Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Grace


A conservative blogger - Stan, over at Winging It -  recently posted about Jesus and judgmentalism. Some liberalish people will point to Jesus' "judge not, lest you be judged..." and proceed to tell people "Jesus said 'don't judge!'"

Many, many conservativish people will jump on that and say, "You're missing the point! Jesus and the church made judgments all the time!" Stan had this to say this time...

"So, which did Jesus do in the John 8 story? They tell me He did neither [judge AGAINST, harshly or judge as in "form an opinion about" -dt]. I disagree.

In John 8:11 He says, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more." The question was "Should we stone her?" (John 8:4-6). Stoning would be condemning. Jesus didn't condemn her, didn't sentence her to punishment, didn't judge against her. But He did judge her. He told her, "From now on sin no more." That is, "You have sinned; don't do it anymore."

The world wants us to shut up about sin. They try to point to Jesus for that. It just doesn't work."

Two things:

1. I think these type of conservatives are missing the point. No one is seriously saying "don't make judgments about anything..." We ALL want people to judge harshly that the drunk driver needs to be stopped, the pedophile needs to be stopped, the oppressive tyrant needs to be stopped, the murderer, rapist, molester, abuser NEEDS to be stopped. We have judged these behaviors to be clearly harmful and decided/agreed that they need to be stopped. So, when more conservative people assume that people are saying "don't make judgments about anything," they assume incorrectly, if that's what they're doing.

What people are objecting to is the harsh judgmentalism and condemnation of people's lesser (ie, non-harmful to others) foibles. Whether that's the avid environmentalist/bicyclist who goes around judging harshly all those who drive and condemn them for their choices or the conservative religionist who goes around judging harshly all others' sexual opinions/practices. That sort of judgmentalism is off-putting, arrogant and counter-productive.

We're all in this generally striving together to generally do the right thing. No one wants to embrace a wrong behavior. We all can do better and we all make mistakes, being harshly judgmental about minor foibles (or what WE perceive to be a "sin") is not the way to help people out.

And note: Again, I'm not speaking of overtly harmful behavior. Yes! We should speak out and stop the pedophile, the rapist, the abuser, the drunk driver. And we don't need a line from the Bible or sacred text to tell us to stop those behaviors - they are overtly harmful behaviors that potentially or actually take away people's liberties, health and/or lives. We stop those behaviors precisely because they are harmful to life and liberty.

But how did Jesus handle the woman caught in a sexual "sin..."? Did he judge her harshly? No! Did he condemn her or the supposed sin? No! In fact, he specifically did NOT condemn her. Literally saying, "neither do I condemn you..."

Whose behavior did Jesus chastise? The ones who would have killed a woman for a supposed sin.

The religious zealots were embracing actual harmful behavior to KILL someone who may have been involved in a sexual foible... a non-harmful or less-harmful behavior. Assuming the man involved consented, they were prepared to kill - take away a life - for a consensual act.

THAT harmful behavior was indirectly rebuked in the story cited here, not the supposed "sin" of this woman, who was specifically not condemned.

So, again, the point is people are not saying "don't make judgments about anything!" It is still okay to stop and condemn actually harmful behavior, to save a life and to promote liberty. No, when people say, "don't judge," they are speaking of the harsh, condemning sorts of behavior.

So, where Stan said...

The world wants us to shut up about sin. They try to point to Jesus for that. It just doesn't work."

The point is, NO one - including "the world" - wants us to "shut up" about or give up on stopping actually harmful behavior. PLEASE let us work together to find graceful ways to stop harmful behavior. On the other hand, when you (or I) hold personal opinions about what God may or may not think about non-harmful behavior - what we do or don't do in our bedrooms, for instance - please, keep them to yourselves and/or express your concern in an humble and respectful manner AS a concern, and then only when asked. That's what people are wanting, at least in my experience.

2. The second thing: I don't know that I've ever heard a conservative take up the notion of "Neither do I condemn you..." in this story. This is a woman caught in what was, biblically (taken literally) a capital crime, a "sin" so heinous that the ancients believed that God wanted people killed for this sin. But Jesus quite literally - given a direct chance to do so - did NOT condemn her or her behavior. Given the chance, Jesus did not embrace the OT law literally. He chased away the would-be killers and said, "neither do I condemn you...". He DID go on to say, "Go and sin no more..." but he left it to the woman's judgment as to what that would be.

What I'd like to see our more conservative friends embrace is this "neither do I condemn you" attitude literally from Jesus. If you want to take something literally in the bible, embrace that literally. And if two gay folk get married, in love say (to yourself, preferably, unless asked), "neither do I condemn you..." even if you happen to think it is a wrong thing to do. Or if a child moves in with a partner without marrying, repeat after Jesus (again, to yourself unless asked), "Neither do I condemn you..."
If you're in your sunday school class and someone starts talking about a transgender neighbor and they ask your opinion, say, "Neither do I condemn them!"

It is my opinion that "neither do I condemn you" is another way of saying, Grace. Grace to you. Grace to you in your decisions. You are an adult, I grace-fully respect your right and duty to choose for yourself what is the Right Thing to do.

Grace.

It's a great attitude to embrace literally, seems to me.

60 comments:

Marshall Art said...

You're a hypocrite. You demonstrate a superficial "look at how sweet I am" distortion of grace that has no value when placed against a righteous and in reality, a loving rebuke of blatant sinful rebellion.

"What people are objecting to is the harsh judgmentalism and condemnation of people's lesser (ie, non-harmful to others) foibles."

So what you are saying here is that as long as YOU think a sinful behavior falls below some self-serving bar of "harmful behavior", it is not sinful? If that quote is an accurate representation of those who object to people like Stan and myself accurately restating what Scripture clearly, unambiguously and unequivocally refers to as "abomination" (or simply something that "thou shalt not"), the accusation of "harsh judgmentalism" is an overtly deceitful misrepresentation. Where's the grace in that? What God referred to as an abomination, and declared that abomination worthy of death is hardly a "foible" to any honest Christian. To you, however, apparently so.

"No one wants to embrace a wrong behavior."

Yet you do...willfully, eagerly, constantly, despite a woeful lack, nay, ABSENCE of Scriptural support for your position.

"But how did Jesus handle the woman caught in a sexual "sin..."? Did he judge her harshly?"

You've been schooled on this story repeatedly and this current episode stands as but one example for which you have no Scriptural support. Here, you assert that which you want it to say as opposed to actually accepting what it IS saying.

Yes. Christ judged her harshly. He called her a sinner in telling her to "sin no more". What aren't you getting here? What can be harsher than the Judge of all mankind telling someone to "sin no more"? Can there be anything worse? Is she really "in the clear" by Christ's not falling for the weak-sauce plan of those who tried to trap him, by Christ not agreeing to have her put to death? In your desperate dreams. She's a sinner by Christ's reckoning and should she not repent as He encouraged her to do, she is surely dead. Calling her a sinner IS the judgement and it is indeed harsh. But it is no different than what those like myself are doing with regard to those who engage in homosexual behavior, because they ARE sinning, despite your baseless "hunch" to the contrary.

The difference here is that you don't understand the term "judge" and apparently believe that because Jesus didn't state categorically that she should, at that moment, be put to death that He wasn't judging her. But again, He told her to "sin no more" which is no different than saying "you sin", and thus "you're a sinner". A judgement.

But more to the point with regards people like Stan and/or myself, there is no judgement required in referring to someone who proudly admits they are engaging in behavior God called abominable that they are sinning, sinful or sinners. Their own admission precludes any judgement. It is not required, as they have admitted their guilt. The issue is that those like yourself, heretical in your defense of their behavior as you rationalize it with the most counter-Scriptural invention, deny what is so crystal clear to any honest person with the most cursory understanding of Scripture's teaching on this subject.

And as regards this issue, the world, that is the world of the sexually immoral, does indeed want people like us to "shut up". They do not want to hear what Scripture clearly says about the subject. They want, like you do, to go on with their laughably childish rationalizations and misrepresentations of Scriptural teaching. Allowing honest Christians to speak the truth is problematic for living out the delusion as if it was true.

Marshall Art said...

Regarding point 2, this has indeed been explained, both in past discussion as well as above. The story has been explained and now I offer for your serious perusal the following commentaries:

http://biblehub.com/commentaries/john/8-11.htm

None of them in any way differ in the manner in which the story is understood but do so greatly with your inane explanation. Christ clearly could NOT condemn her for two salient reasons:

1. His mission was not to condemn the world but to save it. (John 3:17)

2. He had no authority to dispense civil punishments whatsoever.

But Jesus will judge us eventually. He will not ignore the willful disregard for God's will on issues of human behavior. (Matt 7:21-23)

"This is a woman caught in what was, biblically (taken literally) a capital crime, a "sin" so heinous that the ancients believed that God wanted people killed for this sin."

You say this as if it wasn't true. Yet, the Law clearly prescribed this punishment. It wasn't just that the people of that time "believed" God ordained this sentence. They KNEW it because it was true. Only those for whom the Law was inconvenient (and today, those like yourself, who also find it so) deny the truth that was passed down from the time God gave the Law to Moses.

"Jesus did not embrace the OT law literally."

