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Screening With the Barenaked Ladies

If you don’t instill values into your kids, it’s not true that they will grow up free and beautiful and unencumbered, selecting their own values from the rich cornucopia of ideas....and thus escaping your stupid prejudices. No, all it means is that someone else will instill values into them. Moreover that someone else is not likely to have your kids interests at heart, at least, not to the extent you do. Heaven help you if that someone else is the entertainment media. That medium even pushes the percentages of Sturgeon's law, which informs that "90% of everything is crap."

You have to shield the kids somehow. You can‘t quite do what the entertainment industry tells you to do….watch this or that show with your child and then discuss its values or lack thereof. This is just their ploy to double the audience. Maybe it was true in your household that adults had equal leisure time with the kids. It sure wasn’t true in ours. And what limited parent-child time I had…..I sure wasn’t going to blow it all playing “bad cop.”

TV tickets might work. They did fairly well for us. You allot the kids so many TV tickets per week. Using them as they see fit, they would be able to watch 2 hours or so per week of commercial TV. (Public TV was unlimited. And we didn’t have cable….why torture them with unlimited channels they can’t watch?) I remember my son, at 6 or 7, telling someone how much he enjoyed TV….you learn so much. He actually thought that was its purpose. True, we found out years later that the kids had cheated around the edges a little….they’d found a way to counterfeit the tickets or whatever, but even so, it’s a policy I’d repeat in a heartbeat were I to come along with a second crop of kids, which Mrs. Sheepandgoats does not plan to give me.

Or you might just flat-out do away with the television. That sounds a little drastic, but here and there you run across families that have done just that. True, it’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but it’s really not that great of a baby…it poops an awful lot and you can well survive without it. As a single person, I actually went through long periods without a television and to this day there are long running popular TV series deemed indispensable of which I’ve never seen a single episode. Ironically, I found not having a TV was a good way to acquire one. People would come visit and notice the gaping hole in your living room. They’d feel uncomfortable, even a bit sorry for you, as if they’d found you naked, or with empty cupboards. The next thing you knew, they’d buy a new TV themselves and give you the old one! I can’t tell you how many TVs I got in that way. I think I only bought one. The method still works. A pal just bought one of those new half acre TVs and gave me his old 25 inch one, a decided upgrade over our storebought 19 incher.

The JW organization tries to help with tips for screening, not so much TV shows, but music. We all know that kids have unquenchable thirst for music, and the music industry fully conforms to Sturgeon’s law, and then some. So the Watchtower chimes in with tips as to how to look at a CD jacket, or what to make of a group’s name…..is it suggestive or even obscene? This way you can screen out the music that is inappropriate.

Such advise works after a fashion, but it tends to filter out almost everything. The Righteous Brothers might sneak through, but most other groups will be tossed out on their ear. The kids are not going to want to exist on just Kingdom songs. Mine sure didn’t, anyway. Even worse, the system can admit stuff that really is offensive…..some uncouth slob, for example, who goes just by his birth name and has a CD jacket featuring  trees or bunnies (rabbits)….you know, things God made. Nothing obvious to tip you off! Still, I followed the system for a time. I mean, it’s very imperfect, just like the movie rating system, but it probably is better than nothing, or at least it’s a starting point.

A group called the Barenaked Ladies rolled into town. They were giving a concert somewhere and my kids wanted to go. I consulted my system and it flashed red alert. Barenaked Ladies? What kind of a name is that? Surely these guys were up to no good. I mean, it’s not very modest a name. You can’t have bare naked ladies running all over the place. If bare naked ladies showed up at the Kingdom Hall, you’d tell them to cover up. I thundered my verdict throughout the house: “No kid of mine is going to any Barenaked Ladies concert!”

Alas, it pretty well spelled the death of my system. It turns out that The Barenaked Ladies is just a good-times band….a fun, mostly  innocuous, wittier and weightier version of the Beach Boys or the Monkeys. Circuit overseers hum their music, for crying out loud…..songs like “If I Had a Million Dollars.” And who cannot spot the joke behind "I Love You Intermittantly," a song whose arrangements and vocals suggests eternal love, or undying love, but whose words say the exact opposite? It’s hard not to like these guys. And you can always just call them BNL, as newspapers often do, though doubtless for brevity’s sake, not modesty.

