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Jan 30 2014

Biblical slavery was such a lovely and tolerant experience

The clueless goons at AiG are confident about the outcome of Ken Ham’s debate with Bill Nye, claiming that the scientific facts of the Bible will win the day. Of course, you have to understand that what creationists call “fact” and what rational people call fact are rather different things. For example, when confronted with the Biblical support for slavery, here’s what they have to say:

What do you mean by slavery? Biblical slavery (servitude) was much different from what most people today think of as slavery (e.g., what some Europeans and Americans shamefully did with some African peoples, which is a recent example of forced slavery in the Western world).

Slavery (servitude) in the Bible was when someone was overextended in debt and could not pay it off. They would sell themselves into slavery for a seven-year term to pay off that debt to a wealthier person. During that time, they were given room and board, were paid a small wage that they could put into savings, and were taught a vocation. Then when they came out of this seven-year servitude, they could enter the culture with means and a profession.

Oh, really? That was only sometimes true, and then, only for the men, and only if they are Hebrews. Read Exodus 21.

2 “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. 3 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. 4 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.

5 “But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ 6 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.

7 “If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. 8 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. 9 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.

This idea that slaves were all happy Hebrews who were going through the ancient equivalent of bankruptcy court is amusing, but atypical. Where did many slaves come from? It’s just a real shame if you happen to be a woman, or for instance, a Midianite, because you were spoils of war. Read your bible, Numbers 31.

7 They fought against Midian, as the Lord commanded Moses, and killed every man. 8 Among their victims were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba—the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword. 9 The Israelites captured the Midianite women and children and took all the Midianite herds, flocks and goods as plunder. 10 They burned all the towns where the Midianites had settled, as well as all their camps. 11 They took all the plunder and spoils, including the people and animals, 12 and brought the captives, spoils and plunder to Moses and Eleazar the priest and the Israelite assembly at their camp on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan across from Jericho.

13 Moses, Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. 14 Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—who returned from the battle.

15 “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. 16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people. 17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

I am not so confident of the outcome of this debate. You can see what the liars at Answers in Genesis will do; not even the words of their Holy Bible are safe, but will be twisted and misrepresented to produce a false picture of their claims. I do wish these loons who so enthusiastically endorse the “literal interpretation” of their Bible would actually acknowledge what it says. If you’re going to claim that the Earth is less than ten thousand years old because you are forced by logic and consistency to accept every word of the Bible, then you must also accept that your daughters are your possessions to be bought and sold into slavery, and that the rape and genocide of foreigners is God’s will.

62 comments

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  1. 1
    Crimson Clupeidae

    Totes different because….reasons!

  2. 2
    Rich Woods

    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.

    So when he gets tired of his concubine, he can kick her out of the house to go live on the streets. That’s nice. I’d like* to hear AiG explain that one away.

    * Actually, no, I wouldn’t.

  3. 3
    busterggi

    Biblical slavery was absolutely loverly – just look how the Hebrews fought to remain slaves in Egypt!

    Okay, I know the whole Egyptian slavery thing is myth but…

  4. 4
    raven

    then you must also accept that your daughters are your possessions to be bought and sold into slavery, …

    Even today, they don’t seem to have a problem with that. They always looked suprised when one of the walking incubators has a thought.

    The bible also says that the earth is flat, orbited by the sun, and the moon is a glow in the dark disk. The sky is a dome with lights stuck on it for stars. The dome has gates so whenever god gets mildly annoyed with us, he can pour down water and kill a few people.

    All xians are cafeteria xians, picking and choosing from the magic book of ancient mythology and atrocities.

    Whenever they bother to read it, which is seldom. They mostly just hold it up as a magic talisman and idol.

  5. 5
    pianoman, Heathen & Torontophile

    Still feel uncomfortable about this whole debate. There is nothing Nye could say, not matter how overwhelming, that would ever make them stop and say “gee, he could be right”.

