Slavery? NO WAY...NONE!

I've said this before, and I'll say it again, there is no justification for God to have allowed the slavery in the American South, or any slavery for that matter. None. If God was perfectly good, he would've said, "Thou shalt not trade, buy, own, or sell slaves" (KJV version), and said it as often as he needed to do so. But he didn't. The following is an excerpt from freed slave Frederick Douglass' Narrative of his life:

In one incident Frederick Douglass described how his Christian master whipped his aunt right before his young eyes. “He took her into the kitchen, and stripped her from neck to waist. He made her get upon the stool, and he tied her hands to a hook in the joist. After rolling up his sleeves, he commenced to lay on the heavy cowskin, and soon the warm, red blood came dripping to the floor.” “No words, no tears, no prayers, from his gory victim, seemed to move his iron heart from its bloody purpose. The louder she screamed, the harder he whipped; and where the blood ran fastest, there he whipped longest. He would whip her to make her scream, and whip her to make her hush; and not until overcome by fatigue, would he cease to swing the blood clotted cowskin.”

On this issue I am adamant. There is no excuse for God not to have effectively communicated to his followers what he wanted them to do...none! There has been so much needless intense pain and misery caused by God's shortsightedness here that I see no reason why people are still not angry about God's ineptitude. My only comfort is that he does not exist! I cannot be too angry with the forces of nature, human ignorance, greed, fear and hate for this, even though as part of the forces of nature I can still argue against this inhumane behavior, but if such a lousy God does indeed exist, he should be fired! So let me do this:

You're Fired!


Anonymous said...

This is a common myth brought up by atheists that scripture sanctions slavery. The Bible clearly denounces slavery as sin. The Bible places slavery in the same category as murderers, adulterers, perverts and liars.(1 Tim. 1:10)

Slavery in the Old Testament context was sanctioned due to economic realities rather than racial or sexual pejudices. Because bankruptcy laws did not exist, people would voluntarily sell themselves into slavery. A craftsman could thus use his skills in servitude to discharge a debt. Even a convicted theif could make restitution by serving a slave.(Ex. 22:3)

While the Bible recognizes the reality of slavery it never promotes the practice of slavery. In fact, it was the application of Biblical principles that ultimately led to the overthrow of slavery, both in ancient Israel and the Uninted States.

Even the Bible teaches that all people are created by God with innate equality.

Lets learn how to interpret the Bible people.

exapologist said...

It's bizarre to think that this sort of response vindicates God. It's not as if an omniscient, omnipotent being could be hamstrung by such things as contextual conditions. He could've providentially ordered things so that such conditions never arose.

Also, I often hear/read in commentaries about the great improvements that the OT brought to existing moral and legal standards. This argument is just as terrible. We're talking about what sort of moral and legal standards an omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good god would reveal. As such, the minimum requirement is for God to have a *good* legal and moral code; not just one that's *better, yet still immoral*. But such is what we get in the OT.

Anonymous said...

Just as Joseph was sold into slavery in the Bible: "God's intentions were good man's intentions were evil"

Anonymous said...

God should have said something about not killing too. If he did, it obviously wasn't clear; otherwise, Christians never would have killed anyone.

Anonymous said...

The Bible places slavery in the same category as murderers, adulterers, perverts and liars.(1 Tim. 1:10)

Most versions use the word "kidnappers". This is far from a clear condemnation of slavery (is a person forced into slavery by law or birth "kidnapped").

Kevin Brown said...

20 Reasons to Abandon Christianity.

Number fifteen of the twenty is that God sanctions slavery.
15. Christianity sanctions slavery. The African slave trade was almost entirely conducted by Christians. They transported their victims to the New World in slave ships with names such as "Mercy" and "Jesus," where they were bought by Christians, both Catholic and Protestant. Organized Christianity was not silent on this horror: it actively encouraged it and engaged in it. From the friars who enslaved Native Americans in the Southwest and Mexico to the Protestant preachers who defended slavery from the pulpit in Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia, the record of Christianity as regards slavery is quite shameful. While many abolitionists were Christians, they were a very small group, well hated by most of their fellow Christians.

