Slavery and the death penalty


Wouldn’t it be acceptable to say that slavery once was admissible by the church and church teaching and now it’s not? So why is there so much divisiveness about the death penalty when the Bible itself openly talks about how to treat your slaves?

I’m not trying to say slavery is okay or anything



Slavery doesn’t feed it quite as well as killing people does.


The death penalty has some kind of prescriptive New Treatment support, i.e., it’s not something that was merely allowed, but seen as an execution of justice by God through the state. Slavery is presented descriptively rather than prescriptively throughout, i.e., you see descriptions of slavery more than enslavement as a duty. While there are prescriptions of slaves towards masters, that’s not the same as commanding people to own slaves or presenting slavery as a good thing in itself.


Verses, s’il vous plaît.

Isn’t it though, by ordering people to endure being chattel like it’s some sort of moral obligation?


I thought that God was unchangeable. Now you tell me that God changes His mind?


Of course not. But our understanding of God and His will has developed over time.


See Romans 13:1-4, and note the language being used. It does more than merely permit it.

Not really. Both Peter and a Paul exhort Christians to bear the wrongs of persecution against them in general. This doesn’t imply a positive view of persecution itself.

It’s in this light that the slave is told to bear the wrongs of a non Christian master. Christian masters were commanded, on the other hand, to treat their slaves as brothers rather than slaves, since we are all slaves before God. So what you have is a condemnation of chattle slavery, though not the general relationship of servant and master.


Doesn’t even mention capital punishment.

Not really, since they aren’t being commanded to set their slaves free.


The problem is that in philosophical and theological discussions of God, it is definitively stated that God is unchangeable. Otherwise He would be a “contingent” being and it is not good for God to be a “contingent” being.
But now you tell me that God changes his mind and that He clearly reverses his mind and that He repents of His wrath. This not good for a philosopher to realize that this is true, because philosophers don’t like the idea of God being “contingent”.


Meh… usury is still wrong (though it had and still has a specific definition that doesn’t involve all forms of lending, or even lending at interest). What happened was more that the banking system in the 1800s became so complex that what the church did was stop enforcing the teaching (or had already been kind of weak on it anyway). Our never taught that usury was legitimate though.


Did they change the definition of usury ?


The Romans passage talked about the wielding of the sword as an enactment of God’s justice. Did I cite the wrong verses?

Chattle slavery is not the same as slavery. The first involves back breaking labor and terrible conditions. you basically treat a human like an animal, and you strip him of all his rights. Not all slaves were treated like this though in antiquity. Many are just trained with certain household duties. Some accompanied their masters in their work. Some were tutors for the master’s children… many could own property of their own as well.

By commanding masters to treat their slaves as brothers, we have a condemnation of chattle slavery, but not of slavery more itself.


Doesn’t imply capital punishment. There are plenty of countries that have abolished capital punishment and yet still have armed police.


Who, the Church?

More like the distinction was forgotten. The original definition was the charging of interest in what was called a mutuum loan.


How does it not?


…and that was purely based on the whims of their masters. Mistreatment of slaves wouldn’t occur if they weren’t seen as subhumans that could be bought and sold.


And supposedly that was wrong. But now it is OK to charge interest and usury is defined as excessive interest. So usury is still wrong, but the definition of what it is has changed. IOW what was usury in the past is no longer considered to be wrong.
It is deceptive to say that usury is still wrong, because the definition has changed.


See the above. The issue is not so much how much interest is being charged, but rather the kind of loan.


When I said that usury was still wrong, I wasn’t referring to the modern definition, but rather the old one. I think that the old type of usury is always wrong.


No. It has been proven already that since pi is a transcendental number, it is impossible to construct a square with the same area as a circle using only a finite number of steps with a compass and straight edge. I don’t care how smart a Catholic philosopher is, she will not be able to square a circle.

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