    Seems like waste of Nye’s time and unwarranted attention for Pastor Douchebag.

  6. 6
    OverlappingMagisteria

    There are a few more Bible passages that contradict the “humane slavery” idea that many Christians like to use.

    Leviticus 25:44-46 outlines the distinction that they like to ignore. It is true that fellow Hebrew servants were temporary, but foreign slaves are entirely different:

    Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 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. 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.

    Exodus 21:20-21 explains that you can beat a slave, as long as he doesn’t die right away. So.. slavery is not quite so gentle and humane:

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

  7. 7
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Of course. When we’re discussing Genesis, the Bible is an inerrant guide to the creation of the very cosmos, even though it was written by people who thought stars are tiny lights attached to a dome. When we’re talking about slavery, though, well suddenly the Bible is a product of its time, and we have to be sensitive to cultural nuance and historical context.

    At least their selective reading and heavy reliance on fanon is consistent.

  8. 8
    Chie Satonaka

    Yeah, indentured servitude didn’t even work that way in practice in colonial America. They were an exploited class of cheap labor, and horribly abused.

  9. 9
    Tabby Lavalamp

    The folks at Landover have it just about right: http://www.landoverbaptist.net/showthread.php?t=31380

    The thing is, I wouldn’t be surprised if conservative Christians secretly crave the return of slavery. They usually want to abolish the minimum wage, unions, and welfare, three things that, if successfully abolished, might not bring back slavery but would definitely bring about slave wages.

  10. 10
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    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.

    – Leviticus 25:44-46 (New International Version)

    Indentured servitude? I think not. Also, I think it’s pretty ruthless to coerce a man to remain a slave in order to stay with his wife and children. Or to allow slaves to be beaten to death as long as they don’t die within 2 days of the beating.

  11. 11
    Enzyme

    Silly PZ. The organisation is called Answers in Genesis. You’re quoting Exodus and Numbers. Any fool can tell that there’re no answers there.

  12. 12
    anteprepro

    Nobody misreads and illogics quite like a fundamentalist does. It’s just got a unique style and flair, ya know.

  13. 13
    cervantes

    I saw survey results not too long ago that showed that atheists knew much more about the Bible, on average, than Christians. Wish I could remember the polling outfit and link to it, maybe somebody will find it. Very few Bible thumpers actually know what’s in it.

  14. 14
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    I would be willing to accept that slavery back then was different from slavery as practiced in the antebellum US, but at the end of the day it is still slavery.

  15. 15
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Gah, borked my html.

  16. 16
    robro

    …not even the words of their Holy Bible are safe, but will be twisted and misrepresented to produce a false picture of their claims.

    The words of the bibles are already a twisted mess and misrepresent whatever facts (if any) might be behind them. So, you end up with many layers of false pictures. AiG and their ilk are just adding to the heap.

  17. 17
    ChasCPeterson

    re that first link: The AiGers add a smarmy ‘[sic]‘ to the perfectly resonable comment they quote:

    the more people that see you crumble to scientific facts the less people [sic] will suffer from your religions influence.

    which is a little confusing but not wrong; the commenter clearly meant that people will suffer less, not that fewer people will suffer.

    And then, this:

    Why do you even care in an atheistic evolutionary worldview about people suffering? Suffering is not a bad thing in that religion; instead it is one of the heroes in your worldview. It is the mechanism of suffering (which according to evolution is merely a chemical response in the brain) that supplies the needed selection pressures that “evolution” is supposed to overcome. A consistent atheistic evolutionist should be cheering when people suffer and die since that is what is supposed to pave the way for the next “stage of evolution.”

    fucking ignorant asshole.

    we love the scientific facts! In fact, they work beautifully in a Christian worldview. This is why most fields of science were developed by Bible-believing Christians like Faraday, Newton, Pasteur, Boyle, and so on. Because the Bible is true, we have a basis to do observable and repeatable science.

    fucking unclear-on -the-concept lying ignorant asshole.