After that debacle, I changed tactics. I went with my boy to a couple of concerts at the Water Street Music Hall. He was thrilled to have the judgmental old man along. That’s how I came to hear Weezer, who I liked well enough allowing for generational differences……wait a minute….what are they “wheezing” from?…..it better not be marijuana smoke……but there was no sign of it. All they were was loud. At the lineup to get in, everyone held their hand out to get stamped, so I did too. “You don’t need a stamp” the bouncer waved me by, a little disrespectfully, I thought. (The stamp was to verify you were drinking age) “Aren’t there any grownups here?” I retorted. Yeah, the boy was real happy to have me along. But, as stated, the group really wasn’t that bad and I wasn’t displeased I’d come.

I went to another concert later to see some other group whose name I have forgotten. These guys were a little less wholesome. I mean, they didn’t smash guitars or burn bras or anything, but their presence wasn’t quite as agreeable as the other group had been. After that, we both weaned off of concerts for awhile

Years later, when the kids were grown and gone, did I throw in the towel by going myself to the Bob Dylan concert?                           

 

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Tom Irregardless and Me             No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Salvation by Grace, Trinity, Hell, and so forth...

When I first began blogging about two years ago, I imagined that from whatever posts I wrote with a spiritual theme, about half would be directed toward the skeptic crowd and half aimed at the religionists. Like our Lord impaled between two thieves, Jehovah’s Witnesses are caught between two unsavory types. On the one side are the atheists who don’t like us because we are theists (an annoying word…..would you call a married man a wifeist?). On the other hand are the churches who also don’t like us because we fail to line up with their favorite doctrines.

In spite of my noble 50/50 intentions, I find myself writing 90/10 in response to a powerful Carolina force who’s name I will not mention but whose initials are Moristotle. A prolific commenter with boundless energy, he not only writes his blog but he also writes mine in that he plants ideas in my head - they swirl around, and gel into some post geared to something he’s brought up.

Now, this is not disagreeable to me, for I tire very quickly of fisticuffs with the religionists. Squabbling with someone over the trinity, for example, brings to mind that Monty Python scene with the Black Knight. You take off one arm; they keep charging you. You take off another; they don’t notice it. Take off a leg and it doesn’t faze them. Another leg and they keep on arguing, confident they’ve trapped you. You take your leave in disgust and they taunt you for being a coward. Look…almost all scriptures proving the Trinity are wordings that would instantly be recognized as metaphor or illustrative device in any other context, and you have to painstakingly go through every blasted one of them with the Trinitarian and then start at the first and do it all over again since nothing you said in the first place registered. Some people enjoy the exercise. More power to them. The field is theirs. As for me, if for some reason I’ve kept a car group waiting, upon my return I may say “I don’t believe I couldn’t get that person to see that Jesus and God are not the same.” You can see veins standing out on the necks of those waiting. “You kept us waiting all that time for the Trinity!?” they seem to be fuming.

Still, in an effort to respect my original Mission, here’s a few tidbits either from my blog or from exchanges I’ve had on other blogs. They've accumulated. They're too good for the dumpster yet too meager to merit a post of their own. So I'll present several together as a casserole. Perhaps I'll expand on some later.

One religious blogger takes issue with our stand on holidays. Most  holidays Jehovah’s Witness refrain from. Does that not border on child abuse? she suggests, recalling how eagerly she anticipated Santa. Yet in the next breath she worries that, deviating from Truth in this or that doctrinal way, surely I and mine are all apt to go to hell. There is not some incongruity here? Refraining from holidays is intolerable cruelty, but she has no problem with an all-powerful God who would hand someone over to be tortured forever and ever!

With a single exception, all instances of "hell" in English Bibles stem from one of three original language words (sheol, hades, gehenna) Find the meaning of those three words and you've found the meaning of hell. None of them refer to a place of eternal torment. A well known early Witness, Charles Russell was known in his lifetime as the man who "turned the hose on hell and put out the fire."

 

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Salvation is by Grace, sir...that's the point. Religion cannot save, only Jesus does.

Well, of course, everyone knows that.

If "everyone knows" that salvation is by Grace, why does JW preach that you earn salvation by good works?