He most certainly did and this is evident in His constant referencing of Mosaic Law. What's more, He clarified the law and in the case of sexual behavior, stated that our own fantasies about things like adultery are akin to actually engaging in it. You are woefully deluded and deceitful in your conception of Christ's teachings. I insist you purposely pervert those teachings in order to relieve you of the difficulty in openly standing against those who would prefer the Law didn't exist to condemn them.

Your lie is that we condemn by reminding our fellow man of the Son's teachings and the Father's will. Your lie is that which you tell yourself: that you are a better Christian for watching your sinful friends condemn themselves by engaging in that which is clearly, unambiguously and unequivocally displeasing to God and therefore sinful.

IF I am in Sunday school class and someone asks my opinion of a "transgendered" or homosexual person, I will tell them the truth as Scripture plainly teaches: They have condemned themselves to eternal separation from God by willfully engaging in that which displease Him. I have no need to condemn anyone when they do so themselves by their own actions.

You do not speak of grace, for you have no clue as to what it even is, if to you it means standing by while those you call your brothers and sisters engage in sinful behavior. You're an unmitigated fraud.

Show me how I'm wrong. I dare you.

Craig said...

I have no real desire to get bogged down in this, but I feel compelled to mention that having this particular passage as the primary support for ones concept of Grace and Judgement etc. seems problematic.

The problem being that the best textural evidence we have strongly suggests that this story was added much later, and does not necessarily represent a real event, nor is it apparently based on any specific teaching of Jesus.

Don't get me wrong, it's a nice story, and I don't think it has no value. But, I'm just not sure it provides the support some folks think it does.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig...

I feel compelled to mention that having this particular passage as the primary support for ones concept of Grace and Judgement etc. seems problematic.

If I were of the tribe that takes the Bible as a rule book, then you might have a point. As it is, though, I don't treat the Bible that way, so the "primary support" for my concept of Grace and Judgment is not "oh, here's a line in the Bible," but what is and isn't rational, moral, responsible, grace-full.

If I had to take a stab at one of the differences between my tribe and yours is that you all fail to embrace a nuanced approach to words - biblical and otherwise. We "know" that adultery is wrong NOT because there is a line in the Bible that says it is, but because it tends to harm. We "know" that stoning a person to death for adultery is wrong NOT because there is a line in the Bible that condemns it (or one that supports it!), but because it is an unduly violent, harsh and ungracious response to a human failure.

When we find that someone (or the Bible) has said some line, that does not mean that that person (or the Bible, or God) is issuing a fatwa, a black and white, do or die declaration of reality. Language tends to be more nuanced than that and I'm just not sure that you all get that.

Indeed, it is a nice story, Craig, regardless of whether Jesus literally uttered the words or not, just like Genesis 1 is a nice story, whether or not it is a literal science story. But I choose to embrace grace and agree with the line, "neither do I condemn you.." NOT because it is a line in the Bible, but because that strikes me as Good, Right, Holy and Grace-full and that is the Way that I have embraced, the Way of Jesus, as I understand his teachings.

Dan

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall...

So what you are saying here is that as long as YOU think a sinful behavior falls below some self-serving bar of "harmful behavior", it is not sinful?

I'm saying that people don't like Pharisees. Jesus continually rebuked their overly-harsh, disproportionate and ungraceful legalism. It was, indeed, largely this deadly legalism and arrogance on the religious zealots part that made their hearts so hard against Jesus that they eventually plotted to kill him, and strived to do so by pointing to their cherished rules.

It is one thing to say, "aw, sister, this affair you're in is going to destroy your family... I'm worried about you..." from a place of love and community and another to pluck a stranger out of a bedroom and kill her, according to the OT law. One is concern, one is deadly legalism.

Along those lines, you stated...

Yes. Christ judged her harshly. He called her a sinner in telling her to "sin no more". What aren't you getting here? What can be harsher than the Judge of all mankind telling someone to "sin no more"? Can there be anything worse?

Yes, killing her according to the dictates of ancient Israeli law. That is worse. Calling her "perverse" "wicked" "slut" and other harsh words of condemnation, that is worse. Assuming evil motives of the woman, that is worse.

I reckon you don't understand what I mean by "harsh..." Catching a woman (where was the man??) in the act of adultery, DRAGGING her out for public ridicule and threatening deadly violence, that is harsh (to put it mildly).

Jesus saying, "We ALL have sinned, let the one who has no sin cast the first stone..." and saving her life? NOT harsh.

After saving her life with his cagey, wise response to their legalism, Jesus said... "Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I."

Not harsh. That passage just drips with love and concern and compassion. Did he say "Go and sin no more..."? Sure, but, at least to me, in that context that reads more like a blessing. Again, quite literally, Jesus specifically did NOT condemn her. "NEITHER DO I..."

It is the condemning that is harsh. It is the judgmental language and actions that are harsh.

Recognizing mistakes that are common to all of us? That is not harsh. Wishing someone well and sin no more, in the context of having just saved their life? Not harsh.

Perhaps that helps you understand the distinction I'm making and, I believe, why so many people view so many religious conservatives as harsh, arrogant and pharisaical.

If you have a person who honestly is striving to do the right thing and they just disagree with you about behavior X, there is no need to call names, "pervert! sicko! Homo!" it's not as if someone is actively advocating evil, you just disagree with them about which is the better good. When you approach it as two equals, two beloved family members, both interested in doing the Right and avoiding the Wrong, and just have an open conversation about the topic, that's not harsh, even if you disagree with their hunches. It's when the harsh judgmentalism comes in, the name-calling, the assumptions of evil intent, that's what makes it harsh, legalistic and pharisaical.

Feel free to disagree, I'm offering my opinion for what it's worth.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall...

It is not required, as they have admitted their guilt. The issue is that those like yourself, heretical in your defense of their behavior as you rationalize it with the most counter-Scriptural invention, deny what is so crystal clear to any honest person

People of good will and intent disagree about behaviors. We always have, from the start of the church until now, people have disagreed about various things. We are imperfect, we see through a glass darkly and know only in part now, it is to be expected that we will disagree.

But what you appear to fail to understand, Marshall, is that sincere disagreement about how best to do the Good and Right is NOT an "admission of guilt..." We disagree and I don't believe for one second that your intent is evil or an admission of guilt or done out of bad motives... rather, I love you as a brother in Christ with whom I have a disagreement on a few topics. THAT is the difference between the sort of harsh judmentalism that people - Jesus included - rightly find distasteful and a calm, loving rational disagreement. That is the line between harsh judgmentalism and grace that I am speaking of.

Embrace that grace, dear man.

Dan Trabue said...

The issue is that those like yourself, heretical in your defense of their behavior

From a biblical standpoint, by the way, there is nothing "heretical" about disagreeing about a behavior. If it is heretical to disagree about behaviors/opinions about "sin," then everyone would be a heretic to someone else.

Not biblical. Not rational.

Just fyi.

Marshall Art said...

"If I were of the tribe that takes the Bible as a rule book, then you might have a point. As it is, though, I don't treat the Bible that way, so the "primary support" for my concept of Grace and Judgment is not "oh, here's a line in the Bible," but what is and isn't rational, moral, responsible, grace-full."

First, you are of the tribe that takes the Bible as a book of suggestions from amongst which you are free to choose according to your personal liking. And your "primary support" for your concept of "Grace and Judgment" is what YOU think is rational, moral, responsible and graceful, not what is so according to Scripture. In short, you clearly have contempt for God.

Of course the Bible is, among other things, a book of rules. Throughout Scripture, from one Testament through the other, the concept of obedience looms large. But obedience to what? "Nuance"? Vague and ambiguous "truths" that YOU define as it suits you?

John 14:15
If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (ESV)

Sorry, Jesus. I ain't down with no rules. I'm too nuanced for that.

Luke 11:28
But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”(ESV)

Which word would that be? Whatever, it sounds like a rule if we are to keep it in order to be blessed. I guess Jesus isn't down with the program.

1 John 5:2–3
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. (ESV)

They are to Dan. Then again, I don't know...maybe there is some nuanced difference between a commandment and a rule.

2 John 6
And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. (ESV)

Where did Jesus get this rube who keeps talking about following rules? How did this guy miss the nuance? Perhaps Jesus needed someone more competent in explaining the nuances of His teachings to John. Too bad Dan was born 2000 years too late for John.

1 John 2:3-6(ESV)
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (ESV)

Oh my gosh. This sounds bad. He seems to be saying to follow the rules because Jesus followed the rules. Imagine that! But didn't he know Scripture wasn't a holy rule book?

1 Samuel 15:22-23 (ESV)

And Samuel said,

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to listen than the fat of rams.

For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has also rejected you from being king.”
(ESV)

Obey what??? There are no rules!!!

There is no way that any rational, moral, responsible and graceful, much less sane person can insist that the Bible is not chock full of rules by which we demonstrate our true love and devotion to God by following. Even if you wish to posture yourself in your typically superficial piety by saying "God is love" can you get around the fact that merely believing this is a rule YOU follow...a rule you picked up from that Book for which you have absolutely no respect or reverence.

Dan Trabue said...

Even if you wish to posture yourself in your typically superficial piety by saying "God is love" can you get around the fact that merely believing this is a rule YOU follow

1. I do not believe that belief in "God is Love" is superficial in the least. It is, indeed, the essence of God and God's Ways, it seems to me.

