Thursday, April 02, 2020

OT slavery

(I've updated my post with a round 2 and a round 3.)

Fasta Parian:

Leviticus 25 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.

Yep. The bible has no issue with slavery.

My response:

1. Short of war, Israel had no power to prohibt foreign nations from selling slaves. And Israel wasn't much of a regional power for most of its history anyway. The exception might've been under Solomon, but that was a relatively short-lived era in the context of the whole sweep of Israel's history.

2. As such, slaves in foreign lands would be sold one way or another. The only real question is whether they'd be sold to other pagans or sold to Jews. Quite arguably foreign slaves enjoyed more legal protections under the Mosaic law of Israel than they did in foreign lands (including their own). Just read the history of Ancient Neareastern peoples and cultures to see how most nations treated their war captives and other slaves.

3. More broadly, the Mosaic law is (in large part) a code of laws. Laws regulate activities, but that doesn't imply these same laws morally condone the same activities. For example, we have laws which regulate drinking alcohol and driving, but that doesn't imply these same laws are saying drinking alcohol and driving is morally acceptable for anyone to do. Likewise the Bible regulates slavery, in large part because slavery was so commonplace in the ancient world that it couldn't be ignored, but that doesn't imply the Bible is saying slavery is morally acceptable.

God has no issue making laws about ridiculous things like not wearing mixed fabrics......

Just because you don't know what the rationale was behind this doesn't mean it was "ridiculous". This just illustrates your own disrespect if not contemptuousness toward ancient literature. It doesn't tell us anything about the Bible, but it speaks volumes about you. It reflects either your own ignorance and/or irrationality.

If I read something in Shakespeare that's puzzling, I wouldn't immediately dismiss it as "ridiculous". Rather I'd try to understand it from the perspective of Shakespeare and his audience. In the end, it may or may not prove to be "ridiculous". Or it may be that we simply don't know anymore because it's historical information that Elizabethans understood but we no longer understand today due to historical distance or whatever.

Point being, at the very least, I'd have to first try to understand what Shakespeare means before I criticize what he said. Before I dismiss what he said as "ridiculous". However, you don't even bother to make an attempt to understand what it means. Certainly not here. Hence why I say this says nothing about the Bible, but it does reflect badly on you, because it exposes your own ignorance and/or irrationality.

yet he cant make a law saying "thou shalt not own another human being as property"? If he really cared he would have outlawed slavery.

The Bible does. See Exod 21:16 for example: "Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death."

This is an explicit condemnation of (a) kidnapping, (b) selling, and (c) owning people. You know, the sorts of things that might be involved in slavery and the slave trade.

then please explain the rationale behind not wearing mixed fabrics. We do it everyday in 2020 and......well it doesnt seem to matter.

What makes you think this is applicable to anyone outside the ancient Israelites whom God was addressing?

The law in exodus is only about kidnapping and selling a person. Not about buying a foreigner. 🤷‍♂️ You can follow these laws and still buy a foreign slave. Im not the one ignoring the words on the page. Its a simple verse to understand.

The Biblical scholar Douglas Stuart writes the following about "slavery" in Old Testament usage:

The various Hebrew terms translated by terms such as “servant,” “slave,” “maidservant,” occur more than a thousand times in the Old Testament. The present passage reflects the broad semantic range encompassed by these terms and the concepts to which they refer. Although the laws in Exod 21:1-11 address primarily the circumstances of six-year contract servants, they do not implicitly distinguish among categories of employees. The most common vocabulary word used for the servant is ‘ebed, which can mean “worker,” “employee,” “servant,” or “slave.” Anyone in any of these categories came under the protection of Yahweh’s covenant law. The laws of this section also do not differentiate types of employers: the standard term used here, ba’al, can mean “boss,” “employer,” “master,” or “owner.” Similarly, the words translated “buy” in 21:2 (qana) and “sell” in 21:7-8 (makar) can refer to any financial transaction related to a contract, much as in modern sports terminology a player can be described as being “bought” or “sold” from one team to another. Players are not actually the property of the team that “owns” them except as regards the exclusive right to their employment as players of that sport.

