The Impact Of God's Objective Morality

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The Impact Of God's Objective Morality

Post #1

Post by Miles »

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In my wanderings I came across the following:

"What is Objective Morality?

Objective morality, in the simplest terms, is the belief that morality is universal, meaning that it isn't up for interpretation. Some people may think of objective morality as commandments from God, while other people may think the universe has some objective rules we may follow. There are certainly some arguments for objective morality to be had. Apologists for religion will define objective morality according to the commandments of their God. Other people may look at some universal laws, such as murder being bad."

source

Intrigued, I looked a bit further into objective morality and its likely dependence on god and found this:


“How do you define right and wrong?” This question has never been more important than in these times of eroding morals and constantly changing values. We, as a society, have moved away from absolutes. “Moral relativism” is the rule of the day.

To know the difference between right and wrong, a person must have a base to start with. This is where God comes in. He has set clear standards for right and wrong, based upon His own perfect nature. We have already learned that these standards are worth heeding because God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-present. Now let’s look a bit deeper into His character.

As in ancient times, our world worships many false gods. But our Bible teaches of the one true God, the only God whose knowledge and words are true.

How can we know that we worship the true God? Is it because we feel right or have certain opinions? Certainly not, for we are flawed in our ability to know what is true or false. The final court of arbitration is God Himself. He has told us that He exists and that He is truth (Jeremiah 10:10; John 17:3; Romans 9:20)
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source

Interesting, but "He has set clear standards for right and wrong, based upon His own perfect nature." raises a peculiar question. In the Bible god condones slavery:

Leviticus 25:44
As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are around you.


Colossians 3:22
Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.


Exodus 21:20-21
“When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money.

Exodus 21:2
When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing.


And even in New Testament times god continues to authorize the owning other human beings.

Titus 2:9
Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative,


1 Timothy 6:1
Let all who are under a yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled.


But as I recall, owning other humans was outlawed years ago in the USA and elsewhere because it was grossly immoral, which is why it was abolished.

"Slavery is one of the things that everyone agrees is unethical. In fact there is such general agreement that most people would probably say that 'slavery is wrong just because it's wrong'."

source

And everyone I've ever talked to says slavery is immoral, if not worse.

SO, did god blow it in condoning slavery? Or is it truly alright to own others as slaves?

What is your position
1) God condones the right to own slaves, so it's alright to do so. Too bad for the slaves, but that's just the way it goes.
2) God condones the right to own slaves, so it's alright to do so even though I feel it's an onerous and immoral decision.
3) God condones the right to own slaves, but it isn't alright to do so. God is simply wrong.

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Re: The Impact Of God's Objective Morality

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Post by Zzyzx »

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[Replying to Miles in post #1]

4. The men writing Bible tales and purporting to speak for 'God' were attempting to gain authority for their preferences by claiming “God said so” -- which should always be taken with a boatload of salt.

Do we believe someone today saying that 'God' spoke to them or told them what was right? If not (since not many of us accept that), why give credence to someone long ago saying the same thing?
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Re: The Impact Of God's Objective Morality

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Post by DavidLeon »

The difficulty in what you are suggesting is that it depends upon a narrow perspective. When you use terms like "Objective Morality" you have to fit something into that box. Morality is subjective. We think slavery is this. This is wrong. At one time they didn't think that way so it wasn't wrong. In the Bible people could sell themselves into slavery to pay a debt or pay a fine for stolen property. Or a person could pierce their ear with an awl to signify that they were willing slaves. They could have their own successful business, their own property and money. Joseph was a slave in Egypt and he was the second most rich and powerful man in all of Egypt.

So, what we think of as a slave isn't what they think of it as. To them we would most definitely be slaves to debt in a way that they found morally repugnant.

Today it would be against God's will to have slaves because it is against the law of the nations we live in. We are to obey these laws unless they conflict with God's laws.
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Re: The Impact Of God's Objective Morality

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Post by Miles »

Zzyzx wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 5:41 pm
.
[Replying to Miles in post #1]

4. The men writing Bible tales and purporting to speak for 'God' were attempting to gain authority for their preferences by claiming “God said so” -- which should always be taken with a boatload of salt.