    I’m curious to see how a materialist (which atheists, agnostics, and secular humanists inherently are) will debate using logic, which is not material. After all, Mr. Nye’s materialism demands that anything that is not material doesn’t exist.

    f u-o-t-c l i a

  18. 18
    ChasCPeterson

    bah, I clicked ‘submit’ too soon but it goes on. Fucker gets my goat.

  19. 19
    ChasCPeterson

    Where do you get this idea in your religion that incest is wrong? Do squirrels not breed with their sisters? They do. Do deer not breed with their sisters? They do, too.

    squirrels and deer are assumed to be male

    by filling every unknown with an imaginary friend.

    Yet it is the evolutionists who defend their imaginary “missing links” and even call them “ancestors,” their supposed big bang, and their imaginary millions of years. Consider the irony here: You don’t believe Adam and Noah existed (who were real people and your ancestors), but you are willing to look at artists’ representations of animal bones and say that they are your ancestors?

    gah I have to stop

  20. 20
    b. - Order of Lagomorpha

    I was just watching a clip from The Atheist Experience last night that dealt with slavery. It was Matt Dillahunty vs “Seth from Seattle” (as a PNWer, I apologize for Seth). Seth’s main argument was, “It was indentured servitude! Totally!” Matt’s counter-argument is that Seth was full of shit, the damned book says, “Slave”, means slave and that god’s totes okay with owning people, but really try and get an import and not an Israelite, if at all possible. Ugh.

    I feel like the Patrician in Terry Pratchett’s “Discworld” series: he has a scorpion pit where he likes to throw mimes with a sign on the wall that says, “Learn the Words”. If only people would do that when it comes to their “holy” books.

  21. 21
    vaiyt

    Because the Bible is true, we have a basis to do observable and repeatable science.

    And that’s why every “fact” discovered by science was a confirmation of the Bible, like evolution, the age of the Universe, the sphericity of the Earth, the Flood, the ceased existance of Tyre… oops.

  22. 22
    markmckee

    There are some Christians who like to point out that Jesus refuted the excesses of the Old Testament and they might do so in the case of slavery. So it’s also important to know that St Paul wrote Epistles on the proper way to treat your slaves. And setting them all free was never one of his recommendations.

    And St Paul needless to say became a Christian after the death of Jesus.

  23. 23
    johnlee

    The 40,000 or so different Christian denominations that are out there all have their different takes on this stuff. AiG seems to think Biblical slavery was indentured labour, others believe it condones 18th century-style colonial slavery. Yet more just pretend that these things aren’t even in the Bible, and some mantain that the rules have changed since Moses.
    The one thing they all have in common is that they are so full of shit it slops out of the brim.

  24. 24
  25. 25
    Pen

    All situations that place human beings in positions of power over others have the potential for abuse, including, obviously, chattel slavery, but also the situation of men with regard to their wive/daughters/sisters throughout much of history, indentured labor, exploitation of the working classes, and even the probably unavoidable dependency of children. The specific possibilities for abuse may vary but they’re always there. The only solution is in systems that ensure power can’t rest in any given individual over others.

  26. 26
    brianpansky

    There are some Christians who like to point out that Jesus refuted the excesses of the Old Testament and they might do so in the case of slavery.

    some mantain that the rules have changed since Moses.

    my favorite way to deal with this stuff is to say “are we supposed to forgive god for all those old testament years?”

    gods don’t deserve forgiveness, in my opinion.

    of course, (if i recall) then there are some special believers that say the bible has been altered to include that bad stuff, which didn’t really happen!

  27. 27
    eoraptor

    If you’re going to claim that the Earth is less than ten thousand years old because you are forced by logic and consistency to accept every word of the Bible…

    I’m guessing PZ misspoke in the heat of the moment, but for the record, the wholly babble does not say the world is 6,000, or less than 10,000, years old. No where, no way, no how. Bishop Ussher totalled up the ages of The Patriarchs, and compared the more historical events of the bible (Babylonian conquest and such-like) to actual historical events. Granted, he was as arrogant as the worst of the RCC bishops, and thought it was in his power to declare the day, date, and time, but to give the devil his due (see what I did there?) he came fairly close on the historical dates.