Much misunderstanding of Israelite law has arisen from failure to appreciate the analogous distinction that prevailed in ancient Israel. When the law was properly followed, persons who were servants/slaves/workers/employees held their positions by reason of a formal contract that related primarily to the job that they had “signed up” to perform, for a period of time, much as one enlists in the military today. In addition, some of the misunderstanding of biblical laws on service/ slavery arises from unconscious analogy to modern Western hemisphere slavery, which involved the stealing of people of a different race from their homelands, transporting them in chains to a new land, selling them to an owner who possessed them for life without obligation to any restrictions and who could resell them someone else (although such did also occur in the ancient world). Whether one translates ‘ebed as “servant,” “slave,” “employee,” or “worker,” it is clear that the biblical law allowed for no such practices in Israel. Indeed, the law reflects the fact that when obediently practiced by “boss/employer/owner” and “servant/ slave/employee/worker” alike, Israelite service could be so beneficial to a worker that he or she would choose to enlist for a lifetime with the same employer (21:5-6).

What were the different categories of servant/slave? First, there were foreign-born servants whose lives were spared in war and who were allowed to live indefinitely, on the condition that they become permanent workers in Israel (Josh 9:23; 1 Sam 4:9). This is frequently referred to as “chattel slavery.” Second, there were six-year servants who contracted to work for an employer for six years in return for wages and other benefits. Third, there were servants born in the boss’s household who owed the boss something for the housing and food he had provided them until such time as they might choose to leave his property and/or employment. Fourth, there were various sorts of temporary employees and permanent employees who may have worked for a given individual under various sorts of arrangements, including day laboring. These categories of slaves/servants/workers were employed in all sorts of ways: as personal servants, as farm workers, as conscript laborers (1 Kgs 9:21; 2 Chr 8:7-9), as temporary “hired hand,” and the like.

We should note also that virtually all industry in ancient times was “household” or “cottage” industry. Corporations or business partnerships as we know them in modern times did not exist. Almost all business was “small business” in the sense of family owned and family operated business, and someone who was in any sense an “employee,” not the owner of his own business, worked for the head of a family, usually lived with or near that family on its property, and was paid according to a formal written or verbal “contract” that was somewhat more like the terms of enlistment used to enroll someone into military service today than a casual agreement expecting only certain hours to be worked at a place of employment.

Finally, Israel’s service/slavery laws should be understood in terms of their own history of slavery in Egypt. The Egyptians made the Israelites slaves on the basis of their ethnicity, forced them to serve as slaves for life, did not compensate them properly, if at all, and worked them unbearably hard as a means of keeping them weak and/or causing at least some to die under the burden of their slavery (1:9-14). Against this sort of historical experience, the Bible’s laws protect all sorts of workers, guaranteeing them the right to gain their freedom after a set period of time (21:1-4) as against the Egyptian practice of permanently enslaving Israel. Biblical law allowed service out of love rather than out of necessity (21:5-6) as opposed to involuntary service under oppressive masters in Egypt. Biblical law also gave immediate freedom to those who had in any way been physically abused (21:26-27) as opposed to the severe abuse the Egyptians had imposed upon the Israelites. God’s laws, then, provided divinely enforced covenant protections for those who worked for former slaves and made sure the former slaves did not return evil for evil once they had the opportunity to do so. Indeed, God’s laws implicitly condemned the Egyptian treatment of the Israelites as illegal by prohibiting the very practices the Egyptians had used to suppress and weaken God’s people in Egypt.

Back to Fasta Parian:

And I bet if that verse was found in the quran you wouldnt be making the same excuses for it.

Red herring.

Hahahaha. Dude this doesnt take a book to explain.

Hahahaha. Dude I guess this is why you remain ignorant about history.

There were a group of ancient people called hebrews that came up with their own god with his own origin story and had rules that they attributed to their god. And his rules just seem to fit right in with a bronze age warring tribe. Of course slavery would be included in these rules. And thats just it. Thats the objective view here.

No, this is just your subjective view as a simple-minded atheist. You aren't interested in hearing what Ancient Neareastern scholars have to say. You prefer to accept popular myths about history instead.