Do we believe someone today saying that 'God' spoke to them or told them what was right? If not (since not many of us accept that), why give credence to someone long ago saying the same thing?
Don't disagree with you one wit; however, we're looking at the account of god condoning slavery in terms of Christian belief. And as stated in my second piece of quoted material, Christians believe that "The final court of arbitration is God Himself. He has told us that He exists and that He is truth" which includes all he is supposed to have said in the Bible, including condoning slavery.
Last edited by Miles on Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Impact Of God's Objective Morality

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Post by Miles »

DavidLeon wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 5:47 pm
The difficulty in what you are suggesting is that it depends upon a narrow perspective. When you use terms like "Objective Morality" you have to fit something into that box. Morality is subjective. We think slavery is this. This is wrong.
You're missing one of the salient points of the OP, which is that god's morality as displayed in the Bible is objective. "Apologists for religion will define objective morality according to the commandments of their God."
At one time they didn't think that way so it wasn't wrong. In the Bible people could sell themselves into slavery to pay a debt or pay a fine for stolen property. Or a person could pierce their ear with an awl to signify that they were willing slaves. They could have their own successful business, their own property and money. Joseph was a slave in Egypt and he was the second most rich and powerful man in all of Egypt.
The only passage in the Bible where it speaks of anyone selling himself is

"Leviticus 25:39
“If your brother becomes poor beside you and sells himself to you, you shall not make him serve as a slave:


And, I believe, the only other verses that mention selling someone as a slave are Exodus 21:7: "Selling one's daughter" and Deuteronomy 21:10-14: "Selling one's wife."
So, what we think of as a slave isn't what they think of it as.
Really! Is there someplace in the Bible where it tells the reader not to take its its words as we define them but as they were used thousands of years ago, and, hopefully, tells us what those definitions are? Nope. The Bible uses the words it does because they best represent the intended meaning of its ancient source material.
Today it would be against God's will to have slaves because it is against the law of the nations we live in. We are to obey these laws unless they conflict with God's laws.
So when it comes to moral law god bows to the laws of man. Interesting.
Last edited by Miles on Thu Jun 18, 2020 1:22 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: The Impact Of God's Objective Morality

Post #6

Post by Zzyzx »

.
DavidLeon wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 5:47 pm
Today it would be against God's will to have slaves because it is against the law of the nations we live in. We are to obey these laws unless they conflict with God's laws.
Slavery was acceptable with 'god's' approval in several US states until 1865 (13th amendment). Right?
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Re: The Impact Of God's Objective Morality

Post #7

Post by DavidLeon »

Zzyzx wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:55 pm
.
DavidLeon wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 5:47 pm
Today it would be against God's will to have slaves because it is against the law of the nations we live in. We are to obey these laws unless they conflict with God's laws.
Slavery was acceptable with 'god's' approval in several US states until 1865 (13th amendment). Right?
Right. So 'god's' approval was given to mankind to have slavery. It was up to man. The earth was given to man. Man was, more or less, in charge. So man approved of slavery in a specific form until, apparently, as you say, 1865. Moses allowed divorce and Jesus said only under specific circumstances. The marriage of Joseph and Mary was acceptable to Jehovah. Joseph was probably about 32 and Mary probably 14 or 15. Earrings were acceptable to Jehovah in young males. When I was young it wasn't acceptable to the culture I live in. Now it is. You understand?

The laws to the angels, to Adam, to Moses, To Christians, to us . . . always changing.
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Re: The Impact Of God's Objective Morality

Post #8

Post by Mithrae »

DavidLeon wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 5:47 pm
In the Bible people could sell themselves into slavery to pay a debt or pay a fine for stolen property. Or a person could pierce their ear with an awl to signify that they were willing slaves. They could have their own successful business, their own property and money. Joseph was a slave in Egypt and he was the second most rich and powerful man in all of Egypt.

So, what we think of as a slave isn't what they think of it as. To them we would most definitely be slaves to debt in a way that they found morally repugnant.
This Disney version of slavery doesn't even match the descriptions and meagre limitations outlined in the bible itself, let alone what the actual practice could have been like.

The Genesis story explicitly suggests that Joseph's favoured treatment by his master Potiphar was due to God's intervention giving him success in all he did, but even after being in charge of his master's household he evidently had no legal rights or real status; he was a useful tool for Potiphar's benefit, but a single false accusation from Potiphar's wife had him thrown straight into prison. Pharaoh freed him from prison, and there's nothing in the text to suggest that he remained a slave; quite the opposite, he went from being merely an agent of someone else's will to being the master of all but Pharaoh himself, was given a signet ring and a priest's daughter for his wife and even a new name (Gen. 41:41-45).

