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How religion has been used to promote slavery
Moses led the Israelites out of slavery, but he and other religious giants accepted slavery for others, scholars say.
March 29th, 2012
09:19 AM ET

How religion has been used to promote slavery

By John Blake, CNN

Editor’s note: The CNN documentary 'Slavery's Last Stronghold' airs on CNN International TV March 29, 30, 31 and April 22. Check local listings for times.

(CNN) - Which revered religious figure - Moses, Jesus, or the Prophet Mohammad - spoke out boldly and unambiguously against slavery?

Answer: None of them.

One of these men owned slaves, another created laws to regulate - but not ban – slavery. The third’s chief spokesman even ordered slaves to obey their masters, religious scholars say.

Most modern people of faith see slavery as a great evil. Though the three great Western religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – disagree on many matters, most of their contemporary followers condemn slavery.

Yet there was a time when Jews, Christians and Muslims routinely cited the words and deeds of their founders to justify human bondage, scholars say.

At times, religion was deployed more to promote the spread of slavery than to prevent it.

Read about present-day slavery in Mauritania

“The lesson in all this is we need historical humility,” says Daniel C. Peterson, author of “Muhammad, Prophet of God.” “It’s stunning for us to look back now and say, how can people face themselves in the mirror after doing what they did, but they did.”

But what did the founders of the three great Western religions do? Did they have slaves and did they condemn the practice? Or were they, at least on this issue, squarely men of their times?

The answers to these questions are as murky and contradictory as history itself.

What’s a slave?

Part of the problem is historical context. Most contemporary people think of slaves as people condemned to a lifetime of bondage, working on plantations and being whipped like oxen.

That kind of slavery did exist during the lives of Moses, Jesus and the Prophet Mohammad. Many slaves were prisoners of war; concubines, gladiators, laborers in salt mines. They could be killed, raped and discarded at any moment.

Yet there were layers of slavery in the ancient world. Many slaves would be seen today as indentured servants, or people trying to pay off debts; royal bodyguards and entrepreneurs, historians say.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Sometimes the slaves became masters. In medieval Egypt, Muslim rulers trained and educated slaves to be their bodyguards. One group of slaves grew so powerful that they overthrew the rulers of Egypt and established their own dynasty, says Ali Asani, a professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Languages and Culture at Harvard University.

“Slavery meant different things in different cultures,” Asani says. “There wasn’t always this sense of powerlessness and oppression. In certain forms, it became an access to power.”

In other forms, it became access to freedom, says John Dominic Crossan, one of world’s leading scholars on the life and times of Jesus.

That was the case in the world of Jesus. The Roman Empire was the dominant power of Jesus’ day, and it survived on the backs of millions of slaves. Yet there was only one mass slave revolt against Rome, which was led by Spartacus, a gladiatorial slave, Crossan says.

The reason there were so few massive slave rebellions against Rome was because some of its slaves had avenues for advancement, dim though they may seem to modern sensibilities.

Slaves could buy their freedom. They ran businesses for their masters or tutored their children. Greek slaves, in particular, were often valued because of their education and culture, he says.

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Roman slavery was cruel and capricious, but not all Romans saw slaves as subhuman.

“One of the most extraordinary aspects of Roman slavery,” says Crossan, author of “The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus became Fiction about Jesus,” was that the Romans ended up with a huge number of slaves who were smarter than their masters.”

The uncomfortable historical record

It’s been said that great religious figures transcend history. They rise above the peculiar customs of their day to show a new path forward.

It’s a matter of debate if Moses, Jesus and the Prophet Mohammad did that with slavery. All three seemed to either ignore or tolerate some forms of slavery, some scholars say.

The parables of Jesus, for example, were full of references to slaves. Terms like “servants” or “stewards” are what we would call slaves today. Yet Jesus doesn’t seem to make any moral judgments about slavery in his parables, Crossan says.

The subject may have been irrelevant to him or his audience, says Crossan, the Jesus scholar. Jesus didn’t own any slaves. Neither did his disciples or the crowds Jesus addressed. They were all too poor and lived under desperate economic circumstances.

