Selling your daughter into sex slavery…REALLY???

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~ A friend of mine at coffee has been less than happy with my articles about Christianity, he contends that “You are too obsessed with the Old Testament Kenneth, it doesn’t apply today, so stop being so fixated with it!”

The problem that my coffee friend doesn’t want to acknowledge is the implications that Christians make about the Old Testament. If Christian’s simply said the Old Testament was a bunch of interesting stories, then that would be that. However, they take things a step further and say that the Old Testament is the very word of God the Creator incarnate, and that the various laws instituted by Moses came from the very mouth of God.

That is a tall order to drink, because many of the laws in the Old Testament are downright outrageous. Take for instance this little ditty in Exodus 21:7,

“When a man sells his daughter as a slave (concubine), she shall not go out as the male slaves do. If she does not please her master, who has designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed”

There are two major elements in this text that fly off the page;

1) A man sells his daughter into slavery!

2) The daughter isn’t being sold as a slave that makes beds and sets the dinner table; she is being sold to be a sex slave!

The Hebrew word for “slave” in this verse is “amah” and appears three other times in the Old Testament, every other time it is translated as “concubine” because this is the type of slavery being inferred by the text.

If you are simply the type of person that writes these crazy Old Testament verses off as merely being the writings of men who were living in a male dominated society where women were less than second class citizens, then it is easy to move on and finish our coffee over a different subject. However, the problem is that for the majority of fundamentalist and evangelical Christians, these laws in the Old Testament were spoken by the very creator of the universe….and that is a very difficult cup of coffee to drink.

We live in an odd day and age. Largely motivated by the religious right, the State of Indiana created a law recently that sent shockwaves through the country as the law appears to give business owners the right to discriminate against non-Evangelicals. It is as though we have turned the clock back in time, what is next; do Christians want to force blacks to drink from a garden hose behind the back of the building?

My coffee house friend who has been arguing with me over this topic believes business owners should have the right to refuse ALL services to homosexuals “If a gay couple or an unmarried heterosexual couple came to me and wanted to rent a house from me, I would refuse to let them rent the house because I do not approve of such lifestyles” he said

It is no secret that Evangelical Christians believe their religion is under attack. For much of the last few centuries they were the power players in American politics and ideology. My friend resents the advances women have made, “It is wrong that women are taking jobs away from men” he has told me on more than one occasion, “Women’s first responsibility should be to stay at home caring for children” he said

Such positions nowadays seem rather radical. It is as though conservative Christians are trying to turn the clock back and move society backwards to a day where men sat in their studies smoking cigars and chatting, while the women were relegated to the kitchen in servitude.

Much of the Christian perspective on modern day issues stem from their interpretation of the bible. They believe that the Creator of the universe spoke down from heaven and placed women  in positions of servitude; they believe God authored selling daughters into sex slavery, and that men should be the top dogs in all ranking issues of culture.

When we consider the radical Muslims all over the Middle East; we see the same type of anti-women attitudes, and we see the same reliance on their holy scriptures. They too believe God spoke down from heaven and made women second class citizens who exist to serve men.

For some reason these people, whether Muslim or Christian, can’t seem to understand that the Old Testament and Quran were written by men in male dominated cultures. They are scriptures written by men who believed and taught the superiority of men. Far from being the very word of the Creator, many of these biblical laws are nothing more than the writings of men.


Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee,

Kenneth



Categories: Culture & Society

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25 replies

  1. Muslim owned bakery will not make a wedding cake for gays and no one says a word. Muslims kill gays in their homeland. Crickets. Jews bakers should be forced to make KKK wedding cakes or cupcakes. If the Christain is forced to participate, then All should be forced to participate in things that turn their stomach

    • Don’t we agree that the Muslims who do such things are out of their minds? So why would the Christian want to imitate such radical behavior?

    • But laws are suppose to be followed by all not just the Christians. That’s the problem, everybody gets special treatment but white heterosexual Christians. If the Muslims are here in our country then their awful behaviour warrants jail not special religious treatment.

  2. The Old Testament is a story, a history. It is not all meant to be taken literally. God inspired the telling of the story. He did not necessarily like the way people were living and that is all part of the big picture of the old testament. God sent His son to save us and show us a new way to live. In case it’s not clear, I agree with you on this point, Kenneth. Thank you for opening up this dialogue.

    • Thank you. The problem is that too many Christians have set up camp on the issue that every single law in the O.T. is straight from God’s mouth, and I think logic dictates that to be nonsense. Cleary much of the Old Testament was nothing more than the ramblings of power hungry men who treated women (in some cases) worse than animals!

    • And how do you tell – independent of morality you impose on these passages – which bits are to be taken literally and which bits are not?