2. No, not a "rule that I follow," Marshall. It is a belief I hold. And I don't hold it merely because there is a line in the Bible that says it, but because, all things together, it makes sense to me. Just as I hold to the belief that we should love on another, not because there is a "rule" in a line in the Bible, but because it is the Way that makes most sense.

With that, I hope you understand my position better. Beyond that, you are welcome to your opinions, even the ones that are mistaken. Just don't confuse your opinions with facts, not if you don't want to be considered delusional.

Peace to you, my brother.

Marshall Art said...

"We "know" that adultery is wrong NOT because there is a line in the Bible that says it is, but because it tends to harm."

"We know" that adultery is wrong because God forbids it. Harm has nothing to do with it. That it may also be harmful in some situations is unfortunate, but not at all the reason why it is wrong and/or sinful. And who is "we"? You and frog in your pocket? Speak only for yourself. Some of "us" don't rationalize and enable sinful behavior via "nuance".

"We "know" that stoning a person to death for adultery is wrong NOT because there is a line in the Bible that condemns it (or one that supports it!), but because it is an unduly violent, harsh and ungracious response to a human failure."

Because of course, God is unduly violent, harsh and ungracious in responding to human failure. That's why He mandated this particular form of capital punishment. Stoning was the righteous and appropriate response to outright rebellion against God per His mandate. The reason we do not stone adulterers has nothing to do with how that form of punishment offends your girlish sensitivities.

"When we find that someone (or the Bible) has said some line, that does not mean that that person (or the Bible, or God) is issuing a fatwa, a black and white, do or die declaration of reality. Language tends to be more nuanced than that and I'm just not sure that you all get that."

So every time God clearly stated that the perpetrator of a particular offense was to be stoned, there's some nuance in that mandate that Dan Trabue has deciphered that we don't get. Maybe you can dumb it down for yokels like us. Let's hear it.

"But I choose to embrace grace and agree with the line, "neither do I condemn you.." NOT because it is a line in the Bible, but because that..." allows you to enable sinful behavior you, in your wisdom, don't want to accept as sinful regardless of God's clear revelation to the contrary. It certainly isn't "Good, Right, Holy and Grace-full" or anything remotely related to the teachings of Christ. It's the teaching of Dan Trabue, Heretic.

OK. I've responded to your sorry comments to Craig. I'll respond to your sorry comments to me later.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall...

God is unduly violent, harsh and ungracious in responding to human failure. That's why He mandated this particular form of capital punishment.

1. Is it your hunch, then, that killing people for adultery, for working on the Sabbath, for being disrespectful children... that these things are MORAL, Marshall? That they are GOOD things to do?

2. Do you think, Marshall, that because slavery is commanded by God at times in the Bible (taken literally) that then, SLAVERY is - or can be - moral? Are you not prepared to say that slavery is always a moral wrong?

Surely you jest.

I'd ask, Marshall, that you respond to THIS question first of all, please, before making other commentary. I insist. Don't offer comments on other topics until you've answered this line of questions in questions 1 and 2 above. Or, if you do, be sure to make copies to save for later, because I want these questions answered first and will delete other comments until you have answered these questions.

My blog, my rules.

Dan Trabue said...

As to this...

"We know" that adultery is wrong because God forbids it. Harm has nothing to do with it.

My point is that there are a great many rules found in the Bible. Rules like "when a child is disrespectful, kill them..." or rules about how to sell your children into slavery or rules about capturing the virgins of the foreign nation and making them your wives or rules about hair cuts and about murder and about stealing and a multitude of other topics.

But NO ONE thinks (I hope no one thinks...) that just because there is a line condoning/commanding slavery means that slavery is a moral thing. No one thinks that God REALLY cares that men cut the hair on the side of their heads a certain way as a moral issue, no one thinks that women should be forced into marriage (again, I HOPE that is true) and that it's moral to do so. Just because there is a line in the Bible condemning or commanding a certain behavior does NOT make it a moral/immoral behavior.

Do you agree with this?

Another question to answer, please, before continuing down whatever path you're wanting to comment upon. Thanks.

Marshall Art said...

Regarding the questions above from your comment of June 17, 2015 at 9:51 AM.

1. A stupid question for the following reasons:
a. I have no intuitive feeling or intuition regarding what is clearly written in Scripture.
b. Unlike you, I have no trouble determining which rules of the OT are relative to God's Chosen at the time of their mandate versus that which is universal.
c. It would have been immoral to reject the sentence God mandated for conviction of the crimes that carried that sentence. Thus, it would have, at that time, been indeed moral to carry out any capital punishment for any sinful behavior for which God prescribed such punishment.
d. If such sentences were in effect under our civil laws, then yes, they would be moral, or as moral as any other sentence for any other offense can be.
e. Rather than worry about whether or not a particular sentence is moral, I prefer to focus on whether or not the behavior for which the sentence is proscribed is or isn't moral.

2. God did not "command" slavery. He regulated it. Big difference and an important distinction. What's more, this has been pointed out to you numerous times and you have as yet failed to provide evidence that He commanded slavery at all.

But what passes for, or is referred to as slavery in Scripture was indeed a moral good. In some cases, it was simply a way in which the poor could be provided for. In other cases, it allowed that some could be taken out of a sinful culture and brought to understand what a God-pleasing culture looks like. That is, they could be brought to God from the false-god culture from which they came.

So no, slavery is not always a moral wrong, particularly until you define what you mean by the term. Clearly, the OT provides scenarios in which the term is used differently than what it has come to mean for knee-jerk liberals like yourself.

As to other rules of the OT, clearly some were not issues of moral behavior, though the neglect of the rule would have been immoral given the fact that God commanded it. That is, how one cuts one's hair is not itself a moral/immoral act, but that God commanded that it be worn in a particular manner would mean that wearing it any other way would be sinful. It is the act of rebelling against God's hair-length standard that is sinful, not the length of the hair. This should be obvious to any serious and prayerful student of Scripture.

Thus, while some behaviors are themselves sinful, such as engaging in homosexual behavior regardless of the context in which it might take place, not all laws, restrictions or regulations suggest sinful behavior...only forbidden or encouraged behavior. Again, that the difference is such a mystery to you belies your claim of having studied seriously and prayerfully.

Anything else?

Dan Trabue said...

Re: 2. God did not "command" slavery...

"When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you.

If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. When the LORD your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the LORD your God gives you from your enemies."


~Deut 20.

Forced labor, against their will. Slavery.

God in the Bible commanded slavery. Period (if you take the Bible as literal history).

God also sometimes commanded Israel to, when wiping out a city, to take the virgin orphan girls as wives. A forced wedding is, to me, slavery. The woman was NOT free to say no. It is an especially despicable sort of slavery, in fact - forced sex (ie, rape).

God commanded slavery. Period.

So, before moving on, I think we should be able to easily dismiss this mistake on your part. You do agree, now that I've pointed out one of the passages where it happened, don't you, that taking the OT literally requires you to affirm that sometimes God commanded slavery?

And you agree that the slavery being talked about here is akin to what most people mean by slavery... the forced labor (or sex) against a person's will, a person who is OWNED by another?

So, are you standing by your answer, "So no, slavery is not always a moral wrong..." including the sort of slavery that is "the OWNING of another human being, against their will, where they are forced to work for you (or have sex with you)"... you are saying that this is not innately grossly immoral?

Craig said...

I could be wrong, but I didn't see the word slavery in either of your two prooftexts.

I also didn't see any proof that the "forced labor" was to be a permanent condition.

I also didn't see any proof that the words "plunder" and "slavery" are synonyms.

I also have to wonder what version uses the term "plunder" and if it is the most accurate translation of the Hebrew.

Dan Trabue said...

? Something happened to one of my comments. Crazy blogger.

Craig, do you really think that passage is NOT speaking of slavery? "Forced labor..." is that not the definition of slavery? Forced labor, implying against their will. "Plunder," which is also defined "booty" and "spoils" in other translations. What do you think that means, if not slavery? That Israel could take those women and children and set them up with sweet adoptive parents to raise as if they were their own child? Is there ANYthing in the text to suggest they're speaking of anything but slavery?

They OWNED these other human beings, contextually, historically.

Do you really think this is not speaking of slavery?

Craig said...

Dan,

As i quite clearly and concisely pointed out with my questions, the proof texts you offered do not either explicitly or implicitly demand that they are referring to some form of slavery. I submit that it is possible that they could be, but since the OT authors are not hesitant to use the term slavery, I don't see any reason to read something into the text that is not there.

"They OWNED these other human beings, contextually, historically."

No where in the proof texts you offered do I see the word "OWNED", it simply is not there.

Again, you may choose to read in to the text something that is not there, maybe you picked these proof texts up from some "gotcha texts to get conservatives with" web sites, or maybe you are just reading your own biases in. I just don't know. I do know that the proof texts you offered don't use the terms "slavery" or "OWNED". Sorry.

I am confused. You claim that this is some how "historically" accurate. Is this one of the OT texts where you do think that it might be historically accurate, or is this just a revenge fantasy?

Craig said...

Just to avoid the inevitable "you won't answer my questions", here goes.

"Craig, do you really think that passage is NOT speaking of slavery?"

I already addressed this, and I think it could possibly be referring to slavery, but given the proof text you provided I wouldn't dream of trying to make a definitive declaration that it refers to slavery to the exclusion of any other options.

