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Slavery: Perspectives from Sikhism, Christianity and Other Faiths

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by shearwater, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. shearwater

    shearwater
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    Some would say that Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest failures in American Political History. In retrospect, however, we would evaluate him probably as a great American President since the emancipation proclamation liberated the slaves below the Mason Dixon Line in the south. He was convinced that every man is equal before God.
     
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    shearwaterj i

    That is a good example of what I was trying to say. He had no choice but to go forward despite all the probable risks and catastrophes.

    Thanks ;)
     
  4. shearwater

    shearwater
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    Re: If You've Never Failed You've Never Lived

    Lincoln had choices and his influence was at work but his conscience kept telling him that slavery of a human being is fundamentally wrong and therefore must be abolished. Before him, many people had indentured servants (slaves). and thought nothing of it. But Lincoln conscience was informed by the Bible rather than the cultural norms at that time.
     
  5. spnadmin

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    Re: If You've Never Failed You've Never Lived

    shearwaterji

    Where in the Bible do we read anything against slavery? The ancient Hebrews and Jews of the Hellenistic era held slaves, as did the Roman oppressors of the time of Jesus of Nazareth. The message for the Jews of his time was less concerned with material world and more concerned with liberation in the next world. Not in this world. Please point out where slavery was condemned using the specific words "slave" or "slavery." In fact, Paul in Colossians 3 told slaves they should behave themselves.

    Lincoln was influenced by the abolitionists of the early part of his century, many of whom were Quakers (Society of Friends), or "Theosophists" who were influenced by the religions of the East. In some cases they were agnostic or even atheists.

    Comments about moving posts to Interfaith Dialogs deleted.
     
    #4 spnadmin, Dec 28, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2008
  6. shearwater

    shearwater
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    Re: If You've Never Failed You've Never Lived

    Aristotle was a great moral philosopher and ethicist. But he did not articulate the founding ideas of the United States of America, which are essentially Christian and based on the so-called Judeo-Christian ethic. These were set to principle by the statement that, "All men are created equal and they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The idea that any man, given an opportunity is free to pursue his dreams, untrammled by government tyranny is uniquely American.
     
  7. spnadmin

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    Re: If You've Never Failed You've Never Lived

    In Paul's epistle to the Colossians, find this

    3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 3:24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

    The word "servants" is translated from the Latin "servi" which meant "slaves." Christianity in many parts of the world did not speak against slavery throughout the post-Roman period. In fact slavery in Europe and South American continued into the 19th Century.

    [SIZE=-1]Before 1400: Slavery had existed in Europe from Classical times and did not disappear with the collapse of the Roman Empire. Slaves remained common in Europe throughout the early medieval period. However, slavery of the Classical type became increasingly uncommon in Northern Europe and, by the 11th and 12th centuries, had been effectively abolished in the North. Nevertheless, forms of unfree labour, such as villeinage and serfdom, persisted in the north well into the early modern period. In Southern and Eastern Europe, Classical-style slavery remained a normal part of the society and economy and trade across the Mediterranean and the Atlantic seaboard meant that African slaves began to appear in Italy, Spain, Southern France, and Portugal well before the discovery of the New World in 1492. From about the 8th century onwards, an Arab-run slave trade also flourished, with much of this activity taking place in East Africa, Arabia, and the Indian Ocean. In addition, many African societies themselves had forms of slavery, although these differed considerably, both from each other and from the European and Arabic forms. Although various forms of unfree labour were prevalent in Europe throughout its history, historians refer to 'Chattel Slavery', in which slaves are commodities to be bought and sold, rather than domestic servants or agricultural workers. Chattel Slavery is the characteristic form of slavery in the modern world, and this chronology is concerned primarily with this form.

    Source: [/SIZE]
    Slavery Timeline 1400-1500 - a Chronology of Slavery, Abolition, and Emancipation

    It was not until 1838 when the Roman pope Gregory 16th condemned slavery that slavery was abolished in South America, Central American and Mexico. In North America, in 1863, Catholics in the state of Louisiana had freed their slaves by that time. Therefore, the parishes of Louisiana where slaves were freed were exempted from the penalties against slavery spelled out in Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Christians throughout the southern or slave-sates continued the practice of slavery until the end of the Civil War.
     