      Don’t you think this matters a very great deal?

      Now extend it: how do you tell – independent of beliefs you impose on other scriptures – which ones are to be taken literally and which ones are not?

      More importantly, how do you and, say, a Hindu, agree on this means to differentiate which set of scriptures is <i.closer to being the inspiration of some god and which one is further away?

      And this leads to an inescapable conclusion: neither you nor anyone else has the means to differentiate… other than the willingness to believe in this god before any religious beliefs were introduced. And if that’s the case, then making claims about the OT and what agencies ‘inspired’ it is nothing more and nothing less than your beliefs imposed on this one but not that one, this claim but not that claim, and then misrepresented to have scriptural authority. These claims you make are from you an d your beliefs and this is what creates these very different gods.

  3. I have wanted to have a discussion about this topic for a very long time. History is only a record of people’s perspectives at the time they wrote it down. Even video footage is shot from selected angles with selective focus and the people viewing the same content will interpret it differently. Anyone with any sense knows that when it comes to accounts of the past you have to look at the source before you determine how valid you think the information is. Humans are fallible and anything they’ve recorded is subject to that fallibility. I’m so very grateful that my Jewish father doesn’t abide by the ways of the Torah because quite frankly I really don’t think I would’ve enjoyed spending my entire life being trained to serve men and service them sexually with absolutely no compensation on my part. I’d like to see that friend of yours who thinks so little of women have to live as one for a month. Sure it’s all good and well to deny other people rights you yourself enjoy without a thought but you might feel a bit different if you were the one getting trampled on by insecure selfish assholes all the time.

  4. I very much believe in God. I also agree with every word you said. I have long since realised that the God I know in my heart and the God others would force on me are barely related. I’m delighted to see another level-headed Christian willing to accept the idea that most of our problems stem from following the parts of holy books that allow one group to oppress another. If you believe in God, how you can you believe he loves another less than you? Time to grow up and put away childish things.

  5. The Bible is the depiction of the fallen human nature. It is time for human to know the lies of the devil since creation.

  6. Reblogged this on My Philosophy, My Thoughts. and commented:
    In Asia selling sex or selling your child is a way of life its a job that can pay bills get the family out of debt not looked at the same way western cultures do

  7. What about the word of God, His personal presence in our everyday life?
    This is what we always tend to forget. It is not something can be written, it is something what must be fresh, vivid, accurate and up-to-date, the very thing we need to strive for, sometimes for long time.
    When we can resonate with our Heavenly Father, then we can experience that tranquil unity, truth what can guide us.
    The modern world is full of opinion-makers and they barely advertise God’s wisdom and guidance.
    It is very much OK the status quo has been shaken and changed: these are the very Last Days.
    I think, it is only up to us what and how shall we do. The nature, charachteristics of our Heavenly Father, whose main attributum the absolute love will never change – however our understanding should, since our “love” only produced grief and agony in the human history.
    If somebody stays in the “Old Testament” age level, unwilling to realize the need of growing, beint more nad more completed, matured, others in the “New Testament Age” level of understanding, it is their choice. There are many, who do not reach even the very basic human “level”…
    Maybe, we should focus on first on those who want to create unity, harmony with the very idea of God: living for the sake of others, without expecting anything in return.
    For any, who will be attracted, will prosper…

  8. Three comments. 1. The Old Testament was a covenant between God and the Jews. It’s laws are not binding on Christians who live under the covenant of God’s grace. Many of its principles remain valid, however. 2. Christians don’t believe in sex slavery. 3. Many ancient nations, most in fact, practiced slavery, and fathers did regularly sell their children when in poverty. The Old Testament rule you quoted put boundaries on this practice to limit its abuses. It required the Hebrew buyer to keep the concubine as his secondary wife even if he married another woman, or to sell her to another Hebrew, or to return her at no cost to her family. Not ideal, but better than the availing practices of the pagan nations.

  9. I have thought through since you last brought it up I almost chose not to comment. Here is what I (as a evangelical Pentecostal ) have to say. I call myself revolutionary because I have decided to not be tied down to any movements doctrine but to see what the Scripture teaches even if I do not like it. I find myself rather alone in this. For those who are on the Pentecostal side who say the same thing I find they often gloss over much thus my blog and my goal of creating a systematic theology that is largely Pentecostal but how I see things. Now about the technical aspect of what you are saying. There are three things to consider when looking at any ancient documents. First is the translation. Only a small minority actually translate this rape. The direct Hebrew translation is actually from two different words. There are disputes among the scholars on how to interpret this but even then there is a lot of wiggle room. This brings me to the culture which is the second piece that needs to be addressed. At that time neither the man nor the woman owned their own body the family did. They are not there own. This is why adultery was punished by the death of both involved not just the women. When someone had sex outside of marriage it was always considered rape even if it was consensual. Largely because it was not conceivable that someone would use someone else’s property without payment or permission and in the case of sex the only way was to marry. This brings me to the third piece that needs to be considered the traditional interpretation (in this case by the Jewish faith) and that is the guy had to pay and offer to marry but it was the women’s choice to marry. Also the payment was large about 5 years of income. Remember the culture marriage was more about the family as a whole and not about two individuals.