""Forced labor..." is that not the definition of slavery?"

Not according to Merriam Webster. The words "forced" and "labor" do not appear in the MW definition of slavery. So, I would say that the answer is no.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/slavery

"What do you think that means, if not slavery?"

I don't really know, nor is there any burden on me to come up with an alternative. I simply pointed out that your proof texts don't explicitly say slavery to the exclusion of all other options.

"That Israel could take those women and children and set them up with sweet adoptive parents to raise as if they were their own child?"

If we're just making up random ideas not directly supported by the text then sure why not. I suspect that it might be reasonable to have the opinion that to take children from a pagan culture and to incorporate them into the culture marked by a special covenant relationship with God, might be considered an improvement (perhaps even a form of redemption). I don;t know, and wouldn't begin to insist on a dogmatic reading as the proof text just doesn't have enough information to do anything but speculate about the specifics of the situation.

"Is there ANYthing in the text to suggest they're speaking of anything but slavery?"

There isn't ANYthing in the text that demands that they are speaking specifically of slavery (and even it it were, given the variety of arrangements which the Bible refers to as slavery, it doesn't say anything about the specific conditions). Again, the proof text isn't specific enough to make a dogmatic judgement.

"Do you really think this is not speaking of slavery?"

After having answered this question more than three times, I can say that the proof text, just isn't specific enough to definitively draw that one conclusion to the exclusion of all other possible conclusions.



Dan Trabue said...

Not according to Merriam Webster. The words "forced" and "labor" do not appear in the MW definition of slavery. So, I would say that the answer is no.

Slave (MW): someone who is legally owned by another person and is forced to work for that person without pay

Work (thesaurus.com synonym): Labor

Try again?

Craig said...

To be accurate, your exact words were that " "Forced labor..." is that not the definition of slavery?", in fact according to MW it is not the definition of slavery.

As you note it is PART of the definition of "slave", yet it is not the entire definition.

I know it's hard for you to admit the possibility that you might have misspoken, but maybe you can try.

You still haven't shown that your original claim is 100% accurate.

But, I guess it's easier to nitpick that one part of my response instead of dealing with the whole thing.

Craig said...

The problem is, even if I were to grant you your original claim, your proof texts still don't say explicitly what you want them to say. You still can't exclude every other possibility besides slavery (notwithstanding the fact that you have no idea what this alleged slavery looked like), based on the text.

But, if you've got something besides unsupported assertions, by all means I'd be thrilled to see it. I'm always open to some good old objective evidence.

Oh, by the by, the way you (figuratively) stomped out of the conversation at my blog was exactly the response I suspected. It supports one of my most frequent contentions about you wonderfully. Thank you.

Dan Trabue said...

the way you (figuratively) stomped out of the conversation at my blog was exactly the response I suspected. It supports one of my most frequent contentions about you wonderfully.

What questions? Does Dan expect conversations to be two-way? Yes, I do. Does Dan expect people to answer reasonable questions? Yes.

The difference between your blog and mine, Craig, is that I DID answer four of your many questions, asking you to confirm and clarify some points within those four - asking you to answer your own question, in fact - before moving on.

If Marshall asks questions about the questions I've asked him, I'd allow it. If Marshall asked me to answer my own question, I would answer it.

I DID answer the first half of your many questions (more questions than I asked Marshall) and I was prepared to continue, as soon as you answered your OWN questions.

Big difference.

Craig said...

"What questions?"


I presume the ones you chose not to answer.

"Does Dan expect conversations to be two-way?"

So what. I laid out the temporary ground rules (using your the exact terms you applied to Marshall) and you chose to pretend as though I hadn't and got pissy when I did what I said I'd do.

"Yes, I do. Does Dan expect people to answer reasonable questions? Yes."

Does Dan want to ignore the rules ("Mt blog,my rules" Your words, not mine) and pretend as if they don't apply to him, yes. Does Dan take his bell and go home when his own rules are applied to him, yes. Is Dan an inconsistent hypocrite, yes.

"The difference between your blog and mine, Craig, is that I DID answer four of your many questions, asking you to confirm and clarify some points within those four - asking you to answer your own question, in fact - before moving on."

No the difference is that I (using your own terms, expressed in your own words), told you what (and why) needed to happen before things moved on. You chose to believe that my (temporary) rules did not apply to you, or that you could choose which rules to go by. You were mistaken. Again (using your very own words) "My blog, my rules). It's really not my fault that you prefer not to live up to what you demand of others.

"If Marshall asks questions about the questions I've asked him, I'd allow it. If Marshall asked me to answer my own question, I would answer it."

Of course you say this in hindsight, after your hypocrisy has been so clearly pointed out. However, if one reads your very own words, they clearly indicate that you would not do so. Pardon ,e if I don't take this one seriously, especially in light of the fact that we can't know what was in the comments you deleted.

"I DID answer the first half of your many questions (more questions than I asked Marshall) and I was prepared to continue, as soon as you answered your OWN questions."

Actually you did NOT answer the first half of my questions (try some elementary math before making false claims). The number of questions has no bearing on your decision to follow the temporary rules (your rules as a matter of fact), you decided that the rules (again, your very actual words) didn't apply to you despite a clear warning, and got pissy when I did what I said I'd do.

"Big difference."

Yes, there is a huge difference between the behavior you demand of others and how you respond when asked to live up to the same standard of behavior. You set the rules, and you decided that you should not have to live up to them when they were applied to you. Now, after your hypocrisy was pointed out to you, you double down and trot out a bunch of lame excuses. Why not just admit that you were wrong, apologize and move on? Oh, and retract the bald faced lie I pointed out at my blog.

So,again, thank you for so perfectly demonstrating what I have been calling you on for so very long.


Craig said...

Lest you forget the conditions YOU laid out, which I simply applied to you.

"I'd ask, Marshall, that you respond to THIS question first of all, please, before making other commentary. I insist. Don't offer comments on other topics until you've answered this line of questions in questions 1 and 2 above. Or, if you do, be sure to make copies to save for later, because I want these questions answered first and will delete other comments until you have answered these questions."

"My blog, my rules."

Your very own words from this very post.

No mention of "clarifying questions", no mention of "answering the questions you asked" just simple and direct demands of what you expect Marshall to do.

"Big difference."

The other big difference is that I respectfully and in some detail explained that these rules were temporary and why I felt it necessary to take the course of action that I did. I also explained that (unlike you) I would copy paste any comments that I temporarily deleted and re post them when you were done.

I do admit to some confusion. In your comment here you said quite clearly, "I DID answer the first half of your many questions (more questions than I asked Marshall) and I was prepared to continue, as soon as you answered your OWN questions.", which seems to suggest that you were planning to answer ALL of the questions asked.

Yet, your very first words after I pointed out what the temporary rules were going to be were, "I doubt that I'll bother to answer all your questions, but I'll be glad to take on a few.".

So, it is fairly clear that despite your after the fact claims, that you never planned to answer all of the questions asked. This is now the second bald faced lie you've told in the course of this conversation. I can only assume that you will be apologizing for both of them.

So, yes, there is a "big difference".

Craig said...

I have to say, I'll be shocked if my comments are here tomorrow, but I could be wrong.

Marshall Art said...

I have much to say regarding the Deuteronomy passage in question, but no time at present. I will say that the term "forced labor" is not used in every translation, or so far, doesn't seem to be used most of the time. Keep in mind the scenario presented in the passage. It is war time, the Jews are to first attempt to make peace and the "forced labor" bit is in relation to the enemy people surrendering. Think of most of human history and what becomes the surrendering people? Are they not expected to act in submission to the victor? Does this suggest "forced labor" of the type one might imagine was common in the antebellum south? I don't think so. Thus, the idea of God commanding slavery as opposed to how to deal with those who surrender is now the issue here. I believe it the passage suggests more the latter than the former. Again, I'll have more later.

Craig said...

MA,

I addressed the terminology issue earlier. I also question whether there has been cherry picking of translations in order to make a point. You might notice that there has been no response to my earlier observation, I suspect you won't get much substantial either.

I did respond to your comment at my place FYI.

Dan Trabue said...

I have to say, I'll be shocked if my comments are here tomorrow, but I could be wrong.

Why would you be shocked. I very rarely delete comments. In over ten years and with many thousands of comments, I have no doubt deleted a tiny minority of those - 1%? I don't really know the stats, but it would have to be a tiny fraction.

I asked Marshall to specifically answer a few questions and insisted that he did (and he did), but otherwise, I have rarely deleted comments. There is nothing surprising about it. Period.

As to this, from Craig...

I also question whether there has been cherry picking of translations in order to make a point.

I assume this is in response to the Deut 20 "Plunder" quote. I've already addressed that, perhaps you missed it.

I repeat: Forced labor, implying against their will. "Plunder,"
which is also defined
"booty" and
"spoils"
in other translations.


I merely picked the translation that popped up, NASB, I believe, or maybe NIV. There was no cherry-picking involved. Grace, man, choose grace.

Or verify yourself, look it up, they have Bibles on the internets now, you know?

If I were cherry-picking, I certainly would have used "booty," because, "booty," right?

Craig, you strangely seem fixated on this defense against slavery in Israel, saying things like...

No where in the proof texts you offered do I see the word "OWNED", it simply is not there.

The notion that Israel owning slaves was simply accepted as normative and moral is throughout the OT. But beyond that, it is just a known historical reality.