It's like people who think that all Medieval Europeans believed the earth was flat. That's a popular myth that many people believe today, but it's not true. It doesn't accurately reflect history, for there were Medieval Europeans who knew the earth was round.

And again.....the bible does not prohibit slavery. Your verse is about kidnapping and selling. Not about purchasing.

1. As far as that objection goes, what about "selling" do you not understand? If someone is "selling" something, then there is another person "purchasing" the thing that's sold on the other end. If "selling" is prohibited, then how can anyone licitly purchase the thing that's been prohibited?

2. Not all "purchasing" is necessarily unethical. Many abolitionists purchased African-American slaves in order to set them free.

Define the biblical slave however youd like. It fits the definition of slavery and its not something that Id prefer for myself or my family. Its owning another human for the rest of their lives to do your bidding after a financial transaction. That is slavery.

I see you prefer to remain in ignorance rather than interact with scholarship. Yet atheists are supposed to be the reasonable and intelligent ones?

Call it a red herring all youd like. You and I both know you wouldnt be making these excuses if this verse was anywhere but your holy book. Youd be able to objectively look at the issue. And thats why its so frustrating. Apologists use incredible mental gymnastics in order to excuse something that is soooooooo simple to read and comprehend.

1. You're a simpleton who is content to accept simple answers. It's like someone asking how does the heart beat, then a cardiologist goes into scientific detail about the electrophysiology of ht heart and so on in order to explain how the heart beats, to which they reply: Come on, dude! The heart beats because it's happy! Why don't you just be objective and accept something soooooooo simple to read and comprehend?

2. If you want to persuade Christians to accept your views, then you have to offer them good reasons to accept your views. Yet you don't do that. You just act like everything is "soooooooo simple" even though it's clearly complex to study and understand almost any people-group or culture let alone a culture that's removed from us by thousands of years.

3. Hence the problem isn't so much that Christian apologists refuse to "objectively look at the issue". Rather the problem is that village atheists like you offer simple-minded and ignorant responses to complex historical, ethical, and other issues.

Another person asks:

Does the bible authorize slavery and what is its message to black people whose ancestors were oppressed by whites?

1. No, the Bible doesn't condone slavery. Consider the simple fact that Moses and the Israelites were enslaved by the ancient Egyptians, but God set them free.

2. In fact, many African-Americans in the pre-Civil War American South argued against slavery using the Bible. For example, some African-Americans regarded white plantation owners in the antebellum South as pharaoh and their enslaved brothers and sisters like the Israelites who longed to be set free.

3. Likewise anti-slavery or abolitionist movements in the UK and the US were largely pioneered by professing Christians who drew their inspiration for abolitionism from the Bible. People like William Wilberforce, John Newton (Newton himself was both a slave trader and himself enslaved in Africa), Harriet Tubman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and many others.

Round 2:

About the selling and kidnapping of slaves. What about this scenario. A moabite is selling a moabite into slavery. A hebrew could buy the moabite slave and remain within the confines of both the law from leviticus and the law about kidnapping.

So it'd be like if a pre-Civil War Christian farmer bought an African-American slave from a wicked plantation owner in order to save the slave from the wicked plantation owner.

And you continue to special plead for a practice that anyone with an objective bone in their body would define as slavery.

1. Since you bring up "objective" morality (which is what you mean by "anyone with an objective bone in their body"), then how do you ground moral realism on your atheism? This is perfectly relevant to the issue because you're the one constantly trying to judge the Bible by your own moral lights, yet you are an atheist. What's the basis for your morality?

2. Why do you privilege your Western liberal views of morality over other moralities like Muslim morality (since you brought up the Quran) or the morality of other warrior cultures like the samurai or the Vikings?

Its not that I prefer simple answers. Its that you prefer to make a simple answer into something complicated because you need your moral law giver to still remain "moral".

1. Yet you keep assuming "slavery" in the ancient world is a "simple" issue. "Slavery" was a hugely complex issue. Yet your only response would be "slavery is wrong, the end" without taking into consideration any other relevant issues (e.g. economic destitution, prisoners of wars) or drawing any kinds of distinctions (e.g. slavery vs. servitude). You just hear the word "slavery" and your knee-jerk reaction is "bad". The whole idea triggers you, but you don't try to see it from the perspective of the culture and period. At the very least you should try to understand their perspective if you want to accurately criticize it.