The Christians who supported and engaged in slavery were amply supported by the Bible, in which slavery is accepted as a given, as simply a part of the social landscape. There are numerous biblical passages that implicitly or explicitly endorse slavery, such as Exodus 21:20–21: "And if a man smite his servant, or his maid with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money." Other passages that support slavery include Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22, Titus 2:9–10, Exodus 21:2–6, Leviticus 25:44–46, 1 Peter 2:18, and 1 Timothy 6:1. Christian slave owners in colonial America were well acquainted with these passages.

Since human morality is superior to that of the alleged Christian deity and since the alleged Christian deity is defined as perfectly moral, it can be determined that either the Christian deity is non-existent or is improperly defined. Isaiah 45:6 supports the idea of improper definition. Perhaps Christians simply need to refine their definitions of YHWH. How convenient to be able to simply reshape one's mental idol to suit any given purpose.

Kevin Brown said...

Sorry the correct Bible verse is Isaiah 45:7 and it goes I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

Kevin Brown said...

From "Biblical Errancy" by Dennis McKinsey

Slavery--The Indianapolis Star, one of the most conservative newspapers in the nation, has always quoted 2 cor. 3:17, "Where the Spirit of Lord is, there is liberty," on the front of each and every issue. Yet, if the Bible were, indeed, the Word of God, as apologists allege, it would be difficult to find a comment more at variance with the facts. All of the following verses show the God of the Bible sanctioned, indeed, instituted slavery--the absence of liberty. "Then thou shalt take an awl, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever. And also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise (Deut. 15:17, KJV)." (In order to minimize the Bible's support for slavery, the King James translators used "servant" instead of "slave" in this verse and others. The RSV translators used "bondman." Any knowledgeable authority knows slaves are being discussed, and several versions, e.g. the NWT and Living Bible, are honest enough to admit as much.)

But to continue: "Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can will them to your children as inherited property and you can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly ( Lev. 25:44-46, NIV)." "If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property (Ex. 21:20-21, NIV)." "I (the Lord-ed) will sell your sons and daughters to the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, a nation far away (Joel 3:8, NIV)" (See also: Ex. 21:2-6, Deut. 15:12, 28:68, and Jer.27:8,12).

Apologists attempted to gloss over the situation by alleging these verses came from the God of the Old Testament and his laws, while the New Testament's God is supposedly one of love, liberty and compassion. If so, somebody forgot to tell Peter and Paul. The latter said: "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men....(Eph. 6:5-7, NIV)." "All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God's name and our teaching may not be slandered (1 Tim. 6:1, NIV)." "Slaves, obey your earthy masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord (Col. 3:22, NIV)." "Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them,....(Titus 2:9, NIV)." Paul not only sanctions slavery but equates serving one's master with serving God. To serve one faithfully is to serve the other faithfully. Peter agrees with Paul: "Slaves, submit yourselves to your master with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also those who are harsh....Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:18,21, NIV)." Clearly, according to the Bible, the spirit of the Lord has little to do with liberty. If they were inseparable, God wouldn't be supporting the slavemasters. Confederate leaders during the Civil War were quite correct when they contended the Bible supported slavery. "...Let the gentleman go to Revalation to learn the decree of God--let him go to the Bible,.... I said that slavery was sanctioned in the Bible, authorized, regulated, and recognized from Genesis to Revelation.... Slavery existed then in the earliest ages, and among the chosen people of God; and in Revelation we are told that it shall exist till the end of time shall come. You find it in the Old and New Testament--in the prophecies, psalms, and the epistles of Paul; you find it recognized, sanctioned everywhere (Jefferson Davis by Rowland, Vol. I, p. 316-17)." The well-known reverend Alexander Campbell contended: "there is not one verse in the Bible inhibiting slavery, but many regulating it. It is not then, we conclude, immoral." However, biblical support justifies nothing. Slavery was no more right in 2,000 B.C. than in 2,000 A.D. Morality has not changed that much, regardless of cultural difference and time differentials.

