Created Dec. 10, 1999 - Updated

SLAVERY


Sub-headings:
Not Just an Old Testament Thing What Did We Really Gain? A Summary

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“Money is a new form of slavery, and distinguishable from the old simply by the fact that it is impersonal, there is no human relation between master and slave.” - Leo Tolstoy

“None are more enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” - Goethe

Slavery is a dead issue, right? But it really isn't as dead as it seems. Although the war over it is long since past, most issues involved with slavery were never resolved. I will explain why. Really, there is much doubt in my mind as to whether we are all now slaves of more sinister masters and we don't even know it. More on that, later. Lets move on.

First, the Bible unquestionably sanctioned slavery, even Roman slavery which was not the same as the slavery outlined in the law of Moses. I want to briefly cover the form of slavery instituted and regulated in the Bible. The Bible's support of slavery is in contrast to the fact that many Christians during the years leading to the Civil War were firmly against the institution of slavery. Why?

The slavery of the Bible was not exactly the same as that practiced by the ancient world in general nor by slave holders in the United States prior to the Civil War. First of all, the slavery of the Bible was not compulsory upon Hebrews though it was upon captives of war. A Hebrew had to voluntarily sell themselves into slavery, usually because of hard circumstances such as loss of crops to locusts or bad management of one's farm. One could also buy one's self back out of slavery if he/she or a friend or relative came up with the price for repurchasing/redeeming. This price was at most 30 shekels. This would be if he had a full 7 years of servitude owed to his master.

You see, every seven years Hebrew slaves had to be freed. If one was to buy back a slave who had less than seven years to go then the percentage of time left might be the percentage of 30 shekels paid for his release. All Hebrew slaves also had to be released in the jubilee year which came every 50 years. In granting a Hebrew slave's release, the master had to give the slave a gift to help him get started as a freeman.

The Biblical law protected slaves from brutality or mistreatment. Certain physical injuries inflicted upon a slave would automatically give him his freedom. Killing a slave would result in the master losing his life in return. Even foreign slaves enjoyed far greater rights and protection under Biblical law than they would under some slave masters of nations not governed by Bible laws. Exodus chap. 21, Leviticus chap. 25, and Deuteronomy chap. 15 contain the regulations of slaves and slave masters. I will quote a couple places to give you a feel for the spirit of the Scriptures in regards to slavery.

Leviticus 25:39 - "And when your brother becomes poor with you, and he has been sold to you, you shall not lay on him the service of a slave. He shall be with you as a hireling, as a tenant; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee; then he shall go out from you, he and his sons with him, and shall return to his family; he shall even return to the possession of his father." [Jay Green's Literal Translation].

Deuteronomy 15:7 - "If there is a poor man among you, one of your brothers inside any of your gates in your land which Jehovah your God is giving to you, you shall not harden your heart, nor shut your hand from your needy brother. But you shall surely open your hand to him, and shall surely lend him enough for his need in that which he lacks. Beware that there is no evil thought in your heart, saying, the seventh year, the year of release draws near; and your eye be evil against your needy brother and you give him nothing and he cry to Jehovah against you, and it be sin to you. You shall surely give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because Jehovah your God will bless you for this thing, in all your work, and in all that you put your hand to. For the poor will never cease from the midst of the land. On account of this I command you, saying, You shall surely open your hand to your poor and needy brother in your land." [Jay Green's Literal Translation].

Now foreign slaves could remain in perpetual slavery and handed down as an inheritance unlike a Hebrew slave but was entitled to all other aspects of treatment that a Hebrew slave was. Note what the Bible cautioned about foreigners: "And when an alien lives with you in your land, you shall not oppress him; as the native among you, so shall be the alien who is staying with you; and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt." Leviticus 19: 33-37 [Jay Green's Literal Translation].



Not Just an Old Testament Thing
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However, let me point out that even Roman slavery was supported and upheld by the Apostle Paul when he said:

[Bible in Basic English] Ephesians 6: verse 5 "Servants, do what is ordered by those who are your natural masters, having respect and fear for them, with all your heart, as to Christ."

and Verse 9 "And, you masters, do the same things to them, not making use of violent words: in the knowledge that their Master and yours is in heaven, and he has no respect for a man's position."

[Revised Standard Version] Colossians 3: verse 22 "Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord."

Colossians 4: 1 "Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven."

[Green's Literal Translation] Titus 2: verse 9 "Let slaves be subject to their own masters, well-pleasing in all things, not speaking against them, 10 not stealing, but showing all good faith, that they may adorn the doctrine of our Savior God in all things."

That's 3 different letters of Paul all saying the same thing. Slavery was everywhere in the Roman Empire during the years of the Apostles. Slavery was clearly not opposed or condemned by the Bible. It was reinforced and sanctioned in the Bible. Amazing, isn't it?

