Thursday, January 3, 2013

Perhaps a Christian could enlighten me...

Christians as a force for ending slavery?  Perhaps someone could educate me on how you reconcile that with the fact that the Bible clearly endorses slavery...


  1. The bible does not endorse slavery. It describes slavery without condemning it. I would say endorsement is a bit strong. I would even suggest the book of Philemon comes very close to condemning slavery. Onesimus is a slave of Philemon. He runs away and goes to Paul in jail. Paul sends this letter back with Onesimus to Philemon. He strongly hints that Philemon should free Onesimus. He does not order him to do so only because Paul wants him to do it out of love and not out of obedience.

    Anyway, Catholics believe in something called Development of Doctrine. That means that the word of God is revealed more and more fully over time. Issues like slavery and polygamy were murky in the first century but God has since shown us that they are immoral. This is made clear by the church.

    The good news is we can progress. We can learn things about God that were previously unknown.

  2. The Bible lays out rules for who you may enslave, under what conditions, the fact that you may pass them on to your descendents, and how savagely you may beat them. That's an endorsement.

    How did God show us that slavery and polygamy are immoral? Was there a new new testament that I missed?

  3. There was, sort of. The church was endowed with the power to bind and loose. That was a reference to the moral rulings of the Jewish rabbis. The apostles and their successors, the bishops, have the authority to bind certain practices like slavery and lose certain practices like veneration of Mary. Jesus said what they bound on earth would be bound in heaven and what they loose on earth would be loose in heaven (Mat 18:18). This means their rulings are going to be consistent with the moral reality of heaven. It is what we call sacred tradition. Not a new new testament but a way to develop morally and theologically and be certain you new teachings are true.

  4. So it's true if the church says so? Am I understanding that correctly? If not, what are the criteria for determining which new teachings are true?

  5. See my comments to DVD Bach regarding slavery at
    You'll have to scroll down to the bottom of the comments.

    My favorite part is when DVD Bach cannot recognize that words can have more than one meaning.

  6. If DVD Bach really wanted to condemn slavery in the Bible, he would cite and explain all the passages in the Bible related to slavery. Anyone can pick one isolated portion and make it say whatever they want. For instance, the Bible also says, "There is no God", but it you read it in context, it says, "The fool has said in his heart, there is no God."

    DVD Bach has selected just a few verses in the Bible about slavery. What about the all the other verses relating to slavery? There are a lot of them. What about the verses that specifically condemn kidnapping.

    DVD Bach misrepresents the Bible's view of slavery. All he has really done is condemned slavery as practiced in early American history (and other similar forms). Well, duh!

    If he wants to condemn the Biblical view of slavery, then he must actually address the Biblical view of slavery in its entirety. Otherwise, he's just blowing a lot of hot air.

  7. Fair enough. I invite everyone to read the entire book of Leviticus and see the context for themselves. You'll find that I am accurately characterizing slavery as the owning of other human beings as property.