My only point - one that should be agreed to and done, since it is so obvious - is that in biblical cultures, including ancient Israel found in the Pentateuch, slavery, polygamy, forced marriages, etc, were all accepted as moral and normative. Polygamy is NEVER condemned, not one time. God is said to have given David his many wives. There is no suggestion that there was anything immoral about it. Ever. It just seems accepted as common to the day.

Same for slavery. Same for treating children and women as something that were owned.

I'm NOT saying that Israel didn't have some rules in place that made the slavery and forced marriages less horrifying, I'm just saying that they are not condemned as immoral in the Bible and, if you accept that God would not command that which is immoral, but only that which is moral, then you would have to say (along with Marshall) that, at least in some instances, slavery and forced marriages are moral.

Not sure what you're arguing against or to what end.

I've got more to say - for instance, I do want to congratulate you, Craig, on not taking the Bible woodenly literally or demanding that the most obvious literal interpretation is the right one just because "the Bible..." But I'm out of time for now...


Craig said...

"I assume this is in response to the Deut 20 "Plunder" quote. I've already addressed that, perhaps you missed it."

No, perhaps you missed my actual concern. I brought up the possibility that the terms used in your (unidentified) translation, might be translated differently (maybe even more accurately) in other translations.

So, no your assertions, do not address my initial concern. I'm sure that it was just an innocent oversight on your part.

"I merely picked the translation that popped up, NASB, I believe, or maybe NIV. There was no cherry-picking involved."

So, you really didn't put any effort into finding out if the words were the best possible English rendition of the Hebrew, you just went with the easiest one. That's fine,but it doesn't address my concern that there might be a more accurate word choice. Then again, there might not, it's just a concern I raised earlier.

"Craig, you strangely seem fixated on this defense against slavery in Israel, saying things like..."

No, I'm more fixated on trying to accurately understand (as best as is possible) what the terms that have you so worked up were actually referring to. For example, the English tern "slave or slavery" is used to refer to a practice in Israel that was more akin to indentured servitude or as alternative to a kind of debtors prison. To me, it seems that to use the broad English term "slavery" (which has picked up thousand of years of historical baggage) to lump multiple different sorts of arrangements under one term, has the potential to distort the specific arrangement(s) being spoken of in the OT. This also ignores the implication of the Jubilee year. At a minimum "slavery" as practiced by the the Hebrews was not intended to be a lifetime (and beyond) arrangement of chattel ownership, so to simply make unfounded assumptions based on a couple of proof texts seems like an inadequate treatment of the facts of the matter.
So, my fixation is on trying to accurately discern what the specifics were of these arrangements you broad brush and to deal with them on a more individual level rather than simply to broad brush the term "slavery" with all of the post OT iterations and to avoid looking at things through a 21st century lens. I know, it's unreasonable, but what can I say. Accuracy is generally a good thing.

"...accepted as moral..."

Of course your absence of any transcendent moral standard undercuts your claims.

"I do want to congratulate you,Craig, on not taking the Bible woodenly literally or demanding that the most obvious literal interpretation is the right one just because "the Bible...""

So you are congratulating me for NOT doing exactly what you are doing. That's just bizarre.

As to what I'm arguing about, I'm simply pointing out that your proof texts don't say what you claim they say, and that you are being very cavalier about knowing the characteristics of the arrangements which you decry as not "moral", all while you cannot articulate and consistent, transcendent, objective standard for what is/is not "moral".

In short, I'm hoping that you will provide evidence beyond "It seems right to me." to back up your contentions.

I'm sure you agree that not just taking someone at their word is a reasonable approach.

Craig said...

"I have to say, I'll be shocked if my comments are here tomorrow, but I could be wrong."

For the record, I'm shocked and it seems as though I was wrong about this statement.


I guess it's possible that the fact that I said what I did influenced your decision whether or not to delete my comments, but we'll never know and just have to assume that you didn't even give it a thought.

Dan Trabue said...



Yes, we do know. All you have to do is look at the record. As a HUGE rule, I do NOT delete comments, with very few exceptions, I simply don't do it.

I'm of the mind that I usually let people make asses of themselves if they want to, as it only serves to make them look stupid and undermines their arguments. So, yes, we DO know: Dan almost never deletes comments and you had no real world data to base an assumption upon that I might do so.

It's really not that hard, Craig.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig...

the English tern "slave or slavery" is used to refer to a practice in Israel that was more akin to indentured servitude or as alternative to a kind of debtors prison.

I'm going to make this short and use very strong language with many expletives to make the point clear, Craig. Then I will entertain some answers from you to questions I will ask.

I'm talking about the hellacious, monstrous, evil FUCKED UP practice of one FUCKED UP person OWNING ANOTHER HUMAN BEING, Craig, making them labor or fuck against their will. Like happens in the Bible, at God's command, if you take it literally.

Your questions:

1. Marshall seems to suggest that there are times that OWNING ANOTHER HUMAN BEING is not immoral and is, presumably moral. Do YOU think that one person OWNING another human being as property, forcing them to do labor is fucking immoral and is ALWAYS immoral?

2. DO you recognize that it happens in the Bible, and at God's command? Yes or no, let's keep it straightforward, this is REALLY an easy question, Craig, I'm just talking about what is in the text. I'm NOT talking about some watered down "indentured servitude," (which also happens in the Bible) where one willingly does labor to pay off a debt, but SLAVERY where one human being is FUCKING OWNED by another human being and they are forced to labor or fuck against their will?

3. IF you think it is always immoral for one human to own another human, what do you think of the times that God commands it (as in Deuteronomy 20)?

You seem to be deliberately evasive and divisive, Craig, so I want three straightforward answers. I'm glad for you to talk about other things, but FIRST I want to see answers to these questions. I insist. I have to, unfortunately, to get straightforward answers.

Craig said...

So, your going to embark on an expletive laden grace filled tirade instead of addressing my legitimate questions about your underlying assumptions.

To address, again, your earlier question. One of things I am trying to point out is that this is all based on your interpretation of 2 proof texts. Yet, you have provided nothing that suggests that your interpretations is the only interpretation, or even the most reasonable.

Heaven forbid that asking you to provide FUCKING evidence to support your FUCKING claims might be met with something like FUCKING civility. Not to mention that you keep talking about what is FUCKING moral without being able to articulate any sort of FUCKING (even half assed) objective, transcendent definition of "moral".

1. I think that one person owning another person for any FUCKING reason is a sin. However, you have yet to demonstrate that your proof text is specifically referring to this type of slavery.

2. I am unaware of any command (leaving aside that you deny the existence of God's commands and how FUCKING IDIOTIC it is for you to base your screed on something that you deny), where God specifically says that it is a command that Israel must own slaves. Furthermore of there was such a command, I would want to know the details of the Hebrew word translated as "slavery" as well as the details of the arrangements that that word describes before I made any sort of definitive judgement. However, I could see a scenario where slaves taken into service by Israel could be viewed as part of God's effort to redeem the peoples that surrounded Israel. But, for know, that's speculative.

3. Since I've addressed the "owning another human" question already, I see no reason to revisit it. I read multiple translations of Deut. 20 (including Jewish) and "Christian" as well as multiple commentaries on Deut. 20 and none of the translations use the term slavery, and there is enough variation in the translations to determine if they are even talking about slavery. Having said that in all of the translations, and none of the commentaries do I see God COMMANDING chattel slavery. So, if you have other evidence for me to consider, I will happily do so. But based on my own examination of various translations and commentaries, I don't see that the text you cite is talking about chattel slavery to the exclusion of all other possibilities.

I've given you answers, I don't know and on some level don't care if they are straightforward enough for you. What I do know, is that I will not accept your premise simply because you assert it, no matter how grace filled your expletive laden rants are. It seems as though, you are upset because I want to see something beyond your (biased) opinions on what a couple of proof texts mean.

I'm not sure that it is unreasonable to want to have more information than a couple of proof texts of unknown translation and be hectored into agreeing with your opinions of what they might or might not mean.

So, I'm sorry if this FUCKING pisses you FUCKING of more than you already FUCKING are.

It seems as you your point is that anyone who does not immediately fall into lockstep with your opinion on this particular behavior is evasive and decisive. If wanting more information than you have provided and not agreeing with your every hunch is evasive, then I may be. As far is divisive, if your are incorrect in your hunch and unwilling to even consider the remote possibility of your error, then it might be healthy for me to divide from you.

But that's just my opinion.

Dan Trabue said...

I'm glad you can agree that slavery is always a sin, a great moral atrocity. I am glad you disagree with Marshall on that point.

As to your second answer...

I am unaware of any command (leaving aside that you deny the existence of God's commands and how FUCKING IDIOTIC it is for you to base your screed on something that you deny), where God specifically says that it is a command that Israel must own slaves.

I'll just have to say, again, that the text is abundantly clear. Yes, God was commanding people in multiple places in the Bible to take ownership of other people. Should you ever be convinced of that reality (a reality that Marshall appears to think is true, which is why he's not willing to call slavery always sinful), what would that do to your "slavery is a sin" idea? Would you then decide, "Well, okay, sometimes slavery must NOT be sinful, because 'the bible...'"? Or would that give you pause about assuming laws commanded in the Bible do not necessarily mean that the cited behavior is a sin or is a moral good?

no matter how grace filled your expletive laden rants are. It seems as though, you are upset because I want to see something beyond your (biased) opinions on what a couple of proof texts mean.

