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Jesus and the practice of Slavery

 
 
Reply Mon 13 Jan, 2014 02:36 pm
A few notes on slavery as it applied to Jesus' words, using the Bible as a reference.

Slavery has existed in many forms ranging from brutal exploitation to arrangements similar to modern day employment. It could be said that Adam and Eve were to be slaves of Jehovah when . . . God blessed them and God said to them: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28) To many, this may seem a form of slavery in the sense that they were told to be industrious.

Then we read in chapter 3 of Genesis that Adam and Eve disobeyed God's command and obeyed the suggestion of Satan. If, in the former case, they had been slaves to God, they now were slaves to his resistor. But, whatever its origin, slavery appears to have been universal in the ancient world..

When Jesus walked the earth, the Roman system of slavery was similar to that mentioned above. In some cases slaves could own property, (including other slaves) conduct business, and even earn their freedom. So, it was not surprising when Mary answered the angel in Luke 1:38: Look! Jehovah’s slave girl! May it take place with me according to your declaration.”

Jesus used the concept of slavery to illustrate his teaching.

Later, Jesus counseled his apostles at Mark 10:43-45: . . . This is not the way among YOU; but whoever wants to become great among YOU must be YOUR minister, 44  and whoever wants to be first among YOU must be the slave of all. 45  For even the Son of man came, not to be ministered to, but to minister and to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many.. . .

Then we have this statement when Jesus was talking about the last days: . . . Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? 46  Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so. 47  Truly I say to YOU, He will appoint him over all his belongings. (Matthew 24:45-47)

In the above account, I consider myself one of the domestics.

 
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Mon 13 Jan, 2014 02:53 pm
@neologist,
Are you completely nuts?

The Romans brutally raped and killed their slaves... including making them kill each other in public spectacle. The US history of slavery is equally as brutal and cruel. If you want to avoid the conclusion that God is a cruel tyrant, then you really shouldn't start down this path.

The idea that slavery has ever been a good thing for the people enslaved is a ridiculous proposition.
Smileyrius
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jan, 2014 02:55 pm
@neologist,
So in essence slavery in roman times was an employer/employee relationship
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jan, 2014 02:57 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
Are you completely nuts?

The Romans brutally raped and killed their slaves... including making them kill each other in public spectacle. The US history of slavery is equally as brutal and cruel. If you want to avoid the conclusion that God is a cruel tyrant, then you really shouldn't start down this path.

The idea that slavery has ever been a good thing for the people enslaved is a ridiculous proposition.
Never said it was 'good'. It was there. And in some cases it was not as brutal as you have just claimed. It is a fact that some slaves were treated fairly. Read the post, please.
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jan, 2014 02:58 pm
@Smileyrius,
Smileyrius wrote:
So in essence slavery in roman times was an employer/employee relationship
Uhhh! Not necessarily. Any 'rights' the slaves owned were pretty much at the discretion of the owner.
Smileyrius
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jan, 2014 03:04 pm
@neologist,
The concept of rights are very much a modern thing, I understand that many slaves were taken as a result of war, debt and social circumstance, but did not slaves in Israel for instance only work a 7 year stint in the bible with an option for extended service if they were happy to do so?
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Mon 13 Jan, 2014 03:20 pm
@Smileyrius,
Smileyrius wrote:
So in essence slavery in roman times was an employer/employee relationship


Jesus wept . . . what flagrant horse poop. You need to read Machiavelli's Discourses some time. If someone (a city state or a tribe) resisted Roman hegemony, but then surrendered before being engaged in all out warfare, there was a chance that some, some mind you, of their people would not be enslaved. If they fought the Romans, and were defeated militarily, their land was forfeit to the Roman state, and anyone who could not pay a hefty bribe was enslaved. If the Romans were forced to the necessity of overrunning all of their cities, and fighting the defenders of the citadel in the last city, all of their property would be seized and all of their people would be enslaved. There was no such thing as rights for slaves. When the Romans really got pissed off, it got even worse. The Carthaginians fought them to the last ditch, and it took the Romans three wars to overcome them. When they had taken Carthage, they turned their troops loose in the city for three days to do as they pleased. What few survivors there were were sold into slavery. They then sowed the ground with salt so that no one could settle there again (i.e., they couldn't grow crops there).

