I am now a Christian


(RiderOnTheClouds) #1

Though I will refrain from discussing strictly theological topics in the future, I have come to the decision that Christianity offers a much stronger moral foundation than Judaism, and as such I now consider myself to be a Christian. I currently consider myself non-denominational, though I lean towards Catholicism since it is the faith I am most familiar with (I was raised Catholic).

I find Christian morality to be a stronger foundation than Jewish morality since it is undeniably universal, whilst the OT is ambiguous in that regard. It also condemns slavery, which the OT does not do.

I have not seen any hard and fast proof for the resurrection, though no evidence against it either, I will therefore treat it as though it happened.


Why I have decided to leave the Bible behind... for now
(Juan Romero) #2

Well, it was about time!


(Chris Falter) #3

I welcome your profession of faith, Reggie–or perhaps I should say: “Brother Reggie.” :slight_smile:

As you continue your journey, it might be worth reflecting on the fact that Jesus was very much Jewish. In fact, his disciples called him “Rabbi.” I am not trying to dissuade you from your decision to follow Christ in the Catholic tradition, or something akin to it. Far from it! I am just encouraging you to think of Christianity as a faith that grew up organically from the soil of Judaism.

Best,
Chris


(John Dalton) #4

In what way do you mean Reggie?


(RiderOnTheClouds) #5

See here:


(Randy) #6

Reggie,

God bless. I’m glad you feel this. But don’t feel too bad if your position waivers. Mine does, often, and I have come to realize that God is OK with searching and asking questions.

Greg Boyd’s book “The Benefit of the Doubt” affirms God’s great acceptance (and even encouragement) of thought and questioning, if you ever get to read it. I think it was the one that most encouraged me of all the tomes I’ve read in the last 2-3 years.

I am intrigued by your notes above. I’m learning on this yet.

Randy


#7

HALLELUJAH PRAISE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST <3

WELCOME TO THE ARMY OF CHRIST


By the way, @Reggie_O_Donoghue @John_Dalton that article regarding Revelation 18:13 does not show the Bible condemns slavery as a concept, rather the contemporary slave trade of the Roman world. 1 Timothy 1:9-10 also condemns the contemporary slave trade, and 1 Timothy 6:1-2 makes it clear that the only way for slavery to be morally practiced is for the master to be devoted to the welfare of his slave. I’ve also seen evidence from the Old Testament that the master must be devoted to the welfare of his slave in Deuteronomy 15:12-15 and another verse or two that’s elided me.


(RiderOnTheClouds) #8

I believe slavery is a violation of the golden rule, found in Matthew 7:12.


#9

That could be an argument against mistreating a slave, which is what I’m saying the Bible argues. According to Revelation, in the end we will all become slaves of God rather than of this world and every tear will be wiped away, we will reign eternally and see God’s face. So I think the Bible condemns the mistreatment of a slave, not slavery itself (otherwise you have a lot of verses to explain).

If a slave is treated as a human being, however counterintuitive that might sound after we witnessed the Atlantic Slave Trade as a civilization, then any claim it is immoral it seems to me to be deeply flawed.


(RiderOnTheClouds) #10

The Bible may not condemn slavery in theory, but in practise all slavery I know of has included the devaluing of human individuals, and it’s easy to see why, when you reduce a human to mere property, why treat them differently from a chair or a table?


(Christy Hemphill) #11

Exactly. The Bible doesn’t specifically condemn polygamy, beating rebellious children, women as chattel, or warfare either. But you can make pretty good cases based on the values the Bible preaches, the character traits Jesus modeled, and the fruit of the Spirit that even if these practices are part of a human culture in which God is working, they aren’t Kingdom ideals and we should do all we can to elevate the position of any human beings who are marginalized, voiceless, disenfranchised, or oppressed by our human institutions and accepted cultural customs.


(RiderOnTheClouds) #12

A good verse I like to use relating to warfare is Genesis 6:11:

Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence.


(Christy Hemphill) #13

Well, and when you figure that almost all the time, war is about powerful people wanting more than they have sending people who have very little choice in the matter off to get killed for politics, it’s pretty hard to argue that it’s not wrong. Just war theory involves a lot of hypotheticals that don’t really describe our real world conflicts. (As a one time Army wife whose husband deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom, I’ve thought some about war and don’t take the topic lightly, or think there are good black and white answers.)


(George Brooks) #14

As a Unitarian Universalist, my position on the Bible’s position on slavery is a little less accommodating.

I see the O.T. and even the N.T. treatment of slavery as flawed as the Bible’s rendition of Jonah’s 3 day sojourn INSIDE a fish… or Samson’s magical hair… or the global version of the flood.