You misunderstand. I am upset because some people seem prepared to defend slavery as not sinful and they are doing so by misusing/abusing the Bible, in my opinion. I DO think that slavery is a fucked up institution and that the owning of people is monstrous and an atrocity and that defending slavery by trying to make excuses or exceptions is fucked up morality and a horrendous abuse of the Bible and of God.

Slavery is something to be upset about. Human rights abuses are things to stand one's ground against and call for the gross immorality that it is.

I would hope that a reasonable conservative would agree.

Craig said...

"that the text is abundantly clear."

To be abundantly clear, whether the is abundantly clear or not is the crux of the issue. It is obvious that you perceive that the text is abundantly clear in supporting your preconceptions. The problem lies in the fact that I have not seen any translation of your proof text that uses the term slavery, nor have I found any commentary that agrees with your hunch.

The problem with your argument I that it is based on a premise the you assume to be true, but cannot demonstrate to actually be true. The fact is that your proof text does not explicitly command slavery. This is complicated by your refusal to acknowledge the fact that the arrangement called slavery as it pertained to the OT Hebrew theocracy was not the perpetual, race based chattel slavery that we think of today. So, even if the English term slavery is the proper term in this case, we have no way of knowing what the specifics of that arrangement were, based solely on your proof text. So, in the albescence of any compelling evidence beyond "Dan thinks the Bible says..." I choose to remain open to evaluating the evidence and not willing to accept any argument based on someone else's hunches.

Craig said...

"I am upset because some people seem prepared to defend slavery as not sinful and they are doing so by misusing/abusing the Bible,..."

So your grace filled rational response to "some people" "seem"ing to do something, it to spew out an expletive laden rant directed at me. Not directed at the people who made you mad, but someone else. Do you realize how irrational it is to simply lump people into categories and deal with them as categories rather than as individuals? Do you realize how dehumanizing it is to know that no matter what I say or how effective my specific arguments might be, they will be dismissed or overshadowed by "some people"? I've asked this before, and haven't gotten a response, let alone an answer; why are you so unwilling to deal with people as individuals? Why have you insisted that I assume responsibility for something Glenn might have said? I've noticed this as something that is common to those on the left, but more importantly I've called you out on this numerous times. I don't understand that there could be any reason beyond simple laziness.

"I DO think that slavery is a fucked up institution and that the owning of people is monstrous and an atrocity..."

We all understand that this is your opinion, yet you really haven't laid any groundwork (beyond restating your opinion) that would allow one to conclude that slavery is objectively wrong.

To be clear, I'm not trying to justify anything. I would hope that you could provide some specifics and definitions that would clarify specifically what arrangement has you so worked up and by what objective measure you are making your judgements. I have my own thoughts, and my own basis for those thoughts, but I really haven't asserted much to this point, and am hoping that you will provide some more clarity before I go any further.


"Slavery is something to be upset about. Human rights abuses are things to stand one's ground against and call for the gross immorality that it is."

Chattel slavery (particularly when based on race or gender or tribe) is certainly something to get upset about, I'm sure are aware of the people who are taking concrete steps to get people out of slavery right now. Many of them are even people more conservative than you. This does not, however, automatically mean that arrangement that is (potentially) covered by the English language term "slavery" is equal. That is why I would hope that you could be more specific in differentiating different arrangements, rather than broad brushing them in to a one-size-fits-all target. As long as you do that you will not get the blanket agreement that you seem to crave.


"I would hope that a reasonable conservative would agree."

I would hope that you would acknowledge that there are numerous conservatives, some of whom are even rich conservatives who are (as we speak) actively engaged in removing people from slavery. I would also hope you could agree that said conservatives are doing more to alleviate the real world sufferings of actual individuals, than simply complaining about something that (you don't even believe happened) thousands of years ago.

Dan Trabue said...

Okay, the force of profanity did not help you understand. Let me shoot for short:

Slavery: THE OWNING OF PEOPLE.

ONE HUMAN BEING OWNING ANOTHER HUMAN AGAINST THEIR WILL.

DO you understand, now, what I mean by slavery? Do you join with me in condemning it as always immoral and always a blow against human rights of the most horrible sort?

And this happens, you know, in the bible stories. For instance, when God commanded Israel to kill off the Midianites and other enemies and capture the young women and make them their wives.

That is

owning another human being,
against their will and
forcing them into marriage against their will.


You know, SLAVERY as it is normally understood by English speakers.

Deut 21:

“When you go out to battle against your enemies, and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take them away captive, and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her and would take her as a wife for yourself,

then you shall bring her home to your house,
and she SHALL shave her head and trim her nails.
She SHALL also remove the clothes of her captivity
and SHALL remain in your house, and mourn her father and mother a full month;

and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and
B<>she shall be your wife.


It shall be, if you are not pleased with her, then you shall let her go wherever she wishes; but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not mistreat her, because you have humbled her."


Humbled her. Heh, that's putting it mildly.

That is, you shall not mistreat her... OTHER THAN forcing her into sex slavery/forced marriage against her will. And the normal rules for marriage don't apply here, you will see, by the way. The man can "let her go" if he is "not pleased with her..."

Generous slavery, that.

So, my question to you remains: IF you eventually found out that these verses ARE indeed speaking about what they very obviously seem to be speaking about - slavery and forced marriage - would you then conclude that, because they happen in the bible at God's command that there must be some circumstances where forced marriage and slavery are not immoral?

Or would you stand with the rest of humanity (including many conservatives, as you note) and say NO! slavery - the OWNING of another human being and forcing another human being into sex against their will - is NEVER moral?

That is, will your opinion of morality be tied to a literal interpretation of the Bible or will you recognize God's revelation of morality BEYOND just literally read bible texts?

Dan Trabue said...

We all understand that this is your opinion, yet you really haven't laid any groundwork (beyond restating your opinion) that would allow one to conclude that slavery is objectively wrong.

So, what IS your opinion? Is slavery "objectively wrong..." and if so, in what sense? If not, why not?

I say it is clearly objectively wrong as it is a gross violation of human rights, those liberties of life and liberty that are "self-evident" as someone once put it. And, if the bible IS saying what it clearly seems to be saying - that God commanded slavery and forced marriages/sex slavery as moral options, if you take the stories literally - then I think that points against the notion of trying to take some of these stories as perfectly literally accurate history, told in the modern style (which didn't exist at the time, by all evidence I've seen). Otherwise, you are having to defend a god who might sometimes command what would normally be atrocities, which is self-contradicting to the Christian notion of a good and just God.

Which I'm guessing is why I have such a hard time getting straight answers to these sorts of questions...

Craig said...

Dan,

You are correct that your expletive laden screed directed at "some people" was not effective, it was simply a contrived, silly, childish exercise in shock devoid of the grace you demand others practice.

As I have pointed out multiple times, it is you who are making a claim of fact here. You are claiming that the "slavery" in Deut 20 (this ignores the fact that virtually no translation uses the term slavery, that there are plenty of commentary authors who disagree with your opinion, and none that I saw that agreed with your opinion) has a specific definition. Yet, you have provided nothing specific that objectively supports your underlying premise.

As long as you fail to provide objective support for your premise that the arrangement described in Deut 20 meets your objective transcendent definition of slavery, then I will be less than enthusiastic about agreeing with you simply because "Dan says so..."

Of course, one now needs to ask was your expletive laden screed needed because "I am upset because some people seem prepared to defend slavery as not sinful" or was it to "help you understand". I ask because those seem to be contradictory and if so, then it would follow, that one of the two is a lie. Since I have not tried to "defend slavery as not sinful", I'm just not sure what your point is.

Again, you have not provided any scripture that says "Thou shalt own people".
You have not even proven objectively that your proof text is referring to chattel slavery.
Despite the fact that you can't demonstrate that your first proof text says what you claim it says, you skip that and throw out another proof text that also doesn't seem to say what you think it says.

The Deut 21 passage you chose says clearly "...would take her as a wife for yourself,..." it specifically does not say slave, it says wife. Further the Deut 21 proof text is what is known as an "if/then statement". IN other words, IF (not must) you see a woman..., THEN this is what you must do in order to take her as your wife. Again, note the lack of the term slave. What seems likely is that God was trying to stop the Hebrews from acting in the passion of the heat of battle, but instead to slow down, take your time, see if there is more than simply physical beauty (ie cut the hair etc. and see if you still feel the same way), if after that period you still want to marry her, then it's OK. No where is there a command to take random women and turn them into sex slaves. It's just not there.

Look, you can use FUCKING expletives, you can use ALL CAPS, you can use FUCKING EXPLETIVES IN ALL CAPS WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS for all I care. That still doesn't mean you don't have to demonstrate is some relatively objective way that your underlying premise is correct.

You deride someone who says "The Bible says...", yet all you offer in return is is "That's what I (Dan) says..." or the more equivocal "My opinion is...". Look, if you want to have opinions fine, If you want to make claims about what things are objectively "moral", then the bar gets higher.

As long as you substitute expletive and all caps for objective support, you will find that it is hard to get reasonable people to agree with you.

Craig said...

"So, what IS your opinion? Is slavery "objectively wrong..." and if so, in what sense? If not, why not?"