Anonymous said...

I posted my comment on the wrong thread, but what I said there is like this: What God did not do is condemn! That's exactly what Jesus said - He said He didn't come to condemn. Shees! I know that sounds strange until you realize perhaps that maybe there is someone you yourself have hurt. But anyway, I added a further question - so what are you saying? That God should forgive all other sin but not slave holding? He acknowledged the truth of war and poverty also, but offered salvation to both slave and slave holder, warrior and war victim, poor and rich alike.

I am getting delivered and set free from being held captive to the cycle of mistreatment that is so easily provoked within my territorial human nature - it is a good thing!

Thanks (again)

Anon 1035

Steve said...

Anon 1035, I believe the problem isn't that God forgives or doesn't forgive slavery or any other sin. The problem is, according to the Bible, slavery isn't sin, when keeping in mind that it is morally wrong, the Bible (supposedly being a moral book) should at least condemn it, let alone not condone it.

To go a bit further, the old testament laws are where the majority of the Bible determines where something is "sin" or not. The only problem is that what is called "sin" is simply anything that didn't fit with the hebrew culture of the time in which it was written, not to do what was best for mankind.

Anonymous said...


You said:
"We're talking about what sort of moral and legal standards an omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good god would reveal."

You are assuming people were listening and cared about what God thought when He chose to reveal something.

There's a book called, "They Called Me Mama" which tells the story of a Christian missionary couple to Africa. In the course of the story the man/husband, is talking to a tribal cheif who has recently believed in the God of the Bible. The man is puzzled because he has several wives but the Bible says to be the husband of one wife in order to be a spiritual leader. The missionary prays about how to answer this chief, if I remember right, and through prayer comes to the understanding that if the chief is already married to each woman, he should stay married and love them each as God tells husbands to love thier wives.

That story is similar to what I think God did in the OT and to some degree in the NT. Slavery is a much larger and terrible thing, but given human nature to defy any will usurping our own, what do you think God should have done?

So He says, "Don't own, trade or sell other people as slaves"...what does He add on?...."Or I'll shake my finger at you"...."Or you will have to swim 10 laps across the Atlantic"...????

Anonymous said...

God's biggest threat is always hell if we disobey. Christians wouldn't create a law based upon disobedience to God, which is why homosexuality was illegal up until the time that Christian influence waned, and reason prevailed.

Anonymous said...

Jesus approaches all of us as though we are slaves, in need of salvation. It makes sense that the OT folks were infected and indoctrinated into slavery themselves from their own mistreatment. I can't recall the pschological term , but there is a name assigned for the pattern of victims wanting to become like their victimizers. So, it makes sense that they were in need of a savior and that Jesus told them to love their enemies in order to be set free spiritually. As far as advice to slaves in the New Testament, I don't believe it is an act of faith to allow circumstances to govern one's life. To allow circumstances to infect us with , revenge, hatred, etc. is in accordance with the natural, not the supernatural.

A free spirit is one who loves, regardless, above the natural inclinations towards fight or flight. I believe mankind is capable of doing good within a finite period of time, but eventually, given enough distress, our natural make-up gives rise to all sorts of mistreatment and justification to do so. That is the bondage that exists in more overt demonstrations of slavery and more ulterior (spiritual, mental, emotional) versions of it.

Anon 1035

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

I am getting a little tired of Christians arguing in ways that cuts the feet out from under their own premises. One Wave, your 'what could poor little God do' argument doesn't hold the slightest water. The fact is that the Bible DID, effectively, end the practice of human sacrifice wherever it spread, through the story of Mount Moriah. It did end polytheism. If the authors had viewed slavery as wrong, it could have ended that as well. There's even a story that could have been used -- given that much of the slavery was 'war slavery,' i.e. the enslavement of captives taken in war.
The usually forgotten first story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 14, which usually is noted as the one and only appearance of Melchizidek, has Abram -- as he was then -- aligning himself and the "318 trained men born in his household" against the enemies of Sodom in order to rescue Lot, who has been taken captive.

After the battle is over, the following happens:
"21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself."

22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and have taken an oath 23 that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the thong of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, 'I made Abram rich.' 24 I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me—to Aner, Eshcol and Mamre. Let them have their share."

Think of how that passage could have been used to condemn the accepting of people as the 'spoils of war.' It isn't, because slavery wasn't seen as wrong.

This is a God who would have disobedient children -- but not slave owners -- put to death. (Deuteronomy 21:18-21
"18 If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." 21 Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid."

This is a God who decrees exile for a man who sleeps with his wife during her period -- but not for a slave trader.
(Leviticus 19:18
'If a man lies with a woman during her monthly period and has sexual relations with her, he has exposed the source of her flow, and she has also uncovered it. Both of them must be cut off from their people.')

This is a God who makes the following decree -- "11 If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, 12 you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity."

but gives no punishment for selling a debtor into slavery.

But the New Testament is different?? Let's look at that in another comment.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

In the other thread on slavery, the usually reasonably sensible Anon 1035 says:
"Jesus didn't come to condemn but to save and set captives free. He never condemned war or poverty either but acknowledged the truth of their existance. He offers salvation to all - slave and slave holder alike."

Yes, well he also offers salvation to the murderer and the victim alike. This does not stop him from condemning murder, and seeing anger as being the equivalent of murder in Matthew 5.

He does not condemn? Matthew 11
"20Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21"Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths.[d] If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you."

But when he tells the Parable of the Unjust Steward, does he condemn the king for threatening to sell the steward and his whole family into slavery? No. The whole idea of the parable is that the king 'tempers justice with mercy' and then the steward who does not show mercy is condemned. The king would be RIGHT to sell them, but he is merciful and refrains.

Jesus condemns 'he who looks at a woman lustfully' in Matthew 5:28. He threatens with hell the man who does not cut off his right hand if it causes him to sin. But he does not condemn slavery.

John, you got it right.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prup! You are too kind to refer to me as reasonable - I only wish!

The parables you mention whereby Jesus "condemns" those who look lustfully or "threatens heel the man who does not cut off his right hand if it causes him to sin" are prophetic ways to compare the value and way of God's love versus our way. They are not intended as commands but as references to value and comparison as to the way God loves us versus our way of relating to each other. I don't know if I am articulating this very well -let me know, okay? okay! At any rate, the purpose of my writing here is to soften hearts - when I read the writings of you guys, I do not see people who belong in Hell, but compassionate people who love justice and who should know that they are well loved and liked by God.

The problem with grace is that it doesn't appear fair and it seems offensive. I don't want you to go back to your old religion - I want you to continue to progress towards God. Oh well, I get discouraged, but I do think you guys are well worth risking dispute, debate, mockery, etc. etc.

Thanks! As always, Anon 1035

exapologist said...

Hi OneWave,

I don't think I'm following your point from the book you read. It appears that, if the story is accurate, God told him to do something that contradicts what he had the NT author write re: having one wife. But in any case, isn't the passage (I can't remember offhand -- is it 1 Timothy?) about elders are pastors in particular, and not "spiritual leaders" in general (say, the "spiritual leader" of a household, i.e., the husband, as most evangelicals say. If so, then what role is there for prayer here? The Bible already tells us: if the tribal chief is a "spiritual leader" in the sense of a pastor or elder, then he should step down from that position. On the other hand, if he's a "spiritual leader" in some other sense, then there is no conflict, and he should obey the biblical injunction to remain married to each of his wives.

In any case, back to the business about slavery. Take a look at Exodus 21:20-21. The passage allows a Hebrew to beat their slave to death without punishment ("if he reamain alive for a day or two, he (the owner of the man or woman) shall not be punished, for the slave is his money"). I take it that it's self-evident that this is unjust: it allows this sort of wicked thing, and the slave, if he or she survives the beating, is not compensated for their abuse.

Now to address your question, "what would I have God do?": how about changing the law so that beating a slave in this way is prohibited, and if the master beats his slave, the slave is justly compensated. Does this sound like a high bar to you? If so, then I shudder at what you must think about American laws re: slavery and beating people.

Anonymous said...

Very good points Prup. I'll be thinking about this.

Anonymous said...

Slavery is promoted, justified and practiced on different levels (addictive behaviors, mistreatment of one another) until we are set free by the Christ spirit. Slavery to destructive human nature is actually a foundational condition from which we are all offered salvation. It is not a free spirit who vents his hostility towards those who are helpless or unable to defend themselves or viewed as weaker. So who will intervene on behalf of the slavekeeper?? Who will discern his spiritual starvation and weakness? Justice is one thing but God's grace, sightedness and faith are another.

Moral and legal codes, at best, can keep anarchy at bay, but fail to bring us out of our natural habit of conditional love.

Being set free from fear and the cycle of mistreatment might be referred to as self-actualization, but I think God calls it faith expressing itself in acts of love.


Anon 1035

Anonymous said...

Hi Exapologist,

My point was not made well, sorry.
My point was/is that God is more concerned with the relationship and the heart than behavior. We would agree that behavior is an indicator of what is in the heart, but sometimes we do things impulsively or unwisely and God is not there to hammer us if our attitude is one of contrition. That's what I believe anyway. God would not have the chief divorce his wives but save one, rather because the man already had several he should love them all.

This is a quick response...

In the book, the chief was looking at leading his tribe or other Christians. I'm not sure if he would be required to step down because his state was pre-existing. I don't know about that. Again, I would say that God is more concerned with the willingness to follow Him out of love rather than blind obedience. This leads into other areas, but for now I'm only sticking to this one.

Yes, I have some questions about that passage in Exodus. I agree that to beat a slave is horrible... there are many social issues that come into play but I can't go into that right now. I'll just plant the idea for now that for a society to work well there needs to be order. If there is order that seems to imply that there is authority. If there is authority it seems to follow that there is a way to enforce that authority. What ways would people use to enforce authority and who gets to be the authority?

I don't know, it seems very unfair, but so do a lot of other things. Again, I come to man and blame us. Why would a god or God even need to tell us such a thing? If we are enlightened now, what makes us enlightened and where is that enlightenment going to take us?

Anonymous said...

God's biggest threat is always hell if we disobey. Christians wouldn't create a law based upon disobedience to God, which is why homosexuality was illegal up until the time that Christian influence waned, and reason prevailed.

Yup, that is why all powerful nations have fallen in the past. They believed that they were free from harm, and mainly fell into immorality, and the nation fell apart from the inside out. Homosexuality is clearly wrong in the bible.

Jesus condemns 'he who looks at a woman lustfully' in Matthew 5:28. He threatens with hell the man who does not cut off his right hand if it causes him to sin. But he does not condemn slavery.

The point was on how detrimental sin can be.
Was slavery a sin? NO. Was treating slaves wrongfully a sin? Yes.

exapologist said...

I imagine Muslims arguing similarly:

"Those infidel Christians in America are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness about Allah and Islam. They reject his prophet and his words revealed in the Koran. See how the promiscuous women walk around without covering their face, and dont't submit to their husband? They even wear makeup and short skirts in their churches, and permit their lawless children to do the same. That's why Katrina happened, why the WTC attack worked, why their economy is in the toilet."

exapologist said...

I imagine Muslims arguing similarly:

"Those infidel Christians in America are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness about Allah and Islam. They reject his prophet and his words revealed in the Koran. See how the promiscuous women walk around without covering their face, and dont't submit to their husband? They even wear makeup and short skirts in their churches, and permit their lawless children to do the same. That's why Katrina happened, why the WTC attack worked, why their economy is in the toilet."