They don't. I think this accusation originates with people who do little or nothing in appreciation for Christ's free gift of life, yet want to feel morally superior to those who do. "Works" that Jehovah's Witnesses perform are in appreciation for that gift, and in obedience to Christ's command to "go and make disciples." (Matt 28:19) They do not imagine for one minute that they are "earning" everlasting life. The importance of Christian activity is supported by James 2:26: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” KJV

Only 144,000 are going to heaven, huh? No wonder you knock on so many doors! There are 7 million of you! That’s a lot of people to beat out so as to grab one of the heavenly spots.

Well....the premise is wrong here.

Jehovah's Witnesses are unique among Christian groups in that they entertain no hope of future heavenly life. Instead, they look forward to everlasting life on this earth when it is ruled over by God's Kingdom, the same Kingdom people familiarly know from the Lord's Prayer. Should we die before that Kingdom comes, our hope is to be resurrected to that paradise earth. God first put humans on earth. He didn't put them there because he wanted them somewhere else. Life on earth is not "second class." to us. It is God's original purpose for humans.

Kingdom rule over earth is not too far away, in our view, and Revelation 7:9-17 is now taking place. This passage tells of a great crowd of persons gathered from all "nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues" who would survive the "great tribulation" and live on into the "new order," life under Kingdom rule. Almost all of Jehovah's Witnesses claim to belong to this group. I do.

The Bible also speaks of a "sacred secret," (Colossians 1:26) a "secret" first made known to the early Christian congregation, that there would be some from humankind, a comparatively tiny number, who would share in this heavenly government. Their ultimate destiny would be in heaven, not on earth. Since this "secret" was made known shortly after Christ's resurrection, and there are only 144,000 of these who will serve as "kings and priests," very few of them are on earth today. Most, we maintain, have long since lived their lives and been resurrected to heavenly life.

I'd like to know where in the Bible it says to keep files on your members, or how about where it says that child abuse should only be reported to elders not the police, and while on that note, where does it say again that you should not support your country? I'm also certain the Bible doesn't tell us there is no hell or that Jesus should not be worshiped. And where exactly does it say that God is not a trinity? I'm really curious where the scripture is that backs up these rules.

 

I'd like to know where in the Bible it says to keep files on your members  [I’m not exactly sure what “files” this writer was referring to, but I took a stab, in view of the point she brought up next]

The policy of Jehovah's Witnesses is that a known child molester may never be appointed to any position of oversight. Plainly for such a policy to succeed, someone has to keep track, otherwise simply changing congregations would be enough to thwart it. Jehovah's Witnesses should not be criticized for this. Rather, you should criticize churches who do not care enough about protecting children to have done the same. A simple police background check is not enough. Many known molesters have never been convicted. Nor are police records necessarily reliable. A report from Toronto last week laments that, due to loopholes, only half of the province's convicted sex offenders appear on the national list.

or how about where it says that child abuse should only be reported to elders not the police

There is nothing to say congregation members can't call the police in cases of child abuse. Where do you get this from? If they choose to contact the elders first, or instead of, then the elders contact the police as required by law in New York, and I think all of the United States.

and while on that note, where does it say again that you should not support your country?

I'm not sure what the author means by that remark. Jehovah's Witnesses scrupulously obey laws, they diligently pay taxes, they stand for family values. Do those things not count as supporting your country? Or is he speaking of attitudes toward military ventures? At present this country is sharply divided over military policy. Does he feel one side or the other is not supporting the country? If so, which side?

I'm also certain the Bible doesn't tell us there is no hell

I've already answered this in my comment about the three original language words from which the English word hell is translated. None of them refer to a place of fiery torment. When you translate a word, you have to translate it according to its meaning, not according to what simply fits into your belief structure.

or that Jesus should not be worshiped. And where exactly does it say that God is not a trinity?

Since the Trinity goes against common sense, one would not expect the Bible to expressly deny it, any more than one would expect it to deny that the ground is really green cheese. Exactly the opposite. If the Trinity is true, one would expect the Bible to explicitly and unambiguously state it. It doesn't. The only verse that directly states the Trinity is found at 1 Jn 5:7 in the King James Bible. Virtually all modern Bibles have either removed or footnoted the verse, since it appears in no ancient manuscripts prior to the 6th century. In other words, it was inserted into the text, [!] most likely by someone intent on proving what the Bible otherwise does not say.

