Band on the run said-
Personally, I don't care how Paul may have supported himself in the short or long term. I was struck reading this thread that this type of conjecture and thought process was completely forbidden to us as Witnesses. Some stooge at Brooklyn with minimal education decided once upon a long time that Paul made tents all the time. Contrary to scripture.
The WT is far worse than the Roman Catholic Church which does change its beliefs over the course of many centuries. So many items once fervently believed and practice are now very unfortunate.
This is very funny given by discovery of Russell era books and magazines as a child. I was spooked out of my mind. Pyramid worship. Masonic elements. I wonder how many Bethelites have ever read Rutherford and/or Russell personally.
The Witnesses say it does not matter; focus on today. Don't research. With my temperament, telling me not to research is the guarantee that I will research.
Yeah, it'll be interesting to see the 'dummying down' of JWs which MUST occur in the future, as it's going to require an almost Ludditeesque disconnect from the modern information age in order to be work in order to suppress TTATT.
It's not IMPOSSIBLE to pull off, mind you, but it will up the ante, and unfortunately will take a toll on the young minds held captive in the JWs. The strong will survive and overcome challenges to seek their freedom (at a cost), and the rest will simply let the winds carry them like chaff.... Ironically, that sounds alot like 'survival of the fit enough', where oddly enough that persecution complex taught me to be resistant to others (their plan backfired, since it taught me to trust MY beliefs, and not theirs).
mP, that's off-topic, but I feel I owe you an answer. You seem to be stuck on slavery, blaming the Bible writers for condoning it. Keep in mind that none of the other religions opposed slavery. I think it is unfair that you single out Christians.
Nope. That's simply incorrect.
One of the great ironies of history is that the Jews held captive in Babylon were amongst the FIRST beneficiaries of a religious system that was the World's first to prohibit slavery: the Zoroasterians (under their God, Ahuru Mazda) held this as central to their beliefs, and since it was accepted as the official State religion of the Persian Empire under Cyrus the Great, who released the Jews from captivity and allowed them to return to Judea (only to ironically pick up the practice of slavery AFTER the Greeks defeated the Persians, some 200 yrs later; they "returned to their own vomit" of practicing slavery once they got a chance). Heck, the OT even records the event in Daniel, etc.
(Heh, ironic that the user name of the OP (Cyrus the Persian) came into this discussion, after meandering away from Paul....)
Hence the rest of the apolegetics are somewhat irrelevant, but what the heck, I'll play along:
For one, ancient economies were dependent on slavery. Trying to change that would make one very unpopular.
God's "perfect" moral standards shouldn't change, based on popularity polls (your argument is of the "appeal to popularity" variety, except claiming inaction based on UNPOPULARITY).
However, God's morality is SUPPOSED to be ABSOLUTE and unchanging, right? If slavery was good in ancient times, there's no reason to claim it wouldn't be OK today.
Jesus wasn't TRYING to be popular, but claimed to be "righteous", a standard which doesn't change (since God doesn't "grade on a curve"). Jesus used slavery in his parables, and certainly didn't reject the concept of slavery; that's not REJECTION of the concept or denounciation of the practice.
Secondly, war was commonplace and the victor usually took slaves from those he subjugated. This was a fact of life.
Remember, God's perfect morality is NOT simply descriptive (of what WAS), but proscriptive (what SHOULD be).
Jesus made it clear how he viewed things. You must love God with your whole heart and your neighbour as yourself. You must even love your enemies and do good to those persecuting you. One should therefore not see his followers as “reformers.” Rather one should view them as regulators. They adapted themselves to their surroundings in order to survive, at the same time trying to stay true to their faith. Yes, they even regulated those that were slaves. They were not interested in transforming the world or rewriting history, but awaited a “city having real foundations and the builder and maker of it is God” (Hebr. 11:10, 39, 40). .
What often gets ignored is that the slaves of one's neighbors weren't considered as one's 'neighbors' themselves, but merely the POSSESSIONS of those who owned them. They were PROPERTY, and hence one of the points of contention amongst Sadduccess and Pharisees was that one group said the owner should be held responsible for the property damage his slave caused to his neighbors, and the other group didn't agree, since a slave could intentionally cause damage that left his owner responsible to his neighbors for his vandalism. The slave would likely end up dead, either way.
Remember, Jesus and his disciples were ascetics who had taken vows of poverty and renounced Worldly possessions, so the issue was largely irrelevant to them (think of people living on the street who during the last election argued about Mitt's capital gains tax plan vs Obama's tax plan, when it doesn't even apply to them). So while slaves were given some measure of parity in Christianity (being called 'brothers'), it was in name, only: they weren't given fundamental human rights, which matters more than simply calling them 'brothers'.
How long would slavery be around for? Till 200-300 years ago, just the other day. If you watch the news, you’ll see that some forms of it is still with us today. But then slavery was the order of the day. To understand the position Christians found themselves in, one could utilize form criticism, developed by Hermann Gunkel. He coined the phrase Sitz im Leben des Volkes, creating a critical methodology of form criticism (Formgeschichte), by examining the genres used in the biblical text to identify the Sitz im Leben (setting in life) that produced the text. His approach is based on the assumption that each genre is organically associated with a particular social and historical situation. Form criticism is in fact the separation of genre history from text history, and the relationship of transmission history to the history of religions and culture. See The Hebrew Bible and Its Modern Interpreters, pp. 136, 149.
Sure, it's important to consider the historical and cultural context. However, doing so doesn't connect the dots necessary in order to support this claim:
One cannot dress the Bible in 21st century garb. By being biased or ignoring historical or social realities, one tears the apostle out of his age, tears the gospel out of history and blocks off Scripture from the light of modern research.
You DO realize you're actually arguing FOR cultural relativism, right?
Again, God's law is claimed by most believers to be perfect and unchanging: are you actually admitting it is NOT? It's perfectly acceptable in my secular humanist book to decry slavery as immoral behavior that is in our past: would you agree? If you DON'T, then you are unable to state the patently obvious, likely based on theological grounds of clinging to the Bible.
Remember: Jesus said he didn't come to change a word of the Torah, and the "law" (Torah) was to stand for all time. Unfortunately, the Torah is flat-out immoral on the slavery issue in this day and age, that it's fortunately been relegated to the bookshelf of history (along with all the other interesting and curious ancient legal codes). Humanity doesn't let the Bible hold us back from creating documents like the US Constitution, enacting laws that prohibit slavery (Emancipation Proclamation), etc.
Sure, some can try to tease out the good from the bad found in the Bible, but why bother, especially once you realize it's a work based on clever men who lived a long time ago to fulfill the needs of THEIR time and culture?
Ironically, you're likely committing anachronism, except in reverse, claiming that what arguably worked for ancient cultures would be superior to what we have today.