Indeed, if slaves (not to mention the poor) were as well respected and treated as the Bible commands, we would all likely be better off as slaves today rather than as freemen in our current situation. Some might suggest that we really are "just" slaves for all intents and purposes. I would suggest it! For what good is freedom if one is poor and without food, shelter, or other decent human necessities? And we have such ones in this country. So we are free to suffer; free to hunger; free to freeze; and free to die. Thank God for freedom, huh? When your employer tells you to do something, don't you have to obey without question? Don't you have to show up for work at a certain time? What happens if you don't show up? You end up losing everything when you can't pay the bills. And if you pay more than 50% of your wages in taxes and you do whether you realize it or not, then aren't you a slave? We are the most taxed people in history. Never has anyone worked harder for less. Sounds to me like you're all slaves! You own your house you say? Just stop paying the property tax and find out how much you own it. You actually have several masters and none of them give a damn about you or your family and your welfare.

It was aptly pointed out by Southern politicians in the time leading up to the Civil War that many of their slaves enjoyed better treatment than as did free northerners who worked in the deplorable conditions of mills and factories in the north. Maybe we have forgotten what hell holes some of those factory conditions were. Of course, few if any slaves in the south enjoyed the good treatment and conditions laid out in the Scriptures. It should be noted that because of the money invested in them, slaves were not allowed by masters to do really life threatening or dangerous work. The masters could lose their investment. So slaves even enjoyed some protection. They would send an Irishman to do the really dangerous stuff because if an Irishman died, there was no loss to anyone. They were free but no one cared about their welfare. Now we are all in that boat. Isn't freedom great!

But regardless of how bad or good slaves had it, that does not invalidate the institution of slavery but rather condemns the slave masters who were less than kind, caring, and generous to their fellow man and who sometimes professed a belief in the Bible. But contrary to popularization, the lives of many slaves were not that bad. I think life in the ghettos is a lot worse. Where have any of us gained from emancipation. Now we are all in a worse situation than we have ever been in. Some don't recognize it because they may have many material possessions that seem really nice. But at what price? And how does that compare with what the rich have? Are you sure you aren't slaves?

Despite this overwhelming support for slavery in the Bible, many Christians were moved to campaign against slavery, almost fanatically. Slave holders in the South drew attention to the Scriptures' approval of slavery but it did not deter the "Northern Right" from their insistence on abolition. The end result of their intolerant fanaticism in association with and aided by other political groups, of course, was that 650,000 men were sent to their deaths. Yes, I want to make it clear that I do not put all the blame upon religious folk for the Civil War but they were among the protesters, strongly among them.



What Did We Really Gain?
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I am questioning what we really gained out of the brutal costly Civil War. As bad as circumstances were for some slaves, though perhaps not a majority even, I am inclined to think that matters are far worse for them in the ghettos now. The conditions existing in ghettos are deplorable. No one wanted the blacks in their neighborhood. No one was interest in helping the blacks to assimilate and help them find jobs and become part of the family. The enmity between them and the Southern Whites was greatly inflamed by the Civil War and it's aftermath and had not been bad before the war. There was mistreatment of some slaves, certainly, but not as bad or as prevalent as the case is now in our day in the inner cities. And all other races, including whites, are treated far more poorly than they would be if the generous and humane spirit of slavery in the Bible was extended to them. Freedom is a deceptively used and abused word in our deceitful political culture.

The Civil War was loaded with hidden agendas for which the issue of slavery was simply a diversion that amounted to no gains for the blacks and great loss of life for all living in the U.S. at that time. We might have been better served to just reform slavery and continue a peaceful toleration of each others views and practices. I do not believe the price we paid in blood was worth any where near what we gained from the whole affair. . . unless you were in the banking industry who loaned money to the government or the arms industry or other businesses that profited from the war and all modern wars.

Three issues that were lost in the Civil War were the issues of:

1. Tolerance/Co-existence for different lifestyles and beliefs.

2. Every State's right to voluntarily become a part of the Union or to voluntarily leave the Union if they so choose. Being a member became compulsory which is not the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. This too, was a form of intolerance which gets worse with each new law we pass forcing more and more restrictions upon us "for our own protection and safety," which no one has the right to do. And the Declaration of Independence certainly allowed for people leaving their country to form a new one when the old became too oppressive as Britain had become with us. So we turned our back on Jefferson, and our heritage, too. We nullified the Declaration of Independence. Nice going, guys!

