Scripture: Slavery

For some reason slavery has been coming up a lot lately. A complete coincidence based on the reading I’ve been doing and the podcasts I’ve been listening to, but interesting none the less.

Now that’s a happy slave 😉

What made me think it was worth doing a post dedicated to slavery (or more specifically, slavery in the Bible) was a forum post I found over at ‘Evolution Fairytale’. I’ve always thought people either didn’t know about Biblical slavery laws, or that they rejected it because it was Old Testament stuff. Well some of the guys over at this forum have been trying to paint Biblical slavery in a positive light, which was new to me. I thought we could take a look at these claims, compare them to what the Bible says and see what we can learn.

I’m also taking this opportunity to introduce a new segment to the blog, ‘Scripture’. In these posts we’ll explore many of the things different scriptures say and whether or not they’re true, or in this case moral. Naturally most of these posts will be focused on the Bible because Christianity is the religion I’m most familiar with and also the holy scripture I’m currently reading (up to Joshua!). Eventually though I’ll start reading through the Quran, some Buddhist scriptures and anything else I can find, and then we can broaden these ‘Scripture’ posts to look at some other religions.

Let’s start by looking at some of the quotes from the Evolution Fairytale forum.

“I have heard people ignorantly claiming that the Bible supports slavery, as if God Himself condones oppressive, abusive slavery. Slavery is not synonymous with oppression and abuse. In Biblical times, slavery was more like indentured servitude, where people were taken care of (food, clothes, shelter, and still allowed to have families) in exchange for labor instead of getting a salary. So the argument these people are making is ignorant of vital details, particularly what God allows and what He does not allow in the Bible.”

The section I’ve bolded is technically true. Slavery doesn’t immediately mean abuse. Certainly some slaves would have worked for basic necessities such as food and shelter, rather than money and there’s really nothing wrong with that. But what about what the laws say as to what is allowed and not? We’ll return to this in a bit when we open up our Bibles.

“yeah after a few years they could choose if they want to leave or stay with their boss a lot of them choosed stay because they had everything there”

The man with the terrible grammar is right! People could choose to leave after 6 years servitude, and often people chose to stay. But the real question is why they chose to stay. Again, get that Bible ready. We’ll be finding out the why shortly.

“That is true. Still to say that the way the Bible deals with slavery is evil, because it attempts to give guidelines and does not condemn it outright is to say “there can be no mutually beneficial case of slavery, it is all evil”. The conclusion is flawed because it is based on a flawed premise.”

This is absolutely right. Slavery in and of itself isn’t evil. What makes it a bad practice is…well the way it’s practiced.

“So almost like a live-in farm hand”

Wow, this one makes it sound like being a slave was pretty much a good thing! But…was it? Okay, grab your Bibles and let’s find out.

First off here’s a list of the above claims to compare the Bible with.

  1. God does not condone oppressive or abusive slavery.
  2. Slaves were paid in material goods such as clothes, food and shelter instead of a salary.
  3. Slaves could leave after a few years.
  4. Many slaves chose to continue being slaves due to good conditions.
  5. Slaves were essentially treated as farm-hands.

Now, most of the laws of slavery are to be found in the Old Testament, and that’s where we’ll put our focus today. Please note though, that the New Testament also has some details on slavery and not all of it is good. I’d encourage people to do further reading, particularly of the New Testament, but so far I’m still reading the Old and I want to focus on the parts I have personally read.

For those who don’t know, Leviticus and Deuteronomy are really heavy on the law, however we’ll start by turning to Exodus 21:2.  If you don’t have a Bible on you I’d recommend BibleGateway.com, which is where this text is copied from.

“If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him.”

Wow, that actually sounds quite reasonable. Hebrew slaves can only serve for six years at a time, and when they leave they can take their wife with them. A later passage in Leviticus (we’ll get to it) says he can also takes his kids with him! It sounds like the guys over at Evolution Fairytale are right, but let’s keep reading.

If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free.”

Let’s be honest, this is a bit of a grey area. The owner has paid for the servitude of the woman, so he should still get his monies worth even if the husband leaves, right? The children should probably be set free considering they were never paid for, however this is a time when woman were caretakers, not men, so that’s kind of understandable. Myabe if this were re-written for a modern time the man could take the kids? Let’s keep reading.

This good people, is an awl.

“But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him before the judges.[a]He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.”

Ah, and now we get to the crux of the issue. All these laws sound reasonable, but in reality this is blackmail. What do you to with a slave that can go free? Give him a woman so he’ll want to stay. And it’s not like the man can pay for the possession of his wife and kids. He’s been a slave for the past 6 years, he doesn’t have any money.

At this time men could take multiple wives, so just because he became a slave with a wife doesn’t mean the owner couldn’t present him with another. I wouldn’t go as far to say this system was deliberately set up to trap slaves forever, but holding woman and children hostage to blackmail a man into slavery for life, that’s immoral.

The other thing is that the slave is marked by piercing his ear with an awl. This is pretty barbaric, but more to the point isn’t how you should treat a farm-hand. Surely this would have been done to mark the man as a permanent slave, making it impossible for him to run away and start a new life.

Let’s continue reading this passage.

“If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself,[b] he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. 10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. 11 If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.”

Okay, let’s go through this line by line.

7: Firstly we now find out that ‘Hebrew slaves’ getting to go free after 6 years isn’t quite accurate. Only the men can. This is a sexual double standard and flies in the face of the claim that slaves were allowed to go free.

8: Often Biblical verses get toned down so not to be too confronting. This makes it difficult to always know what is meant. ‘Pleasing a man’ often means sexual intercourse. In other words this passage is saying the man who bought her has the right to rape her. But on the plus side at least he can’t sell her to foreigners.

9-10: Giving her the rights of a daughter should she marry his son sounds good, and that part of it is good. The bad part of this passage is that once again the woman has no say in this. Verse 10 says she must not be deprived of food, clothing and ‘marital rights’. Marital rights meaning sex.

11: In other words if the husband does NOT rape his slave wife she can go free. Not only is rape accepted, it’s the law.

Beating slaves is cool, just don’t kill them…until next week.

Let’s now jump forward to verse 20.

20 “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

The natural reaction from many believers is to claim these quotes are being taken out of context. But I ask you, how the fuck can this be taken out of context? You can beat your slaves as long as you don’t kill them. This is indeed abusive and it’s not at all how you treat a farm hand. Or at least, it’s not how we’d treat a farm hand these days. You must also take note of the “after a day or two”. Although it doesn’t explicitly say so, this suggests that if the slave dies after a week the master is not responsible. That’s just sick.

On the plus side if you disfigure a slave the slave can go free. So just make sure those injuries are internal, okay?

26 “An owner who hits a male or female slave in the eye and destroys it must let the slave go free to compensate for the eye. 27 And an owner who knocks out the tooth of a male or female slave must let the slave go free to compensate for the tooth.

 Then versus 28-32:

28 “If a bull gores a man or woman to death, the bull is to be stoned to death, and its meat must not be eaten. But the owner of the bull will not be held responsible. 29 If, however, the bull has had the habit of goring and the owner has been warned but has not kept it penned up and it kills a man or woman, the bull is to be stoned and its owner also is to be put to death. 30 However, if payment is demanded, the owner may redeem his life by the payment of whatever is demanded. 31 This law also applies if the bull gores a son or daughter. 32 If the bull gores a male or female slave, the owner must pay thirty shekels[f] of silver to the master of the slave, and the bull is to be stoned to death.