I'm really curious where the scripture is that backs up these rules.

There’s quite a few grousers who like to portray Jehovah’s Witnesses as an organization of rules “enslaving” people. Two thoughts on this. First, there’s no question that we do adhere to standards as close as we can approximate to that of the first century Christians. No apology for this.   

But where someone presents a list of JW rules, and some of them seem too petty to believe, in general, they should not be believed. They are usually the result of some discussion in the Watchtower or Awake, sometimes decades old, sometimes mentioned only once, with no intention of proposing rules, but only food for thought. To be sure, we have some folks who take every suggestion found anywhere as a rule, as acknowedged in the July 1 1994 Watchtower:

An elder could think that in order to be theocratic, the brothers should obey all sorts of rules. Some elders have made rules out of suggestions given from time to time by “the faithful and discreet slave.”

Don’t such folk exist anywhere? From time to time, these ones are readjusted.

For example, from the Aug 1 1994 Watchtower:

Responsible brothers today are equally interested in reaching hearts. Thus, they avoid laying down arbitrary, inflexible rules or turning their personal viewpoints and opinions into law. (Compare Daniel 6:7-16.) From time to time, kindly reminders on such matters as dress and grooming may be appropriate and timely, but an elder may jeopardize his reputation as a reasonable man if he harps on such matters or tries to impose what are primarily reflections of his personal taste. Really, all in the congregation should avoid trying to control others.—Compare 2 Corinthians 1:24; Philippians 2:12.   (page 18)

Or from the Sept 1, 1996 Watchtower (page 23):

We can have faith that Jehovah God by means of his holy spirit will influence the hearts of true worshipers. Thus, mature Christians appeal to the hearts of their brothers, entreating them, as did the apostle Paul. (2 Corinthians 8:8; 10:1; Philemon 8, 9) Paul knew that it is mainly the unrighteous, not the righteous, who need detailed laws to keep them in line. (1 Timothy 1:9) He expressed, not suspicion or distrust, but faith in his brothers. To one congregation he wrote: “We have confidence in the Lord regarding you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:4) Paul’s faith, trust, and confidence surely did much to motivate those Christians. Elders and traveling overseers today have similar aims. How refreshing these faithful men are, as they lovingly shepherd the flock of God!

There! Now back to those pesky atheists.

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Tom Irregardless and Me     No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Homo Habilus, Erectus, and Piltdown

We've all seen those lineups of our evolutionary roots...a parade of characters emerging from the slime. The first figure’s barely slithering with butt yet in the water, but each successive fellow is more and more erect, till finally, there’s the guy in the front with briefcase and tie. Sometimes, when satirists are illustrating the backward evolution of something, say….the American school system, they turn the whole troupe around and march them back into the muck.

But the ancestors in the lineup aren’t so orderly as they appear. Since the parade’s inception, for example, the apelike homo habilis has been faithfully tailing the manlike homo erectus, and heaven help you if you were to question that order. But in 2005, scientists in Kenya found fossil specimensof each within walking distance of the other. Moreover, they were dated equally ancient. They weren’t ancestor-descendent at all, but contemporaries, more like Clint Eastwood and his orangutan!Evolutionists muttered about it some in scientific journals, but I never saw a word in the popular media. Ah well, they seem to say….if it wasn’t that slobbering ancestor, then it must have been some other.

The marcher who really takes the cake, though, is Piltdown man. He snuck into the lineup in 1912 and remained for forty years before he was unmasked as a fraud in 1953 and kicked out!

It was a laborer who discovered the bones at the small English village of Piltdown. In time, the place would yield forty separate discoveries. He turned them over to Charles Dawson, a local lawyer, who trotted them off to the museum. They sure looked old. Yes, they represented the missing link, proof that Darwin’s fifty year old theory applied even to humans! The find was announced to the scientific world, which swooned in ecstasy.

But forty years later they began to smell a rat. Weren’t those bones merely chemically stained so as to look old? And hadn’t they been filed here and there in order to mimic the passage of time? More tests were made and…..sonuvagun….it was just a pile of old bones, largely a run-of-the-mill contemporary ape with some other critters fused in! Someone had made asses of the world’s most respected evolutionists! “It really was a horrible, nasty, vicious piece of work!” grouses Andy Currant, featured on the NOVA documentarychronicling the farce.