Later in the Torah, it's commanded that Israelite men who sold themselves into debt slavery were not to be treated harshly, yes, and were to be released in either the 50th or the 7th year (Lev. 25:39-43 seems to contradict Ex. 21:2 on this point). But that then simply provides a stark contrast against foreign slaves:
  • Lev. 25:44 As for the male and female slaves whom you may have, it is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves. 45 You may also acquire them from among the aliens residing with you, and from their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property. 46 You may keep them as a possession for your children after you, for them to inherit as property. These you may treat as slaves, but as for your fellow Israelites, no one shall rule over the other with harshness.
According to Deuteronomy 20:10ff, slavery or death were the choices offered to cities which the Israelites attacked (and the natives of Canaan didn't even have that choice - they were to be exterminated entirely!). Survivors were to be treated alongside livestock and any other plunder (v14); as the passage above says they were simply possessions, with no limitation on the kind of harshness with which they could be treated. Presumably they should be thankful if they were allowed to live at all!

Even for Israelite debt slaves life apparently wasn't too cozy, according to Exodus 21:12-27: It seems that when two men fought and one killed the other, or killed someone under any other circumstances, the killer was to be put to death unless it was not premeditated (v12-14). When the loser was bedridden but eventually able to hobble about again, the perpetrator was to be fined as compensation for the victim's lost time (v18-19); but in cases where it was not a fight between free men but rather a master beating his slave, that lost time already belonged to the master so there was to be no fine (v20-21). If permanent injury resulted from the beating of an Israelite slave the slave was to be set free immediately (v26-27) and if the slave was killed obviously the master faced the same conditions as killing any other Israelite; but an Israelite slave could lawfully be beaten badly enough to leave them bedridden for a couple of days, with no further consequence.

And then I suppose a crafty master could send in a pretty young girl they'd purchased, to tend to the poor slave's wounds and comfort him and offer to be his wife. In fact if the master wanted a female slave to bear children, it's not actually clear whether an Israelite slave had any right to refuse to give her his seed. But even if he could in theory refuse, it would be a rough task trying to refuse such an offer for up to seven years! If he succumbed (or if he had no right to refuse to give her children), he'd then be faced with the choice of either becoming a slave for life, or leaving his wife and children behind:
  • Exodus 21:4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s and he shall go out alone. 5 But if the slave declares, “I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out a free person,” 6 then his master shall bring him before God. He shall be brought to the door or the doorpost; and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him for life.
The 'best' that can be said of these rules is that - maybe - they were intended to limit cruelty rather than actively impose it. Maybe common practice in Israelite or nearby cultures had even slaves of one's own nation being treated the same as foreign slaves; maybe Israelite slaves losing their eyes or even their lives to cruel masters was common enough that the authors had to say "No, if you've beaten them so bad they can't start hobbling around again in a few days, that's too much!"

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Re: The Impact Of God's Objective Morality

Post #9

Post by DavidLeon »

Miles wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:53 pm
You're missing one of the salient points of the OP, which is that god's morality as displayed in the Bible is objective. "Apologists for religion will define objective morality according to the commandments of their God."
Two questions. When did God appoint apologists for religion for this purpose and how does God's objective morality change? Are the laws to Adam and Eve the same as to the Jews and the Christians?
Miles wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:53 pm
At one time they didn't think that way so it wasn't wrong. In the Bible people could sell themselves into slavery to pay a debt or pay a fine for stolen property. Or a person could pierce their ear with an awl to signify that they were willing slaves. They could have their own successful business, their own property and money. Joseph was a slave in Egypt and he was the second most rich and powerful man in all of Egypt.
The only passage in the Bible where it speaks of anyone selling himself is

"Leviticus 25:39
“If your brother becomes poor beside you and sells himself to you, you shall not make him serve as a slave:


And, I believe, the only other verses that mention selling someone as a slave are Exodus 21:7: "One's daughter" and Deuteronomy 21:10-14: "One's wife."
The following is for consideration and not necessarily debate. I wouldn't subject you to such an obligation. I certainly wouldn't feel obligated to respond to all of it. Do with it what you will.