    So, the fundibans are basing their entire world-view on the inherently fallible (according to them) calculations of a 17th century bishop of the Whore of Babylon (also according to them). It’s lies, all the way down.

  28. 28
    WhiteHatLurker

    @Chie Satonaka, #8

    I came to the comments to post something similar.

    Indentured servitude is only marginally different from slavery, and the debt load has been known to grow dring the period of servitude so that the yoke is never lifted.

  29. 29
    robro

    brianpansky: Interesting assertion. I’ve never heard any Christians claim that the writings were altered to include bad stuff. I’ve always gotten the impression that they believe the writings are revealed and pure, untainted by human hands.

    Of course, there’s extensive evidence that the writings were altered many times and many of the alterations were specifically to cover up bad stuff such as polytheism, human sacrifice, and the various forms of the cults and to support specific ideological positions (monotheism, Hasmonean rights to the high priesthood, the temple cults, the anti-temple cults, Hellenizers, Ptolmaics, anti-Hellenics…et cetera). This doesn’t begin to cover the vagaries of the oral traditions that might lie behind some of the writings.

    In any case, outside of the Bible there is little evidence for the events described therein, and in fact, considerable evidence indicating that the events did not occur at all or as described.

  30. 30
    vaiyt

    Indentured servitude is only marginally different from slavery, and the debt load has been known to grow dring the period of servitude so that the yoke is never lifted.

    As it happens today in many places, some close to where I live.

  31. 31
    woozy

    I’d be (mildly) interested to hear an objective historian discuss the hebrew-male indentured servitude system of slavery and what it entails and how it differs from “classic slavery” but I can’t imagine under any circumstances that I’d find it either desirable or moral. The outsiders and bounty of war slavery seems *exactly* like “classic slavery” though.

    @27. “but for the record, the wholly babble does not say the world is 6,000, or less than 10,000, years old

    Yeah, but it’s pretty much within a factor of five or six (unless you have folks living for millions of years). And it does have the universe being created from soup to nuts (void to humans) in seven days.

    It doesn’t (except in the most oblique sense) say anything about the world being flat or square or geocentric or that women and men have different number of ribs or the stars are painted onto a celestial dome or that the moon never appears in the day (which surely bronze-age goat herders wouldn’t have ever believed) either. Basically the bible is clearly a descriptive book of mythology folklore and cultural history. To view it as a *pre*scriptive text of quantifiable facts and data is simply nuts.

  32. 32
    cartomancer

    Talking about “slavery in the bible” or “slavery in biblical times” is rather like talking about “TV in modern Europe” or “Asian Theatre” – it is most definitely not one big, monolithic and well-defined thing. We’re talking about various loosely connected cultural and economic practices spread across over a thousand years of bronze-age and iron-age history and many, many different peoples, tribes, empires and cultures.

    Slavery in the Egyptian New Kingdom was different from slavery in Assyria, or Babylon, or among the Hittites or the Medes or the Persians. And different again among the various Greek communities, Phoenicians, Carthaginians and especially the Romans. Each of these peoples had several different kinds of slavery and debt-bondage, and different customs and practices came into and fell out of favour as the centuries progressed. Even the Semitic peoples of what is now called the Holy Land varied tremendously in their people-owning practices over space and time, and according to ethnicity, gender and economic class even within cultures.

    It really gets my goat when these ignoramus bible-wankers try to pretend that all this historical nuance and diversity can be boiled down to some trite, catch-all statement about a twee, one-size-fits-all theme-park “biblical times” culture. I mean, I guess that if you think the entire universe is only six thousand years old then it fits that your appreciation of a millennium of actual legal and economic history should be akin to what the bye-laws of a small town look like in any given week, but still…

  33. 33
    raven

    It doesn’t (except in the most oblique sense) say anything about the world being flat or square or geocentric or that women and men have different number of ribs or the stars are painted onto a celestial dome or that the moon never appears in the day (which surely bronze-age goat herders wouldn’t have ever believed) either.