Lifetime (and the lifetime of progeny) chattel slavery based on race, sex, ethnic group or national origin is objectively wrong. It clearly violates (at a minimum) Jesus second greatest commandment.

The problem is that you haven't demonstrated that every arrangement that might be described using the English term slavery is lifetime, chattel slavery based on race, sex, ethnic or national origin is what is being described in your proof text. The problem is that there are arrangements that might be encompassed by the English word "slavery" which might be of a different nature. The problem is that you have not been able to demonstrate (certainly not with your selective "The Bible says.") what the specific arrangement described in your proof text actually is. The problem is that your proof text does not say "Thou shalt take slaves..". The problem is that the translators and many commentators don't agree with your opinion. The problem is that you can't even demonstrate an objective transcendent morality.

So, while I've been clear and brief, you have chosen to resort to expletives and all caps instead of objective proof.

If you can provide an objective transcendent definition of "human rights", I'd be happy to see that. I'm not sure how quoting the founding documents of a secular republic has to do with establishing any sort of transcendent objective anything, but I'm willing to be educated.

Anyway, if you can show me where the text says "literally", "This is God speaking, and I command all of you to take slaves." or words to that effect, then you might have a point. If you could point to one translation that uses the term slavery in your proof text, you might have a point. If you could point to commentators who agree with your hunch, it would help. If you could even point out how applying one out of context proof text to underpin your whole argument is the best way to make your point, then you might have a point.

Unfortunately, you haven't done any of those.

Dan Trabue said...

Lifetime (and the lifetime of progeny) chattel slavery based on race, sex, ethnic group or national origin is objectively wrong.

Craig: Is owning a human being and forcing them either into labor or sex against their will - regardless of if it's "chattel-based on race, sex," etc, regardless if it's for a lifetime... is OWNING a human being (ie, slavery) immoral? Is it grossly, grotesquely monstrously immoral every time?

That is my view of the matter, what is yours?

And this is what I mean by it SEEMS like you're hedging your bets, being very limited in what you want to denounce as slavery, which makes people wonder, Is he actually defending slavery in some cases?

So, I'm asking very specifically about the simple owning of another human being, forcing them against their will into labor or sex... is that immoral?

If so, why? Are your reasons objective?

If not, why not?

Craig said...

Dan,

I have given you a clear and concise answer about what specifically I believe and why.

The fact that I don't agree with "your view" doesn't seem material. Unless, of course, you are going to suggest that "your view" is somehow more than simply "your view". The fact that I don't simply broad brush a topic with my view, but instead try to ascertain the detail and nuance is not a bad thing.

The problem remains, and will remain no matter how often you pretend otherwise. You continue to make assertions, and act as if they are True, without having supported them.

1. You continue to assert that there is a standard of "moral". (This is more in the nature if you continue to assert that certain things are "moral" or "immoral", but without a standard of "moral" then this is simply an assertion of personal preference) Obviously for a standard of "moral" to have meaning beyond the individual, said standard must be objective and transcendent.
2. You continue to assert that "slavery" is "immoral", yet without a standard for "moral" one cannot make declarations of morality.
3. You keep asserting that Deut 20 is referring to slavery
4. You keep asserting the God is commanding His people to take slaves, in the absence of any actual command to do so.
5. You keep asserting (more by failing to respond) that there is only one arrangement that the word slavery is used to define.
6. You keep asserting that simply finding one proof text and asserting "The Bible says..", is an appropriate standard when you do it.
7. You keep asserting that "the Bible says..." is somehow a ridiculous reason, while "My (Dan's) Reason says..." is somehow less laughable.


So, as long as you choose not to support your assertions, so that I can answer your questions based on more complete information that I currently have, I'm at a loss.

"...SEEMS like you're hedging your bets, being very limited in what you want to denounce as slavery, which makes people wonder, Is he actually defending slavery in some cases?"

1. Seems is a very subjective term, and frankly I submit that how things seem to you is not something that concerns me a great deal.
2. Given your lack of specificity, I am forced to be specific. If I am specific, it makes it harder for you to take me out of context, and twist what I actually said. Again, your lack of specificity about the possibility that arrangements exist which might be referred to as slavery (in English), but that might not fit the definition which you feel helps you, forces me to be specific.
3. When you say "some people" you really just mean you, why not just be honest.
4. I have been specific about the type of slavery I am prepared to condemn and why. As long as you refuse to deal with your lapses in specificity and support of your assertions, I don't see any reason to be any more specific than I already have.

I'm not sure what it is about you that thinks that asking the same question over and over again, while ignoring my response is helpful. I guess it's better than your grace filled expletive laden screed, though.

Dan Trabue said...

I have given you a clear and concise answer about what specifically I believe and why.

What you said...

Lifetime (and the lifetime of progeny) chattel slavery based on race, sex, ethnic group or national origin is objectively wrong.

What I asked...

Is owning a human being and forcing them either into labor or sex against their will - regardless of if it's "chattel-based on race, sex," etc, regardless if it's for a lifetime... is OWNING a human being (ie, slavery) immoral? Is it grossly, grotesquely monstrously immoral every time?

That is my view of the matter, what is yours?


I'm not asking you if you believe what you said you believe already. I'm asking for clarification BEYOND what you believe. IF you believe, "Nope, nope, ONLY what I said is objectively wrong, so, 'owning a human being for seven years' is not immoral in and of itself, only for life..." then say it. I'm asking for clarification.

Please answer the question asked or don't bother coming back. I don't mind dealing with your many misunderstandings of my positions and other points later, but I do want the question I asked to be answered, to be clear.

Craig said...

Perhaps your problem is that you don't know what chattel means

Dan Trabue said...

Stuff that's owned as property. So, no, there's no problem there and I don't see how that helps you any. Unless, that is, you are defining chattel in some non-standard way... how are YOU defining chattel?

My position, again, is that it is immoral for one human being to own another human being as property- any race, any reason, any time length. What I'm asking you is pretty specific and clear, I think: Do you agree that ANY slavery (ie, any owning of another human being as property to work or for sex against their will) is immoral?

Is it the case that you are not understanding the question? or that you are embarrassed to admit that you do not think all slavery is immoral? Or what is the reason why you can't simply address the question that is being asked of you?

A follow up question: IF you think it is "objectively immoral" to own certain sorts of slaves (re: your limited list), on what basis is it "objectively immoral" in a way that claims that ALL slavery is not objectively immoral/wrong?

Craig said...

Dan

I have understood and responded to your "question" multiple times. I have said that I believe chattel slavery to be wrong. I have said that I find chattel slavery based on race, gender, or national origin to be particularly egregious. It should go without saying that I do not approve of involuntary slavery. Other than your desire to dictate my word choice, I fail to see what is unsatisfactory about my repeated answer.

If your goal is to get my answer in my own words, you've had it multiple times. If your goal is to simply get a quote for you to use out of context, I fail to see why I should accommodate you.
I have tried to address this in a specific manner in order to say exactly what I wanted and no more. I have outlined the various problems with your assertions and you have simply re asked the same question. My answer is the same I oppose involuntary chattel slavery, I believe it violated the second greatest commandment.

If you just want a blanket agreement with your opinion just write something for me to copy/paste.

So delete me, ban me, swear at me, withhold your bountiful grace from me, I really don't care that much.

Or you could address the specific weaknesses I have pointed out, correct them ( or me) and go forward. But seriously if all you're going to do is whine about semantics let's just give up now. If you can't respect my desire for a specific and nuanced discussion but just want to deal a in sweeping generalities then by all means just say so and you won't have to delete anything.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig, I ask specific questions because I want to know specifically what you believe. I'm not clear why it's difficult for you to say, "I think all forms of slavery - of one person OWNING another person - are wrong, whatever the circumstances..."

Why is that difficult to affirm?

Do you understand that when one hems and haws about what seems like an easy question that all decent modern humans can agree upon, that it raises questions?

I mean, if I ask: Is rape - the involuntary forcing of sex upon another person - always morally wrong? ...would you similarly seek to outline some specific set of circumstances where it's wrong? It's as if you are saying, "Well, usually, yes, but in some circumstances..."

It's hardly semantics to be able, in this day and age, to clearly affirm Yeah, slavery is wrong, rape is wrong.

For my part, I have no problem saying slavery and rape are always wrong, always immoral. Am I wrong to hold that view? If so, why?

As to "specific weaknesses" you've pointed out, I don't know what weaknesses you speak of. Other than the "weakness" that we are fallible humans with imperfect knowledge. But that's just a reality, so I don't see reality as a weakness. It just is.

Craig said...

Dan,

I've answered your specific questions specifically. The fact that those answers don't set well with you really isn't the point. I've gone into detail why I have answered the way I have, and until you can deal with the foundational weaknesses of your underlying assumptions, I can't give you any more than I have. As long as you make unproven assertions, and then expect others to validate them, there is a problem.

If you don't know what "specific weaknesses" your foundational assumptions/positions have, then you clearly haven't read me comments. If all you are going to do is just continue to ask the same thing over and over without any sort of clarification of the specifics of your response to the issues raised, then just tell me now and I'll walk away all one my own. I don't need to waste my time with your graceless expletive laden screeds and simply regurgitating the same question over and over in the apparent hope that I'll just copy/paste your exact words.