(Bill Wald) #15

Slavery didn’t disappear in civilized nations because slavery was immoral. Slavery disappeared because the industrial revolution made owning people for profit inefficient and unproductive. A slave is an asset that must be maintained when his output was not needed.

For example, in the New England states, slavery was tested in the cotton mills and factories. The mills were water powered and for several months every year the rivers froze. The slaves had to be maintained, fed, and housed through very cold winters.

It was more profitable to hire low wage workers when the mills were operating and lay them off when the mills were unable to make the products. There is no evidence that the mill owners had more respect for poor white workers than black slaves. They didn’t want their daughters marrying poor white men.

Workers were a commercial commodity until labor unions gained political power. In this century, thanks to automation and cheap transportation, jobs are being sent off shore. The machines and software does the thinking and heavy lifting. The workers are servants to the machines.

The owners don’t care where we work or live. Human labor is becoming “dumbed down.” Jesus promised the investors that the world would never run out of cheap human labor.


(Randy) #16

From reading history, I realized that usually more than one point of view was right. For example, in reviewing the Revolutionary War, there were 3 major reasons I studied in undergrad for the War–something like economics, disaffection, and something else. On the final, the teacher asked us which was right. And it came to me–they all were right. The teacher agreed with me.

To say that slavery came to an end only because of economics would ignore millions of those who were convinced God told them it was wrong–Frederick Douglass, John Brown, William Wilberforce, and others. Yet, industrial revolution also was a great equalizer in some ways, and caused other things like you put above. Thanks for adding another point of view there.

We all have to realize that evil can be our lowest common denominator; otherwise we will fail and not guard against evil in ourselves.


(Randy) #17

As a seeker of truth (not just as a UU), you’re right. We can’t cloud a clear understanding of what is right and wrong from tradition. We can debate the use of miracles. The concern I tend to run into is the violence in the OT. It is good to ask questions.

Greg Boyd, Enns and some open theists, I believe, take it that we didn’t understand what right is from the OT-that God, in Jesus, had a better revelation.

You’re right that the NT is still not a clear picture on slavery–but I would also say that loving your neighbor as yourself would eventually lead to anti slavery laws. And Christianity is the only major religion where there has been an anti slavery movement.

Keep pointing this out. It would be a major disservice to stop asking questions of morality because of loyalty to a tradition.

Finding truth is an ongoing struggle, which we pray God will direct us in.

Thanks for the comment.


#18

I’m not sure your analysis on the reasons for the end of the Atlantic Slave Trade (which is not identical tot he abolition of slavery in general) is correct or anything approaching correct. There were numerous reasons for the abolition of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Philip Dwyer, Professor of History at Newcastle University writes this while refuting Steven Pinker’s book in an academic analysis The Better Angels of our Nature;

A recent analysis of various cases of abolition around the world reveals the extent to which other motives, often masked as humanitarianism, played a role. The British naval campaign against slavery from the mid-nineteenth century was motivated by a desire to enforce abolition, yes, but was also driven by the British desire to control the seas, as well as a personal desire on the part of many navy captains for prize money.
Dwyer, P. (2018). Whitewashing History. Historical Reflections/RĂ©flexions Historiques, 44(1), 59.

Of course, as Dwyer notes, Enlightenment values also did play some assisting role. So it doesn’t appear to have anything to do with “low costs” at all. Secondly, you’re simply wrong about this being an abolition of anything other than the Atlantic Slave Trade. By the time the Middle Ages ended, slavery had almost been wiped off of the European continent. This is because Christians came to believe, towards the end of the classical period, that the New Testament ruled out owning fellow Christians as slaves – only pagans. As the number of pagans continued to dwindle as the masses voluntarily became convinced of the message of Christ, the potential pool of slaves vanished into near existence, and did indeed almost end entirely by the end of the Middle Ages.

The Atlantic Slave Trade erupted in the century after the end of the Middle Ages which brought back slavery into the forefronts. But in any case, some sort of “abolition” (of which took place over a very large extent of time) did take place during the Middle Ages due to Christian motives.


(Christy Hemphill) #19

There was this thing called the “abolitionist movement,” perhaps you’ve heard of it. Lots of great Evangelical reformers spearheaded it. I think they would beg to differ with your revisionist history. In England when slavery was abolished, it was after long and painful fights over morality because it certainly was an economic hardship to take that moral high ground. Then there was that whole Civil War thing in the U.S.


#20

You mean The War of Northern Aggression? :wink: