Quote:this is what I'm referring to. that was not even the point of the postThe undergirding theme of this thread is that slavery is a moral issue, and one with which Christianity (along with most if not all other religions) has fallen on its face.Keep in mind that that in the U.S., where I live, "family values" is a code phrase for the beliefs of fascistic evangelical Christian conservatives, who can't easily distinguish between the Republican party and the Southern Baptist church. The forebears of these people were the instruments of slavery. Their descendents have the same mind set.To countless millions of people in this country, Chrstianity is synonymous with morality.Do you deny that slavery is a moral issue, even if it was common at one time? How about the honor killings that happen in India and Pakistan? And female genital mutilation in Africa? If you think they're "wrong", then what is the milleu of "wrong", if not morality?If slavery is wrong, then why was Jesus blind to that wrongness? Is slavery really less wrong than lending money in the temple? And even if human society needed to evolve further to realize it, wasn't Jesus hatched in a pre-evolved state, or was he as base as his contemporaries?Quote:Reflect, yes; perfectly, no. I am not a fundamentalist. The Bible is inspired by God, but it was not dictated by God.What in God's name does it mean that it was inspired by God? That can mean anything you want. If it can mean anything, then it means nothing. It is in effect a blank page that people can stare at and see whatever they wish to see.Quote:No, but people are. People have to crawl before they can walk.Your God sounds like little more than a child, playing with his ant colony, waiting for them to evolve into moral creatures on their own, all the while stepping in and doing crazy stuff, depending on which parts of the scriptures one picks and choses, cafeteria-style.If the human race is on its own, then God and Jesus are pointless. They have all this power, while countless millions live and die as slaves -- or worse. In real life, wouldn't a parent like that have his children taken away?Quote:I don't agree with them.OK, so you think they're wrong, and you think they're wrong, and you each have nothing but faith to go by, but your faiths contradict.Surely you must have stopped and wondered how the religion you were born into just happens to be the "right" one. Do you think you would have been a Hindu or a Moslem if you were born in India, depending on which family you were born into? Or maybe a Jain? Or if you were born a little further east, a Zoroastrian or a Jew?It's funny how almost all people are born into the religion that is correct.Quote:No, you can't. But you don't turn off your brain either.Then by your definintion, many Christians, and fundamentalists of all types, have turned of their brains. They follow a religion in a book that they think was inspired by God, and you follow a religion that you make up as you go along, tossing out what seems disagreeable. You might as well just start from scratch, invent a religion, and follow that. It would make equally as much sense.Quote:I can only reject your assertion that context is not needed. It looks like a sort of blindness to me.You say that out-of-hand, as if it's universally true. It has a nice ring, but its nonsense. God talks about selling one's daughter into slavery; what context exonerates that? There are various crimes for which one deserves stoning (especially if you're a woman). Context? The God of the Old testament was a violent, angry, short-tempered being. Mass murder in Sodom and Gomorrah? No problem. There must have been a good reason. Flood the earth and kill everyone (talk about genocide) ? No problemo. Women eternally punished for Eve's sin? Sounds good. An eye for an eye? Must be good.If that stuff was wrong, what was it doing there? What does it mean that it was inspuired by God? You mean "inspired" in the sense that someone gets the sudden urge to take a crap, but God is not responsible for the explosive diarrhea that follows?Quote:It's a lot of different books, of very different styles. If you read it simply as that, and see what it says to you rather than what you think it should say, you'll do much better.It sounds like you regard the scriptures simply as a collection of philosophical writings, inspired by God, but possibly...wrong. You have certainly made the "inspired by God" part seem rather unimpressive.Why couldn't God just drop a book from heaven, in a universal language, that everyone could understand? Is he too limited for that?Quote:It's a lot of different books, of very different styles. If you read it simply as that, and see what it says to you rather than what you think it should say, you'll do much better.I seem to be reapeating myself, or you're anticipating what I'm going to say. Maybe you are a god.Quote:Just because you can't understand how there can be anything between fundamentalism and wishy-washy modernism, doesn't mean there is nothing. Truth is not limited by your (or my) limitations in understanding.That begs the issue that Christianity, in all of its flavors and strengths, really has little moral anchoring. You are making the case that morality flows from contemporary society at large. You sound like an agnostic or atheist.Quote:Quote:Your God and your Jesus don't seem very transcendental if they could not see the moral bankruptcy of slavery. You and I are superior to both of them.There you really surpass yourself in offensiveness, Steve. You may consider yourself as superior to God, but kindly do not presume to speak for me.That was sarcasm; how can one be superior to a figure or imagination?Jesus had nothing to say about slavery, and you're excusing it, becuase slavery was OK with his contemporaries. That is very weak, and shows him to be very ordianry. It also shows that God was and is out to lunch. As a father, He's transcendentally awful.You don't think you're in a morally superior position to Jesus of 2000 years ago, at least with regard to slavery? So Jesus, was in effect a wild beast, You wouldn't expect a wild beast to have a moral calulus. The lion hunts, and mates, and lies on the ground, and kills cubs fathered by others. Morality plays no part. He's just a product of his society, as was Jesus. Just like you and me.Quote: I've already pointed out Paul's statement that makes slavery (and distinctions based on birth or gender) ungodly.You said that Paul said:Quote:"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." How do you interpret that as saying that slavery is ungodly? You can be a brunette, blond, or red-head, and all be one in Christ Jesus. Which of those is ungodly? Paul is calling out groups of people. He's not condemning the instution of slavery, unless you have a very active imagination. He talks about slaves they way you'd talk about people with pony tails.Quote:(or one would assume you are in favour of cannibalism, a practice you have mentioned at least twice on A2A without specifically condemning it - oh, shame)I am no one's moral compass. There are how many people who hang on every word they image Jesus uttered or thought? A billion or two? It's to bad Jesus was in some ways morally inferior. With just a few words, he could have probably pre-empted the suffering of countless millions. Was he not able to see that?Or is it possible that the New Testament actually doesn't reflect some, or a lot, of what the historical Jesus actually said? How much of the New Testament was written by his contemporaries?Quote:which came about because he was a person of the book. And so was Douglass.There were "people of the book" who supported slavery, and there were "people of the book" who opposed it. The people of the book who supported it were far more numerous. I wonder what secular people were thinking. Do you think that Wilberforce, who seemingly had a formidible intellect, might have concluded that slavery was a bankrupt institution, even if he wasn't religious?And Frederick Douglass, for Christ sakes, was a slave. He lived it. He didn't need his religious faith to tell him how wrong it was.Quote:You're restricted by your environment, Steve. You are more US-centric than you think. American fundamentalism is not orthodox Christianity.Unlike Scientology, no person or institution owns Christianity. You have created a custom version of Christianity in your own mind. You think that's the right one. The countless millions of Christian fundamentalists in the U.S., Latin America, Africa, and even Europe have their own ideas, and they think that they're right -- and you're wrong. You can't construct a logical argument to prove your point, because faith and logic are in different realms.It all boils down to faith. Nothing has to be proven, nothing has to be observed. When we reason about the scriptures and God's will, we're just engaging in mental masturbation. To me it's a game of checkers; to you it's reality, which confounds me.What drives your faith? Where did it come from? Does it really make sense?Here's an interesting article from last Sunday's New York TImes Magazine: Darwin's God. It's a long, but very interesting article about the evolution of religious faith in humans, from an anthropological and biological perspective.