“It may well be that the people he talked to were small farmers who would not have the luxury of slaves,” Crossan says. “He [Jesus] doesn’t say anything for or against it.”

Still, Crossan says that he believes that Jesus would have opposed slavery, given the nature of his teachings. Scholars aren’t so certain about Jesus’ most influential disciple, the Apostle Paul.

The man whose writings make up most of the New Testament had to deal with slavery. As Christianity spread through the Roman Empire, many slaves joined the church.

At various parts of the New Testament, Paul seems to accept slavery. He tells slaves to obey their masters. At other times, Paul seems to challenge the morality of slavery. In one New Testament letter, Paul intercedes on behalf of a runaway slave and chides the master for calling himself a Christian and holding a slave.

Crossan, along with some other biblical scholars, says there are actually two versions of Paul in the New Testament: the authentic, “radical” Paul who opposed slavery and a “Pseudo-Paul” inserted into the texts by early church leaders who were afraid of antagonizing Rome.

“It’s one thing to say that Jesus is Lord,” Crossan says. “Now if you’re saying a Christian can’t have slaves, then something must be wrong with slaves. So now you’re attacking the Roman system, which is a slave economy.”

Jesus’ apparent silence on slavery and Paul’s ambiguous statements on the issue had dreadful historical consequences. It helped ensure that slavery would survive well into the 19th century in the U.S., some scholars say.

American Christians who owned slaves had a simple but powerful defense in the run-up to the Civil War. The Old and New Testament sanctioned slavery and, since the Bible is infallible, slavery is part of God’s order, says Mark Noll, author “The Civil War as a Theological Crisis.”

“The defenders of slavery said Jesus condemned quite a few things that were standard in the Old Testament,” Noll says. “He condemned polygamy, violence, easy divorce, but he never condemned slavery.”

Let my people go, but keep the others

Neither did Moses, the founder of Judaism, say other scholars.

There’s no record of Moses owning slaves, but the Mosaic laws permitted and regulated slavery, says Peterson, the author of “Muhammad, Prophet of God” and a religious scholar at Brigham Young University in Utah.

Still, under Mosaic law, a master was encouraged to free slaves and forgive debts after a certain period of time that was called the year of jubilee, Peterson says.

“They were not trying to create a permanent underclass of slaves that went from parents to child and child and grandchildren,” Peterson says of the ancient Israelites.

But how could ancient Israelites sanction any form of slavery given their exodus from Egyptian captivity? Didn’t their God explicitly condemn slavery when he ordered Moses to tell Pharaoh to “let my people go?”

The text is not clear on that question, says Brannon Wheeler, a religious scholar.

He says the Exodus stories suggest that the God of Israel was angry at Pharaoh not for enslaving a group of people, but for unjustly enslaving the “Chosen People” - the people God had promised to give their own homeland.

“In order to make that promise stick, He [God] has to get them out of Egypt,” says Wheeler, director of the Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies at the United States Naval Academy in Maryland.

“It’s not like He [God] says slavery is bad and I want to abolish it.”

The Prophet Mohammad never explicitly condemned slavery, and actually owned slaves, some scholars say.

Yet he recognized the humanity of slaves, teaching followers that freeing slaves was an act of piety. He allowed slaves to buy their freedom and demanded that they should be treated with love and respect, says Asani, author of  “Celebrating Muhammad: Images of the Prophet in Popular Muslim Poetry.”

“He himself did own slaves but he treated them as family,” Asani says. “One called Zayd he treated like an adopted son and one of his wives was a Coptic Christian slave.”

The followers of men like the Prophet Mohammad, though, would take a harsher attitude toward slaves.

By the time of the crusades, Christians and Muslims were enslaving one another by the thousands. They cited their faith as justification, says Robert C. Davis, author of “Holy War and Human Bondage.”

“Religion was the defining principle of slavery—this person is another faith and can be enslaved,” Davis says.

Some church leaders preached that enslaving others was an act of evangelism, Davis says.

“One pope said that the justification for slavery was that it was important for spreading the faith,” Davis says. “Once they were enslaved, they would more readily take to Christianity.”

Those kinds of actions may now seem barbaric, but the texts and stories that were used to justify slavery still exist in the sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Few, though, would quote those scriptures today, and many don’t even know they exist.

