Biblical Slavery

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America is undergoing another racial challenge. Once again, racism and bigotry and come to the front of the American life style. The history of America, like many nations, goes back to a state of abuse against various cultures. This isn’t to point blame or guilt upon anyone reading this, but a simple historical fact. America wasn’t alone in these acts of slavery, but it is a problem that continues to follow our society.

The biblical view of slavery however is somewhat odd, especially when christians proclaim their “new found freedom,” in the faith. Slavery was never contested in either the old or new testaments. Of all the sins that the christian god points out, it never objects to the human invention of slavery. Slavery is the backdrop of many of the “bible stories,” taught to children, and in this way normalizes the subject. Slavery becomes some excepted value system. Some normal way of life “back then.”

Ask yourself, “why didn’t ‘god’ speak against human slavery and trafficking?” This god seemed to be very interested in everything people did. After all he regulated what you eat. Pork was forbidden, shrimp were forbidden, goat meat was forbidden. This ‘god’ watched over men, and made sure they were circumcised. That’s a lot of attention that god put on people. He even declares whom they are allowed to sleep with, how many wives one man would have and what days a person was allowed to work. Yet out of all this interest in humanity, god grows silent on the subject of slavery. Ever wondered why?

The answer is about the nature of the faith. Christianity is not about freedom. Once one becomes a christian, they are indoctrinated and taught how to behave, how to think, how to vote, how to act, how to dress and how to see others. No longer do you have a choice. If you doubt this, start asking the hard questions, challenge everything the pastor says, and see where that leads you.

Slavery and Obedience

Although the word “slave” or “slavery” is not used to describe the biblical view of a woman’s role to a man, the word “submissive” certainly sounds like slavery.

I covered this in a seperate post about the abuses women undergo, and will briefly describe it here. In the new testament of the christian bible, Paul writes that women should be submissive to men. Never, says Paul, should a woman have authority over a man. A woman, says Paul, need to know her place, a place beneath men. Paul states that due to the sin of Eve (the myth of original sin), all women are to take on a role of submission – acknowledging men as their master, as christ is the master of a man.

It gets even worse, however, as Paul provides instruction to slaves:

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

Ephesians 6:5

Christian apologists will claim that slavery in ancient Rome, was not “that bad.” They’ll describe slavery as a butler servant. To some minor degree that may be true. Yet the slaves of Rome (especially early on, when these scriptures where written), were hardly servants. They were non-persons, first and foremost. More akin to furniture than a person, Roman slaves were prone to abuses:

Slaves were considered property under Roman law and had no legal personhood. Most slaves would never be freed. Unlike Roman citizens, they could be subjected to corporal punishment, sexual exploitation (prostitutes were often slaves), torture and summary execution. Over time, however, slaves gained increased legal protection, including the right to file complaints against their masters.

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

How does that sound? Seriously, who would want to be a non-person? Paul doesn’t offer up some hope to the slave, instead he instructs the slave to knuckle under and obey “their master.” What if the master wants them to kill another slave for sport? What if the master seeks to relieve their lust with a slave? Paul’s answer is to give in with gusto. Do it, like you’re doing it god.

Paul was big on obedience. “Obey the authority figures,” said Paul (“be subject unto the higher authorities”). Fascinating. Had early christians obeyed the laws and rulers, christianity would never have been birthed, as it was a crime to be a christian. This goes back to a concept of convenience.

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