Slavery - ancient

by joey jojo 8 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • joey jojo
    joey jojo

    I have been listening to podcasts by Dan Carlin and his excellent series on Persia and the Spartans, called king of kings.

    Its a refreshing way to hear unbiased accounts of history, untainted by religious beliefs.

    A part of the podcast dealt with the Jews but it put into perspective their place in world history and events. Pretty much just another tribe- sometimes rebellious, allowed to exist under the rule of a major power, allowed to worship their own gods exactly like the other tribes around them.

    Another part that caught my interest was the account of slavery and it made me think about the way WT and other Christian religions have tried to reconcile the idea that it was ok in those days for Jews to own slaves because they had laws to protect the slaves.

    The podcast made me realise a lot of apologists of slavery obviously forget how a person becomes a slave in the first place. Apologists like WT say it was ok because it was part of the economy and the way life was, which totally skips over the important part.

    After a war, when most of the men were killed or wounded on the battlefield by the winning side, whoever was left, men, women and preferably young virgins, were taken back to the homeland of the victors and sold at the slave markets. Sometimes their cities or villages were destroyed after being plundered, their livestock taken or killed. I imagine this must have been hell for the losers. A young girl for example might have just lost every male relative she had on the battlefield and whoever survived were probably separated and sold and ended up scattered. If that wasn't bad enough, she has just seen her entire village burned and destroyed. All of her life taken away, all her friends and family gone.

    At this point she is now at the slave markets waiting for a new owner, maybe a Yahweh worshipping Jewish guy, to buy her. Such a loving arrangement.

  • Tameria2001

    The ironic part is that the Watchtower attempts to make slavery sound like a wonderful joyful thing, and the JWs (until they wake up individually) soak it up like gravy on bread.

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze

    In the Ancient Near East a lot of slaves sought the arrangement for relief out of poverty. In modern times we have a hard time conceiving this because in most countries, even the poorest among us can usually find a way to eat.

    If you had debt and no friends, relatives or money, the most basic commodity you could barter with was your labor to avoid starvation and death.

    There were also a wide variety of relationships in the ANE that we characterize under the term slavery.

    This is a pretty even-handed discussion on the subject:
    Does God condone slavery in the Bible?

  • cofty

    Christians always try to conflate the servitude of one Israelite to another and the enforced slavery of non-Israelites.

    When they do that they are either revealing that they haven't read the bible or they are lying for Jesus.

    The god of the OT approved of slavery of the very worst kind. Foreign slaves were the personal possessions of Israelites. They were inherited like any other chattel and the owner had the right to beat them to death 'for they are your possession'.

    The god of the OT also approved of taking virgins as sex slaves on an industrial scale.

    It would take any xtian 2 minutes to find the references and read them objectively. When we combine these facts with the way christians identify Jesus with the god of the OT we are left with the conclusion that 'gentle Jesus meek and mild' prescribed slavery, kidnap and rape.

    Edited to add - I just read that link posted by Sea Breeze. The way it treats the biblical data on foreign slaves makes the 'overlapping generation' doctrine sound reasonable.

  • Giordano

    ....."we are left with the conclusion that 'gentle Jesus meek and mild' prescribed slavery, kidnap and rape."

    Jesus managed to walk a fine line in balancing his Hebrew faith with a new understanding of human rights (treating people as you wanted to be treated).

    So why his silence (if indeed Jesus existed) about slavery?

    Among his followers who were the poor and meek there were a number of wealthy followers.

    Since up to now there was no eyewitness account of Jesus nor what he said that is dependable. An Oral history seemed to be all that people had......... eventually a written history would take place.

    The rich had the slaves. Being slave owners themselves it wouldn't surprise me if on reading and or hearing the oral history they called their scribe in and said 'delete those parts that are against slavery'.

  • Crazyguy2

    One important note, it doesn’t look like any Yahweh worshipper had slaves because they always lost.

    Slavery is disgusting and one of the reasons why the Bible is not any god I want to worships book.

  • Stealth

    The god of the bible could have banned slavery or shellfish.

    He choose shellfish.

    That's all I need to know about the god of the bible!

  • Tameria2001

    I feel the same way as Stealth, besides the slavery that was condoned in the bible. There are many accounts of it talking about the exact same thing as what the Nazis did. The Nazis made their victims sound like anything other than human. A while back I watched a few of the Nazis propaganda videos on the History Channel, and how they were comparing the Jews to rats. It was something that turned my stomach, but I watched it, to understand history a little better. While watching it, I noticed the similarity in the Old Testament of the Bible. It was when God was using a group of people to go in and slaughter the inhabitants who were already living in the land that was being stolen, under the guise of living in God's promised lands. They view those people they were killing and forcing into slavery as anything but human.

    Nine times out of ten it is religion behind it when it comes to murder and slavery. The ironic part now is my JW relatives don't have anything to do with me because I decided I didn't want to be a JW, and my Christian relatives (those who are not JWs, but Baptist, Luthern, and other Christian faiths) don't have anything to do with me because I don't go to church either. I am VERY thankful that I got my sons away from those toxic teaching before it could do anything to harm their thinking. They are very familiar with the bible, and they too view it the same as I and don't want any part of it either, but they are able to hold their own when it comes to debating. I made sure of this so they don't get swept up into some cult (JW or not).

  • joey jojo
    joey jojo

    Sea Breeze, I read as much of your link as I could but I have to admit, as soon as I noticed it came from a site called 'the Christian think tank', I knew it was going to be biased. A bit like Jewish researchers writing a paper defending the relevance of male circumcision in the 21st century.

    I understand that being a slave in the ancient near East didn't mean you spent your life in chains and got a whipping every other day. Slaves in a lot of cases were like employees but without the same rights as their owners. I'm sure some slaves had it better living in a big town working for a nice family than where they grew up.

    However, armies of the day depended on capturing slaves to help finance their war campaigns. Slaves were sold like donkeys or chickens for gold. The capturing of slaves was a brutal and traumatic event.

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