    Wrong.

    It says exactly that. Where do you think god got the miles of water to genocide early humans. He opened the gates of heaven and poured water down. And the fountains of the deep.

    It you can’t be bothered reading the first few pages of Genesis, I can’t be bothered cutting and pasting it.

  34. 34
    raven

    FWIW, the biblical cosmology was pretty standard for its time. And survived well into medieval times.

    And still survives today in part. 20% of the US population, 60 million people are Geocentrists and can’t diagram the solar system, something I learned in the first grade. Some fundies believe the moon glows by its own light because it says so in Genesis. Not sure how they explain the moon walking astronauts missing that.

    There is a huge amount of evidence that the bible is just ancient mythology written by humans. One key finding: there is nothing in the bible that wasn’t known by the people who wrote it at the time they wrote it.

  35. 35
    raven

    Just shoot me… Some walk out on Bill Nye for saying moon reflects …
    www. examiner. com/…/just-shoot-me-some-walk-out-on-bill-nye-for-say…‎

    Bill Nye “The Science Guy” was booed in Waco, Texas in 2006 for sug. … the moon does reflect light from the sun, otherwise there’d be no dark side of the ….. are retarded idiots who believe the moon to be a gigantic glowing ball of cheese.

    It’s a common fundie xian belief that the moon is a self glowing disk in the sky because it is in Genesis. Bill Nye had a bunch of Texans walk out when he claimed that it reflects the sun’s light.

    There are still flat earthers around too. It’s the official position of Boku Haram.

    When you cast off from realityland, why not? If you are going to believe false and silly things, might as well believe them all.

  36. 36
    brianpansky

    @35
    raven

    Bill Nye had a bunch of Texans walk out when he claimed that it reflects the sun’s light.

    i thought they walked out for a different reason. i thought they walked out because they thought the bible says the moon reflects (or at lest doesn’t say it produces its own light).

    also, i thought some just walked out because they were offended by mocking the bible.

    i didn’t think any actually walked out because they thought the moon glows on its own, or because they thought bible claims the moon glows on it’s own…

  37. 37
    robro

    raven @#34

    Not sure how they explain the moon walking astronauts missing that.

    Easy. The moon landings were a fake, staged and filmed by Stanley Kubrick which he essentially admits to in The Shinning. (I bet you already knew that.)

  38. 38
    ChasCPeterson

    i thought… i thought…also, i thought…i didn’t think

    Dude, you’re on the fucking internet. You don’t have to think. Just look it up. Takes 30 seconds.
    link

  39. 39
    raven

    i didn’t think any actually walked out because they thought the moon glows on its own, or because they thought bible claims the moon glows on it’s own…

    NO.

    You could have at least read the article. It’s only a few paragraphs.

  40. 40
    ChasCPeterson

    lol. I meant it took 30 seconds to g**gle it up. I didn’t even see that the (same) link was provided!

  41. 41
    woozy

    Um, I’m not sure I see how gates of heaven have anything to do with a specifying a flat, square or geocentric earth. In actuality, the bible doesn’t say anything about the nature of the world that the people of the time wouldn’t have taken for granted on their own. The bible is simply folklore and oral tradition and what little cosmology there is was, well, I still maintain it didn’t even have the cosmology of geocentricism, was simply the language of people living in the day to day world. It simply never even occurred to the dessert nomads to even wonder about such issues.