The bolded bit is the part I want to draw your attention to, but the rest of the passage is included to ensure this isn’t being taken out of context. Quite clearly these slaves weren’t being treated as live in workers. They don’t have the same rights as other workers do.

They really do seem to have something against those cows. Or maybe it was just the golden ones?

On a side note, I can understand killing the bull. We have similar laws these days when dogs attack. But why not eat the bull? That’s good eat’n!

Let’s jump forward now to Leviticus, starting at chapter 25, verse 39:

39 “‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to you, do not make them work as slaves. 40 They are to be treated as hired workers or temporary residents among you; they are to work for you until the Year of Jubilee. 41 Then they and their children are to be released, and they will go back to their own clans and to the property of their ancestors. 42 Because the Israelites are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt, they must not be sold as slaves. 43 Do not rule over them ruthlessly, but fear your God.

39-40: So now we return to some nicer passages. Don’t take your fellow Israelites as slaves, but as hired workers. This means one of two things. Either this verse contradicts the earlier ones, or it means it’s okay to beat your hired workers near to death. I’m actually not sure how to read this, but either way I don’t find it moral.

41: The children are to be released. Again, this might be a contradiction, but more likely this passage just ignores any children that were born as slaves. The master gets to keep them.

43: Don’t be ruthless…however you can beat them to death. Umm…okay?

44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. 46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

Okay, so you can’t technically buy an Israeli slave. They have to give themselves to you. But you can buy slaves from other places. These slaves are property, and they’re slaves for life. No release after 6 years for the outsiders.  Again we have this idea of not treating slaves ruthlessly, but considering you can beat them this is hard to gauge.

The next and final passage is a big chunk, but it needs to be read in its entirety.

47 “‘If a foreigner residing among you becomes rich and any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to the foreigner or to a member of the foreigner’s clan, 48 they retain the right of redemption after they have sold themselves. One of their relatives may redeem them: 49 An uncle or a cousin or any blood relative in their clan may redeem them. Or if they prosper, they may redeem themselves. 50 They and their buyer are to count the time from the year they sold themselves up to the Year of Jubilee. The price for their release is to be based on the rate paid to a hired worker for that number of years. 51 If many years remain, they must pay for their redemption a larger share of the price paid for them. 52 If only a few years remain until the Year of Jubilee, they are to compute that and pay for their redemption accordingly. 53 They are to be treated as workers hired from year to year; you must see to it that those to whom they owe service do not rule over them ruthlessly.

What’s interesting about this passage is that it says Israeli slaves can be bought back and must be released after the 6 year period. Strangely this does not apply to bought slaves from outside your people. Those slaves are property for life. Historically this makes sense, as there were many clans, all with different laws and trying to impose your laws on them would probably end in bloodshed. But as a decree from an all-knowing, loving deity? How do you justify one law for this group of people and another law for a different group?

So let’s do a quick recap of our 5 points.

1. God does not condone oppressive or abusive slavery.

FALSE. Slaves could be beaten, possibly to death.
2. Slaves were paid in material goods such as clothes, food and shelter instead of a salary.

TRUE. The women were also ‘paid’ by having sex with their masters.
3. Slaves could leave after a few years.

FALSE. This only applied to Israeli males.
4. Many slaves chose to continue being slaves due to good conditions.

FALSE. Certainly some slaves would have stayed due to happy conditions, but many would have been blackmailed into it by keeping their families hostage.
5. Slaves were essentially treated as farm-hands.

FALSE. Slaves could be beaten, sold and raped. I sure hope that’s not how they treated the rest of their workers.

All of these claims are either straight out wrong, or only correct because of missing information. These slaves were most likely not treated fairly or kindly and this kind of revisionist history sickens me.

People please, take the time to understand what it is you claim to believe. I do get that the Bible is long and boring (believe me, I’m reading it), but when you believe that your immortal soul is wrapped up in this mythology you really should read your scriptures.

-Ignorance is not bliss. Stay inquisitive.

I found this in my hunt for images. I just had to add it.

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About Jamie D
I'm an entrepreneur and small business owner working in 3D animation and multimedia. I also have a keen interest in technology and education.

10 Responses to Scripture: Slavery

  1. It is perfectly fine on the reply.. everyone has an opinion, some choose to share it.. others dont.. as for an attack.. (nice use of words there).. in my experience with atheists, it is extremely common that people with such beliefs and standards are very attacking with their views.. religious people in my experience, not so much.. so when you said ‘attack’.. it was expected.. in all due respect of course..

