Dawkins continues and tonight’s entry should be brief as this is simply a rant. Dawkins is complaining about slavery and racism in the Bible and how the Bible seems to approve of these. Dawkins might have a point if someone is unfamiliar with ANE literature. For those of us who know it though, it’s not a problem.
Many of us think back to Civil War slavery. The slavery in ancient times was not like that though. Slaves were capable of being given high positions in a Roman household for instance. In a Hebrew system, a slave could have the option of remaining with his master for life if he chose to.
However, this system did reach its end based on the Bible. I don’t believe the NT Christians set out to end the system because their goal was to spread the gospel and when it spread, you would see the end of slavery. You see some hints of wanting the end of it in the letter to Philemon.
When did it end? The wife of Clovis II was Bathilda. It was through her work mostly that the end came. What was the basis of the end of slavery? It was passages like Galatians 3:28. This taught us that Christ treats all as bearing his image and on the equality of the human race despite race or sex.
It should be noted though that slavery did not just exist in the biblical culture. The other cultures of the time had slaves as well and the slaves under the Hebrew system were treated far better. In fact, it’s not slavery so much as it is a type of employee relationship that was just more binding. People would often willingly go into slavery.
Dawkins seems to think that religion is the force of this. Does he really believe that if they had all become atheists that everyone would have literally beat their swords into plowshares and the slaves would be free and peace would reign on Earth. I would like to see Dawkins back this.
Especially in light of the Gulag Archipelago where Russians were arrested, including leading scientists, and thrown in a hideous prison where many died. I would like to know how in an atheistic regime that Dawkins thinks that religion is somehow the cause of this. Is it a coincidence Dawkins doesn’t mention the Gulag once?
One more note. Dawkins speaks of a common and shared humanity. Could he tell me what this is based on in atheism? In Christianity, it is based on us being in the image of God. In atheism though, what exactly is it that we can say we all have in common? What is to keep us from having Orwell’s Animal Farm.
We will continue more of looking at the God Delusion later.