Atheist claims that Jesus approved of slavery

The topic of slavery is always a hot-button topic, but in many cases the charges are made simply against Christians. Anyone who is paying attention already knows that Christians are fallible enough, sometimes failing to pay any attention at all to the teachings of Christ.

Recently, atheist activist Michael Martin has joined the numbers of those who claim that Jesus himself is immoral because we do not find him calling out specifically to abolish slavery, which Martin calls "one of the most heinous practices in the history of the human race".

Actually, the human race has quite a wide variety of heinous practices. Jesus did not set himself out as a political change agent on a "social reform" platform to target one of them at the expense of others. War, hatred, killing, all forms of crime, corrupt governments, corrupt economic systems, systematic oppression -- the list goes on of all the heinous practices and institutions with which we have filled our history. Jesus' teachings of "love your neighbor" and "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" have led his followers to lead the world in abolishing slavery -- even in the face of some self-justifying opposition from other Christians who had not grasped the fundamentally unloving aspects of slavery. It has also led Jesus' followers to fight for the rights of the oppressed and lead the world in matters of care for the sick and needy. Plainly, some of Jesus’ own followers have not followed Jesus’ teachings on loving others, but this is hardly Jesus’ fault if people do not keep to his word.

Jesus did not make the mistake of thinking that evil was something confined to one institution, or even to unjust institutions in general. The injustice in the world tracks back to a failure to love our neighbors as ourselves, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. The face of hatred and oppression will keep changing. Note that after the abolition of slavery in the U.S., it was another century before blacks in the U.S. had more than minimal improvement in their condition. Even after the institution of slavery was gone, there still remained the contempt for other people which had been a root cause of this country's slavery and many other injustices. Only when the contempt and indifference were much reduced – and this led by a Christian preacher – was any real improvement made.

Jesus knew that hatred, contempt, and even indifference are not problems that can be addressed politically. You can't ordain a change of heart. The response Jesus gave to injustice is universal, not limited to one cause, no matter how worthy.


lindsaylobe said…
At the time of Jesus he expected the end of the world in line with the "messiniac world view" at that time.

So there was not a concentration on the future of civilisation other than the introduction of the universal golden rule unto others and the parables as you refer....all linked to the kingdon of heaven that was to come...

If your preparing for the "end of the world" such social activitism takes on a secondary role.

I think Jesus also was confined to the social customs and way of life of that time in history.

It intersting to consider the Bible was written for Jews by Jews for later adoption by Gentiles,strong on imagery and never meant to be taken literally.

Jesus may well have commented upon the evils of slavey and other aspects but his followers thought it unimportant or politically unaceptable to record this matter.
Weekend Fisher said…
Hi there & thanks for the comment.

As far as social activism -- there wasn't just a whole lot of social activism at that time in history of the kind we now think of as commonplace. Paul, sending the runaway slave back to his master with a plea to free him and receive him "no longer as a slave", could envision that someone might set a slave free for the love of Christ. But I think he could not even imagine that Christians might stand up and demand that all slaves everywhere should be free forever. The thought was still too mind-boggling.

On the rest, it sounds like you are on-board with a revisionist/reconstructionist Jesus -- but I can't see how the usual arguments for revisionist/reconstructionist Jesus hold. Seems to me like the world's most implausible conspiracy theory, really ... though that's a topic for another post, it deserves better than the comments section.

Take care & God bless
D. P. said…
See also this CT article about slavery and the church in the middle ages. As the author notes, "The problem wasn't that the leadership was silent. It was that almost nobody listened."
Hi Lindsay - Thanks for your letter - please see below...
----- Original Message -----
From: Lindsay Lobe
To: Howdy
Sent: Friday, August 12, 2005 5:43 AM
Subject: [E.Newspaper by Howdy] 8/12/2005 02:43:44 AM

Astrophycist Jesuit George Coyne who has been Director of the Vatican Observatory since 1978 rebuts the idea that random evolution is incompatible with belief in a creator God. He explains the interactivity between chance, necessity and fertility in our universe and how what is random is also bound together through the process of fertility.

Unfortunately for Mr. Coyne - He doesn't know his Bible. The two (E & C) disagree at very important junctures.

As a theologian he poses the concept of god’s continuous creation with which to explore the implications of modern science for religious belief. God is working with the universe, the universe has a certain vitality of its own like a child does, it has the ability to respond to words of endearment and encouragement.

Again he doen't know his Bible which states that God even holds the elements together...

Hi conclusion is: God lets the world be what it will be in its continuos evolution, He is not continually intervening but rather allows, participates; loves. Is such thinking adequate to preserve the special character attributed by religious thought to the emergence not only of life bit also of spirit, while avoiding a crude creationism?

Only a protracted dialogue will tell. But we should not close off the dialogue and darken the already murky waters by fearing god will be abandoned if we embrace the best of modern science.