Various Words Translated Slave And Their Meaning

The Hebrew word evedh can mean a person owned by a fellow man (Genesis 12:16; Exodus 20:17), subjects of a king (2 Samuel 11:21; 2 Chronicles 10:7), subjugated people who paid tribute (2 Samuel 8:2, 6), and persons in royal service such as cup bearers, bakers, seamen, military officers, advisers etc. (Genesis 40:20; 1 Samuel 29:3; 1 Kings 9:27; 2 Chronicles 8:18; 9:10; 32:9). It was also common in Hebrew to respectfully address another as a servant (Hebrew evedh) of another. (Genesis 33:5; 1 Samuel 20:7-8)

Evedh was also used to refer to a servant or worshiper of Jehovah God in this way. (1 Kings 8:36; 2 Kings) especially to special representatives of God such as Moses (Joshua 1:1; 2 Kings 21:10) or even those who were not worshipers but performed a service in harmony with divine will such as King Nebuchadnezzar. (Jeremiah 27:6)

The Greek word doulos corresponds to the Hebrew word evedh. As persons owned by another (Matthew 8:9; 10:24), devoted servants of God and Christ, both human (Acts 2:18; Galatians 1:10), and angelic (Revelation 19:10) and in a figurative sense applying to persons in slavery to sin. (John 8:34; Romans 6:16-20) or corruption (2 Peter 2:19).

The Hebrew word naar and Greek pais can mean boy or youth but can also designate a servant or attendant. (1 Samuel 1:24; 4:21; 30:17; 2 Kings 5:20; Matthew 2:16; 8:6; 17:18; 21:15; Acts 20:12) and the Greek term oiketes refers to a house servant or slave (Luke 16:13) whereas the Greek word paidiske refers to a female slave or servant. (Luke 12:45)

How They Became Slaves

Before the common era, war, poverty and crime were the factors which reduced people to slavery. Captives of war were sold into slavery (2 Kings 5:2; Joel 3:6). If a person became poor they could sell themselves and their children into slavery to pay indebtedness. (Leviticus 25:39, 47; 2 Kings 4:1) and a person found guilty of thievery who was unable to compensate was sold for slavery to pay for the things he stole, regaining his freedom once the amount was paid in full. (Exodus 22:3)

It was not uncommon for slaves to hold a position of great trust and honor in a household. Abraham’s servant Eliezer (Genesis 24:2; 15:2-3) and Joseph, as a slave in Egypt ended up being in charge of everything belonging to Potiphar - the second in command and second wealthiest in all of Egypt. (Genesis 39:1-6) The family of a slave could buy him back from his owners and if he became rich he could buy himself back as well. (Leviticus 25:49)

Laws Regarding Slaves

It was a crime punishable by death to kidnap another person, either to sell or use him as a slave. (Exodus 21:16; Deuteronomy 24:7) This law was, however, prior to Joseph having been sold into slavery.

The laws of the Bible protected the slave a great deal than slavery in more recent times, in Europe and The United States, for example; though the Hebrew slave had it far better off than the foreigner, alien resident or settler. The non Hebrew slave could be passed on from father to son (Leviticus 25:44-46) whereas the Hebrew slave was set free either on the Jubilee year (every 50 years) or after six years of slavery, which ever came first.

The Hebrew slave was to be treated as a hired laborer. (Exodus 21:2; Leviticus 25:10) When a Hebrew sold himself as a slave to an alien resident he could be bought back by his family or himself. The price was dependent upon the number of years remaining until the Jubilee year or until the seventh year of servitude.

When a Hebrew slave was granted his freedom the master was to give the slave a gift to give him a good start. (Deuteronomy 15:13-15) If the slave came in with a wife the wife left with him, but if the master had given him a wife it would have been a foreign woman and she wouldn’t have been entitled to freedom in the seventh year.