2. Anyway, if you keep making such simple-minded assumptions, and you also keep refusing to interact with what scholars have said, and you instead immediately react by condemning anything that is said, then what else is someone supposed to think about you? That you're such a fair-minded and judicious intellectual who wants to study the literature in its tremendous depth and breadth in order to better understand the ethical issues and dilemmas involved?

And if god thought slavery was ok......well then you should too if he is your basis for morality. I see you bring up another excuse. Slavery was better under the hebrews than other nations. Why should I care if the slavery was....uhhmhmm....."better"? Its still owning another human for life.

You keep using the word "slavery" in English as if it's equivalent or identical to the various concepts related in Hebrew.

Both the illiad and the bible are both ancient mythological books with supernatural claims that cannot be verified.

You don't argue why "supernatural claims" can't be "verified". You just assert it. No arguments. No reasons. No nothing. Just an assertion. Anyone can make assertions.

To the objective mind these books are more or less in the same category.

You're the opposite of objective. You're a rabid atheist. If not misotheist.

But god didnt say to buy these slaves and then free them. God obviously laid out that you own them for life and there is no need to free them.

1. That's because you didn't bother to keep reading Lev 25. You only quoted Lev 25:44-46, but you didn't quote Lev 25:47. Yet verse 47 assumes that foreigners in Israel could become rich enough even to own Israelites as their slaves. Here's verse 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". Since the entire context is about slavery this is quite arguably referring to a foreign "slave" who had become rich enough to buy their freedom and rich enough even to be able to buy Israelites as their slaves.

You just keep on excusing slavery. You try to make the words on the page not mean what they say.

1. I've already shown from Exod 21:16 that the Bible condemns slavery and the slave trade.

2. I've already cited a Harvard educated ancient Neareastern scholar explaining relevant linguistic and moral distinctions to be made in Hebrew concepts about slavery and servitude.

3. I've already addressed Lev 25:44-46 but I'll say more now.

4. There were "slaves" who are POWs. Prisoners of war. The trick is how to assimilate POWs into Israelite society without them taking up arms against Israel. Like Spartacus did with the Romans. Moreover, it wouldn't necessarily be prudent to let POWs return to their own foreign lands because they could take up arms and fight again. There would need to be some kind of guarantee that they wouldn't take up arms again. Hence servitude.

5. At the same time, Deut 23 reflects tremendous concern for foreigners in Israel. Israel was not allowed to oppress or exploit foreigners living among them. Indeed, the Bible constantly tells Israel to remember that they were once slaves in Egypt (e.g. Deut 15:15, 24:18, Exod 13:3). Likewise there are passages like Exod 21:20–21, 26–27 which were quite arguably intended to protect all persons in Israel, not just Jews.

Again if the command in leviticus was uttered by ANYONE, I would be under the impression that that person thinks slavery is ok.

You never responded to my question over how you attempt to ground moral realism given your atheism. This is a very pertinent question given we're debating a moral or ethical issue and given you keep attempting to impose your own moral standards onto others. However, since you didn't respond, I'll assume you can't ground moral realism. If so, then you have no grounds by which to make the kinds of moral pronouncements and judgments you're making against the Bible. Well, apart from grounds such as personal preference, but that's no better than choosing chocolate over vanilla ice cream.

The reason I say that supernatural claims cannot be verified is because no supernatural claim HAS EVER been scientifically verified.

Since you're just making assertions without any argument or evidence, I'll make assertions without any argument or evidence: yes there are scientifically verifiable "supernatural" claims. See how easy that was? But it does nothing to advance any argument. At the very least you should define your terms (e.g. supernatural - do you mean within an open vs. closed universe, science - do you mean empirical science?).

And where in verse 26 does it condemn slavery? It doesnt. It doesnt even say that the foreigner had to be a slave to begin with.

1. I have no idea which passage you're referring to. Citing a single verse (verse 26 which I didn't even cite in my last reply to you) could be referring a bunch of different chapters in several different books of the Bible.

