Okay, so here we are on Sunday, and after a lot of reading, researching and follow up on the whole slavery debacle I think I have an understanding of sorts (all depends on which VERSION of the Bible you read apparently).
We are going to look at 3 different scriptures (and their chapters in entirety), in the books of 1Timothy, Titus, and Colossians. I might throw some of Paul in for good measure, but he really was a mobster like zealot that I'd rather not lend any credit too whatsoever.
I wanted to start with 1 Timothy, simply because it is the infamous line about money being the root of all evil that it is especially remembered for. I wanted to see how this applied to enslavement.
1 Timothy 6:1 states the following (KJV):
"Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blaphemed."
Well, that left me rather thunderstruck at first. HOW was the name and doctrine of God being blasphemed if a servant didn't count their master worthy? How did enslavement have anything at all do with the Word? Surely there is more to this than telling slaves to shut up and serve. And there is in verse 6:2 which continues:
"And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethern; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort."
WOW! So verse 6:1 is just a message in general to Christian slaves, where verse 6:2 applies to Christian slaves whose masters are Christians as well. I had to wonder at the simple meaning behind these two verses. God didn't want Christianity in the higher class structures to get a bad reputation. Kind of a "shut-up-and-do-what-you-are-told" and we will reward you in Heaven later kind of attitude.
The rest of this chapter just keeps on hammering how those who don't get this message or agree will not be rewarded and that they are selfish assholes, blah blah blah. And this is just one of several supporting attitudes about enslavement we will examine and how ultimately, it ties into more than just slavery, but submitting yourself to earthly laws in general and showing a good work ethic, for Christ.
Next, let's have a look at Titus, chapters 2 and 3 in their entirety, but we will start with scripture 2:9 which states:
"Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again"
I am starting to suspect, this isn't entirely about slavery, more like a person's work ethic and what kind of a work ethic we are supposed to show our employers, and authorities of our communities or country in general.
Let's venture further now with Titus 2:10 - 13:
"Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." 10 "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men," 11 "Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;" 12 "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;" 13
So essentially, act like Christ is your boss and he is going to inspect your work later, and THEN you get paid the rewards of your hardships for keeping the Christian faith looking sparkly clean. Regardless to the conditions you might have had to work under, if you were a slave and ran away all the time, because it was the law that slavery was okay, you were then showing disrespect to the authority of God by breaking the earthly laws and running away. You sinned for trying to be free. When slavery was abolished, and Martin Luther King started his protests for more rights than what was allowed him under earthly law, he was sinning against God for disobeying the authorities. He was making Christianity look bad.
Why would anyone want to be a part of this?
Well, let's investigate further in Colossians 3:22:
"Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; now with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God:"
Again, I am taking away specific roles that might fall under servants and will use the idea of workers (whether slave or free man) and their ethic for their work. Am I misunderstanding this scripture or is it essentially saying: Fear God. Obey your Emporer.
This entire chapter is dedicated to telling wives to submit to their husbands, husbands love your wives, children obey your parents and so on, because it is all for God in the end, isn't it?
If you get to the end of all the people He tells people to "obey", you reach verse 3:23 - 25 which states:
"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 23 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 24 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. 25"
Essentially, again, we'll pay ya later, just shut up and do your fucking job already and be wearing a fucking smile too while you are at it. Chapter 4 intructs masters to be just and reward them equally, but doesn't say that the workers have the right to revolt and protest and run away if they don't like the working conditions. No they will have sinned against God for doing that..... So if you wanted to be an asshole and deny freedoms, deny rights, and generally segregate people racially, go ahead and do it, you will just have to answer for it later unless it wasn't against the law to be that way. Hey, it was the law at the time after all.
The implications of this type of mindset throughout the Bible in the New Testament is rather disturbing. Some have tried to say,"Oh, that was a different time. Things were that way back then, but no today in modern society." I have to differ with that attitude because it is that same person who is constantly bashing me in the face with the statement,"The Bible is the word of God, and it is infallible because of that." You can't pick and choose what parts of the Bible you will support or not. The work of MLK and many other activists are now made to be sins because they fought with the law of the land, which is supported by the Almighty himself. Just because they won the fight doesn't make it okay and not a sin because it still looked badly upon the faith that God wants us to represent. That's God's word, not mine.
Why would ANYONE ascribe to such beliefs? Especially African Americans?
Let people treat ME like shit?
Smile, be grateful in life, and be rewarded in Heaven later by God.
That's a shitty IOU. I don't want to be a martyr, but Christianity is all about martyrdom. It's all about control. It's all about fearing God and obeying your GOVERNMENT. Political bullshit descending out of an understanding of the astrological universe.
Amazing the ingenuity of human kind.