A Hebrew slave could choose to remain with his master, and when doing so he would pierce his ear with an awl as a legal recognition of his choice. (Exodus 21:2-6; Deuteronomy 15:16-17)

Female Hebrew Slaves

Female Hebrew slaves had certain special regulations. She could be taken as a concubine by the master or as a wife for his son. As a wife of the master’s son she was to be treated with the due right of daughters. Even if the son took another wife the female slave’s rights would not diminish. Her sustenance, clothing and marriage due. If the son failed in this respect the woman was granted her freedom. (Exodus 21:7-11)

Protected From Abuse

If a slave was mistreated he was to be set free if the abuse resulted in the loss of a tooth or an eye. The value of a slave was set at 30 shekels (Exodus 21:32) so it would have been a considerable loss to the master. A master could beat his slave but if it resulted in the death of the slave the it would be avenged by the death of the master if the slave died right away. The lingering of a slave indicated that the master didn’t intend to kill him, but only discipline him. (Exodus 21:20-21, 26-27; Leviticus 24:17) The master was not allowed by law to administer discipline with a lethal instrument as that would indicate intent to kill. (Numbers 35:16-18)

Male slaves were circumcised (Exodus 12:44) could eat the Passover, and slaves of the priest could eat holy things, (Exodus 12:43; Leviticus 22:10-11) and they were exempted from working on the Sabbath (Exodus 20:10; Deuteronomy 5:14)

Christianity On Slavery

Slavery was much more common in the Roman Empire than in the time of the ancient Hebrew scriptures. Individuals could own hundreds or thousands of slaves. The imperial government’s position on the institution of slavery in the time of the first century Christians was not challenged by Christians. They respected the legal rights of others, including other Christians, to own slaves.

The apostle Paul sent back the runaway slave Onesimus, who had become a Christian and willfully returned to his master, also a Christian. (Philemon 10-17) Paul admonished Christian slaves not to take improper advantage of their Christian masters (1 Timothy 6:2) Christian masters were obligated to deal fairly with their slaves. (Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1)

All Christians, regardless of their social status, slave and free man, were the same and of equal standing. (1 Corinthians 12:12, 13; Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11)
Miles wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:53 pm
So, what we think of as a slave isn't what they think of it as.
Really! Is there someplace in the Bible where it tells the reader not to take its its words as we define them but as they were used thousands of years ago, and, hopefully, tells us what those definitions are? Nope. The Bible uses the words it does because they best represent the intended meaning of its ancient source material.
Which Bible?

You seem to be looking at the issue and perhaps the Bible through the eyes of religion. Have you tried a more practical approach? The laws to Adam from Jehovah were much different than the laws to the Jews and the Christians were different from those. The Bible wasn't written to us, it was written to the people in the time of the writing. So ... to put that into perspective in the few short verses of Genesis 5:1-29; 7:6 we have 1, 656 years. From the creation of Adam to the flood.

So, you're reading from the law of Moses. Which do you think come first, Moses being instructed in the law and writing that down or men having slavery? The latter was first. So Jehovah said to treat the slaves a certain way. He didn't say you have to have slaves.

The term objective morality seems a contradiction in terms to me. In the country where I was born in the time I was born a person could be arrested, jailed and publicly disgraced in newspapers for simply being caught in a place where homosexuals were known to meet. Is that objective? It certainly isn't that way today, a short time later.
Miles wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:53 pm
Today it would be against God's will to have slaves because it is against the law of the nations we live in. We are to obey these laws unless they conflict with God's laws.
So when it comes to moral law god bows to the laws of man. Interesting.
Are you taking your morality and subjecting it to the past? 50 years ago? 300 years ago? 3,000 year ago? 50 years from now? 300 years from now? 3,000 years from now? 'Cause that's pretty bold and myopic in my opinion.
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Re: The Impact Of God's Objective Morality

Post #10

Post by Zzyzx »

.
[Replying to DavidLeon in post #7]

The 'God' you propose isn't much of a leader – approving whatever laws a society passes – slavery, child brides, divorce . . . (as long as 'he' has not specifically disapproved).

BTW, where abortion is legal (not deemed murder) it is evidently 'god approved'. Right? Is that why half a million Christian women per year can have abortions – while their church preaches against it?

Why claim to worship and obey a 'god' if people are going to do whatever they wish (while feeling guilty)?
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If you stop claiming knowledge of invisible, undetectable unicorns, I will stop challenging your claim. Same goes for gods

ANY of the thousands of "gods" proposed, imagined, worshiped, loved, feared, and/or fought over by humans MAY exist -- awaiting verifiable evidence

For a quick tutorial on science vs. religion, compare modern internet weather radar to ancient religious beliefs and superstitions about weather

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