    Some fundies not only believe that the moon glows by its own light, but also that, despite what your eyes tell you when you see a half moon in the afternoon, the moon *never* appears in the day. This is akin to the fundies who believe, no matter how many corpses you examine nor how many x-rays you look at, women have one more rib than men do. It’s not that the bible said anything with authority. All the bible actually says is that the moon is a light, which it is. Whether it is a reflective light or a source of its own was never addressed because the people who wrote it were fucking bronze-age goat herders. But to the fundies this is a demo of the absolute need to believe every naive (you might say ignorant, but I think naive is more accurate; claiming “the sun set” or “the moon shone” isn’t the same as claiming geocentricism or the moon is its own light source– it simply means naively not considering the issue) thing the bible claimed is literally and *absolutely* true. Thus even if you *see* the frikkin’ moon sitting up there in the pale sky it isn’t actually there because the bible, when toe to toe, is right and reality is wrong.

    But I digress. Slavery in the bible. Yep, it’s there.

  42. 42
    raven

    I’m going to give a break to the writers of the bible.

    The OT was written around 500 BCE.

    How could they have known anything about astronomy or any other science? The telescope wasn’t even invented for 2 millennia. They were doing the best they could with what they had.

    They had no way of knowing that the moon was another big planetoid. Or that the stars were gigantic fusion reactors like the sun but very far away.

    Today’s fundie xians don’t have that excuse. They have to work hard to be ignorant.

  43. 43
    Duth Olec

    Whoa. That’s actually a a thing in the Bible?
    I might have to find a way to fit that into my mockery story of it…

  44. 44
    woozy

    Whoa. That’s actually a a thing in the Bible?
    I might have to find a way to fit that into my mockery story of it…

    Um, “actually a thing in the Bible”? Well, yes and no.

    Genesis 1:16 “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.”

    As a bible passage that’s no big deal. Neither stupid nor smart. To take it literally in the 19th century and interpret it as a self-eminating light source despite common knowledge is idiotic.

    However to be fair, we actually have no idea whether any fundies believe this or not. We just know that when Bill Nye chose to mention this passage and point out that the moon was a reflector fundies booed him and walked out. In my opinion, however, I think we are giving the fundies (*not* paragons of reason) to much credit if we assume the actually had any consistency of thought and well-formed opinions before hand. I don’t think any of these fundies actually knew if they thought the moon reflected or provided its own light. (If I’d wager money, I’d bet none had ever thought about it and wouldn’t even know what the question meant.) I think the simply figure Nye was going to do some anti-bible science speak and they were going to be against it no matter what.

    I’m pretty sure Ken Ham, if asked, would claim the moon reflects. Then again, I’m not sure Ken Ham actually believes what he says he does.

  45. 45
    brianpansky

    thanks for the link.

    did you read it? do you mind quoting where it contradicts my view?

    are you perhaps referring to the one person who said “we believe in god”? and you take that to mean she also believes the moon generates light, rather than what i said?

    and if you read it, it had links to a better article, which clarified that there was no booing.

    http://www.examiner.com/article/reporter-of-bill-nye-moonbat-story-speaks

    i am a bit sleepy right now, but the articles i read just now made it seem as though some people were seen leaving, but their reason for leaving is just as uncertain as my post #36 above.

  46. 46
    brucegee1962

    Here’s another point about slavery, and those who say Biblical slavery was totes different than the way it was practiced in the American South. Every single one of those passages was used in the decades up to the Civil War to justify why their particular brand of slavery was a-ok based on the Bible.

    Furthermore, when God inerrantly dictated the Bible to his followers, since He has perfect knowledge of all time and space, he knew exactly how His words would be used in the 1850s, and He was completely fine with that. If he’d mentioned to Paul — “Hey, you Christians, it would really be better if you let your slaves go,” how much suffering over the centuries would that one sentence have prevented? But He chose not to mention that.

  47. 47
    Rob Grigjanis

    Chas @40:

    lol. I meant it took 30 seconds to g**gle it up.

    If you’d spent another minute or so, you’d have found out that he wasn’t booed. Oh, the magic of the internet, where you don’t have to think! Lol.