You religious types live in some kind of touchy-feely happy horseshit world of cute bunnies and happy laughing slaves. That's just disgusting.
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jan, 2014 04:18 pm
@Setanta,
You are quite right. Slaves were, by definition, subject to the whims of their masters. and their masters were often cruel. One such cruel master was described by Jesus in Matthew, chapter 18. That he was also a slave seems more a commentary on human callousness than on the institution; however the point is still well taken.

But that some slaves were treated kindly seems to be the case in the instances I referenced in the OP. That one who is a slave does the bidding of another is the point I was trying to make. One may choose to become slave to another. In the case of man and God, a similar choice applies.

So allow me to re state the intent of my OP. Jesus used the institution of slavery as an example. So, the question of why he did not condemn the abuses of slavery may be relegated to other questions similar to "why did Jesus not teach us how to cure cancer?"
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jan, 2014 04:24 pm
@neologist,
In my opinion, one of the greatest failures of the Christian faith was the tacit support it gave to slavery until relatively late in history.

The apostle Paul's support for the institution of slavery is a huge mistake in hindsight. And the apostle Paul was used to justify that barbaric practices of American slavery up until the Civil war. The fact that "some" slave owners might have been better than others is ridiculous. The institution was barbaric.

Jesus was certainly not as bad as the Apostle Paul.
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jan, 2014 04:26 pm
@Smileyrius,
Smileyrius wrote:
The concept of rights are very much a modern thing, I understand that many slaves were taken as a result of war, debt and social circumstance, but did not slaves in Israel for instance only work a 7 year stint in the bible with an option for extended service if they were happy to do so?
The Jews of Jesus' time were under Roman rule. I can't say for sure that Jewish law applied in all cases. It's the concept of servitude that I was trying to explore. The "faithful slave" seems to be one of willing submission in the absence of the master.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jan, 2014 04:28 pm
@neologist,
Under the Law in the Bible, God allows the rape of female slaves.

You can't make rape anything other than barbaric, can you?
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jan, 2014 04:35 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
In my opinion, one of the greatest failures of the Christian faith was the tacit support it gave to slavery until relatively late in history.

The apostle Paul's support for the institution of slavery is a huge mistake in hindsight. And the apostle Paul was used to justify that barbaric practices of American slavery up until the Civil war. The fact that "some" slave owners might have been better than others is ridiculous. The institution was barbaric.

Jesus was certainly not as bad as the Apostle Paul.
Now you are in another library. Nominal christianity is represented by the "wicked slave" in Matthew 24:48-50. Note the "faithful slave" and the "wicked slave" both had domestics (slaves) under their supervision.

Remember in the OP, I referred to myself as a "domestic".

You are using a connotation for slavery not supported by Jesus' words.
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jan, 2014 04:35 pm
@maxdancona,
Read the OP
0 Replies
 
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jan, 2014 06:01 pm
@neologist,
Meo wasn't torture also pretty much taken for granted: "Isn't it too bad we have to do this"

https://www.google.ca/#q=justification+of+torture+medieval+times
anonymously99stwin
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jan, 2014 06:04 pm
@neologist,
To slave for someone is an act of love. No matter how much pain, or how difficult it may be.
0 Replies
 
anonymously99stwin
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jan, 2014 06:05 pm
@neologist,
To slave for someone is an act of love. No matter how much pain, or how difficult it may be.

Slavery is an act of, discipline. Torture. Else similar..
0 Replies
 
Smileyrius
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jan, 2014 06:38 pm
@neologist,
I can agree with that Smile
0 Replies
 
Smileyrius
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jan, 2014 06:44 pm
@Setanta,
Quote:
You religious types live in some kind of touchy-feely happy horseshit world of cute bunnies and happy laughing slaves. That's just disgusting.


We are a ying to your yang my friend. Have a hug.

As for the rest of my post, I should really have had a question mark on the end there, I had intended it as a question as quite clearly I don't know a great deal on the subject. I appreciate the knowledge you impart Set.

Smiley,
Still learning.
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jan, 2014 08:07 pm
@dalehileman,
Suppose you were transported to a different situation where slavery was the norm and you owned slaves. Would you mistreat them? I assume not. I assume not because I feel you are an empathetic person, a person with high standards. So, in your case, torture would be a gross anomaly, right?
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Mon 13 Jan, 2014 08:13 pm
@neologist,
No matter how humanely you yourself would treat a slave, you would be giving a pass to the brutal ones. And if you died with slaves, they could be passed to monsters. So, nothing makes slavery correct, no matter where or when it is practiced.
 

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