So, if you have a different question, ask it. If you really just want me to copy/paste your position tell me what exactly you want. Or if you just want to spew expletives, do that. Delete me, ban me, do whatever, I'm just not all that invested on your argument built on unsupported assumptions.

Dan Trabue said...

I'm asking a specific question, Craig. You can keep saying "I've answered it..." but that does not mean you have. Look, if you don't care that it sounds like you might support slavery in some instances, or rape in some instances, that's on you.

If you HAVE specifically answered my questions, then all you'd have to do is copy and paste the existing answer in there. You have not done so because you have not answered the specific questions asked.

So, again, I ask you THIS question that has also gone unanswered:

I'm not clear why it's difficult for you to say, "I think all forms of slavery - of one person OWNING another person - are wrong, whatever the circumstances..."

Why is that difficult to affirm?


Answer the questions being asked of you - not some other questions that may be slightly related but that I have not asked - or just go away and let your silence speak for you, either way. Just don't come back again and say "I answered it already..." because that adds nothing.

And where you say...

If you don't know what "specific weaknesses" your foundational assumptions/positions have, then you clearly haven't read me comments.

Well, clearly I HAVE read your comments and I'm telling you I don't know what you're speaking of so, again, you can make your case or not, but simply saying "I already did!" doesn't help. Don't bother saying it again.

Craig said...

Dan,

I have repeatedly told you that I believe that chattel slavery is sinful, I have explained why I believe this. I'm not sure what about that is insufficient for you.

"Why is that difficult to affirm?"

I have repeatedly affirmed that I believe chattel slavery is a sin and why, I fail to see why you are failing to acknowledge that indisputable fact. Clearly, you are hung up on the semantics of the word chattel. Yet, that makes absolutely no sense. I apologize that I can't go beyond this answer as long as you refuse to clarify your underlying assumptions.

As to your introduction of rape, that is just a stupid example, and doesn't help progress in any way.

So, what you are saying is that you have "read" my comments, and that you are choosing to ignore the multiple lists of flaws in your unproven underlying assumptions, and that you are choosing not to address those flaws, even though your addressing those flaws would be helpful as a try to elaborate on my previous answer.

So, there you have it, I have clearly and specifically stated my position. You haven't supported your underlying assumptions, and somehow would like to portray this as my fault.

Dan Trabue said...

My question, revised for clarity, to you:

Craig: Is owning a human being and forcing them either into labor or sex against their will - regardless of if it's "chattel-based on race, sex," etc, regardless if it's for a lifetime... is OWNING a human being (ie, slavery) immoral? Is it grossly, grotesquely monstrously immoral every time?

You appear to be hedging your bets, placing limits on SOME sorts of slavery that may not be immoral, so I clarified what specifically I am asking you. THAT is the question you're not being clear on.

If by "chattel slavery" you mean the owning of another human being" then we are saying the same thing but YOU INTRODUCED some limitations (the "life time" and "race-based" limitations.) I'm asking in ANY situation, is it ALWAYS wrong for one human to own another human being?

Maybe you agree, I'm just seeking a clear and direct answer, since you inserted provisos and caveats. Don't blame me for wanting clarity to your less-than-clear position.

Dan

Craig said...

Now, that you've grasped the basics of what I have been saying for quite come time, let's move on with another small step.

While I find chattel slavery sinful, I further believe that to enslave someone for reasons of race, sex, age, national origin, etc. are particularly egregious. Further, I also find the practice of trying to enslave someone for their entire lifetime, or to extend slavery to the children of slaves to again be especially distressing. In short, the type of slavery that we see in the growing in this progressive and enlightened 21st century, is where I choose to focus my concern.

Now, that your confusion about my (simple and direct) point has finally been cleared up, is there any possibility that you might yet address the unsupported assumptions upon which you based your outrage?

Dan Trabue said...

? Now that I've grasped...? I'm still asking, Craig. What is it with folk like you that you are unable to read to comprehend or answer direct questions directly?

Do you see the question marks in my questions above? Those indicate "questions." Questions where I'm still not sure of your answer and so, seeking "answers" I've asked the questions to give you a chance to clarify.

So, Craig, Are you saying that owning a person in ANY situation is immoral and that some situations (slavery by race, without option of getting out, etc) are especially immoral? Is that what you're trying to say?

Or, as I already asked:

Craig: Is owning a human being and forcing them either into labor or sex against their will - regardless of if it's "chattel-based on race, sex," etc, regardless if it's for a lifetime... is OWNING a human being (ie, slavery) immoral? Is it grossly, grotesquely monstrously immoral every time?

Or don't answer directly, but if you can't answer directly, don't bother commenting, this is just way too difficult.

Craig said...

Dan,

I see no point in either simply repeating what seems to have become a mantra "I believe that chattel slavery is a sin." again, or in simply regurgitating whatever words you would like me to say in a way that is acceptable to you. In point of fact, I have answered your question, multiple times, in very direct and specific ways. If you choose to believe otherwise, I can do nothing for you. If you choose to base your entire line of reasoning on a series of assumptions, yet won't defend, support, or even acknowledges that flaws of doing so it becomes clear that what you are looking for is not dialogue but simply for someone to uncritically affirm your assumptions.

I hope you find what you are looking for, but I'm not the guy to give it to you.

Dan Trabue said...

Meaning you're not the guy to answer a reasonable clarifying question about something as vital as slavery?

That much is clear. The other question is, why is that so hard for you?

You're apparently not the guy to answer that question, either.

Craig said...

"Meaning you're not the guy to answer a reasonable clarifying question about something as vital as slavery?"

Except I have.

" The other question is, why is that so hard for you?'

It's not, because I have. One could ask why it is so hard for you to ignore the flaws I pointed out in your presumptions, and why you have not addressed them.

So, now I've answered both of your questions. But, you just keep pretending otherwise if it helps keep your focus off of the flaws in your underlying assumptions.

Dan Trabue said...

sigh.

Just a reminder of where we are. I asked...

"So, what IS your opinion? Is slavery "objectively wrong..." and if so, in what sense? If not, why not?"

You responded...

Lifetime (and the lifetime of progeny) chattel slavery

based on race, sex, ethnic group or national origin

is objectively wrong.


You, Craig, said that chattel slavery (ie, slavery - the owning of people for forced labor or sex) is wrong... BUT then YOU, Craig, put some caveats on it...

"Lifetime," you said.

"Based on certain conditions" you said.

I responded that that's all fine and good, as far as it goes, but it begs the question: Do you think that ALL slavery - ALL owning of people against their will - is immoral. You've responded several times with versions of "I believe chattel slavery to be wrong." and you offered the additional... "I have said that I find chattel slavery based on race, gender, or national origin to be particularly egregious."

And so I asked for clarification because, after all this, you appear to be agreeing with me. So I am asking very specifically, do you think that ALL owning of a person by another person against their will (ie, slavery) is wrong, regardless of conditions or the caveats you placed. You appear to be saying Yes, AND I think these caveats are especially wrong, but Yes, all owning of people by other people is wrong... IS that the case? I'm just asking for a very simple clarification of your words, I think you should be able to say "Yes, that's the case..." but we shall see if you keep sputtering or if you make yourself clear.

I ask because you have not been clear, to me. Why not clarify?

Craig said...

Dan,

I see no reason to continue to deal with your inability to understand my clearly stated position. I further see no reason to deal with your presumption that your underlying assumptions must be accepted without being challenged. The fact that you can't deal with the flaws in your assumptions, and instead simply just keep demanding that I answer the same question multiple times. So, if you want to dialogue, great, if not great.

Dan Trabue said...

I know you don't get the irony of your last sentence, but it's funny nonetheless.

Summation:

Dan: All slavery is wrong.

Craig: "Lifetime (and the lifetime of progeny) chattel slavery
based on race, sex, ethnic group or national origin
is objectively wrong."

Dan: That sounds like you're saying that some slavery types are not immoral, would you mind clarifying?

Craig: I've already answered.

Dan: No, I know what you said, that "Lifetime (and the lifetime of progeny) chattel slavery based on race, sex, ethnic group or national origin is objectively wrong." but I'm asking specifically about ANY and ALL slavery, the owning of a person against their will... is THAT always wrong?

Craig: If you don't understand my answer, that's on you.

Dan: Why not clarify directly? Humor me. Are you saying that ALL slavery is wrong or are you making exemptions and exceptions, saying only SOME slavery is wrong.

Craig: "While I find chattel slavery sinful, I further believe that to enslave someone for reasons of race, sex, age, national origin, etc. are particularly egregious."

Dan: Okay, so NOW it sounds like you and I agree, that the OWNING of human being is wrong, would you mind clarifying? DO you think that ALL owning of another human being is wrong?

Craig: I've already answered...

Dan: [rolls eyes]

...

Craig: If you want to dialog, great, if not, great.

======
I stand ready any time you're ready to clarify your point or, you know, dialog.

Craig said...

Of course, you have conveniently left out the part where I have asked that you deal with the issue of the validity of the assumptions that underlie your premise. Of course, you leave out the part where I ask for and you don't provide clarification.

So, yes, your demand for unilateral action on my part undercuts your seemingly pleasant request for dialogue.

I have told you why my answer is limited, and why I won't go further in the absence of clarification from you. The fact that you want to pretend as if this isn't reality really isn't my problem.