3. Basic Human rights and necessities. Some think the Constitution and the Bill of Rights covers this but they are lacking important provisions. Every adult should have the right/provision to earn a decent living income so as to be able to afford modest housing, food, clothing, and a small family. Is it unreasonable for every human to desire such a thing? If our system (or our whole world for that matter) does not afford this (and it definitely does not) then the system has failed the citizens of this Country as regards to any real meaningful life in so called freedom. The Civil War never addressed any of the real problems facing both slaves and factory workers.

Most slaves in the south had housing, food, and a family even if the provisions were quite modest. That is more than many have today. And instead of being abused by slave owners, blacks are now abused by the law, crime, poverty, a bleak job market, and the rest of what the streets have to offer (or not offer). So the slaves are now supposedly free though from what I do not know and States and the Constitution were and are now shackled. The real issue of decent humane treatment and opportunity for all was never dealt with (and probably never will be).

I also find it necessary to point out how superior the Bible is to our own Country, Constitution, and Laws. Every man born a descendant of Israel automatically inherited some land that he could live off. He didn't even have to buy it. It was a right! Can your country top that one, friends? Land allowed people to be free of being controlled by others. You had your own means of living and income. Real freedom and not just some politician talking crap. If you could not manage your land or an unfortunate event like locusts destroyed your crops, then you could serve up to 7 years as a slave in compensation for another bearing, not only the burden of his own family, but yours, too, after which you were released. A back up system you might say. And you had the option if you really loved your master and were not good at managing your own affairs, you could stay as his slave. There were also lots of legal precedents so that one's rights were reasonably assured. God's law provided that the poor should be allowed to glean a crop of someone after a harvest had been done. Welfare provisions, you might say. There were many excellent things in the Bible that go unnoticed and unmentioned by its critics and supporters alike. That will change here and now.

The USA today can not possibly match those fine laws and provisions. Taxes in Israel were only 10% flat. Match that with our taxing income 2 and 3 or more times. You are taxed when you make it, taxed when you spend it, and valuable items (like cars, boats) are taxed again every year, even though you paid the sales tax on them. Fees for everything, and you pay tax on your property every year in addition to your income. And there are hidden taxes when you buy gasoline, liquor, cigarettes, etc. You easily pay at least 50% of your income on direct taxes plus you pay the taxes of those who sell to you as they figure it into the price they charge you. And they even tax you for dying (the inheritance tax). The insult of it all.

So more than half our income goes to someone else. If that isn't the most oppressive form of slavery I have ever heard of, I do not know what is. So I find it laughable that people today should find the Bible's sanctioning of slavery so horrible. I find your own wonderful system far more horrifying and oppressive than anything the Bible could possibly offer. So long live slavery. Oh, how I wish I could be a slave in Israel! I'd be way better off than I am today.

What is important to learn and observe from this is that among the many people of the north protesting slavery were a bunch of Christian do-gooders intent on shoving their views down everyone else's throat. That helped fuel the single greatest bloodshed in the history of this country (USA) and with perhaps little or nothing gained and much lost in the end. And absolutely no support from the scriptures for the actions of religious protesters who claimed to love and follow Christ.

I would like to state that in consideration of what I wrote in regards to neutrality and tolerance, that it is completely wrong for a Christian to involve themselves in any war. Wars in this century have all been based on economics, profit, hidden perverse agenda, and the resulting politics. They had nothing to do with any real morality though some may have made such claims. Those claims were made only to get everyone to support the war effort. But they were never the real reason behind a war. That's right! The people who joined the war effort were suckered into it, including many foolish, rebellious Christians.

These wars also contained men on both sides who belonged to the exact same religions. Catholics against Catholics, Protestants against Protestants. They allowed politics to divide themselves against each other; brothers killing other brothers in the same faith. How absurd can they get? What a contradiction of beliefs! They gave what was God's to Caesar, the government. They became "friends" with the world and rejected God to become killers of other believers of God. The irony is almost overwhelming. Can you sense their confusion and madness?

I want to add something of a philosophical idea here if I may. When the Constitution and Bill of Rights of the USA were written, the majority of people lived on farms in the rurals. But today most of us have been divorced from any land and now depend upon jobs and employers for our living and sustenance instead of farming. So we are at the mercy of our employers. We can't just say, I'm going back to the farm and to hell with you. We are in a jam we can't get out of.

When an employer tells us to do something, we had better do it. We are not given any consideration. Employers can change our hours, our jobs, the location of our employment, and more. We have no say and no recourse. They can even fire us for no reason whatsoever. They can use listening devices and tape us. They can use hidden cameras. They can do virtually anything they want. There are no laws whatsoever protecting us from the abuses of an employer other than sexual harassment or some discrimination. But there are many forms of subtle harassment and discrimination not even mentioned. Age discrimination for one. All an employer has to do is find or invent another reason for getting rid of you. He is not required to treat us fairly and equally in many respects. Our politicians do not care that we are at the mercy of our employers who are ruthless. Nor do they want to protect our jobs from leaving the country. They are willing to look the other way while we get railroaded from every side. That is worse than slavery!