“We shouldn’t be surprised,” says Jonathan Brockopp, a religion professor at Pennsylvania State University. “Religions redefine themselves and people draw on different stories and underplay other stories. This happens constantly.”

It happened with slavery, and, who knows, perhaps it’s happening again in our time. There may be a religious practice accepted today that future generations will look upon and ask the same question we ask about people who enslaved others in the name of God:

How could they?

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Africa • Belief • Bible • Books • Christianity • Church and state • Egypt • History • Islam • Islamic law • Islamic law • Israel • Jesus • Moses • Muslim • Uncategorized

soundoff (3,207 Responses)
  1. Reality

    As per 1.5 million Conservative Jews and their rabbis, Moses probably was a myth as was the Book of Exodus:

    To wit:

    The New Torah for Modern Minds

    origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 . NY Times review and important enough to read at least three times.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  2. The Dust on That Olive Branch is Anthrax

    Just another typical, stupid example of CNN attacking faith in anything other than Obama.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • sam

      Another idiot who thinks he's hip and edgy by blaming everything on Obama.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Phil

      Just another close-minded poster unable to justify religion with the atrocities it committed.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  3. Hikerstud

    Christianity and the west is responsible for ending slavery. If it were up to Islam all would convert, be slaves, or be put to rest prematurely. If left to barbarian pagans slavery would and still does exist. Only in Christianity was anything done to end polygomy, slavery, and yes promote womens rights this all came from the christian west.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  4. Outgrowingfear

    why are d muslims,especially d arabs trying to show us d injustice of slavery by d whites? they are all HYPOCRITES & this is why.D slaves that died or lived lives sadly for their entire lives were mostly idol worshippers according to islam,so they are going to hell to be burnt again by allah becoz d imaginary prophet sent to them was not listened to according to islam. So their cry is even worse than the white man's slavery. And d africanmuslims,I've no word to call them,maybe brainwashed!!!

    March 29, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  5. Reality

    From p. 8.

    Christianity, Judaism and Islam as well as all other religions are a form of slavery as noted by the fact that said followers suffer in general from the Three B Syndrome, i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in their form of religion.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • sortakinda

      Why talk aout something you don't care about? Is that mentally healthy?

      March 29, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  6. Cinman

    I feel bad for God. We use his name to validate what we do.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Zaximus42

      Yeah I feel bad for the Easter Bunny too. All those eggs he has to hop around with to deliver in one day...must be hard on a bunny. Santa got the short end of the stick too. Freezing all year just to celebrate it by stuffing down chimneys and fighting off indians while trying to save the world from aliens...wooah where did I just go?

      March 29, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • TEALABO YASHUA

      ONE DAY YOU WILL BE TERRIFIED OF HIM WHEN YOU SEE HIM

      March 29, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • AndriconBoy

      TEALABO YASHUA:
      You're right. An 8 foot tall bipedal sentient rabbit that walks around silently invading people's homes, with dead-black eyes the size of footballs, teeththat could gnaw through a human skull, and ears that can easily hear you coming from a hundred years away. That sounds like a nightmare. I will indeed be terrified when I meet the Easter Bunny.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • sam

      @Andriconboy – LOL

      March 29, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Get Real

      TEALABO YASHUA
      "ONE DAY YOU WILL BE TERRIFIED OF HIM WHEN YOU SEE HIM"

      We can tell so much about a person's character by how he says his imaginary god behaves... a god that could be *anything* and *everything* you can think of... and you choose this behavior for it?!

      March 29, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  7. Hikerstud

    The bible teaches you serve and are willing servants of love (God) or you are blind to the fact that you think you selfishly serve yourself you unwillingly serve evil Satan.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  8. TEALABO YASHUA

    THE ONLY SLAVERY JESUS SPOKE OF IS OF SIN JOHN 8: 34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
    THE BIBLE IS WRITTEN FOR GOD'S CHILDREN ONLY THE ONES WHO HAVE HIS SPIRIT CAN UNDERSTAND. GOD BLESS YOU.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Kool Aid

      Thanks for drinkin' me. What's your favorite flavor?

