Author Topic: Slaves, Obey Your Masters  (Read 8078 times)

Truthseeker

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Re: Slaves, Obey Your Masters
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2012, 04:44:11 PM »
My tenrure in Christianity was replete with a twisting of the immoral passages reflected in the Bible.  Anything that seemed nefarious in the slightest was inevitably articulated as reasonable or innocuous.  In this instance "slaves" were supposedly "maidservants".  Well then why use the term "slaves" then??  I mean we are talking about an infallible book that was written by a supreme being.  Why not make the reference as "maidservants" to prevent confusion.

And, yes, for you Christians out there, it is translated as "slave" from the original Hebrew.   
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Amicale

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Re: Slaves, Obey Your Masters
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2012, 05:38:44 PM »
Isn't the message of this billboard just saying "Don't use a 2000 year old book to guide your modern day life" ? I mean, that's what I took from it at least.

If most religious people actually read through the entirely of the bible, they'd probably get it can't possibly apply to the year 2012. I actually like this billboard, because it does display the message " LIVE LIFE IN THE MODERN TIME" ... at least that's what I think it is intending to say.

Or at the very least, it's suggesting that we need to think critically about how we live our lives, with the implication being that most of what society believed and lived by back then isn't what we believe and live by now. Slavery in the bible was more or less a form of indentured servitude. When you couldn't pay off a debt, or when you were a prisoner of war, you would become a slave and through the work you did you could often purchase your freedom again -- but even so, it doesn't make it right, and it doesn't make it a system we'd ever want to adopt today.

We shouldn't probably throw the baby out with the bathwater, though. I mean, it doesn't necessarily follow that just because an idea is 2,000 years old, it's wrong objectively and should be dismissed. For instance, if this earth survives its idiotic human population another 2,000 years without going 'foom' in nuclear blasts... chances are, the idea of evolution will still be around. I'm sure the science will be developed in astounding ways, and humanity will know more than we could ever hope to know now (and will have gotten rid of a lot of our current ideas), but the basic idea of evolution will probably still exist unless the scientific community at that time utterly disproves it. Unlikely, but possible.

So by the same token, there may be some 'nice bits' or 'morally neutral' bits in the Bible that are more or less still in existence today. It may be appropriate to acknowledge those... but there's an awful lot that we can reject as no longer being relevant to us now. Like slavery, for instance. I'd like to think that in 2,000 years, we as a species have developed further emotionally and morally than the people who lived back then. When I look around the world though, I do see that that progress, that development, doesn't depend on time. It depends on education. The more educated we are, the less we need the destructive old memes society used to live by -- the very ones that some cultures today do unfortunately still live by.


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AnimatedDirt

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Re: Slaves, Obey Your Masters
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2012, 07:05:00 PM »
And, yes, for you Christians out there, it is translated as "slave" from the original Hebrew.

Oh!  I thought the original Hebrew was more along the lines of a roommate.  Shucks.  There goes my faith again.  [/sarcasm]

:)

Amicale

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Re: Slaves, Obey Your Masters
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2012, 07:37:47 PM »
And, yes, for you Christians out there, it is translated as "slave" from the original Hebrew.

Oh!  I thought the original Hebrew was more along the lines of a roommate.  Shucks.  There goes my faith again.  [/sarcasm]

:)

AD, I hope the compliment I'm about to give you won't surprise and shock you or anything  :D but I happen to think that it's highly unlikely stuff like this would sway your personal faith. From what I can tell from what you've posted or said in the past, you've carefully thought about why you believe what you do, you've managed to make your faith both personal and contemporary, and you're willing to say 'I don't know' when you honestly aren't sure of something -- you don't blindly accept old arguments just because some think they might be good ones. So not that my opinion's worth anything, but even if we agree to disagree on faith issues, I genuinely respect the way you conduct yourself, and the way it seems you've thought out your beliefs. Things that don't make good moral sense today, you don't appear to buy into. And that's why it would certainly surprise me if you'd look at the slavery passage and go "oh shucks, I can't believe any more."


