Not Even Aristotle and Plato Could Truly Defend Slavery
March 13, 2023
Slavery of any race cannot be defended by the most brilliant, eloquent person even though many have tried. Aristotle said that “nature” gave stronger bodies and less understanding to those born to serve while free men have less physical force and greater understanding. He also said that “just as some are by nature free, so there are by nature slaves, and for these latter the condition of slavery is both beneficial and just.” Aristotle was wrong! Slavery can never be justified.
Aristotle’s teacher, Plato also supported slavery and did not see any injustice in the practice as it was, because of the slaves’ “inherent inferiority.” Slaves were essential to running the state so they should be used for their intended use. He said a knife is good if it is used efficiently, that is if it cuts well to accomplish a task. Slaves, most of the populace, were efficient tools for the betterment of society.
However, God looks upon all men as equal, not in ability, but in their status before Him. Consequently, any forced slavery is a sin against God.
Most Americans have an unrealistic and skewed impression of slavery that they have received from a flawed public school system and media moguls. They have been inculcated with the lie (spoken loudly and at length) that white Christians are somehow responsible for slavery! The fact is we did not start slavery. We ended it!
We even hear of Christians who surrendered their own freedom to ransom others. Slaves were granted religious equality and were permitted to hold office in the Church, even that of a bishop. However, it is noteworthy that Christ never commissioned His Disciples to launch a crusade to dismantle slavery. The New Birth would eventually solve the problem.
Social justice warriors on the left have not considered that aspect of the problem.
Loosey goosey Evangelicals who vie with others to see who is more woke are an embarrassment to genuine Christians who take a biblical position on the cultural issues facing our world. Most of those effervescent “Evan-Jellicals” would confess they are “pro-family” but are not critical of sodomy or same-sex “marriage.” They would be gladly cast as “Americans” but not as “nationalists.” Too many don’t know what a woman is and are perplexed about female sanitary products in male restrooms. The problem is most of today’s soft middle-of-the-road, never-take-a-firm-stand Christians are a theological, mental, and emotional mess. They are very mushy on border issues and quickly hug any leftwing racial issue to their bosoms like an insecure kid and his ever-present security blanket.
They watched Alex Haley’s televised Roots series sold to the public as a “historic novel.” We saw a handsome black man walking through his idyllic African jungle home when he was accosted by vicious white men, subdued after a valiant effort of resistance, chained, and taken to America where he lived and died a slave on a Southern plantation. That myth has been perpetuated by black preachers (who should be more dedicated to truth) when they tell their people that their ancestors were black royalty who were dragged from their homes by white Americans. Sorry, but it didn’t happen that way.
Black apologist Michael Eric Dyson pitched Alex Haley's Roots as “unquestionably one of the nation’s seminal texts. It affected events far beyond its pages and was a literary North Star...Each generation must make up its own mind about how it will navigate the treacherous waters of our nation's racial sin. And each generation must overcome our social ills through greater knowledge and decisive action. Roots is a stirring reminder that we can achieve these goals only if we look history squarely in the face.”
But Roots doesn’t “look history squarely in the face.” It was fictional from the first page. It was a case of factualizing fiction.
Most Americans still don’t know that historians confronted Haley with his inaccurate screed, and he admitted, “I tried to give my people a myth to live by.” I believe thinking Blacks would prefer to live by the truth rather than a myth. The truth is that Haley pirated (stole, lifted, plagiarized, etc.) from The African, and was accused of plagiarism, he settled with the author for $650,000.00.
Some have used the Bible to justify slavery but without success. Exodus 21:16 clearly forbids slavery: “And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him…shall surely be put to death.” So God prescribed the death penalty for those who deal in human flesh! And the death penalty was for both buyer and seller! But what about the Bible supporting slavery in other places? It doesn’t. The Mosaic Law did not establish slavery. The Old Testament recognized slavery as a reality and sought to mitigate it since it was a fact of life throughout the world. The taking of captives in war is another matter but has been a factor in slavery since the beginning of time.
In I Timothy 1:10, the Apostle Paul condemned “menstealers” affirming that such a sin was why the Law of Moses was given. The epistle of Philemon does not endorse slavery as some suggest. Onesimus was a run-away indentured servant who owed a debt to Philemon (Paul’s friend), and Paul recommended that Philemon release him when Onesimus returned to him. Paul promised to pay any debt Onesimus owed to Philemon. In Christ, there is neither bond nor free. All are equal in Christ.
When slavery is discussed, it usually focuses on Southern slavery with more heat than light. Slavery has been a reality since Joseph was sold into slavery in the early days of civilization as recorded in Genesis. Far more Whites have been slaves than Blacks, and it has always been wrong.
Black slaves were first taken to Europe in the late 1400s and to the New World in 1502. Between 1500 and 1860, it is estimated that over nine million Blacks were taken from Africa to the New World, but less than three percent were sold in America during the 350 years preceding the Civil War. Brazil was the biggest market by far.
Black slaves usually fell into one of three categories: (1) captives taken in war or those kidnapped by black chiefs, (2) convicted criminals such as killers, thieves, etc.), and (3) those born into slavery.
Some suggest that white men introduced slavery to the African continent; however, that is a fairy story. Slavery was known throughout Africa for centuries before white traders sailed into African ports. Slaves were used as money to pay taxes, to purchase a wife, cattle, or crops. As the black historian Nathan Huggins pointed out, “virtually all of the enslavement of Africans was carried out by other Africans.”
Some have tried to defend slavery because the enslaved Blacks were taken to “enlightened” countries where they heard the Gospel of Christ. Sorry, but that dog won’t hunt! While Christianity is the answer to paganism, the residual effects of slavery do not justify the buying or selling of humans.
The degrading, dastardly, and despicable practice of slavery has gone on since the beginning of time in all nations of the earth, but most Americans only think of North America when they think of slavery.
While slavery is a blot on the face of America (and the world), there were some residual benefits that black leaders admit. In his Up From Slavery, Booker T. Washington said that the Negro was the beneficiary, not the victim of slavery!
Muhammad Ali fought George Foreman in the mid-1970s in the African nation of Zaire and after his victorious fight, Ali flew back to the U.S. On his return to America, a reporter asked Ali what he thought of Africa, and he replied, “Thank God my granddaddy got on that boat.”
Evidently, Ali thought that something positive came out of slavery, and while he had major problems, famous Greek philosophers were more troubled in their thinking about slavery than the brain-damaged boxer.
Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives; ran a large Christian school in Indianapolis, wrote columns for USA Today for eight years; authored 15 books, which can be purchased below, and hundreds of columns and articles for Internet and print media publications; defended his beliefs on hundreds of talk shows. www.cstnews.com, www.Muslimfact.com, www.thegodhaters.com.
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