      March 29, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Get Real

      TEALABO YASHUA: "ONLY THE ONES WHO HAVE HIS SPIRIT CAN UNDERSTAND"

      A quite old and sometimes effective tactic – declaring that those who do not believe your story are 'fools', and all those who *do* believe are "special". Nobody wants to be considered 'dumb' for not seeing the Emperor's new clothes, or a 'bas.tard' for not seeing the Sultan's new turban, or a 'cuckold' for not being able to see the Miller's gold thumb.

      Even Joseph Smith used it when he gathered his 'witnesses' to his golden plates. He told them that only those with 'true faith' would be able to 'see' them.

      The ancient, primitive Hebrews who originated those Bible stories were quite adept at manipulative mind-games. You fell for it!?

      March 29, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  9. Canaan

    Slavery has always existed yes. And the Christian Bible, like Judaism, does indicate that slavery is not a sin. But the Bible is very clear that if you oppress those that love him, and if those that love him ask to be freed, you will see his wrath fall upon the aggressors. Example? The Hebrews under Egyptian bondage. God heard the Hebrews call out to him and he butchered Egypt to free his people 4,000 years ago.

    Then, the Jews were enslaved by the Romans after 73 AD. Then the city of Pompeii was burried in flames only a couple of years later.

    Africans who did not know of God were taken from their homes and oppressed in the Americas as slaves for the sake of economic gains. Considered subhuman (which the Bible condmens since it clearly states we are equal under his eyes, but the article failed to mention that part.) Then, generations later, their descendants (African Ameircans) learned about God. They asked him to free them. The slave masters refused (just like in Egypt 4,000 years earlier). And when God's adopted children were not freed or treated humanly, god responded.... And in the end, the worst war in U.S. history took place known as the Civil War claiming more American lives than the American Revolution, War of 1812, Mexican War, Spanish War, World War I, World War II, the korean War, and the Vietnam combined.

    Was this by chance? I refuse to think that

    March 29, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • BobbyTN

      The confederates could cite you chapter and verse from the Bible why God supported slavery, and why blacks deserved being slaves. The whole thing only serves to illustrate that the Bible and the Quran can be used to any purpose one so chooses, even purposes we now consider misguided and even evil.

      Try reading "How the Bible was used to justify slavery, abolitionism"
      By John Blake, CNN

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/04/12/how-the-bible-was-used-to-justify-slavery-abolitionism/

      March 29, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  10. Reality

    From p. 8:

    Christianity, Judaism and Islam as well as all other religions are a form of slavery as noted by the fact that said followers suffer in general from the Three B Syndrome, i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in their form of religion.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      Go get me a sandwich Toby.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • MrHanson

      Oh yes and the Cambrian Explosion never happened. It can all be explained.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Jeff

      I was not bred or born into Christianity. And I made a conscious decision to become a Christian.. I was at most Agnostic.. but I was not taken to church regularly by my mother or anyone else in my family.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  11. Eric Feldman

    Well, you changed my mind, that all Americans were idiots.
    Thank you for the article.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  12. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 29, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      Amen

      March 29, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Horus

      I've prayed for you to stop posting the same absurdity, yet alas, no change in that.....

      March 29, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Zaximus42

      Yeah it changed my whole couple of minutes from Time to Time Wasted.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • violinexpress

      Neither is Christianity. And nothing fails like prayer. What you believe in is fairytales that suit your way of thinking

      March 29, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • PMS

      Wow. That's a very stupid statement. Completely not true. Go get an education.

      March 29, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  13. Neeneko

    Good example of why I have a hard time buying the 'my religion tells me a fetus is a person!' argument against abortion since the same religion, at another time, did not even give personhood to full adults.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  14. Tom

    So, outside of the alleged quotes attributed to Jesus, the rest of the Bible is complete and utter nonsense. Is that what you're saying?

