    In the gospels (esp Mt 19:1 – 7) Jesus highlights that ameliorative regulation is not acceptance as good or harmless, …

    I don’t think that anyone was saying that the Bible claims that slavery is good or harmless. Maybe BB or Mimus can chime in on this. But the Bible does talk frequently about servitude and outright slavery, and it describes rules around its practice. Much like it does with divorce. In neither case does the Bible say that these are good or harmless but, by definition, it does condone both.

    Perhaps the disagreement stems from your use of the word “condone” in the title of the OP. Perhaps a better term would have been “advocate” or “claim that slavery is good and harmless”, because only the completely irrational and unreasonable would say that the Bible claims either. This being said, I don’t really want to get into the weeds on this issue which, as I mentioned above, I find ridiculous.

  88. 88
    StephenB says:

    Ed George

    Perhaps the disagreement stems from your use of the word “condone” in the title of the OP. Perhaps a better term would have been “advocate” or “claim that slavery is good and harmless”, because only the completely irrational and unreasonable would say that the Bible claims either.

    Yet the people who say that “God (or the bible) “condones slavery” usually mean to leave the reader with that sane irrational impression. Usually, they are challenging the Christian argument that the creator God is also a good and loving God, to which they say, “Oh really, then why does God condone slavery and “promote Genocide?” Surely, you are aware of this dynamic.

    The fact that they may not be using exactly the right word to express their cynicism doesn’t change the fact that they are, in effect, saying that God is a hypocrite, just as they are challenging the proposition that the bible, properly interpreted, is a sound moral guide. The one thing they are not saying is, “Don’t misunderstand, God may have permitted slavery out of respect to man’s free will, but it has no place in his moral universe.

    This being said, I don’t really want to get into the weeds on this issue which, as I mentioned above, I find ridiculous.

    An insistence on rigorous definitions is the sine qua non of a rational discussion. What you call “weeds” I call the tools of thought. It is ridiculous not to use them when they are needed, and they are certainly needed here.

  89. 89
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, I cited the statement made by BB, in order to correct it.As RHK-Webster notes, this term carries with it the suggestion ” to give tacit approval to.” Hence, the importance of the yardstick case of divorce as was already noted; esp. Mal 2:16, “I hate divorce” and the associated note about the hardness of men’s hearts. Philemon then becomes a pivotal work of global liberation (and more broadly of gospel ethics and the linked theistic approach to natural law), though it is in fact one of the smallest books in the Bible. KF

  90. 90
    PaoloV says:

    Since we humans decided -right at the beginning of our history- to reject God’s gracious conditions and instead followed our own ungodly desires, we were warned that it ain’t gonna be as it ought to be. And our Creator patiently let us mess things up as terribly as we have done it.
    But now we want to blame our own mess on God?
    We don’t want God to tell us what to do but we demand Him to fix our own mess, resulted from us rejecting His wise precepts? Do we realize what we’re doing?
    Instead of doubting God’s words, we should ask Him directly about anything we don’t understand and He will give us sufficient wisdom to understand according to His perfect will.
    We should long to get back to where we once belonged.

  91. 91
    PaoloV says:

    Long before the OT was written, we humans had established our own ungodly social rules, away from our Creator.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_ancient_Greece

  92. 92
    PaoloV says:

    Did Jesus come to destroy the established social order?

    Not in the first century of this Age of Grace.

    Does that mean He agrees with it?

    No. He left the mess we humans made of this world after rejecting God’s offer in Eden.

    But one day He will come to get rid of all this mess.

    Then every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Christ is Lord.

  93. 93
    PaoloV says:

    Romans 13:1-7

    [ Submission to the Authorities ] Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, …

    13:1 be subject to. A significant theme in vv. 1–7. governing authorities. The civil rulers, all of whom were probably pagans at the time Paul was writing. Christians may have been tempted not to submit to them and to claim allegiance only to Christ. established by God. Even the possibility of a persecuting state did not shake Paul’s conviction that civil government is ordained by God (see 1Pe 2:13–17 and notes).

    13:2 judgment. Either divine judgment or, more likely, punishment by the governing authorities, since v. 3 (“For”) explains this verse; see also v. 4.

    13:3 do what is right and you will be commended. Paul is not stating that this will always be true but is describing the proper, ideal function of rulers. When civil rulers overstep their proper function, the Christian is to obey God rather than human authorities (see Ac 4:19; 5:29).

    13:4 God’s servant. In the order of divine providence the ruler is God’s servant (see Isa 45:1 and note). good. Rulers exist for the benefit of society—to protect the general public by maintaining good order. sword. The symbol of Roman authority on both the national and the international levels. Here we find the Biblical principle of using force for the maintenance of good order.