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Re: Slaves, Obey Your Masters
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2012, 08:08:02 PM »
AD, I hope the compliment I'm about to give you won't surprise and shock you or anything...[...]

I'll take it as such.  Thank you.

I suppose the frustrating part about being on this forum (as I don't belong to any other forum of the Atheist sort) is that, as I've mentioned, there is good reason to doubt, however I feel there is just as much reason to believe.  Both, the believer and the unbeliever, have made a choice based on their own interpretation and order of importance. 

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Re: Slaves, Obey Your Masters
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2012, 08:32:35 PM »
...and order of importance. 
I think priorities are indeed an important part of it for the more reflected believer or atheist. For someone who never knew a different life philosophy, maybe not so much.
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Truthseeker

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Re: Slaves, Obey Your Masters
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2012, 10:44:18 PM »
And, yes, for you Christians out there, it is translated as "slave" from the original Hebrew.

Oh!  I thought the original Hebrew was more along the lines of a roommate.  Shucks.  There goes my faith again.  [/sarcasm]

:)

AD, the comment I made was not at all intended to be offensive.  I certainly hope it did not come off that way.  I am just all to familiar with the argument of misinterpretation.  It is yet another source of reasoning that I employed as much or more than anyone when I was defending statements in the Bible (of which I held very dear) that seemed off the rails.  Whenever I came upon such a statement, one of my first responses was to look it up in the original Hebrew hoping it had been mistranslated.  So my apologies if it came off as anything other than just completing my thought.
Suffering is the breaking of the shell that encloses one's understanding.  Khalil Gibran

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Re: Slaves, Obey Your Masters
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2012, 10:58:07 PM »
And, yes, for you Christians out there, it is translated as "slave" from the original Hebrew.

Oh!  I thought the original Hebrew was more along the lines of a roommate.  Shucks.  There goes my faith again.  [/sarcasm]

:)

AD, the comment I made was not at all intended to be offensive.  I certainly hope it did not come off that way.  I am just all to familiar with the argument of misinterpretation.  It is yet another source of reasoning that I employed as much or more than anyone when I was defending statements in the Bible (of which I held very dear) that seemed off the rails.  Whenever I came upon such a statement, one of my first responses was to look it up in the original Hebrew hoping it had been mistranslated.  So my apologies if it came off as anything other than just completing my thought.

That's the whole point.  The bible DOES SEEM to condone lots of things...the meaning is not always on the surface, but within the context of the culture.  If some person lost their faith in God over whether the translation was "slave" or "roommate" is to say that that person never understood the story(ies) and simply never thought them over and put them into the context of today.  Also, this person probably never realized that WE are all slaves to the law that condemns...and how the slave of that culture relates to us today.  It has nothing to do with whether the bible condones slavery.  The historical story simply relays the actions of those people and is there for a reason.  If we make that reason to be the shallow "slavery" issue of the Negros from Africa and the early American position...we've lost the deeper meanin.  If it does condone slavery, then why is it that all of Christianity is not promoting slavery? 

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Re: Slaves, Obey Your Masters
« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2012, 11:08:34 PM »
  If it does condone slavery, then why is it that all of Christianity is not promoting slavery? 

Because mainstream religion has cherry picked the bits they like, and most christians don't even know it's in there?


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Truthseeker

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Re: Slaves, Obey Your Masters
« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2012, 11:43:26 PM »
Quote from: AnimatedDirt

That's the whole point.  The bible DOES SEEM to condone lots of things...the meaning is not always on the surface, but within the context of the culture.  If some person lost their faith in God over whether the translation was "slave" or "roommate" is to say that that person never understood the story(ies) and simply never thought them over and put them into the context of today.  Also, this person probably never realized that WE are all slaves to the law that condemns...and how the slave of that culture relates to us today.  It has nothing to do with whether the bible condones slavery.  The historical story simply relays the actions of those people and is there for a reason.  If we make that reason to be the shallow "slavery" issue of the Negros from Africa and the early American position...we've lost the deeper meanin.  If it does condone slavery, then why is it that all of Christianity is not promoting slavery? 

