Thought on the Fact that there is Nothing Intrinsically Wrong with Slavery

One of the ‘arguments’ that Christians routinely hear against the Christian message is that “Jesus never condemned slavery and the Old Testament actually encouraged indentured servitude, and so, in light of these points, both Christian/Biblical morality and the example of Jesus are suspect and unworthy of being followed”, but the fact of the matter is that–and I know that this will be a “shocking” point of view–the reason that Jesus never condemned slavery is because there is nothing theoretically / in-principle / intrinsically wrong with slavery, and a short thought-experiment can bear this claim out, for imagine a society where everyone was free to quit the work and they had and move around at will but all the work offered in every place was such that people had to work like dogs just to make enough to barely survive, they were given no holidays, they were fired from their job if they had a conscientious objection to some form of their work or complained about their conditions, they were fired from their work if they did not accept the advances of their superiors, they were fired for having the wrong religion or the wrong views, etc., but in another society nearly everyone are officially slaves who ultimately have to obey their masters, but these slaves have masters who ensure that the slaves’ hours are entirely reasonable, that the slaves are very well paid (based on merit) and have full health benefits, that the slaves can change to different positions if they wish to do so and are qualified to do so, that the slaves have holidays and family days, and that the views and opinions of the slaves are listened to and respected, that the slaves can move elsewhere if necessary, that the slaves can freely worship, etc.; now, in viewing these two societies, both of which are possible, it is–at least to me–clear that the immoral one, and the one that truly denigrates people made in the image of God, is the former ‘free’ society, whereas the ‘slave’ society is quite moral and genuinely respects men as human persons made by God, and so what this little thought experiment helps to show is that the institution of slavery, as a formal institution, is not, in and of itself, immoral, for what makes the institution immoral is the way that the slaves are treated, not the fact that they technically fit the definition of being a slave, and so given that slavery as such is not obviously immoral, then it is not surprising that Jesus did not address it directly, and so the objection against Jesus and Christian morality is baseless, especially in light of the fact that the scriptures do admonish masters to treat their slaves well (Ephesians 6:5-9), which is precisely the main moral point that should be addressed (however, it is obviously also understood that, in practice, sinful men, being fallen creatures, would readily abuse their authority and nearly always abuse their slaves, and so the institution of slavery should be abolished and remain abolished for pragmatic reasons, but this does not therefore mean that, theoretically-speaking, slavery as such is an immoral institution, but only that men cannot be trusted to faithfully institute such an institution here on Earth).

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2 thoughts on “Thought on the Fact that there is Nothing Intrinsically Wrong with Slavery

  1. What is this slavery where you are paid fairly?
    And what is this non-slavery where you’re barely paid and have no rights?
    And what is this Old Testament slavery that permits all levels of physical (non-fatal) abuse?

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  2. Aside from Allallt’s comment, you also need to do a thorough investigation of slavery in Roman times, for example as you are obviously extremely ignorant or indoctrinated when it comes to actual history.

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