    13:5 as a matter of conscience. Civil authorities are ordained by God, and in order to maintain a good conscience Christians must duly honor them.

    13:6 you pay taxes. Because rulers are God’s agents, who function for the benefit of society in general.

    NIV Study Bible Notes

  94. 94
    PaoloV says:

    13:1 be subject. This Gr. word was used of a soldier’s absolute obedience to his superior officer. Scripture makes one exception to this command: when obedience to civil authority would require disobedience to God’s Word (Ex. 1:17; Dan. 3:16–18; 6:7, 10; see note on Acts 4:19). governing authorities. Every position of civil authority without regard to competency, morality, reasonableness, or any other caveat (1 Thess. 4:11, 12; 1 Tim. 2:1, 2; Titus 3:1, 2). there is no authority except from God. Since He alone is the sovereign ruler of the universe (Pss. 62:11; 103:19; 1 Tim. 6:15), He has instituted 4 authorities on earth: 1) the government over all citizens; 2) the church over all believers; 3) the parents over all children; and 4) the masters over all employees. appointed. Human government’s authority derives from and is defined by God. He instituted human government to reward good and to restrain sin in an evil, fallen world.

    13:2 resists the ordinance of God. Since all government is God-ordained, disobedience is rebellion against God. judgment. Not God’s judgment, but punishment from the government for breaking the law (see note on v. 4).

    13:3 not a terror to good works, but to evil. Even the most wicked, godless governments act as a deterrent to crime. Do what is good…have praise. Peaceful, law-abiding citizens need not fear the authorities. Few governments will harm those who obey their laws. In fact, governments usually commend such people.

    13:4 God’s minister…for good. By helping restrain evil and protecting life and property. Paul took advantage of his government’s role in promoting what is good when he exercised his rights as a Roman citizen to obtain justice (Acts 16:37; 22:25, 29; 25:11). bear the sword. This symbolizes the government’s right to inflict punishment on wrongdoers—especially capital punishment (Gen. 9:6; cf. Matt. 26:52; Acts 25:11). to execute wrath. Not God’s wrath, but the punishment inflicted by the civil authorities.

    13:5 be subject. See note on v. 1. because of…conscience’ sake. Out of a sense of obligation to God and to keep a clear conscience before Him (see note on 2 Cor. 1:12), not merely to avoid punishment from the civil authorities

    13:6 because of this. Because God ordained human government and demands submission to it (vv. 1–5). taxes. The Gr. word referred specifically to taxes paid by individuals, particularly those living in a conquered nation to their foreign rulers—which makes the tax even more onerous. That tax was usually a combined income and property tax. In this context, however, Paul uses the term in the broadest possible sense to speak of all kinds of taxes. Jesus explicitly taught that taxes are to be paid—even to the pagan Roman government (Matt. 22:17–21). He also set an example by willingly paying the temple tax (Matt. 17:24–27).

    13:7 Render…to all their due. “Render” translates a Gr. word signifying the payment of something owed—not a voluntary contribution—and is reinforced by the word “due.” The apostle reiterates that paying taxes is mandatory (see note on v. 6). customs. Tolls or taxes on goods. fear…honor. God demands that we show sincere respect and an attitude of genuine high esteem for all public officials.

    NKJV MacArthur Study Bible

  95. 95
    PaoloV says:

    Romans 13:1-7

    13:1 Christians have a distinct rationale for an appropriate submission to the governing authorities: the recognition that God Himself is the source of government in society (Prov. 8:15, 16; Dan. 2:21).

    13:2, 3 Rebellion against the authority implies rebellion against God’s ordinance.

    13:4 God’s servant for your good. The state’s authority is for society’s benefit; this is its normal function, and Paul assumes it may be realized in practical terms even when governments are professedly non-Christian.

    the sword. The power of life and death. Capital punishment is undoubtedly in view. Elsewhere Paul accepts the principle of such punishment where appropriate (Acts 25:11).

    wrath. What the individual must not do out of a motive of revenge (12:19), the state may legitimately do in the pursuit of justice.

    13:6 you also pay taxes. Christian submission is a response of the conscience instructed by divine revelation. Because the task of government is divinely ordained and requires financial support, the Christian can pay taxes with a distinctive motive and understanding, as an element of devotion to God.

    13:7 Pay to all what is owed to them. See Matt. 22:21. Paul was evidently familiar with Jesus’ statement, and here indicates how it is applied.

    Reformation Study Bible provided by Ligonier Ministries.

  96. 96
    Ed George says:

    SB@88, I agree with what you have said with respect to the motives and intentions of some atheists. But rather than responding with convoluted rationale when someone says that the Bible condones slavery, wouldn’t it be a better approach to simply describe what “condone” means and state that this does not imply or infer that the Bible is advocating for slavery air claiming that it is harmless? Providing detailed and convoluted rationale only appears to egg them on.