2. Besides I already gave you a slew of good responses, but you're either unwilling or unable to grasp the points.

Even with your quotes from the near eastern scholar (as well as pastor 🤦‍♂️) it still doesnt say that slavery is condemned or outlawed. Its just making the excuse that this was "kinder" slavery. Dude slavery is slavery. Its one human owning another human for life. And thats exactly what yahweh lays out.

Your summary would be hilarious if it weren't so painfully untrue. That's hardly a good summary of what he said. Further, there's so much more he said. I think one of your problems is you're responding too quickly without taking any time to read or understand anything I've said. You're just spewing forth whatever comes to your mind. Verbal diarrhea. That's too bad because it just hurts you. It means you don't learn anything. You're like those people aren't really listening when another person is speaking, but instead ready to jump in with more of their one-sided opinions. That's obvious from your basic lack of comprehension throughout all of this.

Im not bothering with the moral argument. Thats another rabbit hole. This was strictly about what the bible says about slavery.

Once again, you missed my explicit explanations for why I think this is completely pertinent to the issue of slavery. So I'll try again. If you're going to condemn slavery, then you need to have some kind of moral basis for your condemnation. Given atheism, what's morally wrong with enslaving a particular people? Given atheism, as well as evolutionary theory, we're just evolved primates. What's morally wrong with one group of evolved primates enslaving another group of evolved primates? That's a very relevant question. However if you don't have an answer, that's fine with me. It only makes your atheism look like it has no answer in the face of a serious challenge.

Ok. You claim there are scientifically verifiable "supernatural" claims. So go ahead and show me where these scientific papers were published and peer reviewed. Lets see it.

1. On the contrary, I only responded to you because you were first raised the issue. Remember when you compared the Bible to the Iliad because you said both had supernatural claims that couldn't be verified? So the onus is on you to demonstrate how the supernatural claims in the Bible and the Iliad are of a kind.

2. Your strong claim that there are no verifiable "supernatural" claims faces an almost insurmountable challenge. That's because you're arguing for a universal negative. That would entail you disproving any and all "supernatural" claims. That seems like a near impossible task. How can you disprove it?

a. Empirically speaking, you'd have to search every nook and cranny in the universe. That's like saying there are no verifiable black swans anywhere in the universe. However if someone happens to discover one, then that would disprove the claim. So it just takes one verifiable "supernatural" claim to disprove yours.

b. You could try to disprove it via philosophical argumentation. If so, then perhaps you'd argue for methodological naturalism, but that itself is a straitjacket on honest scientific inquiry.

3. At any rate, see books such as Miracles by Craig Keener, Medical Miracles by Jacalyn Duffin, Healing Miracles: A Doctor Investigates by Rex Gardner, Brain Wars by Mario Beauregard, The Gold Leaf Lady by Stephen Braude, The Legitimacy of Miracle by Robert Larmer, etc.

Not to mention the following medical accounts:

The list could go on and on and on. Again, empirically speaking, you'd have to disprove every single one of them and more if you want your universal negative to hold true.

4. Otherwise you'd have to retreat and scale back your position. A more modest position would be some kind of agnosticism or neutrality that admits it doesn't know or it's currently inexplicable or something along those lines.

Sure youve given me responses to slavery in the bible. But none that have chapter and verse that condemns ownership of another human being.

I guess you have a very thick skull. I've already told you more than once about Exod 21:16: "Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death." This is an explicit condemnation of owning people. The Hebrew term translated "possession" is about "ownership".

And I think I meant Leviticus 25:46.

Then see what I already done told you about Lev 25:47!

The scholars you quoted are just making excuses for what the words on the page mean.

1. You keep saying they're "excuses", but you never bother to explain why you think so. You never bother to engage with Stuart's points. You just assert they're "excuses". It's just your bare opinion.

2. The reasonable-minded can read what Douglas Stuart has written and decide for themselves whether or not he's "just making excuses".

claims about the supernatural are one in the same whether they come from petroclus or jesus. I claimed that there are no scientifically verified supernatural events because thats a fact. Im not saying that in the future we wont have a scientifically verified supernatural event......just that we do not have any at present time. Again....thats a fact.