    * In all due respect.. “pleaee, please take the time to understand”.. sorry dude, to me, that’s preaching.. that last sentence to me comes off more preaching and I’ve been to church a lot and come across many jehovah’s witnesses who have used similar words.. that’s preaching dude, deny it all you want, but it is.. point blank..
    * You kind’ve used to be Christian..? So whether you believed in Christ or not.. you never embraced the love and respect to your fellow man which again, as you will know during mass is embaced.. the Homily as you well know, is a part of the mass that talks about a good deed or experience .. the 10 commandments highlight that you shouldn’t kill, lie, steal, commit adultery and you must honour your parents.. yeah you’re right.. those commandments are pretty fucked up.. do the opposite and you live a good life.. haha NO! What atheists don’t understand is that even if you don’t believe in Christ or a higher being.. there are great teachings out there that are the foundations for a lot of POSITIVE things in our lives.. I consider myself to be a well rounded positive person and yes, I do owe that to church..
    *Joshua is just one chapter in the bible.. the main gospels and Psalms give great insight into being a good person.. none of the commandments say anything about love? Well, correct me if I’m wrong but if you honour your parents.. that is a good thing isn’t it? It is a sign of love, yes? If you don’t kill someone or steal, that is positive, yes? Please.. tell me i’m wrong if those commandments aren’t positve..
    *Dude.. based on what you’re saying.. you should shun religion based on slavery because it is immoral.. that is what you’re telling me, plain and simple.. so, not so smart on your part because you did say at the end, if you reject teachings of slavery, why not reject all teachings when slavery is just a small part.. dude.. you are running around in circles like a dog chasing its tale.. there is a shit load of bad stuff in the bible.. there is a shit load of bad stuff in Environment magazines, newspapers.. any form of media that slanders something paints something in a negative way.. many people live their lives through the news and there is a lot of crap in the news.. again, you highlight that section with ONE THING.. I know you can give me more things but you have only given me ONE thing in this discussion to dismiss the bible which as you said, wouldn’t be smart.. dog chasing tail… I see that sucker in action now..
    * How do you pick through the tabloids about what celebrity stories are fact or fiction, come on dude.. you grow up in a society where you read and watch material and you pick out what you think is crap and take in what is good.. if I agree there are a lot of stories and why do I believe it? I refer to these stories as examples of lives that people may have lived and some of these examples are very insightful into a loving live and a battle of struggle.. any mention of slavery could just be a story and many good things mentioned are in fact, true.. the Moses story is a good one.. he follows god so we should be against the people who mistreat him.. and if youve watched the Ten Commandments, we do.. but hey, the slaves built temples and such and got kicked to the curb.. havent you heard the term of getting treated like a slave at work because all you do is get pushed so hard and feel like you get punished? If not, get an apprenticeship.. you get poor wages, poor conditions and you do the worst jobs.. dont see why the bible should be singled out here..
    * Pardon the ignorance but if today’s Christians are living and practising their lives as Christians thanks to the goodness of the gospels, isn’t that a good thing? It doesn’t negate the dodgy stuff but people are only preaching the good things now as in the past.. thats good, yes? positive in some tiny way?
    * Okay, you’re an atheist.. then explain Joseph Stalin.. tell me, why is it that atheists can’t be judged when that stupid bastard atheist communist put millions in slavery? Huh? Why can’t we judge you on his actions..? This is just one.. one example of someone who wasn’t religious.. how can you have the right of mind to slam religion and slavery when someone who was a major atheist has caused great hurt to millions through treating them as slaves? I just don’t understand.. I’d be safe to assume that you encourage that sort of behaviour because you are in fact in the same belief system as he is..
    * German’s today are still getting hassled for something they don’t believe in dude.. if there are natzi’s out there that support those views then yes, anyone should have problem with it.. but German’s today are still getting the finger pointed at for actions they didn’t commit from a race they are part of.. blame society on that one.. I have an issue with atheist who are of the same belief system as Joseph bloody Stalin.. Stalin attacked attacked attacked and as I highlighted at the start .. my experiences with the majority of those of the atheist belief, are very attacking.. I can accept you have a problem with a book that promotes slavery.. but I can’t accept anyone with Joseph Stalin on their team.. or anything from the New Idea because that book is full of crap..
    *Okay.. assuming.. you ASSUME Christians practice it somewhere.. I assume that there are NON -RELIGIOUS people who still do the same.. break down the belief system for a damn second.. slavery is something that is a part of our life.. religious or not.. slavery is never a choice.. you said many use the bible as evidence of keeping slavery.. I agree… but what about those who just do it?
    * Okay, you mentioned the 364 days, dude.. if you are religious, you live it every day of your life.. you live the teachings, the beliefs and the morals every day of your life.. now pardon me for a second when I jump into my Deloreon and jump back to the past where slavery was taught in religion.. not TODAY.. I do not believe slavery is ideal, but you seem to hang your whole hat on religion on slavery.. American’s are taught to have the right to bare arms in their constitution, so they go out and buy a gun.. guns aren’t safe but children are educated about the rights of baring arms and their whole consitution.. tell me, does that not encourage killing? Does that not explain the killings that happen all the time in America because they have a law that enables anyone to practically have a gun? People kill who are religious and who aren’t.. pin that on religion and that person is a moron.. when I grew up, I was taught about the great values of religion.. are the bad things inconvenient? No.. not at all.. but as part of my chosen values and teachings from the bible, I chose the good things.. thats my choice..
    * Slavery is one part of the bible… that fucking dog keeps chasing its tale.. most Catholics probably don’t know that whole deal about slavery.. something which is common in religious people or not.. you can’t abandon one thing in a practice because its bad.. people make choices with their beliefs.. Muslim’s say that they must kill for their god, others say that they must love for their god.. meet some Muslims and talk to them about how much hell theyve endured because of their members who have opted to kill for their god.. and they opt to love.. it is a choice in some religions, others it isnt.. we are talking Catholics and the Bible.. and now, it is a choice..
    *What difference does it make to slavery? Non-religous people have killed and taken slaves for the sake of doing it.. explain that. Slavery is promoted by the bible and it is wrong.. slavery is a practice in other areas outside religion and that’s wrong.. slavery is wrong but because you’re not religious in today’s society.. you make all your assumptions based off a book when religion is something learnt from feeling.. it is more about feeling than reading.. you as an atheist have little understanding of that because you gather your beliefs or lack of through your mind, not your heart.. and that, I think is pretty sad..

    • archdragon87 says:

      Okay, there’s a great deal of stuff to go through here, and we’ll get to it as there’s a few common mistakes you’ve made that I’d like to clear up. Hopefully it’ll get you to understand the atheist position a little better.

      But first off, this:

      “Slavery is promoted by the bible and it is wrong.. slavery is a practice in other areas outside religion and that's wrong.. slavery is wrong...”

      That there is beautiful. That is exactly the point I’m trying to make and if nothing else I’m so glad we can agree on that.
      Slavery is wrong. Slavery is promoted by the Bible. Therefore the Bible is wrong about slavery.
      That’s it. That’s the only major point I was trying to make.

      Now from that we can extrapolate some other interesting facts. If the Bible is wrong about slavery, maybe it’s wrong about other things? Maybe it’s wrong about moral things, but maybe it’s also wrong about historical things? We really can’t be sure any more. We’ll have to read the Bible bit by bit and decide for ourselves whether or not we should believe the other things the Bible says.

      Let’s take one of those commandments for example. Thou shalt not murder.
      Is killing people a bad thing? Well, from reading the Bible we can’t be sure. It’s already been wrong about one moral choice, so just because it says not to kill doesn’t mean we should blindly follow it.

      But then how do we go about determining whether or not we should kill each other?
      Well, we need to come up with a logical reason. A very simple breakdown might be:
      1. I want to live.
      2. My neighbour wants to live.
      3. If I try to kill my neighbour, he may kill me.
      4. Therefore my neighbour and I should agree not to kill each other.

      We then extend this logic out to the community and write a law that says we’ll punish anyone who tries to kill anyone else without a damn good reason.

      But if we’ve already decided that the Bible isn’t always a good moral source, and we can reach moral conclusion simply by using logic, what need do we have of the Bible any more? Certainly we can use it as a basis of comparison. Sometimes we might even find something rather insightful within its pages. But at the end of the day, the Bible isn’t needed to reach morality. And to be honest I think there are much better books, both in terms of their morality and their readability that could be read instead. There would also be considerably less historical inaccuracies.
      Naturally I’d encourage the reading of both, but I’d put more weight on philosophy books, rather than the Bible.
      This is what I meant by “Why not put the entire Bible to one side and see if you can come up with good reasons to be kind to your fellow man without it?” I’m not suggesting you toss it out. I’m simply saying you could do better to read alternative sources.

      Now, to address some of the other things you wrote. Let’s start with the Stalin stuff, because it’s a very common complaint.

      Okay, you're an atheist.. then explain Joseph Stalin
      He was a cunt.
      why is it that atheists can't be judged when that stupid bastard atheist communist put millions in slavery?
      Oh okay, a bit more than “He was a cunt” then 😛
      The reason you can’t blame Stalin’s atheism for him killing a lot of people is because his atheism is not relevant. There’s no logical progression from “There is no god” to “I should kill lots of people”.
      The fact Stalin was an atheist isn’t the reason he killed people. I’m sure he had other reasons, but those reasons could still have existed without his being an atheist.
      On the other hand you can make a logical progression from Christianity to “I should keep slaves”.
      1. I am Christian.
      2. I believe in Christ and his teachings.
      3. Christ said to follow the teachings of Moses.
      4. Moses said that God said it was okay to keep slaves.
      5. Therefore I can keep slaves.

      Now it’s possible you personally don’t adhere to this logic. However I’m sure you can understand how other people might.

      I'd be safe to assume that you encourage that sort of behaviour because you are in fact in the same belief system as he is..
      No no, you most certainly wouldn’t be. The only thing you can be certain of when someone says they’re an atheist is that they don’t believe in gods. This belief tells you nothing about a persons behaviour.