    March 29, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  15. Jeff

    Oh this just a bunch of crap. This is just a “straw man” fallacy of misrepresenting Christianity; for although the quoted phrase, “Slaves, obey your masters,” is troubling on the surface, the Bible’s supposed endorsement of slavery is not what most would allege it to be. Christianity has in fact been history’s major force for the freeing of slaves. Immediate abolition was realistically impossible in New Testament times: The Romans would have treated it as insurrection, and the inevitable bloodshed to follow it would have produced greater evil than would have been alleviated by abolition. The injunction to “obey” was thus temporary and contextual. It was also tempered with instructions to masters to treat slaves reasonably, as fellow human beings.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Neeneko

      Actually, it was mostly the Quakers who spearheaded the abolitionist movement. This is important because at the time many Christians did not consider them 'real', to the point preaching Quakerism was a capital offense in some states. They even had their own state taken away from them (the price of being open to other religions living in your area.. they eventually got voted out by immigrants who then passed much less tolerant laws to get rid of the Catholics).

      So no.. Christianity does not get to hold on the badge of 'fought slavery' given what mainstream Christians DID to the sects that actually DID fight it.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • BobbyTN

      Jeff
      Why is it a straw man argument? Christians were slaves and even owned slaves. Paul didn't have some grand scheme in mind wherein Christians 1800 years in the future would be able to abolish slavery without wrecking world economies. What a ridiculous argument. The slave-owners of America, including the Founding Fathers and their peers, would have laughed in your face. If they established the USA as a "Christian" nation, they still had slave-owning in mind as a fine thing for Christians to do, right? Lucky for us, later generations of Americans were liberal-minded enough to change that, eh?

      March 29, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  16. total nonsense

    Religion in any form is BAD PERIOD. FIrst, because there is NO GOD. and it serve only evil purpose (look a Islam).

    Religion is mental llness and need to be treated as such.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Jeff

      So says you.. Prove it.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Mary

      We aren't going anywhere, Amen for the word of God! The most beautiful thing about being a Christian is we are of all races a unity that is unbroken. So dear friend if that is an illness, may it spread like wildfire.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • TEALABO YASHUA

      BIBLE IS WRITTEN FOR GOD'S ELECT . ONLY HIS HOLY SPIRIT CAN REVEAL TO YOU IF YOU ARE HIS CHILD

      March 29, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • MrHanson

      Another play from the libtard playbook. Pretty much how atheists keep the status quo.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Rogue351

      Hey Jeff – It has been proven. With mild electrical current a "god visitation" experience can be replicated in the lab on healthy individuals. This proves that it is something miss firing in the brain in certain individuals for thousands of years. A lot of people experience it. A few individuals a long time ago found a way to exploit this similarity in people and use it against them. Controlling their behavior and basically convincing them that if they pay that organization money they are actually buying their way into heaven. I am sorry you appear to be one of those affected by this.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Kool Aid

      I'm delicious.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • BobbyTN

      Jeff
      Thousands of gods that nobody worships anymore supposedly because they were never real to begin with and you claim that your god actually is? That's an extraordinary claim to make, and it would require extraordinary evidence to prove it true. Until you can provide it all we have to do is ignore your claims. Sorry, but it isn't anyone else's job to prove God's existence except the people who claim he's real.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • jo

      Actually it is proven otherwise, when true Christianity (not a particular religion -Paul said "true religion is helping the poor, widow and orphan..." is believed and lived as Jesus taught, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart...and your neighbor as yourself") by a society, that village, society or nation has economic improvement and peace among its citizens with addictions healed and the poorest able to better themselves. The darkest and poorest places on earth, literally, take a look at North Korea and other parts of Asia and Africa by satellite, and the poorest are those who do not live by these principals. Biblical history shows that when a "nation blessed by God" turned its back on God then other nations were able to overpower them and take them into slavery, as long as they stayed true to God and upheld those principals in society they stayed independant, free and had abundance. Slavery came as a result of a fallen state of mankind. Liberty, respect of humankind (women, other races) are only found fully in Christianity as woman were respected and held official roles in the 1st century church (Pricilla to name one) which later opened the door for women missionaries and today's women ministers of many Christian faiths.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • violinexpress

      To Jeff,

      The evidence that Religion is a boil on mankinds hindquarters is a fact that can be proven with so many examples that it is laughable that you challenge this. Where do I start?