My only point was that I was not trying to be offensive with the "And yes, for those Christians out there...." comment.  As far as the rest of your post, I was never one to give my Christian beliefs or the Bible cursory thought.  The Bible was my life.  I studied it backwards and forwards for a solid decade.  I would have laid down my life for it.  I majored in theology for a few semesters.   It was my aim to be a preacher.  So I do have an intimate understanding of what you are referring to when you speak of the "culture" of that time and how it relates to today.  And I certainly did not walk away from my faith because of this silly verse.  Good god there are so many other blinding non sequiturs in the Bible that gave me pause and forced me to reconcile my rationale mind with the belief I was grasping.   It was not easy to walk away by any means.  I cried my eyes out.  But I knew I could not continue in this way. 

Furthermore, I completely concur with Amicale and her respect for you and your conduct on this forum.  Christianity needs more stand up people like yourself.       
Suffering is the breaking of the shell that encloses one's understanding.  Khalil Gibran

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Re: Slaves, Obey Your Masters
« Reply #25 on: March 15, 2012, 01:19:03 AM »
Also, this person probably never realized that WE are all slaves to the law that condemns...and how the slave of that culture relates to us today.

I've got to say, this is something that's always irked me -- equating a metaphorical state to an actual one.  We may be subject to the laws, but that is nowhere near the same as being a slave.

Quote
It has nothing to do with whether the bible condones slavery.  The historical story simply relays the actions of those people and is there for a reason.  If we make that reason to be the shallow "slavery" issue of the Negros from Africa and the early American position...we've lost the deeper meanin.

I rather think the deeper meaning of the bible's condoning slavery is found it's being evidence that humans create the gods that suit them, and I don't even know what to make of the idea that America's history of slavery is a shallow issue. 

Quote
If it does condone slavery, then why is it that all of Christianity is not promoting slavery? 

Different times, different culture sweeping embarrassing old ways under the rug, or ignorance of the bible's contents.  We've gone over this before.
Sandy

  

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Re: Slaves, Obey Your Masters
« Reply #26 on: March 15, 2012, 02:57:43 PM »
My only point was that I was not trying to be offensive with the "And yes, for those Christians out there...." comment.  As far as the rest of your post, I was never one to give my Christian beliefs or the Bible cursory thought.  The Bible was my life.  I studied it backwards and forwards for a solid decade.  I would have laid down my life for it.  I majored in theology for a few semesters.   It was my aim to be a preacher.  So I do have an intimate understanding of what you are referring to when you speak of the "culture" of that time and how it relates to today.  And I certainly did not walk away from my faith because of this silly verse.  Good god there are so many other blinding non sequiturs in the Bible that gave me pause and forced me to reconcile my rationale mind with the belief I was grasping.   It was not easy to walk away by any means.  I cried my eyes out.  But I knew I could not continue in this way.  

Furthermore, I completely concur with Amicale and her respect for you and your conduct on this forum.  Christianity needs more stand up people like yourself.

I didn't mean to insinuate that you had given up your religion over something so silly.  What I meant is that people (not you) that DO give up on religion over these types of things are the same people (IMHO) that do not take the time to own their religion.  That's not to say that everything can be explained, but that one can come to understand that we cannot always have all the answers.  Much like in science, we shrug our shoulders and expect that further down the path to truth we will find it.  It's quite ok to say we don't know everything.

And thank you too.  I endeavor to keep on that path.

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Re: Slaves, Obey Your Masters
« Reply #27 on: March 15, 2012, 03:12:17 PM »
Also, this person probably never realized that WE are all slaves to the law that condemns...and how the slave of that culture relates to us today.

I've got to say, this is something that's always irked me -- equating a metaphorical state to an actual one.  We may be subject to the laws, but that is nowhere near the same as being a slave.

Uninformed statement.  That's to say that it seems to me you might not have a clear understanding of the meaning when the bible writer says we are slaves to the law.  I'll leave you to search that out for yourself if you really want an understanding.