      “German's today are still getting hassled for something they don't believe in”
      “I have an issue with atheist who are of the same belief system as Joseph bloody Stalin”
      Hang on you seem to be contradicting yourself here. On the one hand you seem to think it’s unfair to blame the Germans for the Nazi’s mistakes. But on the other hand you’re okay blaming all atheists for the actions of Stalin. That seems like quite a double standard.

      “Stalin attacked attacked attacked”
      “atheist...are very attacking”
      Hang on again! There’s a big difference between attacking people and attacking ideas. Yes, a lot of atheists can be up in your face but generally they don’t kill people! I think that’s a pretty unfair comparison.

      in my experience with atheists, it is extremely common that people with such beliefs and standards are very attacking with their views
      Out of interest, how many atheists do you know personally? The reason being, if the only time you associate with atheists is during discussions such as these, of course you’re going to think most atheists are ‘attacking’ types of people.
      Go spend a few months over at Evolution Fairytale (link in the main post) and see if you still feel the same way. Because it’s a place set up for debate a lot of the believers over there have an ‘attack’ mentality. But that’s what you’d expect and I don’t judge all believers on this basis.
      On the other hand if you’re hanging around with other believers from church, with people who mostly agree on things, of course you won’t find them to be as aggressive.
      Having spent 6 years with mostly Catholics, yeah most of them weren’t all that aggressive about their beliefs. The small handful of atheists I know (mostly from Uni) also aren’t aggressive. Not just about their lack of belief, but about anything.
      On the other hand, most of the ‘famous’ atheists I know of are aggressive. I too, would consider myself aggressive and my apologies if that comes off as abrasive. I don’t intend to offend (usually), but I am extremely passionate about this stuff and enthusiasm is often mistaken for aggression.
      That said I am more interested in being right than I am about being polite, and for that I don’t apologise 😉

      In all due respect.. "pleaee, please take the time to understand".. sorry dude, to me, that's preaching
      Really? Now I find that fascinating because I definitely wouldn’t have called that preaching. I’m actually trying to come up with a useful definition of preaching and I have to admit none comes to mind. To me the above was a ‘plea’. ‘Please read your Bible’.
      I just did a quick dictionary check and it appears that ‘preaching’ is specific to delivering sermons, and sermons are long speeches given on moral issues, usually with a religious overtone.
      I guess, taken in it’s entirety the post could be considered preaching, but I think it’s a bit of a stretch. Regardless though, as I said I don’t really have an issue with preaching, only with what is preached.
      Out of interest how would you define preaching? I’m interested to know what makes this sentence preaching to you.

      So whether you believed in Christ or not.. you never embraced the love and respect to your fellow man...
      Wow, wow, wow, back up there partner. How did you get from ‘I wasn’t really a Christian’ to ‘you don’t love and respect your fellow man’? I never said that! I have a great deal of love and respect for people. You don’t need Christ or even religion to get to that.

      the 10 commandments highlight that you shouldn't kill, lie, steal, commit adultery and you must honour your parents.. yeah you're right.. those commandments are pretty fucked up
      Okay really? Are you actually reading what I type? I said the 10 commandments don’t specify love or respect. I never said they were fucked up.
      I don’t need to love or respect my neighbour to not kill him. I could hate his guts and think he was the biggest jerk on the planet…I still wouldn’t kill him over it.

      Joshua is just one chapter in the bible.. the main gospels and Psalms give great insight into being a good person
      No no no! READ what I type. I said I’m up to Joshua. I’ve read the entire Torah! I’ve also read all the Gospels, including one or two that didn’t make it into the Bible. I haven’t got to Psalms yet. I’m not a fan of poetry, so I’m kind of dreading it. But, I will read it.
      Also, Joshua is a book in the Bible, not a chapter. Just to be anal.

      What atheists don't understand is that even if you don't believe in Christ or a higher being.. there are great teachings out there that are the foundations for a lot of POSITIVE things in our lives
      I’m sorry, but where the fuck do you get that from? Of course atheists understand this! Of course there are fantastic teachings out there!
      Both Jesus and Buddha said a lot of good stuff. One of my personal favourites is the Maharaji. He says a lot of the same things without any of the religious overtones. And we know he’s not fictional because he’s alive today.
      The point I’m trying to get across is that you don’t need god, a church, an old book or a prophet to get to that. All you need is common sense. Considering that you don’t like slavery, I’m very happy to see that your common sense has overcome your religious book’s teachings.

      you as an atheist have little understanding of that because you gather your beliefs or lack of through your mind, not your heart.. and that, I think is pretty sad..
      Why is it believers always assume non-believers don’t feel? Just because I don’t come to the same conclusions as you doesn’t mean I lack heart. I feel awe when I look into the night sky. I feel love when I hold a child. I feel lost and confused in an uncertain world. Of course these things impact me, just as they do most people. The difference is I don’t make up unjustified stories to compensate for my lack of understanding.
      Yes, I feel all of these things, but before I jump onto the bandwagon of belief I filter it through my logical and intelligent brain. Why is it believers so often think this is a bad thing?

      On a random note, I’m rather flattered you made a WordPress account today, presumably to respond to my post 😉