Yet I listed a bunch of them for you, but you didn't even bother to interact with a single one of them.

Id be willing to bet that none of those supernatural claims you posted have made it to a peer reviewed scientific paper.

1. On the contrary, some of them are peer reviewed scientific papers as well as contain further references to peer reviewed scientific papers. But how would you know? Because you didn't even bother to check. It's just your hunch at this point ("I'd be willing to bet...").

2. What's more, most of them are by scientists themselves. Scientists doing research at academic institutions. Some are by philosophers and other scholars.

3. However I picked some of these precisely because I anticipated this would be your objection. And I was right.

4. Also, peer review is overrated. Publishing "peer reviewed" papers is easy enough to do, depending on the journal you're aiming for (e.g. low impact factor journals). What's more, even in top journals like Nature, Science, NEJM, JAMA, and so forth, there are often significant issues with peer reviewed papers. Just look at the work of a scholar like John Ioannidis on peer review. Or Google for problems or concerns about peer review. And I say this as someone who has published scientific papers as well, presented abstracts at conferences, etc. And if you're Christopher Eppig with a PhD in biology, then presumably you would know this too.

Sorry but what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. I dont need to debunk what cannot be verified in the first place.

1. This is amusing because you're basically a parrot. You're mindlessly repeating common atheist one-liners. This one in particular is from Christopher Hitchens.

2. Meanwhile I didn't "assert without evidence". In fact, I did the exact opposite: I provided evidence for you! But again you're too busy being a brain-dead zombie and repeating stock atheist tropes to recognize this.

3. Anyway next time around I guess I'll expect to hear phrases like: "We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further." "Teaching children religion is child abuse." "Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose." And so on and so forth. Christians (and others) have pointed out their significant flaws.

4. For instance, the phrase "what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence" is itself self-defeating. That's because the phrase was asserted without evidence. Therefore, according to its own logic, it can be dismissed without evidence.

5. Finally this shows how disingenuous you are. You asked for evidence, but when I gave you ample evidence, you immediately dismiss it. So you don't actually want evidence. You just want to plug your ears and live in your own imaginary world. In other words, you're a village atheist, as was fairly clear from the beginning, but it's oh so crystal clear now! :)

Ok. Again....dont steal a man and keep him.

Yes, in fact, I was the one who pointed this out to you by citing Exod 21.

Instead buy the foreigner from the slave trader in the next town over. Then there is no issue.

1. I already responded to this above. Re-read what I said.

2. However I'll add this excerpt from Paul Copan's Is God a Moral Monster?:

[T]he presence of foreigners was tricky. If Israel fought against other nations, some POWs might need to be assimilated into Israelite society. Structures were needed to prevent them from rising up in rebellion against their new masters or remaining consolidated in their own land where they could muster forces and launch a counterattack. In cases where Israel’s captured enemies (especially the males) didn’t care for the “laws of the land” and posed an internal threat to Israel’s safety (e.g., Num. 21–22; 25; 31), servanthood was one way of subduing or controlling this menace.

Certain economic, military, and social realities made things messy.18 Even so, Israel couldn’t oppress or exploit foreigners. Deuteronomy 23 shows concern for desperate, threatened foreign slaves, and this text sheds light on—or even improves on—previous legislation in Leviticus 25. And there’s no hint of racism here, as though being a non-Israelite was justification for Israelite slave keeping. In fact, as Roy Gane argues, the laws of Exodus 21:20–21, 26–27 protect from abuse all persons in service to others, not just Jews.19

Notice something important in Leviticus 25:44–47, which is typically overlooked by the critics. We’ve seen that kidnapping and slave trading were clearly prohibited by the Mosaic law, but foreigners would come to Israel as prisoners of war and, given the dangers of an internal uprising, would be pressed into supervised construction or agricultural work. Yet the very sojourners and aliens who were at first pressed into service (v. 45) were the same ones who had the capability of saving up sufficient means (v. 47). Yes, in principle, all persons in servitude within Israel except criminals could be released.20

At this juncture, let’s note several important points about the “foreign servitude” passage of Leviticus 25: First, the verb acquire [qanah] in Leviticus 25:39–51 need not involve selling or purchasing foreign servants. For example, the same word appears in Genesis 4:1 (Eve’s having “gotten a manchild”) and 14:19 (God is the “Possessor of heaven and earth”).21 Later, Boaz “acquired” Ruth as a wife (Ruth 4:10), although she was no inferior but rather a full partner in Boaz’s eyes.