Who would play such a mean trick?

Suspects were not few. Even Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator Sherlock Holmes, was considered! He lived nearby, he was a medical doctor, he collected fossils, and he was a showman. He even had motive. See….he believed one could communicate with the dead. He took photographs of ghosts, but when he showed them to scientists, they laughed at him. “Frauds, double exposures,” they declared, “easily faked!” “I’ll show you what a fraud is,” he supposedly schemed, and so planted evidence that would give him the last laugh for forty years!

(This better not happen again, Romulus Crowe, If it does, I’m on to you!)

The lawyer Charles Dawson also emerges as a suspicious character. When his Piltdown man was revealed as phony, researchers tested his other ancient treasures on display at museums. They were all forgeries!

Still another fellow comes to light….were they all in cahoots? Martin Hinton, a staff scientist at the British Natural History Museum (where Piltdown was housed) died in 1961. When they found his trunk decades later in a museum storage room, it contained all the chemicals and tools required to create the hoax. Moreover, there were bones doctored similarly, as if he were practicing for the great joke. (or was he only recreating the deception?) Mr. Hinton’s motive? He was peeved at toiling in obscurity, annoyed that his Museum superior passed him over for promotion, denying him fame and money! “I’ll plant a phony caveman,” he supposedly reasoned. “The ass will discover it, parade it as genuine. Scientists will see right through it, and laugh him into oblivion” What he didn’t reckon on was that evolutionists, desperate for any scrap proving human evolution, would lap it all up uncritically….just as they have in modern times with homos habilis and erectus!

Says Giles Oakley, son of the man who uncovered the fraud, “Egotism, pride, ambition, rivalry, these things affect [gasp!] even scientific judgments.”

Incredibly, nationalism even played a part in fooling the “great men,” as the NOVA documentary makes clear. British evolutionists were frustrated in the early 1900’s. The Germans had discovered Neanderthal man. “Prehistoric” men had also been found in France and Spain, and yet the Brits had squat. But these were the days of the British empire, on which the sun never set. Surely they must also be the cradle of civilization! Piltdown man put the Brits on the map scientifically, and British scientists were the last to acknowledge that they had been duped.

Sigh…..how to sum up? Shouldn’t we really defer to the words of Malcolm Muggeridge:

Posterity will surely be amazed, and I hope vastly amused, that such slipshod and unconvincing theorizing should have so easily captivated twentieth-century minds and been so widely and recklessly applied.

Alas, there is little sign as yet that anyone's amazed.

 

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Tom Irregardless and Me              No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Slavery in the Old Testament

People today tend to judge those of prior times in the light of today’s values. It's not a wise thing to do.

The most brilliant and learned people who have ever lived.....namely...us, of course.....come to feel a certain way about this or that practice, so anyone in the past who did not feel that way is barbaric, uncouth, uncivilized, etc. Or, to take the flipside, if we feel a certain way, then the truly learned and wise of prior generations also must have felt that way. But in reality, humankind (yes, even the wise and learned) run with a herd mentality....just like we all wear fat ties one year and narrow ties a few years later.

Slavery is universally condemned today. Yet the most elevated of the ancient world accepted it as a matter of course, and had no qualms about it.  Aristotle, for example, supported slavery as being in accord with natural law. Historians estimate that one of every three persons was a slave in the ancient world.

Sometimes we hear American forefathers like Washington and Jefferson condemned because they kept slaves, without regard for the fact that everyone of their class (wise, refined, prosperous) at the time kept slaves. The fact that they were the most progressive and just of slaveholders means nothing. They kept slaves....damn them..... and so deserve the loathing of today's learned critics, who remain supremely (and absurdly) confident that they themselves would have been immune to the practice had they lived back then.

They kept slaves in Bible times too....in Israelite times....it's codified right there in the Mosaic law....and on that basis today's critics claim moral superiority....again, as if they themselves would have been above it all.

But I'm uncomfortable with making rabid accusations of an ancient society, and much more so judging ancient peoples by today's standards. It seems too much a fulfillment of Proverbs 30:12….

There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes but that has not been washed from its own excrement.