      • * The Bible isn’t the only written reference that promotes slavery.. nice to see your one eyedness showing.. the bible was written by people.. the encyclopedia was written by people.. come to think of it, everything was written by people.. there would be a lot of wrong facts in anything we read.. how do you determine what is fact or fiction about anything you read? About historical things? Studies in science change all the time making previous editions of encyclopedia’s defunct.. how do we determine what is right and crap? Given that you made mention to historical things.. this is always changing with facts that we are discovering but what we discover today can be different tomorrow.. how do you know what is right and wrong? People take what they do from the bible.. you sound like you take everything as factually wrong in the bible..
        Is killing a bad thing? Are you crazy.. its not black and white.. its wrong.. you’re letting your preconception of the bible get in the way of common sense so I’m not going there..
        You said sometimes we might find something insightful in the bible.. sorry dude.. I find lots insightful in the bible.. don;t use the word ‘we’ because its generalising.. you don’t need it to reach morality, you don’t find it useful and you think there are much better books out there.. that’s your choice.. you can’t generalise here.. if people dont find the bible completely useful they will turn to other sources, you have.. others haven’t.. I’ve found the bible to be completely insightful and I can personally say that I’ve built a lot of my good morals through its reading.. I’ve yet to find other alternatives that suit my needs.. so, its your choice but you’re wrong in my eyes as I’m an example of doing just fine reading it.. so this ‘we’ business is a load of crap.
        *Joseph Stalin.. yeah, okay.. that doesn’t cut it.. that is not an explanation at all.. are you kidding me .. I can turn around and say that anyone that wrote slavery in a positive light in the bible is a cunt too.. you have to live with it dude.. hang on .. you said that you can’t blame Stalin’s atheism on why he killed people.. prove otherwise. You’re sure he had other reasons.. dude, weak defence.. ASSUME..those traits could have existed without his being an atheist.. you’re using water as your foundation here.. nothing concrete.. what if he didn’t? What if he did it because he was an atheist.. what if it was proven that this was the case…
        *You said that I could understand how other people might use that logic.. well I can use that for my case.. just because I’m a Christian and use the bible as a reference.. it doesnt mean that I’m capable of slavery and I adhere to those teachings.. Stalin was a cunt and he was an atheist.. like you assume the bible with Christians and slavery.. I do so with you..
        *I can only assume that you’re capable of Stalin’s actions based on his.. I may be wrong but I havent got much else to go by..
        * I said that society still blames the German’s for the Nazi’s mistakes.. society can still blame atheists for Stalin’s action.. I don’t see why anyone cant make that comparison.. neither is fair but people in society can.
        * Now you’re on the back foot.. its still attacking.. you can’t slam the bible for its reference to slavery and completely write it off.. but on the other hand, attacking is still attacking.. some use words, some use actions.. you’re saying religious people authorise slavery because they study from a book that has it.. so I’m a Christian, and I’m all for slavery.. is what you’re telling me.. so, okay.. you’re a atheist.. you’re an attacker and potential killer.. happy?
        * I work with atheists, live with atheists and many of my friends are atheists.. nothing to do with discussions such as these.. that’s a fact.. and they are attacking people.. each and every one of them.. its not generalising.. the only exposure i really have with that are Catholics are those that I see when I occasionally get to a service.. so don’t get this idea that this whole mentality is stimulated by a bunch of church goers.. the more I talk to these atheists about whether there is a god or not.. the more that their opinions are flawed and I believe in god even more.. atheists are more interested in being right and they often let this aim in getting the way of facts.. pull up your pants, your ignorance is showing dude..
        *Preaching.. forcing and pushing people to believe in what you believe in.. you did that to me.. don’t deny it dude.. its my opinion and you’re a preacher.. your other posts indicate that you’re preaching to people to get off the religious band wagon..
        *I skimmed over a lot of what you said because it was bit boring.. again, Joshua.. book.. anal.. striving to be right..
        * You went to church for six years and grew up with religious friends.. can’t see how you may not have been effected in some way.. actually, I’m not convinced at all.. if you weren’t in this upbringing.. I’d listen.. but it sounds like you have been heavily influenced over the years with faith surrounding you.. I don’t buy it otherwise dude.. you’re in denial..
        *Believers assume nonbelievers don’t feel because of what you said earlier.. attacking aggressively to get their point of view across and in my experience .. common sense of ‘right place right time’ stands in the way and they still remain adament in getting their stupid point across when they have crushed the other person’s feelings for the sake of some stupid argument and they get all satisfied high and mighty that they felt that they were right and show fuck all compassion.. yes, you know my background and that’s my life so before you go and preach your shit otherwise when its clear that you and I have had two totally different upbringings.. (my occasional visit to church and quiet views on supporting Christ).. anyone would think you would be in my shoes and I’d be gunning down Catholics.. and how can you say these are unjustified stories to compensate for lack of understanding when it appears that you don’t understand at all.. how is it that you can slam everyone that has fiath in the bible.. they have turned to it in a time of need and distress and its helped them through some fucked up times..? You don’t know this through any experience.. I’ve had friends lose their partners in death or separation and crumbled.. they turned to the bible for help and assistance and they got through.. I’ve had friends lose their parents and done the same thing.. I can justify that the Bible serves a place in this world and like so with religion so before you go and clean the slate of the bible being a bad thing.. live a little and get some experience.. yes.. I do have friends who are catholics.. albeit a small group.. your ignorance is showing.. put some damn pants on..
        *Dude.. right on..

        • archdragon87 says:

          I skimmed over a lot of what you said because it was bit boring..

          Okay, there’s about 5 different arguments going on at the moment and most of them are irrelevant to the main point I’d like to make.
          I’d like to boil this down to two arguments, and temporarily forget the rest. Happy to come back to them later, but they’re currently getting in the way of things.
          There’s two things I want to try and find common ground on.
          1. The Bible is wrong about Slavery.
          2. Why atheists cannot logically be connected to Stalin’s killing spree.

          I’m going to assume you’re okay with this and jump straight into the slavery argument. I’m going to rip out all the excess and boil it down to the one main point I want to get across. If you agree with that, then we can more on to other logical arguments we can derive from this single point.

          And please, if you’re going to raise arguments with the points I make, could you please take the time to read them. There’s really very little point in having this discussion if you’re not going to listen.

          The Bible isn't the only written reference that promotes slavery.. the bible was written by people.. the encyclopedia was written by people.. come to think of it, everything was written by people

          Okay, I want you to forget all the other discussions we’ve had. I want to start with a clean slate.
          There is one point, and one point only I want to get across. Either:

          1. The Bible is infallible and slavery is morally acceptable. OR
          2. Slavery is morally contemptible and the Bible is fallible.

          You can’t accept both as being true. One negates the other. I contend that ‘2’ is the correct answer. Do you agree?

          Now I know I have tried to make other points based upon this. For now, forget them. I want to make sure we agree on this point, then I’ll raise the next point. This should prevent things from becoming messy.

          you said that you can't blame Stalin's atheism on why he killed people.. prove otherwise

          Okay, have you ever been in debating? Or at the very least watched a debate?
          As you may or may not know, the Positive team always speaks first. It is the Negatives teams job to prove they are wrong.
          This is not an arbitrary thing. It HAS to be this way. The reason being, you can’t prove a negative.

          Now you may or may not be able to instantly wrap your head around this concept. If you can, great. If not, don’t worry. It took me ages and most people don’t get it.

          So what I’m going to do is attempt to show you. Now forgive me, but this means turning your question back on you. That’s not to be rude or lazy; it’s HAS to be this way. Because although you can’t prove a negative, you CAN prove a positive.

          I contend that Stalin’s atheism has nothing to do with him being a killer. You ask me to present evidence, but I can’t. If there’s no connection between atheism and killing, then no evidence will exist. I can’t prove a negative.

          You on the other hand, contend that Stalin’s atheism might have made him a killer. Since there IS a connection between the two (in your eyes) you should be able to find evidence to support this. You CAN prove a positive.

          What I’m going to ask you to do is lay out a logical argument. Similar to what I’ve done previously. Give me a ‘1,2,3,4’ step of how you get from “There are no gods” to “I should kill people”. Keep in mind you don’t need to use 4 steps. Use as many or as few as you’d like. Example:

          1. There are no gods.
          2. Therefore X
          3. Therefore Y
          4. There I should kill people.

          If you can do this in a logical fashion then I’ll gladly accept judgement for Stalin’s action.

          “I work with atheists, live with atheists and many of my friends are atheists.. nothing to do with discussions such as these.. that's a fact”
          “the more I talk to these atheists about whether there is a god or not”
          The one other point I just had to pick up on was this one. In the first sentence you say you know plenty of atheists, but you don’t have these kinds of discussions with them. They’re just generally aggressive types of people.
          But only a few sentences later you reference “these atheists” and say you talk to them about whether or not there is a god.
          I’m confused. Do you have religious discussions with your atheist associates or don’t you?

          • That’s okay dude.. I skimmed your reply to mine anyway.. not a lot happening there that’s of interest.. I’m going to cut to the chase… you are judging an entire faith and an entire book on how slavery is shown.. there is much more to the bible than slavery.. so if you’re going to judge one imperfection on something and let that determine your entire perception.. that’s a problem you have to live with and you’ll just have to get over the fact that nothing in this world is perfect.. I agree that slavery is wrong.. the bible doesn’t paint a nice picture of it.. i disagree with the stance that it has on slavery, but unlike you.. I’m not writing it off..