  8. spnadmin

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    Re: If You've Never Failed You've Never Lived

    In Paul's epistle to the Ephesians, he repeats

    6:5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 6:7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 6:8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.


    the meaning of some of the terms is given below

    5-8. Servants. The term does not refer so much to hired servants, as slaves, of whom there were many millions in the Roman Empire at that time. These were of all races, prisoners taken in war, or their children. Christianity did not violently destroy this relation, but regulated, mitigated and undermined it by introducing a new element into human life which would destroy it. Masters according to the flesh. Earthly masters whose dominion will go no ****her than this world. With fear and trembling. Not for fear of punishment, but for fear that the service is not done right. As unto Christ. Christ will see and reward your fidelity to duty, even if an earthly master does not. 6. Not with eye-service. Service that seems faithful when under the eye of the master, but relaxes when he does not see. Such is the usual service of slaves, unless they have a high sense of duty. 7. With good will. With a well disposed mind towards the master. As to the Lord. It pleases the Lord, whatever may be the relations of life, for us to do our service well. We may engage in very lowly duties to the glory of the Lord. 8. Knowing that whatsoever, etc. If a man renders good service anywhere, whether he be bond or free, the Lord will see that he is rewarded.

    From B.W. Johnson's commentary at B. W. Johnson's The People's New Testament [Ephesians, Chapter VI].
     
  9. Astroboy

    Astroboy Malaysia
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    ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
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    John Stossel has a piece today about the recent U.S. Supreme Courts ruling in District of Columbia vs. Heller. Stossel points out that many have forgotten, or perhaps never knew, that the Bill of Rights doesn’t give us our rights, it acknowledges them.
    The Bill of Rights did not create rights. It acknowledged them. Right before the July 4 holiday, it shouldn’t have been necessary to remind the four Supreme Court dissenters of what Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. … “


     
  10. spnadmin

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    NamJap ji

    This is a very important point you are making. The Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence are based on a theory of "negative rights."

    As you quoted, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. … “

    Negative rights means that basic rights are NOT given, because they always existed. In the US constitution, rights are assumed to exist and the government (federal, state and local) may NOT pass any legislation to remove these basic, inalienable rights.

    In constitutional governments where rights are given to people (theory of affirmative rights) the government can easily then take those rights away.

    The US Britain and Commonwealth may be the countries where rights are assumed under "negative rights." The US gained this idea from the Magna Carta of England.

    I think this is also consistent with Sikhism.
     
  11. Sinister

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    It is self evident upon a deeper inner search that the egalitarian principle that permeates the modern collective consciousness is deeply rooted within a larger 'spiritual message?', a larger truth (for the evolutionist it may be the stepping stone to mans ‘spiritual or psychological revolution’). To those of us who think otherwise, have not actually understood this spiritual equality that permeates through the modern human spirit as an unrealized magnificent ‘vibration?’.

    Most have approached with an intellectual mind, callously, superficially and vainly, brushing off the egalitarian principle as some anthropogenic social engineering project that is responsible for all of mans suffering. When indeed, this couldn't be any further from the truth.

    The observer must not think of himself different or separate from the observed. If a man wants to genuinely listen, diligently learn, if he truly truly truly wants peace, the embracement of equality is as essential as water. Or else, we enter a dangerous spiral of degeneration where conclusions are drawn before the problem is even understood. Where the communion between men is superficial and thus impossible. A fascism, a ritualism, a tribalism and a type of vanity emerge so vicious and entrenched that it can consume us all into the dark past.

    This oneness with nature, with our surroundings, with our events, with our fellow man is the enlightened state of existence we search for. We do disservice when we objectify it, and look at it intellectually which is entirely wrong (because looking at something intellectually is the process of thought and thought loves to separate the person from the problem) this means we have already made up our minds and are only superficially paying attention or we are not attending to what actually needs attention. We are not at all serious about internalizing the egalitarian spirit. We rarely listen, because if we did this, suffering would cease … Why do we run back to traditions that have divided us, that have paralyzed us with a slow symptom of mental atrophy? …why?…Because we still childishly believe that this message of equality holds little pragmatic value in today’s perversely divisive and hierarchal world. We dismiss it as a frivolous utopian state. While others just don’t care, so we don’t bother trying. To be equal, to live by the egalitarian code is to listen and share (objectively, clearly, attentively, at all times).

    So, let us not underestimate the spirit of equality or lest we view this as something evil, conjured by selfish and lost men. Our way of life needs to be modified and made less erudite, but the overarching egalitarian spirit is needed desperately now more than ever. Its most basic tenants are never internalized by the world citizenry, only superficially accepted and signed off on official looking books and documents. WE must feel the innateness of this equality, it has always been, and it will always remain if attended to, despite the forces that tell us otherwise.

    C h e e r s
     
    #10 Sinister, Dec 30, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008

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