Statesboro, GA, USA
"we do know that without the influence of the bible, without their superior attitude over other races resulting from their religious practices - one source which fed their feelings of moral & racial superiority over the African race, would have been eliminated, which would then reduce the possibility of their slave trade involvement."
We do? This is where the burden of proof would be upon you to show that the positive approval of slavery was derived from the Bible. It can strongly be argued from history that slavery was a commonly held practice of former time periods up to that time (also in other cultures).
And though it's true that in the New Testament, a revolutionary abolition of slavery (mostly speaking of domestic slavery) is not called for, it can't be said that it was positively encouraged and taught as good.
Here are some interesting points ...
- The recieving of the Ten Commandments and the Law, immediately proceeded the Hebrews coming out of a situation of cruel national slavery under the hands of the Egyptians. The Israelites did not have a rosey picture of slavery in general. And they were not taught to mimick this type of national oppression under the law.
- There were Old Testament regulations of domestic slavery given, to ensure that household slaves were not treated with undue cruelty (see Exodus 21; Deuteronomy 15). Only domestic slavery is spoken of (a common practice of ALL nations of that time Pagan or not), and ethical considerations were at least applied.
- Gaza and Tyre were warned by the prophet Amos for their practices of slave trading entire populations. (see Amos 1:6-9).
- The book of Revelation describes the buying and selling of slaves in an extremely negative light. (see Revelation 18:13)
- Paul's main teaching concerning the domestic slavery of the time was for Christian slaves to be an example and witness to their masters of patient obedience. (see Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22, and Titus 2:9).
- Paul also taught Christian slaves to seek freedom if possible (1 Corinthians 7:21).
- Paul also urged Philemon, a Christian who had a domestic slave named Onesimus (who was also a Christian and had run away), to recieve Onesimus back "as a brother" ... showing both his tact and patience at dealing with imperfect social institutions and views concerning them in the churches.
- Paul taught that in light of the Gospel of Jesus, such distinctions as Master and slave were fading away (see Colossians 3:11). And such a new thought was to have an effect on all relationships, changing things radically.
- Abraham Lincoln who was a major player in the abolition of Slavery in the U.S. was apparantly a devoted Christian, especially in his later years. And he also felt that slavery was wrong based upon Judeo-Christian Principles:
"This is a world of compensations; and he who would be no slave, must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it." - Abraham Lincoln.
"although volume upon volume is written to prove slavery is a very good thing, we never hear of the man who wishes to take the good of it, by being a slave himself." - Abraham Lincoln.
"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you" - The Bible
As someone has said, "Since slave practices were part of the culture in biblical times, the Bible contains no direct call to abolish slavery. But the implications of the gospel, especially the ethic of love, stand in opposition to slavery."
I think there is a great deal of misrepresentation and misunderstanding in your statements about the Bible being the source for feelings of superiority. If the Bible is followed as the teaching goes, the opposite should be true. Surely anyone can use any text wrongfully to support evil ways. And they have. But even so, you have given no support to show that it was the Judeo-Christian influence that helped to promote slavery. But even if some did, it does not logically follow that relgious influence does not improve morality over all. If humanity can twist good teaching, to do wrong. Imagine what they can do, and actually do, when moral teaching is lacking.
P.S.) I think we've sabotaged this thread. There could be another thread if we want to discuss the dynamics of slavery and religious influence.
[This message has been edited by Stephanos (09-10-2003 04:04 PM).]