Did God do too little to oppose slavery?

First, forgive my spelling, English is not my native language.

I’ve gotten one diplomatic answer when discussing about the apparent support of slavery and sacrifice in the Bible, i.e. the description about how to buy and sell slaves, how to treat your slave and your slaves family, and how Jesus did or said next to nothing (specifically directly) against the practice, as well as e.g. the story about Isaac and Abraham.

The one I talked to had this take on it: God could only persuade people, and had to take slavery out of the picture slowly, so that people could get used to it, otherwise, they would rebel against the idea.

What do you think about this explanation?

Posted: March 23rd 2011

George Locke

If God was willing to ask Abraham to kill his only son, I can hardly see why he would have shrunk from commanding the Israelites not to have slaves.

Posted: March 24th 2011

See all questions answered by George Locke

Blaise www

If a god wanted to persuade people, how much more logical would it be to tell them them what it wanted, rather than writing dozens of books that justify the practice it abhors?

Your kids don’t want to hear that eating too many fatty foods is bad, but who’s going to have healthier kids, the parent who says “eat all you want!”, or the one who preaches/enforces moderation?

Posted: March 24th 2011

See all questions answered by Blaise


We have two competing explanations.

In the first, we have the OT god who things slavery is just fine, as long as it’s not the Hebrews are enslaved, a NT god who says a lot of nice things about treating each other nicely but still thinks that slavery is okay, and a present-day god who (depending on who you ask) thinks its bad.

In the second, we have an ancient world where life was short and brutish and most people lived in tribes, with tribal morals. After a whole lot of time a bunch of learned people decide that slavery is a bad thing, and (in a fair bit of the world, at least), over time people decide that slavery is a bad thing and outlaw it.

Which seems more reasonable?

As for their specific argument, one would have to ask “why did god allow slavery in the first place?”, and if he thought it was a bad thing, why did he give his approval for it in Exodus and Leviticus?

And why is he okay with selling of daughters into slavery?

Posted: March 24th 2011

See all questions answered by Eric_PK

Reed Braden www

I think the explanation you received is a disgusting attempt to justify the cruelties of the Old Testament. The people who give these disingenuous rationalizations are usually the same people who will argue themselves into exhaustion over their belief that morality is simple, black-and-white, and unchanging… but they would have us believe that their God, through whom all things are allegedly possible, had to slowly ween his Chosen People into a slightly more moral society over thousands of years? Pure bullshit, designed only to stop believers from asking questions! On the surface it sounds plausible but even the most elementary questioning will quickly dissolve the facade, exposing the dishonesty beneath.

Also, God did nothing to oppose slavery since God does not exist. The men who wrote the scriptures did nothing to oppose slavery because they liked having slaves. Everything written in the Bible is there simply because it gave the authors and the descendants of those authors more power. It’s a scam, it’s always been a scam, and it started as a scam.

Posted: March 24th 2011

See all questions answered by Reed Braden


Is your atheism a problem in your religious family or school?
Talk about it at the atheist nexus forum