Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Star Press of Muncie, Indiana — the home town of Ball State University. The title is Belief in God is essential. The newspaper has a comments feature, but there aren’t any yet.
Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. He writes a lot of letters-to-the-editor — we posted about one last year: #623: The Design Hypothesis, and that links to an earlier one — but he still doesn’t qualify for full-name treatment. His first name is Kevin. Excerpts from his new letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!
According to Christian teaching, the chief end of man is to know God. That’s why we’re here. But most people, sad to say, spend little or no time getting to know God. Claiming that we are more enlightened than our “primitive” ancestors and can dispense with belief in God reveals unmatched arrogance.
He’s talking about you, dear reader. Now he explains how wrong you are:
Sir Isaac Newton, whose scientific investigations enlightened mankind about various natural phenomena, was a believer in God and spent considerably more time studying Bible prophecy than doing science.
Right. Newton worked endlessly to find secret codes in the bible, and he spent an enormous amount of time on alchemy too. Time well spend, right, Kevin? Let’s read on:
Even today, there are many highly acclaimed scientists and philosophers who believe in the God of the Bible.
Yes, but as we often point out, their scientific work isn’t based on the bible. Kevin continues:
Atheists who still desire to discredit the Bible make all sorts of ignorant assertions. For example, it is said that the Bible condones slavery and therefore cannot be used as a moral guide.
The bible is definitely a pro-slavery book. Approval of slavery is even in the Ten Commandments: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Servant is “slave” in many translations.) Also in Colossians 3:22 (and other places) it says: “Servants [i.e., slaves], obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.”
But Kevin sees things differently. He tells us:
The Bible does not condone slavery, especially as it was practiced in antebellum America. God does not want anyone to be in any kind of bondage. Yes, the Bible does mention bondservants and how they should be treated, but servitude in ancient Israel was not unlike indentured servitude in the American colonies, many of whose earliest inhabitants immigrated at someone else’s expense.
Oh — bible slavery is okay. That’s good to know. But Kevin isn’t finished talking about slavery. Here’s more:
Finally, a few questions. How do atheists know that slavery is evil? Where does their morality come from?
Hey, Kevin: How did Charles Darwin, an ardent advocate of emancipation, know that slavery was wrong?
We explained what’s wrong with slavery in one of our most unpopular posts, Creationism or Socialism: Which is Dumber?, where we quoted Alexis de Tocqueville who, by observation of the economies of two adjacent state (Ohio and Kentucky), one of which was thriving while the other was torpid, concluded that “slavery, which is so cruel to the slave, is prejudicial to the master.”
Kevin concludes his letter by asking what he imagines are supremely difficult questions:
Are they not borrowing God’s own standard of justice to make their case against him? Could it be that their sense of right and wrong comes from having a conscience given to them by God?
No, Kevin. The bible standards for slavery are clearly spelled out in Leviticus 44-46 (King James version, of course):
44. Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.
45. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.
46. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.
That’s nothing at all like the condition of an Indentured servant in the American colonies, which was service for a fixed period of time, usually in exchange for payment (or forgiveness of debt). Anyway, that was Kevin’s latest letter. He’s an endless source of creationist wisdom.
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