Through out the history of this country, none of our elected representatives ever saw a need or pursued a need to enact laws and a system to give the people some bargaining power and rights in relation to their employers. The rights we have from the Constitution and Bill of Rights applied to independent people who depended on the land and not any employer. But now we depend on employers instead of land. There needs to be or should have been a new set of rights created to protect us from the abuse of employers on the job just as we were given protection against the abuses of governments. These protections should necessitate negotiations in regards to changing work hours, production demands, and other things that unions have typically regulated at times. Unions do not exist in many places so most people exist unprotected in the work place.

But representatives have not seen or bothered and no one among the people has ever asked for such a thing, either. One could always suggest that the rights we already have should apply to the work place and employers, too. But even these rights don't cover everything that has come up in the work place. What about companies just picking up and leaving the country with their jobs? Shouldn't people be protected from this sort of divorce or adultery between a people and their company? We are told that the Constitution and Bill of Rights do not apply in the work place. I don't know what the founding fathers would say about that. But they should apply in my opinion. Why don't they? I say they should and do. Who is to say? The government? Yeah, right! Put the fox in charge of the hen house.

But I am not advocating that Christians ask for such a thing. I just want to point out that any government that truly cared about its people should have secured some rights for them in the work place. They have not done so. So former slaves have been left marooned, shipwrecked, economically speaking, in our society. We have some equal opportunity laws but they don't solve the shortage of jobs. Nor do they address the way workers are dehumanized, demoralized, and otherwise treated like crap at work. Some break down and end up shooting everyone at work. Nor do we address the matter of enough pay to be able to afford some reasonable living standards. Minimum wage certainly does not afford reasonable living standards.

So slaves have received no help or real protection at all. And former slaves descendants are worse off and being joined by an ever growing number of other peoples and races who exist in this country without any course of action available to them to secure some sort of means of obtaining a reasonable living standard.

The war for these things has never been waged by politicians or cared about by politicians. The Civil War did nothing to change this. Neither did WWI or WWII. Wars do not care about people. Wars in our century only serve to make rich people richer. Christians should avoid all such wars. If Christians want a war, how about a war on poverty. How about a war on hate and apathy? How about a war on social injustice? You'll never see them fight those wars, will you? You know you won't!

But Christians instead condemn things which the Bible actually defends. I can only assume that they never really read a Bible so they don't know what it says. Either that or they have openly rebelled against God in favor of Satan, I guess. Maybe you can tell me.



A Summary
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Christians have no business getting involved in politics and war. When they do, they usually do not follow the Bible. At worst, they could get many people killed without gaining anything for it. This is a dreadful course in every respect.

As regards slavery, I do not regret that slaves were freed. I am happy for them. But freeing them from slavery accomplished very little or nothing without giving attention to making sure they had jobs and a decent life with fair treatment to inherit. No of this was done for them. It is my opinion that nobody ever really cared about them. They were used to justify the Civil War but it was not really about them. Someone had other things in mind to accomplish. Slaves were just being used. Nothing new, huh? What is worse, the number of people living in terrible conditions is only getting larger by the day. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. I predict that we will enter yet another depression and the number of people living in absolute horrifying poverty will be astronomical. It will be the majority of us, I am sure. There is no telling what might happen as a result of that.

The Civil War was an American Tragedy. The worst one we ever had. We lost 650,000 lives in that war. For what? Can anyone tell me what the slaves or anyone else really gained from this phony war? African Americans are still unhappy (rightly so) and oppressed. That is just not right. And all the rest of the labor forces in this country are themselves also brutally oppressed, living no better than slaves. More and more, we see people charging into work places and shooting everyone up. Road rage and work rage are growing at an alarming rate. Our jobs are disappearing to overseas sweatshops. What did the Civil War do for any of us? Not a damn thing!

So it is my hope that Christians can learn from experience, learn from their mistakes and stay the hell out of war and politics. Politics is a dirty deceitful little game that decent Christians should stay away from and have nothing to do with. More often than not, they are manipulated by these dirty deceitful scoundrels who use them to accomplish something that has nothing to do with God's Kingdom.

It is a bitter pill to swallow for most Christians because to this day they are heavily involved in politics. But their past record is not a good one when we look at their course and compare it to the Bible. So get out before you become someone's dupe again. Does that really sound so far off?

I strongly urge that you read "Love, The Most Important Pursuit of a Christian" if you read nothing else on this site. It helps to make clear that Christians should never be found killing anyone else who claims to be a Christian. And many other important things to consider that have an important bearing on this topic of slavery and war.

For more on Christians avoiding war, read "Neutrality and War".


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