It is OUR world, not theirs, which is on the brink of annihilation from any number of causes: environmental ruin, nuclear annihilation, terrorism, class warfare, economic chaos, and so forth. It is OUR world, not theirs, that lets 20% of its people go hungry, or without clean water, or without any prospects as children other than to become some nutjob’s "freedom fighter." If they were barbaric back there in the OT, our world is 10 times more so. You don't think we should have a better track record ourselves before we go pointing out how rotten they were?

But with regard to slavery, we may divide human history into two periods: when "God's people" were autonomous and when they weren't. For the most part, they were autonomous in the Old Testament (Israel of old was a sovereign nation), however there has never been a Christian nation, neither now nor in New Testament times. Rome was the power of Jesus day and Christianity developed in lands subject to the Roman Empire. Scripture might therefore be expected to be law of the land in OT times, but only a personal code of conduct in NT times. And when scripture was law of the land, we read of a "seven year temporary slavery" arrangement in Israel. How did that work?

Israelites back then, like everyone else, had an economy. And like today, through an interplay of hard work and dumb luck, some would prosper and some would become impoverished. What do you do with those who become impoverished? What do we do with them today? Has today's society found a workable and ideal solution? In ancient Israel, individuals, if they became desperate enough, could sell themselves into slavery to their more prosperous neighbors. (they were never taken by force) That's not so good, some might object, yet is today's solution to poverty really any better?

Though Bible critics rarely mention it, preferring  to take shot after shot at anything religious: after seven years, such slaves were set free! Sooner, if they became slaves before the designated seventh year. And not set free back into poverty. Each Jew was restored to his original hereditary possession, which he may have sold off during periods of poverty. Thus, there would never be generation after generation of permanent poverty, as there is today. Nor would the rich become so entrenchedly rich that ones born into it would come to look at wealth as their right and imagine themselves superior to the less well-off. The obscene lopsided distribution of wealth, characteristic of most societies today, never got a footing in Israel. Of even middle class Americans, one commenter explained: we were born on third base and so we think we have hit a triple.

Not many who rail against the Bible know of this arrangement,  but it compares favorably to anything humans have devised since. We believe it was divine law…..not from humans.

Furthermore, I suspect that many of the outraged who think freeing the slaves after seven years is seven years overdue would immediately rethink their position if they realized it would cost them, as it did those prosperous Jews. They would, instead, raise a clamor about how THEIR freedom was being infringed upon! Free the slaves, as long as its on someone else's dime! Here is a society, unheard of in human history, which regularly, as a matter of course, freed slaves! And all the gripers can do is carry on about how barbarous they were back then! Their system beat anything we have today, mainly because generational, perpetual poverty, the kind that engenders hopelessness and bitterness, never could take root.

Now, this is slavery only in the Mosaic period, the Old Testament. We’ll do the New Testament another time. Moreover, the above does not apply to non-Isrealite slaves, perhaps prisoners of war. Their prospects were less agreeable. True, there is some OT regulation to prevent unchecked cruelty (which is more than existed anywhere else), but even so, slavery is slavery) Now, we may fume over this, but what does the modern world do with enemy combatants? Can you think of any modern nation which has detained enemy combatants for years without trial or even habeas corpus? True, modern nations have (many of them) adopted the Geneva convention, which strictly regulates treatment for prisoners of war. This treaty is scrupulously observed by all signatories during peacetime. Wartime, of course, is a different matter.

There is even a provision in that Mosaic law that allowed for the possibility that the freed slave might renounce his freedom. [!]

But if the slave should insistently say, ‘I really love my master, my wife and my sons; I do not want to go out as one set free,’ then his master must bring him near to the [true] God and must bring him up against the door or the doorpost; and his master must pierce his ear through with an awl [ouch], and he must be his slave to time indefinite.    Exodus 21:5-6

All would see this voluntary slave about town, and would doubtless observe that he must really have a kind, just, fair, agreeable, etc deal, so as to choose servitude. It appears that this arrangement is a foregleam of what would appear in the Christian era. Peter, Paul, James, the early NT writers, all refer to themselves as "slaves" of Christ. Some modern translations soften the term to "servants," but "slave" is the original-language word.

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Tom Irregardless and Me              No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)