christian history

Conservative Christian pastors, who believed in the Bible, were strong defenders of southern slavery

Holding on to good doctrines doesn’t prevent one from also having despicable beliefs. As recently as 150 years ago, Christian pastors, who affirmed Protestant orthodoxy, inspiration of the Bible, deity of Jesus, substitutionary atonement on the cross, etc, also advocated slavery. Here were their reasons (1):

BIBLICAL REASONS

  • Abraham, the “father of faith,” and all the patriarchs held slaves without God’s disapproval (Gen. 21:9–10).
  • Canaan, Ham’s son, was made a slave to his brothers (Gen. 9:24–27).
  • The Ten Commandments mention slavery twice, showing God’s implicit acceptance of it (Ex. 20:10, 17).
  • Slavery was widespread throughout the Roman world, and yet Jesus never spoke against it.
  • The apostle Paul specifically commanded slaves to obey their masters (Eph. 6:5–8).
  • Paul returned a runaway slave, Philemon, to his master (Philem. 12).

EVANGELISTIC REASONS

  • Slavery removes people from a culture that “worshipped the devil, practiced witchcraft, and sorcery” and other evils.
  • Slavery brings heathens to a Christian land where they can hear the gospel. Christian masters provide religious instruction for their slaves.

SOCIAL REASONS

  • Just as women are called to play a subordinate role (Eph. 5:22; 1 Tim. 2:11–15), so slaves are stationed by God in their place.
  • Slavery is God’s means of protecting and providing for an inferior race (suffering the “curse of Ham” in Gen. 9:25 or even the punishment of Cain in Gen. 4:12).
  • Abolition would lead to slave uprisings, bloodshed, and anarchy. Consider the mob’s “rule of terror” during the French Revolution.

POLITICAL REASONS

  • Christians are to obey civil authorities, and those authorities permit and protect slavery.
  • Those who support abolition are, in James H. Thornwell’s words, “atheists, socialists, communists [and] red republicans.”

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SOME BRIEF RESPONCES

FACT: Southern slavery was horrible, violent, sadomasochistic, barbaric, and utterly immoral. Southern slavers, believed all the doctrinally orthodox points modern evangelicals believe, but ALSO used the Bible to support their atrocious act of slavery

RESPONSE: Modern apologists are embarrassed by this fact, so they want to distance the Bible from Southern slavery as far as possible. So they make arguments about “difference.” They want to save face and distance themselves and their religious views as far away as possible from this slavery.

FACT 2: Certainly Greco-Roman slavery was different (Greco-Roman language, law, war, economy, infrastructure, etc was also “different”) however, it was not better. To be a Greco-Roman slave was not qualitatively better than a southern slave. Southern slavery is more known for being race-based (although arguments are made that Greco-roman slavery too was race based, see http://www.yale.edu/glc/events/race/Isaac.pdf). Yet, both types of slavery were utterly horrible for the slave.

In both (a) the slave could be raped, (b) the slave could be beat to death or tortured , (c) the slave was property not person, (d) the slave could be separated from family, children, spouse by sale, (e) the slaves children were born into eternal slavery, (f) the slave could be set free, but usually wasnt.

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The conquest of the New World by “Christian” nations

The conquest of the Americas by “Christian” forces from Europe was as grotesque and horrific as these purported killings by ISIS in Iraq.

destruction-of-the-indies

Bartolomé de las Casas, an eyewitness, documented the treatment of natives by the “Christian” conquistadors as follows:

They attacked the towns and spared neither the children nor the aged nor pregnant women nor women in childbed, not only stabbing them and dismembering them but cutting them to pieces as if dealing with sheep in the slaughter house. They laid bets as to who, with one stroke of the sword, could split a man in two or could cut off his head or spill out his entrails with a single stroke of the pike.“

“They took infants from their mothers’ breasts, snatching them by the legs and pitching them headfirst against the crags or snatched them by the arms and threw them into the rivers, roaring with laughter and saying as the babies fell into the water, “Boil there, you offspring of the devil!”

(Las Casas, “The Devastation of the Indies”)

Plato, who influenced the early church, expressed homosexual love towards boys

Plato was one of the most important Greek philosophers in history. But philosophy aside, his influence on the Christian church was very profound.

plato_cmIt was Platos philosophy of the soul that became the only view in Christian theology (the Hebrew Old testament has no such concept). In fact the early church frequently quoted Plato and considered him their intellectual mentor.

St. Augustine, probably the most important church father said “The utterance of Plato” is the “the most pure and bright in all philosophy, scattering the clouds of error.”

Dean Inge, the famous professor of divinity, said that: “Platonism is part of the vital structure of Christian theology.” (See more about Plato’s influence here: https://blog.logos.com/2013/11/plato-christianity-church-fathers/)

And yet Plato expressed homosexual love towards young men. (1)

Ancient Christian writings say traveling preachers who ask for money are false prophets

It’s very common for contemporary Christian preachers to travel around and ask for money. Yet such a practice was literally considered the sign of a “false prophet” by the early church.

The Didache says: “Let every apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord… and when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodges. If he asks for money, he is a false prophet

(The Didache is an early Christian text from the 2nd century that was frequently quoted by the early church fathers. It was once considered by many to be a canonical book of the New Testament, for example the 4th century Church historian Eusebius in his Historia Ecclesiastica III, mentions this book as being part of an early canon, alongside The Revelation of John. As the canon grew and developed, the didache was later excluded from most “bibles” although the Ethiopian Coptic Church still accepts this book as part of their Bible.)

Chrsitianity destroyed some of the worlds greatest literary works

Did you know many important works of ancient history and science were lost because monks bleached the pages of these important documents in order to write biblical and liturgical texts on the paper?

In the 3rd century BC, a Greek philosopher, Archimedes, discovered some of the principles of integral calculus, however, as the Roman Empire underwent Christianization, many pagan works were burned and lost (except Plato, who was beloved by the early Christians). The only remaining copy of this work by Archimedes was later bleached by monks and prayers were written on the same paper. (1)

About 2,000 years after Archimedes, integral calculus was again developed, largely by Newton and Leibnitz. Then, in 1998 scholars used modern imaging techniques (ultraviolet, infrared, X-ray, etc) to find/read the calculus, hidden underneath the prayers. This document is called the Archimedes Palimpsest.

Adolph Hitler, who is often called an atheist, frequently claimed he was a Christian

Adolf Hitler was a great orator and, regardless of his personal religious convictions which are oft debated, he led Nazi Germany under the appearance of a Christian leader.

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In many of his public speeches he often referred to God, sometimes by name of Jesus or Lord. Many of these were never recorded on video, however, some of Hitlers speeches indeed remain. This is a clip from a Nazi propaganda film that shows Hitler telling Germans that the Nazi movement came directly from God.

 

Moral of the story? Be cautious of great speakers who tell you their movement is from God.