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Anon 1035: I have to call you on this one. We are not discussing slavery in the metaphorical sense you use it. We are discussing the real thing, where people are so robbed of their humanity that they become property of other people, that they can be sold, beaten, killed, their marriages could be ignored and they be separated from their families if the slaveowner could get a better price by selling them separately -- or if he chose to punish them. The law not only would not punish the 'owner' for such actions but would punish the slave were he to try and rebel.

Your metaphor not only demeans the seriousness of our feelings and this discussion, much more importanly it trivializes they very real sufferings that those who were slaves were liable to experience -- and if they were, in fact, treated well, they knew this was only because of the humanity of the owner and that should their 'ownership' be transferred they migyht not be so lucky the next time.

And, live-n-grace, you have conceded the point that John and the rest of us have been making. If, as you say, "Was slavery a sin? NO." then the supposed God who defines sin has no reason to get respect from any human being, because if anything is a sin, slavery IS.

Anonymous said...

Prup, I'm sad you see my words as diminishing of others' suffering - - I recognize that discussing pain as though it is a far off foreign territory does tend to objectify it - as though discussing others' pain will diminish our own.
but the truth is, pain is an up close and very real subject for most people, including myself. I have noticed that it does tend to be a habit for some people to elevate their own suffering as though it is some sort of virtue, but in fact, suffering emotionally, mentally or spiritually should not be categorized as metaphorical and diminished either but acknowledged as well.

At any rate, Prup, thanks for the exchange!

Anon 1035

Anonymous said...

Yes Prup, the majority of slavery is sin. Why? Because they mistreat them, they don't treat them as themselves. Those who treat them as themselves is not a sin. But because much of slavery is involved with mistreatment, we treat slavery as pure evil. Slavery was meant for those without jobs, for those whose who had been captured in war (enemies), ect... But the mistreament of them is a terrible thing, as we all know. What is the definition of slavery? If you have a lot of time on your hands, than try reading this "book":

Galatians 3:

"28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

All are created equal, and in view of Christ, treat all equal. In my view this doesn't necessarily condone slavery but rather treatment. Those who treated the African Americans badly were wrong and sinful to do so.

But I know for a fact that all of us have not treated everyone equally, so we should not be the ones to judge.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

One at a time.

First Anon 1035: I am sorry to keep hammering at you on this, but I have to. I seriously request that you take some time, go into a quiet room, and start thinking about exactly what the condition a slave was put. Imagine that as soon as you leave the room, you will be in that condition. Use every bit of the empathy you have shown here, and put yourself in that position. You are a slave. You are no longer considered a human being, but property. You no longer have any rights, intrinsically. You have no right to complain, whatever treatment you receive. You have no law that you can use to redress your grievances. You cannot move away, or live somewhere else, and if you do, any person can capture you and btring you back. Your situation is something like a prisoner's, but a prisoner has some rights that he can hope he can get enforced. You do not even have that hope. You cannot call an attorney to sue your master, because the law is on his side, the law doesn't recognize you even as a human being.

You have no right even to your beliefs. You are forced to attend whatever type of religious service -- if any -- your master chooses. If you get sick, the only thing you can hope for is that you have worked well enough that your master chooses to get a doctor for you, you can't call one for yourself.

Maybe you have gone through some celebration of marriage with someone you loved, but trhat very ceremony and that relationship is under your master's control. If he chooses, he can summon your spouse for any sort of sexual service he chooses to require. In fact, whatever you believe, whatever your own moral code, he can demand any sort of sexual service he likes from you.

Your children, if you have them? You look at them with sadness, because, for no other reason than they are your children -- you hope they are and not your master's -- they will spend their life in the same position as you are in.

Even more, you know that you will not even be able to teach them anything but what the master thinks is suitable for them to learn.