      March 29, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  17. Brad

    CNN conveniently calls out all religions of the world on this topic and lumps them together , Why?

    Moses did not own slaves.
    Jesus clearly did not come to establish the economic system, his primary purpose was to convey the message of eternal life. When he calls people to be good stewards he clearly is calling people to have accountablity/responsibility for this earthly life.

    March 29, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Right, so God's okay with slavery as long as it's the nice kind?

      March 29, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Oh and "Thou shalt not steal" has nothing to do with the economy and ownership.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Kafir

      That's a far cry from what people claim jesus is in the grand scheme of christianity and the universe itself.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Phil

      That's well and good, but if Jesus was of true divinity, then he would have known that putting a "Slavery is bad, mkay" into the Bible explicitly would have saved millions of lives in the following thousands of years.

      ...but he didn't.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • jf

      I grew up hearing that the Bible supported slavery. When I finally got around to reading it in college, one of my big surprises was that it placed a lot more obligations on masters than on slaves.
      "Defeating a huge and historic industry closely tied to economic stability is never an easy assignment." – V.Carroll & D.Shiflett, _Christianity on Trial_

      March 29, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Mary

      We could go round and round. I rejoice reading how people attack our people. We Christian were warned of such. Lord you're word is true, all things are falling in place. The confusion of the season's, brother rising against brother, Nation rising against Nation. The hour is at hand. You heavenly Father will have the last say. Not man.. how blind are they? Oh how are stay is short here on earth, what a rude awaking when its their time to leave the flesh! My heart breaks for those. I will continue to pray for those, who hate us. Yes friends there is an after life. Woe to what you say about are creator.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @jf,
      "one of my big surprises was that it placed a lot more obligations on masters than on slaves."
      So, He wasn't against it, He just wanted it regulated?

      Or, perhaps the only obligation necessary for the slave was, "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ." (Ephesians 6:5)

      March 29, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  18. wrob

    Jesus didn't come out against gladiatorial games, infanticide and other bloody practices that were rampant in antiquity. Guess we can blame Christianity for those, too.

    March 29, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, The Piper's Son

      Christians don’t read their own bible. Why would we have expected you to have read the article.

      March 29, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • wrob

      Do you have a point, Tom?

      March 29, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      Read the Didache

      March 29, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Otto

      Yes we should, Jesus according to Christain belief is GOD the creater of the Universe, the place where all human morality comes from, so if he failed to point out obvious immorality I do blame him, or more accurately I think Jesus was a fraud.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Horus

      Christians did not have that kind of influence during that period. They were considered a c ult group, and merely an annoyance to Romans. It was not until the late 3rd, early 4th century that Christianity began to really take hold – mostly because if you refused to believe you, and your family were e xecuted

      March 29, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Nonimus

      I don't think anyone is blaming Christianity "for slavery." They are condemning a self-professed moral authority for not condemning slavery... and infanticide... and gladiatorial games, now that you mentioned it.

      Although, to be fair the main reason I would consider gladiatorial games "wrong" is because it used slave as gladiators. If it was voluntary, that would be a different story.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Jeff

      Actually that's a common myth perpetrated by uninformed people who only listen to what others tell them and haven't even set foot in a church or even talked to a Christian. The truth is, Most Christians have read the Bible cover to cover.. However, I will tell you this.. it's not a lie.. and it's not a delusion.. no matter how much you try to deny it.. People have tried for 2000 years to get rid of it and they haven't succeeded yet. You're not going to change my mind or any other Christian of the truth... Just like I'm not going to convince you other wise.. However, Atheists make it a point to be as offensive and nasty as they can possible be.. Wonder why they have so much hate?

      March 29, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Kafir

      Troll much, Jeff?

      March 29, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Jeff,
      I don't know whether "most Christians" have read the Bible or not, although if you care to provide a citation of a study that determine one or the other that would go a long way to convincing me, and I think other as well. Until then, however, I'm afraid your claim is no more credible than anyone else's.

      "However, Atheists make it a point to be as offensive and nasty as they can possible be.. Wonder why they have so much hate?"
      Oh, I don't think they're anywhere near as offensive "as they can possible be." Nowhere near as damning a the "you're going to hell" crowd, anyway.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Otto

      "You're not going to change my mind or any other Christian of the truth... "

      Provide anything that proves your 'truth' other than assertion......