Please see article below...

I think this is what is feared by many in the US and by George W Bush who is advocating that the so called theory of a “Designer God” should be taught alongside the theory of random evolution in High Schools.

The place for higher education as well as public schools is to examine all ideas to the exclusion of none. The President should be commended for taking this view.

I think the need for a ‘Designer God” arises out of a fear that if we believe our creation arose from random evolution, (which it does) we will have no need of God. Hence many feel threatened by science and the idea of a “Designer God” is an attempt to superimpose a suitable explanation in lieu of random evolution.

Actually the Evolutionist lives in fear that his views will be proven to be insignificant - which they are - leaving him with no plausible theory for the beginning of the universe. That's why he strives to exclude creationism from any consideration.

These fears are groundless as science is completely neutral to philosophical or theological conclusions. Coyne makes the vital link to god’s continuous creation and for me it is a far richer and more meaningful concept than that advanced by the proponents of a “Designer God” theory.
In the end we can only come to know god by analogies and I like to choose an identity of the world to the universe as likened to the warmth and love of a childhood embrace. As we understand more about the interaction of chance and necessity which are responsible for directionality we can renew one's faith in gods realtionship to his creation.

If some scientist are so neutral, why are they so unwilling to consider creationism???

I also discount the “cataclysmic” event theorists who expect we will all be affected one day by some tumultuous prophesised event. If that be so it will be of our own making or it will occur as consequence of some giant meteorite colliding with the earth as has happened in the past. The idea of it coming out some sort of prophesy seems completely at odds with science or of a loving God of creation to me.

Anyone is certainly able to discount biblical prophecy but it will be to their own future demise - unfortunately.

Another more disturbing conclusion from the “Designer God” concept concerns the environment. I refer to the current parlous environmental state of planet earth as a consequence of the deep wounds inflicted upon her by humanity. Those who espouse the views of a “Designer God”, one who actively intervene will no doubt feel less inclined to do something about such problems.

To the contrary - the Book of Genesis instructs us to be very careful with the environment. Anyone who desecrates the environment is going against biblical instructions.

Nowhere is this more evident is than the US, for if the rest of the world was to consume resources and energy in like manner we would immediately need another 4 worlds to maintain its current level of consumption. It’s a sobering thought to consider China with a population of 1.3 billion consumes per capita 1 seventeenth in energy to that of the US on present consumption.

Yes we both agree that the U.S. must return to a more biblical lifestyle...
Happy Weekend,
P.S. Please see below:

Has Science

One of the assumptions behind the question of whether science has disproved
religion is that the discoveries of modern science have proved biblical
religion to be indefensible. One such false belief is that the scientific
method can actually "prove" things. In fact, because empirical science
rests on what philosophers call the inductive method, scientific
conclusions never offer certainties, only probabilities.

Induction is the principle of scientific inquiry that begins with
particular instances of a specific observation in order to offer a
generalization about the thing observed. For example, all the dogs I have
encountered have four legs, so I conclude with the generalization that all
dogs have four legs. However, my conclusion is not proved as such. It is
not deduced from a universally known truth; it is based on limited
exposure to the "facts," and so is only a statement of probability. And
as it happens, there are dogs born with three legs or injured and left
with three.

Inductive scientific methods cannot prove with certainty. Furthermore,
the past is not directly accessible to us and so all theories concerning
origins and earth history are hypotheses not facts. Similarly, the future
is not accessible to the senses so predictions about natural processes in
the future are based on philosophical assumptions (faith).

Though readily admitted by philosophers of science, the general public
is often unaware of the nature of the scientific enterprise. So when the
question is posed in relation to Christianity, most people are referring
to a blind leap in the dark that is undertaken at the point where science
and reason can take us no further. Christianity, they believe, is held to
in the absence of evidence or even contrary to the known facts.

Faith is not, however, a leap; it is a foundation. Furthermore, all
science is based upon a faith of some kind; we must all believe certain
things before we can speak of science. For example, we must believe
there is a real world of matter "out there" that is accessible and correlated
to our senses. We must believe that our minds are giving us reliable
information about the world. We must believe that language and
mathematics, reason and logic can all be applied to the world of our

In fact, the most basic assumption of the sciences, taken for granted
by each, is the uniformity of nature-the expectation that the present
and future will be like the past. Yet these are not proven by natural
science-they are believed on faith! It is because we believe these things
that science itself is made a meaningful and intelligible discipline.

Since science is based upon faith assumptions (metaphysical beliefs)
that cannot be proved, we need to ask a different question: What kind
of faith do we need in order to make our use of science intelligible?
Which faith provides an adequate foundation for science? And,
importantly, how then does each faith perspective affect the methods
and conclusions of science?

