Naked Evils of Clerical Slavery

In the previous post, I mentioned that the potential evils of clerical babble (i.e., the potential evils of clerical ignorance) needn’t materialize. For example, the silly-little myth in the Old Testament (OT) about the Tower of Babel probably hasn’t caused humanity too much harm – although it might have added to concerns of some Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Mormons that God is “waiting in the wings” to punish them if they “step out of line” to produce something new or express original thoughts, rather than remain the good-little docile sheep desired by their clerical masters.

In contrast, another silly-little myth in the OT that has led to an astounding amount of terrible evil is the one that seems to be just “patched on” (at Genesis 9) to the end of the story about Noah and the flood:
Noah [the alleged forefather of us all, since he allegedly was the only man who survived the fictitious world-wide flood], a man of the soil, began the planting of vineyards. He drank some of the wine, became drunk, and lay naked inside his tent. When Ham [Noah’s youngest son], father of Canaan, saw his father naked, he told his two brothers [Shem and Japheth] outside. So, Shem and Japheth took a cloak, put it on their shoulders and walked backwards, and so covered their father’s naked body; their faces were turned the other way, so that they did not see their father naked. When Noah woke from his drunken sleep, he learned what his youngest son [Ham] had done to him, and said: “Cursed be Canaan [i.e., Ham’s son; Noah’s grandson] slave of slaves shall he be to his brothers.” And he [Noah] continued: “Bless, O Lord, the tents of Shem; may Canaan be his slave. May God extend Japheth’s bounds, let him dwell in the tents of Shem, may Canaan be their slave.”
Upon first encountering the above myth, the reader surely asks something similar to: “What the devil is this all about?”

Well, of course I don’t know the answer to that question, and as far as I know, nobody knows. It appears that no other culture was saddled with a similar, silly myth. For a change, it seems to be a Hebrew original! But for reasons that I’ll suggest shortly, I suspect that the myth is a proposed answer from some lame-brain cleric (“J”?) for a question similar to: “Is it right for us Jews to have the aboriginals of this land (the Canaanites) as our slaves?” Thus, I’m proposing that a cleric answered (with the above myth): “Oh, sure: all Canaanites are to be slaves; it’s what father Noah ordained.”

If the reader wonders why (in the above) I jumped from the story about Noah’s grandson, Canaan, to comments about all Canaanites (in whose land the wandering shepherds from Mesopotamia, the Hebrews, settled), then be aware of another game that the Hebrew clerics played – although as far as I know, in the Bible they never spelled out the rules of their game. Based on how the game was played, however, the rules seem decipherable: the clerics appear to have assumed that each ethnic group had its own patriarch (which, I suppose, is reasonable enough) and that they, the clerics, could identify each such patriarch! Thus:

• Noah (and of course Adam) is the alleged forefather of us all,

• Noah’s (good) son Shem is the patriarch of the (good) Semites (i.e., from the Oxford American Dictionary: “from modern Latin Semita, via late Latin from Greek Sēm, ‘Shem’ – a member of any of the peoples who speak or spoke a Semitic language, including in particular the Jews and Arabs”),

• Noah’s other good son, Japheth, is the alleged patriarch of all the other “good people” (the Indo-Europeans), and

• The “sinful” son Ham (who saw his father, Noah, naked) is the alleged patriarch of “the Hamites”, i.e., “the group of North African peoples, including the Egyptian and Berbers… from Greek barbarus [as in barbarian, meaning] ‘foreigner’.”

In particular, the innocent grandson Canaan is the alleged patriarch of the Canaanites, whose land the Hebrews occupied – and some of whom no doubt the Hebrews enslaved.

Incidentally, the game sketched above continues to be played throughout the OT. For example, as described in Chapter 2 of the amazingly complete, online book Old Testament Life and Literature by Gerald Larue:
Genesis 10 lists Noah’s descendants and some of the “sons” can be identified as geographical areas. “Cush”, mentioned in Genesis 10, 6, is the area in North Africa south of the first cataract of the Nile known as Nubia… Among Canaan’s children is one called “Sidon” (Gen. 10, 15), the name of a Phoenician seaport in northern Canaan. Abram (Abraham) is listed as one of the descendants of Shem, but among Shem’s children we find areas listed as individuals – Elam, which is near Susa in Persia, and Asshur, which is Assyria. Among the immediate ancestors of Abram named in Genesis 11 is Nahor, his grandfather, and Terah, his father. Nahor appears to be the city called Til-nakhiri, and Terah, Til-turakhi in Assyrian texts. The name “Haran” refers to a person in Genesis 11, 27-30 but to a place in subsequent verses (Gen. 11, 31-32; 12, 4-5). When do people really become people and stop being symbolic representations of places? The pattern goes on: Esau becomes Edom and Jacob becomes Israel.
And yes, I’d agree with critics who would point out that similar is common today: many cities and states are named after people (e.g., Seattle, Washington, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania…) and it’s not uncommon for people to be identified by where they’re from: “Hey, Pittsburgh, who do you think’s gonna win the game?” And by the way, the authors of Genesis thereby inadvertently revealed themselves: they couldn’t have written about Canaan, Cush, Sidon, etc. (or Seattle, Washington!) until long after the alleged dates of the story, i.e., until after such places had been established.