And finally, as I said before, that wife, those children, can be separated from you tomorrow, you or they can be sold, or all of you, and if your master can get a better profit by selling you to owner A and your wife to owner B -- three hundred miles away -- and your children to yet another owner in a completely different direction, there is NOTHING you can do to stop him, because he has rights.

You have NONE.

Think deeply in that quiet room, imagine you are in precisely that condition. Then imagine you see a letter from someone, a good man, yes, who has said precisely what you have said in your previous letter. Once you've used your empathy and put yourself in the mindset of a slave, write what that slave would write in response to the comparisons you've made.

Anonymous said...

Prup, I'm not certain, but are you saying that I am unempathetic towards the suffering of those who would be in physical bondage? Ouch! Oh well, it's okay - I'm quite certain I must have sounded that way, didn't I?

Prup, I came from a family that if one didn't show a total destructive anxiety attack for every story of despair, one would be relegated to the realm of unloving and uncaring villain and relegated as a disloyal traitor! It was as though our hand wringing and despairing was going to actually affect a positive outcome in the world and sometimes I really and honestly had no witness in my heart to despair - I really felt in certain instances that things would be okay. So, from that background, it is a little hurtful if you are perceiving me as superficial and trust me Prup, I would hope to have the courage to intervene if I encountered such a case of slavery. I haven't actually encountered any physical bondage lately, but I do have some faith building in regard to some I know who are suffering from anorexia and also suicidal tendencies. Sometimes I feel so afraid for other people - faith and hope are still in the formative phases for me.

Prup, as usual, yours and others here writing is compelling.

As always, 1035

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

1035: I hate to keep at you, as I've said, but you continue to miss my point. (It's funny, but even when I attended poetry readings, when my writing was praised, it usually meant that my meaning -- which is why I wrote what I wrote -- had been missed.)

I am not trying to get you to 'feel sorry' for someone in physical bondage. I am trying to get you to use your empathy to understand what it feels like to be in legal bondage; so that you can understand how slavery, with its depersonalization, with its treatment of human beings as property, and with its dismissal of any individual factor of the 'subject' except capability to work and -- in some cases -- sexual attractiveness or breeding capability, how this makes slavery the ultimate evil a human being can commit against another human being. (Yes, worse than murder. You can kill someone and still acknowledge and respect his humanity. You can not enslave someone and do the same.)
Because it is evil by human against human, it is not in the same category as anorexia, cancer, suicidal tendencies.
And I am going to try and force you to confront the fact of this evil -- even though it has been mostly confined to the past, because of humanity's developing moral sense -- because I still demand that you or some believer tell me how a God who condoned it, who did not condemn it as the ultimate evil it is can be considered worthy of respect or the author of ultimate morality.
(Because John and I are walking to the exact same direction by slightly different routes.)

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Of course I hope you read my comments to Anonymous 1035, but I wish to appeal to you differently. I want you to think. I want you, for just a minute, to strip off the scriptural armor you wrap yourself in to protect yourself from the world, and to stand naked before this reality.

I want you to 'become as a child,' and to remove the verbal constructs you have been given to interpret the world, and just to look as a child can look and frequently to see true evil, and to think about what you have seen.

I want you to grasp that the evil in slavery is not that the slaves are mistreated, but that they can be mistreated or not, at the whim of the owner, because they have been stripped of any humanity that is deemed worthy of respect.

I want you to see that the existence of slavery, itself, is a mistreatment of human beings no matter how much their comfort is provided for.

It is not a matter of treating slaves equally, because if they were equal, they WOULD NOT BE SLAVES. Because a slave, by definition is not equal, is not human, but is property. And THAT is the evil that a moral God would have condemned.

Anonymous said...

Prup, that's okay - you can keep at me - I don't know if you've noticed, but I do miss the point oftentimes so I really appreciate your patience.

Prup, the way I understand it and have experienced,Jesus was trying to set people free from legalism - since I'm almost 100% certain that you already are aware of this, I guess I have to concede that I disagree that the overt form of slavery is viewed as the ultimate evil - I just don't agree with you is all.