Second, in some cases, foreign servants could become elevated and apparently fully equal to Israelite citizens. For instance, a descendant of Caleb ended up marrying an Egyptian servant. “Now Sheshan had no sons, only daughters. And Sheshan had an Egyptian servant whose name was Jarha. Sheshan gave his daughter to Jarha his servant in marriage, and she bore him Attai” (1 Chron. 2:34–35). Not only do we have marriage between a foreign servant and an established freeperson with quite a pedigree, but the key implication is that inheritance rights would fall to the servant’s offspring (the genealogy lists Jarha’s son Attai, who had a son Nathan, whose son was Zabad, and so on).

Third, foreign runaway slaves were given protection within Israel’s borders and not returned to their harsh masters (Deut. 23:15–16). Kidnapping slaves was also prohibited (Exod. 21:16; Deut. 24:7). So serving within Israelite households was to be a safe haven for any foreigner; it was not to be an oppressive setting, but offered economic and social stability.

Fourth, we’ve seen that the “Hebrew” servant in Exodus 21:2 could well have been an outsider who had come to be a resident alien and was to be released in the seventh year, presumably to go back to his country of origin. However, he could make the arrangement permanent if he loved his master/employer and wanted to stay under his care. Given the security and provision of room and board for landless aliens, this arrangement could apparently be extended into the next generation(s). This setup wasn’t to be permanent, unless the servant chose to stay with his master. John Goldingay writes, “Perhaps many people would be reasonably happy to settle for being long-term or lifelong servants. Servants do count as part of the family.” He adds, “One can even imagine people who started off as debt servants volunteering to become permanent servants because they love their master and his household” (cf. Deut. 15:16–17).22

Fifth, the text of Leviticus 25 makes clear that the alien/stranger could potentially work himself out of debt and become a person of means in Israel: “if the means of a stranger or of a sojourner with you becomes sufficient” (v. 47). This is another indication that he wasn’t stuck in lifelong servitude without a choice. The terms stranger (ger) and sojourner (toshab) are connected to the terms used in verse 45 “sojourners who live as aliens/strangers among you”). That is, these “acquired” servants could potentially better themselves to the point of hiring servants themselves (v. 47). Of course, an alien could not hire an Israelite.

As we’ve seen in other scenarios, these situations weren’t ideal given the inferior social structures of the time. God instituted laws for Israel that began where the people were. But we see a remarkable humanization encoded in Israel’s laws—for foreign and Israelite servants alike.


The reason I call them excuses is because, like ive already stated, if a passage like that was handed down by darth vader youd have no issue calling it exactly what it is......SLAVERY. Something that an apparently "all moral god" shouldnt condone.

Once again, if you're going to condemn slavery, then you need to have some kind of moral basis for your condemnation. Given atheism, what's morally wrong with enslaving a particular people? Given atheism, as well as evolutionary theory, we're just evolved primates, are we not? What's morally wrong with one group of evolved primates enslaving another group of evolved primates?

In fact, look at primates like apes which kill and rape one another. Why would that behavior be immoral? It's just what apes do. Likewise sometimes lions kill other lion cubs. Why is that immoral? It's just what happens in nature. Nature is what it is. What's immoral about animals in nature behaving the way they behave? So this is a very relevant question when it comes to evolved primates like humans too.

However, if you don't have an answer, that's fine with me. It only makes your atheism look like it has no answer in the face of a serious challenge.

Round 3:

you cant philosophically reason a rocket into space and you cant philosophically reason something into existence.

1. Not surprisingly, Fasta Parian is confused. There are multiple lines of arguments for the existence of God (e.g. see here). And there's nothing illogical or unreasonable about arguing for God on the basis of logic and reason which are the tools of philosophical inquiry.

2. For that matter, "science" itself is argued for on the basis of logic and reason. Science can't even get off the ground (pardon the pun) if one abandons logic and reason.

