Let's lay it all out on the table. Slavery is condoned in the Bible. There are many mentions of it in the Bible, with directions on the sale and treatment of slaves, especially in the OT. The mentions of slavery in the NT are more ambiguous, but even there, it still appears to be an accepted institution, and slaves are regarded as inferior beings.
It has been asserted in this debate section that the slaves were merely indentured servants who only allowed to be kept as "slaves" for no more than seven years, as payment for debts. That is true - but only in the case of Hebrew servants (Exodus 21:2). If the master gives the "indentured servant" (temporary Hebrew slave) a wife, however, and that wife has children, the wife and her children become the property of the slave-owner (Exodus 21:4), even after the time that the indentured servant is to go free - if he wants his freedom while his family remains in captivity (Exodus 21:5). If that indentured servant decides to remain with his family, he can become the master's forever slave (Exodus 21:6).
There are clear instructions about how to sell one's daughter into slavery (Exodus 21:7-8), and what to do if she doesn't "please" her master (many believe that "please" means in a sexual way).
In all other directions about slave buying, selling and treatment, it is clear that it is not a loving, mutually respectful relationship. Slaves are kept for life and those lifelong slaves must be heathen, or "strangers" (Leviticus 25:44). Any offspring of the slaves become the property of the slave owner (Leviticus 25:45), and those slaves and their children may be passed on to the owner's children as an inheritance (Leviticus 25:46):. Slaves may be beaten, but not to death (Exodus 21:20-21).
So, the question isn't whether slavery was a big part of civilizations in biblical times. It was - and of course, that's true of most societies, whether of the Abrahamic traditions, or of others. The question is why people would try to deny it. The simple reason is that slavery is considered an abhorrent practice. The idea of people owning people sickens most of us. Because of that visceral, negative reaction, those who want to believe that the Bible is the word of the Abrahamic god want to deny that such a practice was condoned by their god - and also because it would bring into question their beliefs regarding other aspects of the Bible, as with how it pertains to homosexuality or women's rights.
On an interesting note, depending on the translation and how modern it is, "slave" may be translated to "bondsman" or "servant". The implication is still clear. Those are weak synonyms for what they really represent, which is the ownership of people by people - in other words, "slaves".
Again - I understand that most civilizations of the Bronze age had slaves, and that it wasn't an institution exclusive to those of the Abrahamic traditions. This isn't to point a finger at Jews, or to suggest that they were the only slaveholders. It's to clear up the misconception that they didn't have slaves. They did. So did many other civilizations of that time. The point is that many traditions of that time are no longer supported in this century, and that maybe, just maybe, the books, laws and traditions of that civilization cannot be supported today, except as a glimpse into history and the beliefs of that time long, long ago. We can learn from our ancestors and accept their failings, but we don't have to live by the rules that guided their Bronze-age lives.
Answer by sahmamax2 at 11:37 AM on May. 1, 2012
If you believe that the Bible is a big ol' fairy tale why does it matter what is in it and what good does it do to debate it?
Every culture has owned and mistreated other people, why is it such a big deal that it was written down in a book you don't believe in? We all know that slavery is/was REAL.
Answer by amazinggrace83 at 11:59 AM on May. 1, 2012
Answer by dullscissors at 12:06 PM on May. 1, 2012
Answer by onekidmom at 12:45 PM on May. 1, 2012
Answer by onekidmom at 12:49 PM on May. 1, 2012
Answer by amazinggrace83 at 12:52 PM on May. 1, 2012
Answer by momto2boys973 at 12:52 PM on May. 1, 2012