  48. 48
    woggler

    I like the fact that the writer points out that the slave trade was ended because of the efforts of Christians such as Wilberforce, while blatantly ignoring the fact that the vast majority of slavers and slave owners were Christians.

  49. 49
    robro

    raven @#42

    I’m going to give a break to the writers of the bible. The OT was written around 500 BCE. How could they have known anything about astronomy or any other science?

    Fair enough. They also didn’t know anything about history except as legend and tradition. How could they? Just like King Arthur and Trojan horses, we have to take a good deal of the “histories” with a grain of salt and realize that the writers/compilers/redactors/ had other concerns. So they can be forgiven if they didn’t get their facts straight, didn’t even care, and probably made up missing pieces to fill in the blanks. That extends as well to the legends of the origin of the writings we call “Bible”…but that’s a different discussion.

  50. 50
    pacal

    Re: Tabby Lavalamp No. 9:

    The folks at Landover have it just about right: http://www.landoverbaptist.net/showthread.php?t=31380

    The thing is, I wouldn’t be surprised if conservative Christians secretly crave the return of slavery. They usually want to abolish the minimum wage, unions, and welfare, three things that, if successfully abolished, might not bring back slavery but would definitely bring about slave wages.

    Actually their are Christian Sects in the USA who believe that the abolition of slavery was a wicked act and that slavery was and is a good thing. In fact the literature that justifies and approves of American slavery and slavery in general is quite prolific.

  51. 51
    Lyn M: G.R.O.S.T. (ADM) -- Membership pending

    41 Woozy

    I think this is an interesting site that really lays out the bible references concerning the shape of the earth, the sky, etc. When you see it set out in one place, it is pretty convincing that the biblical view of the earth was that it was flat, the sun and the moon were bright lights that could stand still over the earth and so forth.
    If the fundies are telling the truth about their beliefs, then these verses suggest that they are supposed to believe in an earth with corners which also seems to be flat, and a sun and moon that can stand still in the sky. (Admittedly the last part being a miracle.)
    It appears that Nye was not booed back in 2006, but that the beliefs that might have lead to such a reaction are logically part of the fundy system of beliefs.

    http://hypertextbook.com/eworld/geocentric.shtml
    Sorry about the ugly link but I cannot get the fancy version to work.

  52. 52
    jefferylanam

    eoraptor @#27: James Ussher was a bishop of the Church of Ireland, which is a Protestant church. It’s basically the same as the Anglicans or Episcopalians. So not the Whore of Babylon, in the fundamentalist view, but maybe the Piano Player at the Brothel of Babylon.

  53. 53
    Stacy

    SoCalifornians:

    CFI-Los Angeles will be livestreaming the debate next Tuesday. Yelling/booing at onscreen Ken Ham will be encouraged. BYOB.

    (Unfortunately the thing starts early–4:00 pm for us left coasters.)

    http://cfiwest.org/calendar/NyevsHam.htm

  54. 54
    David Marjanović

    Long, illustrated explanation of what the Bible says the universe looks like. It’s a very interesting read!

    the Piano Player at the Brothel of Babylon

    Full of win!

  55. 55
    brianpansky

    @48
    woggler

    I like the fact that the writer points out that the slave trade was ended because of the efforts of Christians such as Wilberforce, while blatantly ignoring the fact that the vast majority of slavers and slave owners were Christians.

    haha, ya i wonder what percentage of people in the country were **not** christian at the time. also, we know that other groups of christians used bible verses to defend slavery.

    when everyone is christian, you can always say that christians were on the winning side of history no matter what happens!

  56. 56
    woozy

    http://hypertextbook.com/eworld/geocentric.shtml

    Long, illustrated explanation of what the Bible says the universe looks like.

    Yes, I’m familiar with these passages and I’m familiar that many biblical “scholars” (including several popes) have interpreted these as literal biblical pronouncements of the shape of the world in the same way James Usher calculated the date of creation was Oct. 29th 4,004 B.C. (or whatever; I’m not going to google it).

    But these are all what I think are “oblique” references. I honestly don’t think these passages were meant to instruct or inform the listener what the world was shaped like but rather to simply reflect the world view the people presumed at the time. When Joshua commands the sun to stand still, that no more implies geocentricism then last evening’s weather man telling us when the soon will set. (… maybe some of the lines about the immovability of the earth… maybe).

    This isn’t to say that I’m claiming the bible was accurate about anything (it wasn’t, and if it ever was it was purely coincidence) or that I think the writers didn’t think the earth was flat (they almost certainly did) and geocentric (no almost about that). I’m just saying I don’t think the bible ever really *prescriptively* described the nature of the world in any way much, at least not to the extent fundies and anti-fundies would later claim it did. Except for the creation story. That was a basic prescriptive story that the universe was created in seven days and all animals within one.

    Actually, when compared to other mythologies there are surprisingly few turtles-all-the-way-down. One would think the Hebrews were a singularly uncurious lot. Although, I imagine most reference to cosmological specifics, much like the polytheistic origins, got editted out over the millenia.

    So the fundies didn’t boo…. My bad. And we are left with no evidence that any fundie actually believes the moon provides its own light. I wouldn’t feel so bad about this except the AiG-guy’s claim that “materialists” shouldn’t believe in logic because logic is immaterial leaves me with a strong dislike for putting words in another’s mouth.
    =======
    Anyway… about Christians abolishing slavery. Ideas *done* for christian reasons (especially in a time when christianity is universal) is completely different than christian ideas themselves. This is utterly irrelevent to the point that the bible, supposedly a literal word of god, condones slavery.

  57. 57
    eoraptor

    JefferyLanam @52.

    I stand corrected.

    But you do get my point, don’t you? Besides, wasn’t he of the High Church? Nevertheless, you are correct again, the High Church doesn’t evoke the same opposition as the Whore. Yeah, brothel piano player, is about right.

  58. 58
    ChasCPeterson

    Rob Grigjanis:

    If you’d spent another minute or so, you’d have found out that he wasn’t booed.

    I guess you meant to direct that comment to someone who claimed he had?
    I think you’ll find that I said whatsoever about the particulars of the case. Mine was a momentarily piqued metacomment about brianpansky’s seemingly off-the-top-of-his-head rebuttal with no effort to document anything. Had he supplied the link that he did in #45 in the first place, I wouldn’t have said anything.
    Sorry for the confusion. Have a nice day.

  59. 59
    ChasCPeterson

    My point would have been made better, though, I admit, by posting that second link instead of the mistaken one I did. That’s my bad for not following the linked links in the link.

    Your point, Grigjanis, however, was simply to get another personal dig in at me, something you seem never to pass up an opportunity for. You’re kind of a dick that way.

  60. 60
    Rob Grigjanis

    Your point, Grigjanis, however, was simply to get another personal dig in at me, something you seem never to pass up an opportunity for. You’re kind of a dick that way.

    Right, you didn’t say he was booed, you just provided a link without comment about the update which negated the lede in the article. That’s sloppy. As we’ve seen in this thread, people don’t always check the updates to linked articles, so the onus is on the linker to point it out.

    Dick I may be, but I have no interest in personal digs at you. I enjoy most of your posts. You were scolding brianpansky for not doing research, and fucked up by not doing your own. I called you on it, in what I thought was a fairly gentle way, by local standards. I hope I’m called on my inevitable fuckups as gently.

    I have nothing against you, Chas. Believe it or not.

  61. 61
    ChasCPeterson

    That’s sloppy.

    fair cop.

    I have nothing against you

    OK. I had a different impression. Glad to hear otherwise.

  62. 62
    David Marjanović

    I’m just saying I don’t think the bible ever really *prescriptively* described the nature of the world in any way much

    Uh, of course not – the people who wrote it clearly didn’t know anybody didn’t agree with the flat-Earth worldview they took for granted.

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