BTW, since I am in the habit of complying with people and circumstances rather than faith, I did try and meditate on what you said. I certainly could not focus on it though - instead, I realized that you had posted some very personal and compelling information on previous posts and there was not even one word of encouragement or validation from 1035 - I totally deserve being called insensitive and/or uncaring although I suspect you probably didn't expect any words of kindness, but still I don't blame you for perceiving me in such a way.

Prup, if you are tempted to exercise an expression of frustration, I promise I won't write anymore about slavery, okay? I still desire to soften hearts, not antagonize.

Anon 1035

Anonymous said...

Prup, sorry! Before you say, "don't write anymore about slavery" I think I may have realized what you are asking - about morality/condoning/slavery.

I have given this some thought some time ago and almost forgot about it but I concluded in my heart that lives (souls) are designed for bonding. If I am not bonded to God (a free spirit), then I am bonded to something else. I am bonded to serve God but not in a way that one would visualize a human mistreating another human.

Prup, it is what it is. This is what I have to offer. You are under no obligation to accept it of course, but I hope to convey something here that is different than your understanding of God. That is really what I'm trying to do so I guess it makes sense that we don't agree.

Okay, Prup, I have to go now to meet some friends - I wish I could agree with you - that is how I used to show love to people, but I never will and God is not mean or a slave driver.

Bye for now!

Anon 1035

PS - Good news! I misunderstood about my friend - she is NOT suicidal! I'm very glad!

Anonymous said...

Damn. I wish she would have killed herself

Anonymous said...

Juggalo - Exhibit A for secular humanism - I rest my case....

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Anon of the galloping stupidity (@12:29): Neither you nor I know who 'Juggalo' is, or what his religious view is. If you want to use this anonymous troll as Exhibit A for secular humanism, I'm sure you won't mind if we use the ravings of the Phelps Family Cult, the neo-Nazism of the 'Christian Identity' movement, and the 'Kludds' of the Ku Klux Klan as exhibits for Christianity. (You wouldn't mind, but we would, because we aren't that stupid.)

Anonymous said...

Prup, I am galloping studpidity anon - it's me - 1035.

Prup, humans don't make a good god for humanity - we just don't - we just end up beating each other up. If we all agree to erase God, then what remains is well --- you see what I mean. So, it matters not if Juggalo is secular humanist or not - this is a human being that will no doubt offend and hurt other human beings. So who is the God Who will come and do clean-up on Aisle 13????

I don't know about you, but I need a place to take hard feelings to and Y'shua already said it was okay to eat His body and drink His blood so we wouldn't end up devouring each other - we can't hurt Him if we aren't hurting ourselves and each other.

Now I personally do not take offense at being called galloping stupidity (I thought it a rather creative way to express yourself) especially when I understand your scolding to mean that you would never hurt my feelings in the way that Juggalo did and I appreciate that, Prup! I got your drift this time! That doesn't usually happen, does it?

Anon 1035

P.S. Did I tell you that the evening after our talk about slavery that I went to see a play - I think it was called "An American Girl - Addy's Story".
You may want to know that I was in tears - the best line ever was when Addy's mom said, "Don't hate the white people - there won't be any room for love in your heart!"

That was the best!


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Thank you, whoever did that last delete. I'm not one to advocate censorship but also, one should have the freedom to decide what belongs and what doesn't without pressure or fear of reproach.

I apologize for provoking any animosity with my comments. Juggalo - no grudge against you.

I know that nonbelievers have human hearts that desire what is life giving like anyone else and good - I just get concerned that the weight of the world will fall on those like you guys.

anon 1035

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Well, maybe we can have a marshmallow roast together, Jug!


Anonymous said...

Hey anon,

I'm glad to hear that your friend isn't suicidal. While not all secular humanists are the same neither do I think you are galloping stupidity (whatever that means).
Keep up the good work sweety.