I have inadvertently found myself in a debate on Twitter about the differences of the term 'slavery' in the biblical sense and the way that we think of it today. Does anybody have any proof that this word has changed definitions over the past 2000 years? 

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I was given this link, but, to me it really gives no proof that slavery has ever been thought of any differently. http://carm.org/slavery Of course, it's a Christian apologist's definition, but, to me it still says that slavery is permitted by god. Not favored, but permitted.

And, for the record, I claim that all slavery regardless of definition is deplorable. I'd hope that would go without saying but I learned something tonight while engaging in this ridiculous debate...

As far as I'm aware the slavery in the Bible was more indentured servitude then true slavery as we know it. That is unless you're talking the slaves of the Pharaohs though, information has come to light in the last few years that even they may not have been slaves as we know them...

But anyway-- in regards to indentured servitude a family would sell their daughter (whose age could range from 8 to 18) into a service agreement with say a merchant, for instance. That merchant would agree to 'hire' the daughter for a period of 6-7 years (7 being the most common). During that time her wages would be sent to the family by the merchant, which would then go to supplement the family's income and provide food, clothing and housing.. All the while the daughter would live and serve in the merchant's residence on-call 24 hrs a day, until she finished off her contract. At least that's the way it was suppose to work. Many of the employees would pay the family for a period of time then just stop paying or say the daughter ran-away so they'd get a free slave and not have pay the family. It was for reasons like those that the stipulations for hiring and care of the slaves were in the Bible.. It gave everyone hard and fast specific rules by which they were to abide by. 

That is one form that I knew existed at the time. But, I was also under the impression that there were many forms of slavery including debt slavery where you would work without wages for a debt you owed. And slavery in the sense that we view it today. Maybe one form was more common and one was more looked down upon but they all still existed. And, that link I was given seems to say that god did not approve of slavery but he did allow it and that is straight from an apologist research website. So, I'm very confused how anyone could justify any sort of slavery. Whether it be indentured servitude, which the way you describe sounds close enough to slavery to me, or, slavery in the sense how Americans treated Africans in the 18th and 19th centuries. In my opinion, it's all wrong and it's all deplorable and I don't understand how anyone could defend this kind of behavior.

wow these people really like making excuses up for their god dont they? sick fuckers. oh and any kind of slavery is bad no matter how long ago it was, or the type, or even if people volunteered for it back then. they didnt know any better

You want to know the worst part of this debate? The people defending the bible were black, one from America and one from Britain. This really blew my mind! 

And I was just talking to my family about god and the flood and they were telling me god does what he want and basically saying if god wants to kill then he can, because he us god.

I certainly understand where you're coming from Tom, but to me, it depends on one's definition of slavery. To me, slavery is defined as involuntary servitude - you are forcing me to serve you and I have no choice. You and I are in complete agreement that all forms of involuntary servitude are bad.

On the other hand, some might consider a servant a slave, but I view servants as having an option, a choice. A person who hires out as a butler, a cook, or a maid, could be considered a servant, without being a slave. Many poor people came to this country from a life of impoverishment in Europe, by hiring themselves out as indentured servants - their passage would be paid in exchange for a signed contract binding their services to their benefactor for a contractual period of usually 7 years, during which time, they couldn't quit, but their choice to sign the contract in the first place, was voluntary, so they actually couldn't be considered slaves.

I agree with both of you on this.. Slavery in all it's forms is not a good thing. The best we can do at this point  is to understand it's historical context and learn from it as opposed to shoving it under the rug and pretending it didn't happen. ... For instance, you know the Beatles's song "Penny Lane"...? Seems the street that the song was about was named after a predominate slave trader in the 1800's. A short-lived effort was made to change the name a few years ago, but met with some resistance since Penny Lane is no longer associated with the slave trader, but with the Beatles song.. 

That is interesting, I did not know that. But, you're right, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" as Santayana said. We can't just cover it up with goodness. We need to know the horrid history of things in order to avoid it in the future. Just because slavery may have meant something slightly different 2000 years ago does not make it right. If I had an indentured servant today, I would go to jail. This kind of stuff is inexcusable and should be viewed as deplorable. To me, this is just another example of how atheist morals exceed the morals of the religious.

Well you have this scripture: When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished.  If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.  (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB).

That's slavery.


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