  97. 97
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, the problem has already been noted and corrected. KF

    PS: Merriam-Webster is perhaps the most direct:

    condone verb
    con·?done | \ k?n-?d?n
    \
    condoned; condoning
    Definition of condone

    transitive verb
    : to regard or treat (something bad or blameworthy) as acceptable, forgivable, or harmless

  98. 98
    StephenB says:

    Ed George:

    I agree with what you have said with respect to the motives and intentions of some atheists. But rather than responding with convoluted rationale when someone says that the Bible condones slavery, wouldn’t it be a better approach to simply describe what “condone” means and state that this does not imply or infer that the Bible is advocating for slavery air claiming that it is harmless? Providing detailed and convoluted rationale only appears to egg them on.

    It isn’t convoluted at all. I think you are getting confused about the meaning of the dictionary definition. To condone is (as indicated above) *to regard or treat (something bad or blameworthy) as acceptable, forgivable, or harmless *

    So when anti-Christians say that God (or the bible) condones slavery, they are saying that God (or the bible) regards something that is bad or blameworthy (slavery) as something that is acceptable, forgivable, or harmless. It’s very straightforward.

  99. 99
    Ed George says:

    KF

    EG, the problem has already been noted and corrected. KF

    If you really believe this, then I will drop it.

  100. 100
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, kindly cf OP, 98 and PS to 97 above. As with ever so many arguments by objectors, the fuzziness of a term is being used in arguments with a swivel. That is why precise terms and frameworks are needed, and it is noted that there are many matters where careful, highly structured definitions, statements and chains of reasoning are needed precisely because it is easy to go off the rails. Mathematics, Law, Physics and Chemistry [I am currently again pondering the Rebinder effect and lubricants etc], Philosophy and Theology (especially when systematising) are typical cases. In this case, the dynamic is not hard: addressing an existing cultural pattern that is entrenched (= the hardness of hearts and darkness of minds) through ameliorative regulation that gradually shifts culture. In that context, softened hearts and enlightened minds open up the approach Paul used in Philemon. Which, I note again is a charter of liberation and freedom for our civilisation with being the source of antislavery society mottoes as a clear marker of its impact. I further observe that until the rise of print, creation of cheap handbills and pamphlets (with linked elementary education and literacy . . . often energised by desire to read Scripture for oneself, indeed often that was the textbook), creation of regular newspapers and influence of gospel ethics through impacts of the Protestant Reformation [for all the evils and horrors that also happened] public opinion able to influence policy and a mature enough public to make informed decisions through voting were not credible. Notice, Plato’s Parables of the Cave and the Ship of State, with issues of elite manipulation and demagoguery. Where, narrow, wealthy, privileged class power elites deriving from warrior classes are always going to be very hard to move peacefully. That means the late 1600’s and such is exactly when key writings and the Glorious Revolution happened. Over the next century the first Constitutional Republic of democratic character emerged and onward we saw popular reform movements with the antislavery movement in the van. These are deep waters. KF

  101. 101
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, Ironically, wrongs, sins, perversions, injustices etc can be forgiven, but the issue of repentance and reformation shows they are not condoned. “Forgivable” in Merriam-Webster itself is not well phrased, winked-at is probably more accurate, though archaic. KF

  102. 102
    kairosfocus says:

    PaoloV, you may find this helpful. KF

  103. 103
    PaoloV says:

    KF,

    That’s a very insightful and timely analysis you wrote about the handwriting on the wall we see all over around us. Many visitors here could benefit from reading your article about the words: “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN”. I hope that we all open that link you provided. And I pray that such reading lead us to read the entire chapter 5 of Daniel and that whole book, eventually leading all of us to carefully read what the whole Bible has to tell us about the relevant things in life.

    Thank you for calling my attention to this. I highly appreciate it.

  104. 104
    PaoloV says:

    KF has very timely pointed to this fundamental warning that we all should take seriously :

    “… have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.”

  105. 105
    kairosfocus says:

    PaoloV, Yup, seldom has a sum of money presented as a puzzle — the original case of the handwriting on the wall — been so significant. Up to 50 years ago we could read it directly: 2/1/6 — £ 2, 1 shilling, 6 pence. KF

  106. 106
    StephenB says:

    So here is where we are. One group of Anti-Christian partisans claim, falsely, that the bible condones slavery, while a second group of anti-Christian partisans says that the first group was misunderstood because the word “condone” doesn’t really mean what the dictionary says it means.

    When those in the second group get caught in their deception, they suddenly go silent, proving that they are even more dishonest than those in the first group, which can at least be credited for saying what they mean.

  107. 107
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, sad but revealing. And to date there is no serious engagement of the substantial matter on the table starting with the whole text and significance of Philemon. KF

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