Poor John Loftus has decided that he is “sick and tired of Christian intellectuals” correcting him by pointing out that Biblical slavery is NOT able to justify what was done in the American South, saying it is an “asinine argument.” (For the record, I was probably the first one to slap him with it, on TheologyWeb, using Glenn Miller’s excellent exposition.)
I notice John didn’t (couldn’t) say it was an “incorrect” argument. Because of course, it isn’t. Here’s what he did say:
When it comes to the brutal slavery in the South that was justified from the Bible I have had enough. Have you ever read Frederick Douglass' life narrative? Have you?
Um, yes, John. It’s a great book. But it doesn’t make our point any more incorrect. It doesn’t magically poof OT slavery into the same thing as American slavery; that’s still indentured servitude. It also doesn’t justify slavery in the NT era, since although it was the same type of slavery (chattel variety), Christians had no control over whether it existed or not – the pagan state did. And as Miller shows (link below), what they did do was the best that could be expected from a tiny, deviant social group of the time. In fact better than the best.
As intelligent as you are, can you not see what it would be like to be a slave in the South, and to be told that your Christian master doesn't properly apply the Bible to his world? Can you not see that it would be like?
Um, yes. And it still doesn’t make our argument any less sound. Why does John think that whining like this will change the arguments? Would our arguments have been more correct if Douglass had been a slave for 10% fewer years? How about 25% fewer?
Wouldn't you at least be intelligent enough to ask why God did not condemn slavery in no uncertain terms, if he authored the Bible?...and say it often enough that no one could misunderstand, just like he purportedly did with murder and rape?
Oh, sure, John, that would have helped. Sort of like the 7th commandment stopped you from shedding your pants with that stripper, right? Let’s make this simple for you, though. There wouldn’t be much purpose for such a condemnation in the OT because, well, um – the Hebrews just didn’t have chattel slavery. So you’re expecting God to condemn something they don’t do anyway?
As for the NT, it does offer something – it’s what you could call a Martin Luther King approach to the issue. The very premises of chattel slavery were undermined by the NT’s insistence of slaves and masters being equal in Christ. Sorry to inform you, but anything more explicit would have been fruitless (a Malcolm X approach), as Miller shows in detail.
But really, you’re whining too much. There were many competent expositors in America doing exactly what you’re so childishly demanding: They laid out a clear, solid case for why slavery was wrong, Biblically. (See link below.) Heck, John, there’s enough lit from abolitionists to bury you 500 feet under – and you’re whining because God didn’t offer a single “no” sentence that your adulterous past shows, had you been an American slaveowner, you would have ignored anyway?
John whines, “On this issue alone, you should abandon your faith. The problem is that there are so many other issues besides this that it baffles me why a thinking person like yourself claims to believe in the God of the Bible.” Yeah, right. It sounds like John is just fed up with being the loser when it comes to this debate; he knows he can’t win on the historical or exegetical arguments, and he also knows very well (from personal experience) that a “no” command doesn’t prevent sin. (BTW, not sure what quote by Ignatius he refers to, but see our list of misused/bogus quotes from some possible references.)
John rants some more, then closes:
I can no longer sit by while absolute stupidity is paraded under the mask of education and intelligence. Someone has to tell the Emperor he has no clothes on.
Well, as we all know, John certainly is the expert when it comes to getting naked.
Glenn Miller's article
Classic Apologetics -- anti-slavery works
Bogus quotes list
Triablogue comments too
Also see the E-block back issue, responding to Loftus' Why I Became An Atheist, in which guest writer Tophet in Ch 23 answers Loftus' posting of the same arguments.