I was reading how God is not real because of the approval of slavery in the Old Testament. Slavery is there and appears to be acceptable, so of course God can’t be real because He is supposed to be loving and merciful, yet approves of an evil practice.
When we deem slavery as being evil, our thoughts naturally go back to U.S. history and all of the atrocities that occurred there. Old Testament was before this time period, so it really can’t be used as a standard for comparison.
Here is how slavery is defined:
1. (Law) the state or condition of being a slave; a civil relationship whereby one person has absolute power over another and controls his life, liberty, and fortune
2. the subjection of a person to another person, esp in being forced into work
3. the condition of being subject to some influence or habit
4. (Business / Industrial Relations & HR Terms) work done in harsh conditions for low pay
See also captivity.
n pl -ties
1. the condition of being captive; imprisonment
2. the period of imprisonment
By definition, the prisoner is a slave. Those who broke the law, have lost their rights to decide for themselves and control their own life. They have lost liberty. Surely, this is an evil practice. The murder, rapist, pedophile, and thief should retain their liberty and not be enslaved as a form of punishment. You know this is not a valid argument.
Slavery was condoned in the Old Testament but that does not mean it was desired. Slavery did not begin with the Israelites. They adopted the practice from the other cultures. God permitted it but set rules up with how His people must treat the slaves. If a slave was beaten to death, the master would also be punished / avenged. The master wouldn’t just get mad and beat his slave as he would most likely be killed for the act. If the slave was injured, lost an eye or a tooth, the slave was freed at no cost. The slave could earn and keep money in which to buy their freedom. Before Isaac was born, a slave was set to inherit Abraham’s wealth and property when he died. It was no where near close to what happened in U.S. history.
You have cases of slavery where the Israelites would have conquered a people and enslaved those survivors. We see this when the Promised Land was being taken after the mass exodus from Egypt, where they were slaves. The people in the area where notorious for their worship of a god name Molech. Molech desired burnt offerings of his followers children. The Israelites killed the majority of the people, but ended up enslaving some of these people. Under slavery, the people were no longer allowed to burn their children. Slavery that stopped children from being burned alive. Doesn’t sound all that bad.
People could sell themselves into slavery as a form of work. When the people could not provide for themselves, they would sell themselves and the master would provide for them. Some people who were not able to pay their debts, were sold into slavery to work the debt off. Today, we have unemployment, welfare and bankruptcy. There is some debate on which is the better method to handle poverty. A job, place to live, and food or a handout from the government. You decide.
Just look at the culture before deciding something is evil because of the modern understanding of the word.