The next post is pretty much done, but I wanted to send out this quick note before moving on. The previous post revealed a lot of things that I neglected to make clear. My fault. Sorry.
First and foremost, the last post was not meant to settle the question on slavery and the Bible. I just wanted to get out what the Bible actually says about it. The most I wanted to accomplish toward addressing the issue was to let people see a clear trajectory within Scripture wherein no part is inherently contradictory to the parts before or after it, no more than a seed is contradictory in nature or form to a fully blossomed flower. I also wanted to give a sense of the complexity of the issue. In every passage that lies out even the most comprehensive sets of morality and ethics for the Israelite people, you never see slavery there. It was never an action that was consistently seen as something moral. It’s not a freedom that the Israelites are free to use whenever they desire; it’s used sporadically, meaning that there must be something else going on beyond some explicit commentary by God on the moral nature of slavery. The New Testament is clear that the crucifixion of Christ was something that was foreordained and ultimately brought about by God, but this neither expunges the moral responsibility of the people that actually did it, nor says that God is all about crucifixion and thinks it is “morally neutral” or “ethically okay”. He clearly thinks it is wrong and evil, and yet He clearly ordained it, allowed it, and used it to bring about his promised redemption to the world.
Secondly, as I said in a previous comment on the previous post, I am not trying to defend the “Moral Law proof” for God’s existence. I do not make much of “proofs” of God’s existence. They are each inadequate in various ways. They are sort of compelling taken as a whole, but either way, conversion and, by extension, Christianity itself, is ultimately a spiritual enterprise with intellectual implications rather than an intellectual enterprise with spiritual implications.
Thirdly, it was said by one commenter that my arguments are obviously weak because I have to write so many blog posts in defense of them. Two responses: the first reason why so much is being written is that I am a very young writer. This means that there is still an arrogance and immaturity in my writing, resulting in a lack of brevity in my prose. This results in really long blog series that no one ever reads because they are not concise and they use unnecessarily complicated phrases like “lack of brevity in my prose”.
The second reason should be clear from all my former interactions with the accusing party (Larry). When it comes to the Bible and problems with it posed by atheists, the problem is never that one issue. Let’s assume I could dramatically prove to any of you that your perspective on this issue of slavery in the Bible is wrong and the Biblical and Christian idea on it is right. What then? You remove that tool in your tool belt against Christianity and pull out another. And then we write more Facebook notes and blogs. There is no individual argument or set of arguments that makes you all atheists. The problem is spiritual. You disbelieve in your heart first and come up with reasons second (even you, Christopher. I know you’ll counter this statement and think it is the height of arrogance for me to make a judgment on you like this, but though I may believe that you intellectually believed the tenets of Christianity, I cannot and do not see any evidence that your faith and belief at the heart level was anything genuine. Perhaps you got into apologetics in the first place to try and provide you with the faith that you sensed was lacking; only to find your apostasy).
I am writing none of this to defend the Bible. Or Christianity. Or my opinion. I don’t care what you think about the topic of slavery and the Bible, nor what you think of my opinion. My main concern is to see you joined to the One for Whom your soul was made. The One in Whom is rest. The One in Whom is found the wisdom of wisdoms that makes those foolish who think themselves wise. My main concern is to see you become a Christian. And this topic of slavery and the Bible is not the hinge around which that decision turns. But, what all of you have said about this topic is symptomatic of an entire worldview and perspective on things in which may be found genuine and sincere intellectual roadblocks to faith. That is why probably 80% of what I have to write and say in this blog series has very little explicitly to say about slavery. The things can be applied to slavery, but I hope to go deeper with all of you (as I always have), to try and get at the assumptions about faith, the Bible, philosophy, and theology you all have clearly articulated that I believe are fundamentally flawed and inconsistent with the Biblical account of these things. I want you to disagree and rebel against true Christianity, not your caricatures and straw men.
And that is the reason why I have so much to say. I want to see you all either converted or made aware of your outright rebellion against God existing prior to your intellectual reasons and ultimately, only clear articulations of the precious Gospel I adore can possibly do of any of that. I am praying for you all.