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Anti-slavery Movement Older Than Christianity


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According to Pat Duffy Hutcheon, in Leaving the Cave: Evolutionary Naturalism in Social-Scientific Thought, 1996, the ancient Greek philosopher Protagoras (ca 484-410 BCE) opposed slavery (p. 6), and another ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus (ca 341-270 BCE) taught free will and encouraged women and slaves to join his school (p. 13).

 

So it seems when these ideas were reintroduced to the West in recent centuries, people were just reviving ancient concepts that had existed for centuries before the birth of Christ. Incidentally, these philosophers did not believe in the supernatural.

 

Those people and philosophers who did believe in the supernatural or in God/gods normally held women and slaves as having inferior intellect. Examples are King Saul in the OT, Paul in the NT, and the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle (Hutcheon p. 12).

 

I found this extremely interesting in light of the fact that Christians often push these items as though they were products of Christianity.

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It is always a marvel when you think about it, in particular in the United States, where the church was in one part of the country involved with the abolitionists and on the other hand using the same book to argue for the inferiority of other races and slavery. And the whole OT v. NT argument really doesn't work, because there is at least one story in the NT that states it is better to be an obedient slave than to struggle towards freedom. I can't remember the passage off the top of my head, but I remember being furious after I read it. It's in one of Paul's books.

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Guest Marty

There is also the story of jesus healing the slave without saying a word on the morality of slavery. The slave is healed so he can continue being a good slave to the Roman that brought him to jesus. I think thats in Matthew, Ill have to check later...

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God never gave a wit about what happened to those already in servitude. Continue on as a good slave so you can minister to an unbelieving master and change him, then you'll be a slave of a good Christian slave owner.

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I also posted this on the Craig forums. It created quite a ruckus. The Christians always smell a conspiracy theory or agenda of some sort when atheists post. And somehow, slavery is an ultra-sensitive topic. They have a hard time putting two and two together so I finally did it for them. Whenever they feel a need to prove how good Christianity really is (despite some horrible despots in history), they list things like getting rid of slavery as though the anti-slavery idea originated with Christians. Naturally, this didn't go down, either.

 

Pretty much every time that I post something that I think is going to "show up" Christianity or seriously undermine a central tenet, I cannot get a single Christian to discuss the issue. There will be many passionate responses and they will discuss anything and everything EXCEPT the topic of the thread. This happens so consistently that I've come to conclude that it must be almost as good as proof that I'm right.

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Don't forget that Christians justified owning slaves because it was better to be a Christian slave of a Christian owner than a free heathen. The Christian slave after all would have an eternity of bliss while the free heathen only had hell to look forward to. The Christian slave should be thankful.

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