Quote from: BooksCatsEtc
Quote
It has nothing to do with whether the bible condones slavery.  The historical story simply relays the actions of those people and is there for a reason.  If we make that reason to be the shallow "slavery" issue of the Negros from Africa and the early American position...we've lost the deeper meanin.

I rather think the deeper meaning of the bible's condoning slavery is found it's being evidence that humans create the gods that suit them, and I don't even know what to make of the idea that America's history of slavery is a shallow issue.

What I meant by "shallow" (maybe not such a great word to convey) is that we equate the slavery of the bible to the slavery we know from our more recent history.  It wasn't the same. 

Quote from: BooksCatsEtc
Quote
If it does condone slavery, then why is it that all of Christianity is not promoting slavery? 

Different times, different culture sweeping embarrassing old ways under the rug, or ignorance of the bible's contents.  We've gone over this before.

It doesn't embarrass me one bit.  It's human nature portrayed without editing out the "ugly" side.

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Re: Slaves, Obey Your Masters
« Reply #28 on: March 15, 2012, 03:51:58 PM »
  If it does condone slavery, then why is it that all of Christianity is not promoting slavery? 

Because mainstream religion has cherry picked the bits they like, and most christians don't even know it's in there?

And what's wrong with cherry picking?  How else do you get the cherries?  Once you move past the "written in stone" idea (which almost all Christians have), then it's just a matter of figuring which principles and practices still apply in the modern world.  You can have a core of what is considered historical fact (Paul's summary of the core gospel truth in I Cor. 15, for example), and then the rest is a matter of contemporary application.

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Re: Slaves, Obey Your Masters
« Reply #29 on: March 15, 2012, 04:35:17 PM »
  If it does condone slavery, then why is it that all of Christianity is not promoting slavery? 

Because mainstream religion has cherry picked the bits they like, and most christians don't even know it's in there?

And what's wrong with cherry picking?  How else do you get the cherries?  Once you move past the "written in stone" idea (which almost all Christians have), then it's just a matter of figuring which principles and practices still apply in the modern world.  You can have a core of what is considered historical fact (Paul's summary of the core gospel truth in I Cor. 15, for example), and then the rest is a matter of contemporary application.

Well, I think we can at least say something good about the flexible nature of the Christians who have decided to get past the 'written in stone' idea. The problem is, despite their preference for not taking the Bible to be a 'written in stone' type of thing, the Bible itself says in several passages that it's the word of God, that it's meant to be authoritative, etc. In some cases (one, at least) the word of God was supposedly quite literally set in stone. So, either one believes that all the scriptures are the inspired word of God... or they don't. That's the problem right there, with picking and choosing what you like, and leaving what you don't. If Christians believed the Bible was completely, 100% human in origin, then sure, take only what you like -- the good bits.

Thing is, they believe the Bible to be divine. So when they gloss over or skip certain parts of it, what they're saying is either "I don't believe THIS part is from God", or "I don't really believe the whole thing is from God", or "whether it's divine or not, I don't buy that particular part". The Bible says God never changes, that he's the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. So the argument can't even be made for "well, that was back then, and this is now." One can only logically assume that if 'God' said something and meant it then, he'd say it and mean it now -- otherwise, it would suggest that God changes with the times, just like we do.

Don't get me wrong -- I think it's great that humans change, that we're capable of change, and capable of rational, critical thought. I just think it doesn't do us much good to be picky and choosy about what we decide to think critically about. :) But it's at least progress, to know that we're increasingly seeing the ancient texts as cultural, contextual, human documents. Which of course they are. At least in that sense, the Christians who also agree on this point seem to be taking part in a shift away from the belief that God is the essential author of the bible. They see that human flaws, bias, and culture snuck in there. Admitting that the bible perhaps isn't as inspired as previous generations insisted it was can only be a good thing -- because I'd HATE to think that God, if God existed, could honestly hold the "morality" found in so much of the Bible.


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