    Now my take from this. I find it good to struggle with things of this nature. It will mature us but only if we are open to something different then what we already think. Sometimes after going through a study on something hard I only reinforce my own beliefs other times I adjust them and yet other times I change them all together. This time I had to adjust them. What I found satisfies me but if it does not satisfy anyone else then that is okay we must struggle to find ourselves approved of God. One large piece of that struggle is in His Scriptures. God Bless and keep up the great work.

  10. Kenneth, I think there are deeper issues behind some of the laws in the old testament that you may not be seeing. Like it or not sex slavery has been a way of life for centuries, all over the world, and continues today. Biblical law was actually trying to restrict it, to provide some protections and guidance.The same is true with rape, some people are offended at the idea of paying a victim 50 shekels, but prior to these laws rape cost nothing, there were no rules against it at all.

    I think we grow very complacent in the Western world, we pretend everything is so civilized and we forget what the real world is like, we forget what women experience to this very day. Civilization is a very thin veneer. When we try to judge the bible with Western 21rst century eyes, we’re not getting a very good understanding and we tend to rush to judgment. The bible was not written by men who hated women at all, nor were those arbitrary rules handed down by a mean God.

  11. Without darkness there is no light, this is no excuse for the male ego domineer, yet is also no vice for a woman scorned to rise up and seek a fortitude of vengeance.

    Christianity initially credited Mother nature to be the Mother of earth and Farther sky, until she tried to teach a male the beauty of it but insubordinate, he believed himself to be above her in the mark of time. #europe
    Christians summoned the Gods and when they did not deliver what they wanted they chose ill faith and tried to create their own unit of creation an direct condescension of the natural forces possessed by the Gods to maintain, civility, harmony and progression.

    Bodies used throughout time as retainers of attempts to swing a direction of belief have always been destroyed, if they refuse to be guided, they inflict innocent people. #sacrifice

    I don’t know what drives a mother to try and benefit from their daughter being forged to present themselves as a consigned, maybe its envy, jealousy or raw hatred, possibly an avenue to be fulfilled from an emptiness of utter greed.

    Apprehension an presenting excuses is no escape of conviction its merely an effort to continue to torture other for the mistakes of the irresponsible. #guilty

    Think of God as a guidance that spans across the minds, but realise all Godly discretions are only deliverable through the physics of lore.
    Whist both different races hold value amongst different beliefs, different locations also find worth in different concepts. #noexcuses

    The biggest protectors can still be cut to shreds by lies, and agendas that value the ideals of hatred rather than walking in the enlightenment of juxtaposition and complementary.

    #harmony

  12. “The problem that my coffee friend doesn’t want to acknowledge is the implications that Christians make about the Old Testament. If Christian’s simply said the Old Testament was a bunch of interesting stories, then that would be that. However, they take things a step further and say that the Old Testament is the very word of God the Creator incarnate, and that the various laws instituted by Moses came from the very mouth of God.”

    It does seem that people fall into either of those two categories. Either the stories are symbolic/metaphorical or they are literal truth. Of course it would be possible for parts of the stories to be true. The same could be said about Santa Claus though too. Saint Nicholas could have existed but that doesn’t mean that he has flying reindeer and is delivering presents today. People can tell some tall tales. A look at modern fiction shows us that.

  13. “When we consider the radical Muslims all over the Middle East; we see the same type of anti-women attitudes, and we see the same reliance on their holy scriptures. They too believe God spoke down from heaven and made women second class citizens who exist to serve men.

    For some reason these people, whether Muslim or Christian, can’t seem to understand that the Old Testament and Quran were written by men in male dominated cultures. They are scriptures written by men who believed and taught the superiority of men. Far from being the very word of the Creator, many of these biblical laws are nothing more than the writings of men.”

    The fact that Muslims are just as devoted to their holy book as the Christians is probably why the two religions are so comparable. I think Christianity has more in common with Islam than either Christians or Muslims want to admit.

  14. Shared on FB.

    I have long marveled that the folks who use the OT to condemn homosexuality go out and get tattoos, which are forbidden. Cherry picking at its finest.

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