Everybody, scientist or not, nurtures these "religious perspectives" about
the world through a number of interconnected beliefs (presuppositions).
We call this simply, a worldview. In order to adequately answer these
questions then, we must compare and contrast the pre-suppositions
of these differing faith systems.

Naturalism holds that matter and energy is all there is. The whole
universe is in flux, matter in motion. Everything we observe in the
universe created itself from an ultimate chaos. The universe is the
product of chance not design, and thus requires no recourse to God
for an explanation. Human beings are nothing more than a random
collocation of atoms.

In contrast, Christian theism holds that the God of the Bible, perfectly
manifest in Jesus Christ, is the creator, sustainer and redeemer of this
world. Rather than the void of chance, the mind of the triune God creates
orders and sustains all that is.

Recognizing the two divergent starting points is imperative-it is either
chance or it is God.

More Research:

Quick Links:
Focus on Social Issues: Origins
Are we humans the result of meaningless processes that did not have us in mind? Or were we created on purpose — by design? The answer to these questions is key to many public issues debated in our society, including abortion, marriage, sexuality, bioethics, human rights and so on. Here are a variety of resources that explain what intelligent design is all about — and what you can do to end the monopoly of naturalism in your child's school or district.

Frequently Asked Questions for: evolution
Where is the creation, evolution and Intelligent Design information on the Focus Web site?
Do you have more details about the apologetics conference for teens?
More FAQs >>

Results 1 - 10 of 55 for: evolution
Why is Evolution Believed in More Firmly than the Evidence Warrants?
Convinced there are serious problems with evolutionary theory, but wondering why so many intellectuals respond as if there aren't? J. P. provides a few insights.


Boundless: Galileo on Evolution
It seems the defenders of Darwinism are more like Galileo's accusers than they realize.


Boundless: Evolution’s No Excuse for Rape
You have to wonder about a worldview that justifies violence against women.


Biology 101
Evolution was the method God used to create life? Neither the Bible nor your biology prof seem to think so. Professor Theophilus tells us why.


Believe Me (or Else)
Want to get into med school? One professor won't let you do it unless you agree with him on evolution.


Boundless-Darwin’s God
Modern-day evolutionists aren't the only ones to cling to their beliefs like a religion. It turns out they're just following in Darwin's footsteps.


What is Scientific Naturalism?
J. P. answers the question we should ask before we criticize scientific naturalism — Part 2 of Dr. Moreland's series on thinking like a Christian.


Boundless-A Designer World
Evidence is mounting that the Earth didn't develop by accident. But the more the evidence points to God, the more desperately some academics try to deny it.


Boundless: Crumbling Icons
The days of treating unproven Darwinian ideas as fact are over. The days of strife have begun.


Boundless-Professor Pagan
Theo advises a student who's encountering a hostile professor in the classroom.



Posted by Lindsay Lobe to E.Newspaper by Howdy at 8/12/2005 02:43:44 AM
We work like a horse.
We eat like a pig.
We like to play chicken.
You can get someone's goat.
We can be as slippery as a snake.
We get dog tired.
We can be as quiet as a mouse.
We can be as quick as a cat.
Some of us are as strong as an ox.
People try to buffalo others.
Some are as ugly as a toad.
We can be as gentle as a lamb.
Sometimes we are as happy as a lark.
Some of us drink like a fish.
We can be as proud as a peacock.
A few of us are as hairy as a gorilla.
You can get a frog in your throat.
We can be a lone wolf.
But I'm having a whale of a time!

You have a riveting web log
and undoubtedly must have
atypical & quiescent potential
for your intended readership.
May I suggest that you do
everything in your power to
honor your encyclopedic/omniscient
Designer/Architect as well
as your revering audience.

Please remember to never
restrict anyone's opportunities
for ascertaining uninterrupted
existence for their quintessence.

There is a time for everything,
a season for every activity
under heaven. A time to be
born and a time to die. A
time to plant and a time to
harvest. A time to kill and
a time to heal. A time to
tear down and a time to
rebuild. A time to cry and
a time to laugh. A time to
grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones
and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a
time to turn away. A time to
search and a time to lose.
A time to keep and a time to
throw away. A time to tear
and a time to mend. A time
to be quiet and a time to
speak up. A time to love
and a time to hate. A time
for war and a time for peace.

Best wishes for continued ascendancy,

'Thought & Humor'

P.S. One thing of which I am sure is
that the common culture of my youth
is gone for good. It was hollowed out
by the rise of ethnic "identity politics,"
then splintered beyond hope of repair
by the emergence of the web-based
technologies that so maximized and
facilitated cultural choice as to make
the broad-based offerings of the old
mass media look bland and unchallenging
by comparison."

'Thought & Humor' by Howdy
Great Humor
Great Thought
CyberHumor, CyberThought
CyberRiddles for your divertissement!!!

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