3. Science qua science can't prove the existence of God, but science qua science can't disprove the existence of God either. However science can provide evidence which supports premises in an argument for God. Of course, the atheist could say science can provide evidence which supports premises in an argument against God. If so, that's fine. My point is science qua science is at worst neutral with regard to the existence of God (but see #2). The real debate over the existence of God lies deeper than what science qua science is able to demonstrate.

4. Besides, it's not as if Fasta Parian even attempts to substantively interact with any reason for the existence of God. For example, I already gave Fasta Parian medical scientific evidence for the existence of the supernatural, the paranormal, miracles, and related phenomena (e.g. NDEs) - and keep in mind it was Fasta Parian who asked for the evidence - but Fasta Parian impatiently dismissed it all.

5. However none of this affects me nor bothers me as a Christian. Why should it? After all, the Christian can present reason and evidence for the atheist, but it's up to the atheist to do whatever he wishes with the evidence. If he wishes to ignore it or mock it rather than interact with it, then that's on him. The Christian doesn't lose anything. All the loss is on Fasta Parian's end.

It's like if a physician tries to save the life of a dying patient, but the dying patient just hurls insults and ridicule at the physician and refuses treatment (rather than asking honest questions about the treatment). That's fine, the physician can simply move onto someone else, while the patient can remain in their condition until they expire if that's their wish. No one is harmed except the patient, but that was their choice. Just like it's Fasta Parian's choice to reject reasonable arguments and evidences for Christianity.

thank you. Thank you for another objective view of the issue.

What's amusing is watching one rabid atheist (Fasta Parian) congratulating another atheist (Tim) on his supposed "objectivity" regarding the Bible.

Now to Tim:

The data of slavery in the Bible is more expected under the hypothesis that this is just reflective of the barbaric culture of the time period. These ancient barbarians lived in a time period and culture where slavery was the norm just like in every other ANE culture so its just expected that we see laws about it in their written records. This hypothesis perfectly explains the data.

On the other hand, expecting these words from a morally perfect and all loving being is ad hoc. This is demonstrated by the amount of mental contortions the apologist has to resort to in order to make slavery not sound "all that bad." In any other context, slavery or the ownership of human beings would be outright condemned. It's only when we broach the Christian apologist's door that we are presented with these kind of excuses.

So the first hypothesis explains the data without being ad hoc. The second one is ad hoc.

Conclusion: The first hypothesis is the better explanation of the data.

1. The debate over what the Bible says about slavery (agree or disagree with its ethics) is a concrete claim based on textual, historical, archaeological, and related evidence. Not an abstract claim based on counterfactual probabilities that some random person just concocted from the recesses of his biases.

2. I've already gone through the textual and related issues. Tim doesn't even bother to interact with what I've said, what Douglas Stuart has said, or what Paul Copan has said. I could cite other scholars as well. Fasta Parian did try to interact with the material, but his attempts were pretty weak, to say the least. Some jabs thrown, but no punches landed. So what I've said still stands undeterred. In any case, anyone can read the debate posted here and decide for themselves which side has made the more reasonable case.

3. However, if one wishes to argue from probabilities, then one should consider a more rigorous mathematical framework. Rather than floating amateurish hypotheticals like Tim has done. One might even consider a Bayesian framework. Take, for example, Tim and Lydia McGrew's "The Argument from Miracles: A Cumulative Case for the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth".

4. Once again, if you're going to condemn slavery, then you need to have some kind of moral basis for your condemnation. Given atheism, what's morally wrong with enslaving a particular people? Given atheism, as well as evolutionary theory, we're just evolved primates, are we not? What's morally wrong with one group of evolved primates enslaving another group of evolved primates?

In fact, look at primates like apes which kill and rape one another. Why would that behavior be immoral? It's just what apes do. Likewise sometimes lions kill other lion cubs. Why is that immoral? It's just what happens in nature. Nature is what it is. What's immoral about animals in nature behaving the way they behave? So this is a very relevant question when it comes to evolved primates like humans too.

However, if you don't have an answer, that's fine with me. It only makes your atheism look like it has no answer in the face of a serious challenge.

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