      Lack of respect for bronze age myths and people that believe them is not hate....I don't respect your belief but i don't hate you. This is just a mental tool to allow you to demonize those who don't agree with you.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Kool Aid

      Jeff loves all my flavors.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • wrob

      My point is that Jesus's message was personal – an appeal to behave to a new standard of love, equality, charity and humily. Slavery was completely incompatible with these revolutionary ideas, even if not called out explicitly.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Jeff

      I could point you to lots and lots of studies.. But a comments section is very difficult to hold a discussion..but if you're that interested I am sure you are more than capable of looking it up for yourself. But, get started here: http://www.awmi.net.. then http://www.apologeticpress.com.. and then as someone has already pointed out, in touch ministries. I do realize that things have been misunderstood.. and I do realize the Bible has been used by many to justify their actions.. or take things out of context to make a point and so on.. and have led their congregations to believe without question what they wanted them to believe without doing their own reading.. A lot of killing has been done in the name of God by people who said they were Christians.. Remember, not everyone who says they are Christian are.. Case in point.. Harold Camping..Or the WestBoro Baptist Church.. they have twisted and spun scripture to mean what they want it to mean.. But, if you read it for yourself, you can tell who is the false teacher. And I am pretty certain as for Atheists.. we haven't seen the level of hatred they are capable of yet.. not at all.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Kafir

      "A lot of killing has been done in the name of God by people who said they were Christians.. Remember, not everyone who says they are Christian are."

      No True Scotsman Fallacy.

      March 29, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Jeff,
      Apologies, if I wasn't clear. I was not asking for links to study material or more info on your particular flavor of Christianity. I was asking for actual evidence for your claim that, "Most Christians have read the Bible cover to cover." And, I only asked because your specifically said, it's "... a common myth perpetrated by uninformed people who only listen to what others tell them and haven't even set foot in a church or even talked to a Christian."
      So please, if we are so uninformed, inform us with reliable data and cite a study/survey of the percentage of Christians who've read the Bible "cover to cover." Mind you, I have no idea how many have or have not, I'm just looking for reliable data, not "only listen to what others tell" me.

      Again apologies, if I wasn't clear. I was not threatening any more offensiveness on Atheists' part as in, you "haven't seen the level of hatred they are capable of yet," I don't have any control over that. I was simply pointing out that your statement was most likely hyperbole since, I'm guessing, Atheists could be more "offensive" if they made an effort to be. Although, I notice that you have escalated the rhetoric, by equating offensive with hatred. "we haven't seen the level of hatred they are capable of yet.. not at all." Who said anything about hatred?

      March 29, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  19. TracyG

    http://www.intouch.org/magazine/content/topic/what_does_it_mean_to_be_saved_devotional?utm_source=Social&utm_medium=FB&utm_campaign=devotional

    March 29, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  20. jdoggg81

    TrueBlue42
    If you dont believe in god. Why in god's name are you even on the "Believe blog"? You are an unbeliever.

    March 29, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • momoya

      It's a way to let you know that contrary opinions exist and we're not second-class citizens just for disbelieving in all gods–yours included.

      March 29, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, The Piper's Son

      First this is the “belief blog” not the “believe blog”. Secondly, you do realize that “belief” does NOT mean GOD, RELIGION or Christianity… right? Please get a dictionary.

      P.s. Come here more often. You will see Atheist articles also.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • total nonsense

      to see if some of you can be cured of you mental illness.....

      March 29, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      momoya: yes you are, and your friends.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Zaximus42

      the above replies don't in any shape or form condone the anger that is generated by ones faith. I feel the love already from your faith. See? I'm cured of my mental illness already just by your loving responses.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • sam

      @WDinDallas- ok , if you're going to be that way, then I'll have to add "Your mom."

      March 29, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • closet atheist

      Jdoggg... you just got "dogggpiled"...hahaha. How did it feel? I'm guessing you feel a bit stupid right now....

      March 29, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Nonimus

      If you don't believe in science, why are you on the internet?

      March 29, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.