            You are in fact onto something with Stalin.. he killed anyone who didn’t follow his path of communism.. religion attempted to make a stance and told him he was wrong.. needless to say, they didn’t live another day after that one.. so you’re right.. but you know what.. he is an atheist.. a communist too.. he grew up in a religious background.. his mum was a hard practicing religious person and then he turned around and fucked everyone up who challenged him… so ignorance is bliss for me then, hey? He was an atheist communist and killed people who challenged him.. attack if I may use that word again.. attacked people of my faith.. yes, he killed others.. but he still killed people of my faith.. as an atheist.. as a communist.. so, I still have my rights to be judgemental of those who follow in his lines of faith and or political interests and you can’t tell me that you don’t or have never said a comment to anyone for being ignorant because of their ‘faith’ which is totally different to yours.. while you may say that you were merely expressing a point of view.. you appear an attacking and threatening type as indicated through your blogs.. call me insensitive.. but its my opinion.. anyway.. my point is, I can judge atheists based on other figures and you are judging religious people based on their faith in the bible.. is that not what you’re doing..? you’re saying people should stay away from the bible because of its views on slavery.. the bible is somewhat of a voice in our beliefs and youre passing negative judgement..

            I have many religious discussions with atheists and they’ve done nothing but rubbish my opinions.. all atheist people I know are aggressive.. just some are those that I have discussions with.. happy??

            ..

            • archdragon87 says:

              you appear an attacking and threatening type as indicated through your blogs
              So don’t be friends with atheists. Seriously, problem solved. No one is forcing you to like me or any other atheist.

              Personally I have a great deal of respect for those who stand up for what they believe. I like arguing and debate, even if it does get a little heated. But if that’s not for you then…meh, no harm. You don’t have to like it. Nor does it make you a bad person for not liking it. Likewise I don’t think having an aggressive personality instantly makes you a bad person. It may not be your cup of tea, but then it’s your choice whether or not to associate with these kinds of people.

              All I ask for is the same respect; don’t consider me a bad person just because I like heated discussions.

              It also needs to be pointed out that you have now gone out of your way several times, to come to my website, post on my blog and tell me my opinions are wrong. And frankly, you haven’t always been a picture of peace. You’ve been downright insulting at times, and to add insult to injury it’s usually when you tell me what I’m trying to say. Which wouldn’t be a problem except that far too often you don’t get what I’m trying to say.

              Personally, I consider that aggressive behaviour. Coming to someone else’s personal space and telling them in often condescending tones that they’re wrong.
              Now this website has been set up specifically for that purpose, so don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a go at you for behaving this way. Since this is an open forum I actually respect you for standing by your opinions.
              The point I’m trying to get across is that you’re behaving in a manner you’re simultaneously discouraging. It’s kind of hard not to get ticked off at someone who’s insulting your integrity whilst calling you aggressive. If you want people to be less aggressive around you, you’re going to want to pay them the same courtesy.

              That's okay dude.. I skimmed your reply to mine anyway

              Please don’t do this. So many of my arguments rest upon you understanding the previous one, and if you don’t read one argument you may struggle to get the next. Many of these points, such as the Stalin one, are quite difficult to wrap your head around. If you don’t take the time to read them properly you won’t get it.

              Without being too much of a prick about it, if this is the attitude you bring to your discussions it’s no wonder atheists get frustrated with you. I’m getting frustrated with you. And that’s not me being an arse, it’s because you’ve ADMITTED to not taking the time to understand my points. I mean really…of course I’m pissed about that. I take hours to write these replies because I come back and edit them about 4 times before I post. If you’re not reading my replies that’s like…5 hours I could get back over the course of 3-4 days. Yeah, that’s annoying.

              you are judging an entire faith and an entire book on how slavery is shown

              No, I’m not. And I never have been. I’ve said this multiple times so either you’re not reading my arguments properly (which you’ve admitted), or I’ve got to find another way to help you understand.

              What’s really frustrating is that I don’t know which course of action to take. Maybe you’re just a dick and don’t care about understanding and maybe I’m just wasting my time.
              Or maybe you are actually trying hard to understand me, but I haven’t found the right way to explain myself yet.

              If you’re skimming over my points you shouldn’t be surprised that I’m leaning towards the former. I mean it’s just plain rude. Take a week or two to reply if you need to. But please read my arguments.

              That said, I like to think the best of people so I’m going to assume you legitimately want to get this and give it another shot.

              You’ve said definitively that you think slavery is wrong. The point I’m trying to get across is that if you believe that, you must also agree that the Bible is fallible.

              You may not know this, but there are people who think the Bible is literally the word of God, and therefore perfect and infallible. I’m saying I think slavery is wrong, therefore these people are wrong about the Bible being perfect.
              You agree with me on slavery, therefore I assume you agree that the Bible isn’t perfect.

              If you understand this, then you’ve understood the point of the original post. That was it. I wasn’t trying to say we should chuck out the whole Bible. I wasn’t judging the entire book upon this one point. I’m simply saying that the Bible is fallible.

              Now I happen to think the Bible has a lot more problems than slavery, and on a whole I think it’s a pretty poor book for moral teaching. Naturally I expect you’ll disagree with me, and that’s cool.
              Over time I’ll do more posts like this where we’ll cover scripture and then you’ll get to see some of the other reasons I think the Bible is immoral. But we haven’t got to those points yet, so don’t worry about them.
              For now it’s enough that we agree slavery is wrong, and that the Bible is fallible.

              you're saying people should stay away from the bible because of its views on slavery

              No I’m not, and I never have. Seriously, go back and reread the original post. You even quoted me on this. I said please take the time to read your Bibles. How in any way does that suggest you should stay away from it? I encouraged people to read it.
              All I’m saying is the Bible is fallible. I don’t think I can put it any more simply than that.

              You are in fact onto something with Stalin

              I really hate to say this because I’m trying not to be rude after my opening rant, but there’s really no way around this. Pretty much everything you wrote here is irrelevant. That’s not to say it isn’t interesting or informative, to say nothing of how factually correct it might be, but it’s just not relevant to whether or not Stalin’s atheism pushed him to become a murderer.

              Again, I’m really frustrated because I asked you to try doing a simple experiment with logic and you didn’t even try. You just went off on your own path and basically rewrote what you did in your previous comments.

              Look, I don’t LIKE asking people to do homework, but I do it for a reason. You’re having trouble wrapping your head around this concept (which is not at all surprising, this is tough logic) and I was hoping that you might learn better by DOING.
              It would be great if you could give this a try. I’m not going to ask you to do it again, but if you did I’d be more than happy to walk you through each step and explain where the logic is going wrong.

              In the mean time, I’ll try a different approach.

              Atheism tells you one thing, and one thing only. This person doesn’t believe in any gods. That’s it. It can’t tell you anything else about a person. It doesn’t tell you whether they’re kind and cuddly, or aggressive and mean. It doesn’t tell you their political swing. It doesn’t tell you whether they kiss their mother goodnight.

              And that’s because it CAN’T. Because atheism isn’t about any of those things. Atheism isn’t about morality. Whether or not there is a god is largely irrelevant from morality. It is simply a statement of opinion; ‘There are no gods’.

              So, if atheism isn’t about morality, how then can you use atheism to get to a moral standard? How can you use atheism to decide whether or not to kill someone? The answer is you can’t.

              This is why Stalin’s atheism is irrelevant from his morality. Because atheism doesn’t say ANYTHING about morality. Whether you choose to kill, or you choose to let live, atheism isn’t what brings you to make that decision, because it can’t. There MUST be another opinion that leads you to making that choice.

              And the funny thing is, looking at how you wrote your response it seems like you already understand this. For example:

              “he killed anyone who didn’t follow his path of communism”

              You already know why Stalin did what he did. He did it because he didn’t like people disagreeing with him. I assume he felt it was okay to sacrifice a few people to achieve his idea of a perfect world.

              THAT is the reason he killed people. It wasn’t because he was an atheist. It wasn’t even because he was a communist. It was because he felt it was okay for other people to die to achieve his goals. Neither atheism nor communism has anything to do with that.

              I can judge atheists based on other figures and you are judging religious people based on their faith in the bible
              No, I’m not judging religious people based upon the Bible. I judge each individual on their own beliefs, which may or may not match the Bible. I do however judge the RELIGION based upon it’s holy book. I judge the holy book based upon what is written inside it. I don’t think this is unfair.

              You however, are trying to judge all atheists based upon the actions of a single individual. An individual who was deciding his actions based on opinions outside of his atheistic belief. We know this because atheism can’t get you to any sense of morality.

              • 1. You’re right.. don’t be friends with atheists… I have thought about my actions and they are extremely aggressive and unnecessary, for that.. I’m sorry. You have every right to have a go at me and I showed no signs of respect, now for which I’m remorceful for..
                2. I needed to put more time into reading your pieces to understand where you were coming from to structure an argument in more mature ways.. my arguments featured many leaking holes and I was all over the shop.. I’m not surprised that you disagree with my points as they lack evidence and conviction.
                3. I agree that slavery is wrong but I don’t judge the entire book on just one area.. that’s my stance.. you of course disagree.. that’s fine.. there are many areas of the bible that I think serve great purpose and praise.. the bible isn’t perfect.. but then, what is? If people believe word for word that the bible is perfect, that’s their choice.. they are right in their own mind and you are wrong in theirs.. agree?
                4. Yes, my home work was a failure.. I didn’t have much success in that department at school.. but when you’re an executive manager of a financial corporation.. time is often of the essence..
                5. It’s fine to judge people on their beliefs.. if that’s how you determine and judge people, that’s fine..

                • archdragon87 says:

                  Hey FMD. Thanks heaps for taking the time to ponder about this whole discussion. Fact is these discussions are very dear to people and we will get angry. As long as we can learn when to back down and take a moment to think, we shouldn’t do too much harm. Hopefully we can even do some good in the process.

                  1. We wear different faces for different purposes. As a simple example, were I to have this discussion with my parents there’s no way I’d swear so much. But you seem to be open to that and don’t take offense, so I can use it to emphasise points without fear.
                  Likewise, the face I use when I talk to my clients is very different from the face I use when I step onto a tennis court. And the same is true when I debate.

                  The point is I expect people to take a few swings at each other when debating, especially when the topic is so close to heart. With the beliefs I have, I understand that I’m always going to walk a very delicate line when I debate religion. There is simply no nice way to tell people I think their religion is mostly myth.
                  That said, as long as people are willing to come to the discussion with an open mind and some integrity, I’m not going to hold grudges for a disagreement. So please, don’t beat yourself up too much 😉

                  2. It isn’t so much that your arguments lack evidence (and they certainly don’t lack conviction!). I hope I’m not stepping on toes again here, but they mostly lack logic. Logic in philosophy is really quite strict, and the scientific method adopts a very similar stance. The logic we use to get through the day is very relaxed in comparison. And that’s not a bad thing! You don’t need to over analyse everything.

                  If you see Mr Blogs put sugar in your coffee it’s reasonable to assume it’s sugar. But in science it would be demanded that we test that white substance to make sure, because we can’t afford to make assumptions. You don’t want to make assumptions in say, medicine, because assumptions get people killed.

                  Please don’t think I’m calling you stupid by saying this. Unless you’ve studied science, philosophy or debating it’s unlikely you’ll be accustomed to this more strict logic. I wouldn’t call you an idiot for not having studied mechanics, so I won’t call you an idiot for not studying philosophy. Having gaps in our knowledge is to be expected.

                  If you’re interested, I could recommend a few books you could delve into to learn more about logic. I could even recommend one or two Christian perspective books I thought were pretty logical, where I only disagreed with one or two points. There’s also some really good books that just focus on logic, and leave the religion out of it completely. And seriously, they’re a better read than they sound.

                  3. “I don’t judge the entire book on just one area.. that’s my stance.. you of course disagree”

                  Hehe, you’re still not quite there. I think we can disgregard the Bible as an example of ‘perfect morality’ based solely on slavery. But that alone doesn’t mean the whole book is worthless.
                  I do happen to think the morality in the Bible leans heavily towards bad morality, and a great deal of it could be disregarded. I certainly don’t think it’s in any way evidence of an all loving deity. And if the deity doesn’t exist, I’m not going to become part of the religion. But like I said, we’ll get to these other points in other posts.

                  “If people believe word for word that the bible is perfect, that’s their choice.. they are right in their own mind and you are wrong in theirs.. agree?”

                  Oh yes, definitely agree. I think the difference between us is that I like people to have good reasons for their beliefs. Not to say I’d want to force beliefs on people (even if that were possible), but I prefer people choose them.
                  What worries me is the reasons people give for flying planes into buildings are the same reasons you use to spread the loving word of Christ. The problem isn’t with the beliefs, it’s with the logic.

                  4. Tell me about it. I run my own business. Don’t feel like you have to respond within 24 hours. This stuff takes years to wrap your head around. And you seem sincere in your efforts to want to understand, so take your time.

                  5. I try not to judge people so much on their beliefs, and moreso on their actions. That said our beliefs do inform our actions and sometimes the two can’t be separated. But certainly judging people based on a combination of their actions and their beliefs seems to be the only logical way to judge people. To me anyway.

                  —————–
                  Anyway, thanks again for posting. I’m not sure we reached an agreement on any of the major points, but I think we’ve ended up agreeing on some things that are much more important anyway.
                  I don’t have any plans for future posts right now (far too much other stuff on), but hopefully you’ll contribute to some future posts. I’d like to see you here again. You’re fun to argue with because you’re passionate, but you also know when to back down and think about things. Good debating partner 😉

  2. Dude, it DOESNT sound like preaching at all.. have you ever been to mass, embraced the religious faith at all? Did you not know that the main teachings consist of love and being compassionate for your fellow man?? If you’re going to judge and preach others not to have faith in religion based on one aspect in life.. slavery.. then you obviously have no knowledge at all in religion.. the bible is filled with many STORIES.. mass and church groups talk about the love that stems from the teachings and loving icons.. yes, slavery was a horrible thing but you can’t say that religion was the only group of people to practice such horrible acts.. if you say so, you follow your own tag line, ignorance is bliss.. its like blaming all Germans today for the work that Hitler did.. CATHOLICS today do not condem slavery.. but you’re telling me its right to say that the Germans should still be punished for the work of Hitler.. that’s what you’re telling me because given that it is completely obvious that Catholics and Christians don’t practice slavery.. nor is it a major part of their teachings.. which being an athiest, you have little strength in opinion of because you haven’t lived the experience.. you are condemming Catholics for something that is clearly irrelevant.. most probably haven’t read the bible.. but then, the book is still the biggest selling one in the history of books.. true ..

    • archdragon87 says:

      Hey Fridgemagnetdoor. First off I’d like to congratulate you on being the first person on this blog to really stand up for what you believe. The down side to that is that it opens you up to a proper attack, so my apologies for this but hopefully we’ll both learn something from it.

      Dude, it DOESNT sound like preaching at all
      I’m actually not sure what you’re talking about here. I never mentioned preaching. But for the record I have no problem with preaching. If anything I encourage it. Have the balls to stand up for what you believe, which I’m happy to say you seem to do.

      have you ever been to mass, embraced the religious faith at all?
      Yes, I’ve been to mass several times. I went to a Catholic high school for 6 years and at least once a month on average we had a school mass. I kind of used to be Christian, but that was mostly because of an upbringing thing and it was never terribly serious. So I’d say no, I’ve never embraced it. And until someone can give me a good reason I don’t intend to. Why would I embrace a system that I consider both immoral and illogical?

      Did you not know that the main teachings consist of love and being compassionate for your fellow man?
      Well that depends where you get your teachings from. The readings I’ve been doing lately (currently still on Joshua) are very much NOT about the love. None of the 10 commandments for example say anything about love or compassion.
      I’d agree the Gospels are mostly about love and compassion (although not exclusively), but this certainly isn’t the case when you read the Bible in it’s entirety.

      If you’re going to judge and preach others not to have faith in religion based on one aspect in life.. slavery.. then you obviously have no knowledge at all in religion
      I’d partially agree. Certainly shunning religion based upon one single aspect of it wouldn’t be entirely smart. But there’s a shit load of bad stuff in the Bible; slavery is just one of the easier ones. This blog is relatively new and the section on scripture is completely new. Give me enough time and I’ll bring you a few more examples of bad Biblical morality.
      That said I think slavery alone should be enough to at least question the morality of the Bible and the god it promotes.

      the bible is filled with many STORIES
      Now this I would 100% agree on. That said there are also some historical accuracies, but a good chunk of it is stories and myth. But if you agree that a lot of it is stories, why would you believe it? And how do you know which parts are stories and which are true? These passages on slavery all comes from Moses and travelling in the desert. Do you think the story of Moses is just another story and shouldn’t be taken literally?

      mass and church groups talk about the love that stems from the teachings and loving icons
      Yes they do, but a lot of that it because there’s a big focus on the Gospels and some of the nicer stories in the Bible. Just because churches focus on the nicer stuff doesn’t negate all the dodgy stuff.

      yes, slavery was a horrible thing but you can’t say that religion was the only group of people to practice such horrible acts.. if you say so, you follow your own tag line, ignorance is bliss
      Well yes you’re right, but thankfully I wasn’t saying that. All I’m pointing out is that religions, specifically the Abrahamic religions did (and still do if you read the Bible) promote slavery. Considering the deity of these religions is said to be all about the love and compassion (your words, not mine), condoning slavery is an interesting moral choice.

      its like blaming all Germans today for the work that Hitler did.. CATHOLICS today do not condem slavery
      Hang on, hang on. You’re comparing apples to oranges. Also I assume you meant ‘condone’, not ‘condem’
      German’s today no longer support Hilter’s views. (Actually there are still a few Nazi groups wandering around – not specifically Germans though – and I do take issue with them.)
      Now if the German’s DID still support Hilter’s views I’d have a problem with it.
      Most Catholics today don’t keep slaves, however they still support and promote a book that encourages the practice. Indirectly they promote slavery. I have an issue with that.

      that’s what you’re telling me because given that it is completely obvious that Catholics and Christians don’t practice slavery
      No, thankfully most of them don’t. I can’t speak for Christians in other countries; I’ve no doubt it’s still practised somewhere. However this is a relatively recent thing. You are aware that these Bible verses were used to try and stop the black movement in America? For many people getting rid of slaves was forced upon them, it wasn’t a personal choice. And many of them used the Bible as evidence that they could keep slaves.

      nor is it a major part of their teachings
      So because it’s a footnote we should ignore it? Like, if you go to church 364 days of the year and learn about love and compassion, but one day of the year you get told you can keep slaves and physically brand them, that’s okay? That’s still a moral system? And perhaps more to the point, that would be a very contradictory system.
      I don’t care how minor the teaching is, it’s still taught. And I’m sorry, but you seem to want to ignore this because it’s inconvenient.

      which being an athiest, you have little strength in opinion of because you haven’t lived the experience
      I’m assuming your Christian/Catholic, but we seem to agree that keeping slaves is immoral. So what relevance is my non-religion to knowing this? Honestly, we seem to agree on the important points:
      -Slavery is wrong.
      -Slavery is promoted by the Bible.
      The only difference is that you seem to want to ignore these facts because you’d rather focus on the love part. But you have to ask yourself, if you can just ignore the slavery part, why couldn’t someone else just ignore the love part?

      you are condemming Catholics for something that is clearly irrelevant
      How is it irrelevant? The Bible is THE major teaching tool for Catholicism, right? The Bible promotes slavery, in both the old and new testaments, right? The Bible is said to be the infallible word of God, right?
      So on what level is this irrelevant? Because most Catholics choose to ignore this teaching? If you ignore this teaching, why not ignore all the teachings? How do you choose what to reject and what to accept?

      most probably haven’t read the bible
      Did you read the original blog post? I specifically mentioned I’m up to Joshua. I’ve also read all the Gospels and spent a year studying John. I’m certainly no expert on scripture, but I’ve read more than most people and intend to read the whole thing eventually.
      But more to the point, what difference does this make to the morality of slavery? Even if I had only read the passages quoted above, how would that make any difference to my point; that slavery is promoted by the Bible and that it’s wrong?

      but then, the book is still the biggest selling one in the history of books.. true ..
      Actually this raises a good point and I should probably dedicate a post to it. I’m not at all convinced the Bible is actually the best SELLER of all time. It may or may not be the most PRODUCED book of all time, but production rates do not equal sales.
      Most copies of the Bible are GIVEN away, not sold. I for one have two Bibles, one purchased through school, the other given to me by a friend at University.
      I think I might make this the topic of my next post once I’ve done a bit more research. You’re more than welcome to comment there, but there’s not a lot of point following it up in the comments here, because ultimately the popularity of the book has no bearing on whether or not slavery is within the text, or it’s morality.

      ————————————————————-

      We seem to agree on most of the points.
      1. Slavery is immoral.
      2. The Bible does support slavery.
      3. Christianity supports the Bible.

      Judging by these three points that we seem to agree on, I think the only logical conclusion is that Christianity is, at least partially, immoral. Certainly other chapters may have better morality, but surely you’d have to conclude that on the subject of slavery, Christianity is immoral?
      To take it a step further, if you reject the teachings on slavery, why not reject all the teachings? There are certainly better reasons for being caring and compassionate beyond “Jesus said so”. Why not put the entire Bible to one side and see if you can come up with good reasons to be kind to your fellow man without it?

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