But whether or not the reason suggested above for the myth (namely, “justifying” enslavement of the Canaanites) is correct, the obvious evils, the potential evils, and the realized evils resulting from the above silly-little, ignorant myth are truly mind boggling – and then, teeth-grinding, stomach-tightening, and fist-clenchingly horrible. Below I’ll try to illustrate at least a little of what I mean, starting with the myth’s mind-boggling stupidity.

Actually, it’s rather amazing to find so much stupidity – so much ignorance – packed into such a short story. For example, who but a “sicko” would consider it wrong (a “sin”) for a son to see his father naked? The author’s (“J’s”?) similar “hang up” about nudity is evident earlier, at Genesis 3, 7, where he imagined that, when they “gained knowledge of good and evil”, the first husband and wife (Adam and Eve) were immediately embarrassed by their nakedness:
Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they discovered that they were naked; so they stitched fig-leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
I wonder how much psychological harm has been done to youngsters and how many marriages have been damaged (even ruined) by such a perverted view of human nakedness.

The Sumerians, in contrast, for example as illustrated in The Epic of Gilgamesh, apparently had a healthy appreciation of the beauty of the human body:
They journeyed from the forest far and wide to venture on toward Uruk. The girl led forth the naked boy as gently as a mother would, tearing her garment right in two to hide their native beauty and clothed his splendid body then with her own cloak as they approached.
Even worse than the Bible’s stupidity about nudity, however, is the author’s (“J’s”) complete ignorance about even the simplest concept of fairness. How could anyone with only the most rudimentary appreciation of justice conclude that the grandchild should be punished for the “sin” of the father? It’s similar to the author’s horrible suggestion that all humans should be punished (with no less than the death penalty!) for the alleged misdeed of Adam and Eve (who actually did nothing wrong, since God forbade them from knowing the difference between good and evil, e.g., that is was “good” to obey God).

Further, how could anyone with even a minimum of compassion for another human being (let alone his own grandson) sentence a child to a lifetime of slavery for the alleged misdeed of the boy’s father? For contrast, recall the moral in the original, Sumerian flood myth: “On the sinner impose his sin. On the transgressor impose his transgression!” Applied here, even if it were (incorrectly) concluded that Ham had done something wrong (seeing his father naked), then Noah would have had Ham strip in front of Canaan – which would have been the end of it. (Save, perhaps, for Canaan’s comment: “Hey, Dad, now that you’re ready, let’s go swimming!”)

In fact, there’s something else in this hideous-little story, although I expect that readers unfamiliar with the OT will be skeptical of my extrapolation. But as I’ll show in later posts, the same theme is repeated with essentially all of the patriarchs, including Abraham, Lott, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses. Therefore, I ask readers to at least notice the following potential evil lurking in the above myth about Noah and the hideous introduction of the concept of enslaving humans.

To start, notice how the above vignette portrays the patriarch Noah:

• He was unable to hold his liquor, falling down drunk after doing who knows what that led to his being naked,

• He was so displeased with his naked body (but then, since allegedly he was more than 500 years old, his body was probably in pretty bad shape!) that he obviously had some serious psychological problems,

• He was totally unaware of even the rudiments of justice,

• He was so vindictive, so spiteful, so hateful that he unjustifiably punished his own grandson for the alleged “sin” of the boy’s father, and to top it off,

• He not only advocated slavery, he sentenced his own grandson (and all his grandson’s descendants) to perpetual slavery.

In short, Noah was a no-account. And yet, the clerical author tells us (at Genesis 6, 8-10; 22) that “Noah had won the Lord’s favor”, “a righteous man”, “the one blameless man of his time”, “he walked with God”, “exactly as God had commanded him, so Noah did.” From which the message that the clerical authors seem to be delivering (and later in the OT, they will deliver the same message, over and over again) is of the form: “You people aren’t to judge who’s righteous and who isn’t; we priests will do the judging; your job is to be like Noah: exactly as commanded, so, too, you’re to do.”

But the teeth-clenching, stomach-turning, fist-clenching evil in the above Canaan slave myth arises from its subsequent generalizations, not as a proposed (stupid) answer to the question “Does God approve of our having Canaanite slaves?” but as a proposed (idiotic) answer to the question: “Is slavery okay?”

To be fair, though, I should make the obvious point that the Hebrews certainly weren’t the first people to enslave others. Almost certainly, dominance of one human over another is essentially as old as humanity; slavery is an extreme form of such dominance, in which the domineering person claims the right to control another person’s every act. One early record of such slavery, from more than 2,000 years before the OT was fabricated, is contained the ~2800 BCE advice to Zi-ud-sura (or Ziusudra) from his Sumerian father Curuppag:
You should not buy a house-born slave: he is a herb that makes the stomach sick. You should not buy a free man: he will always lean against the wall. You should not buy a palace slave girl: she will always be the bottom of the barrel (?). You should rather bring down a foreign slave from the mountains, or you should bring somebody from a place where he is an alien; my son, then he will pour water for you where the sun rises and he will walk before you. He does not belong to any family, so he does not want to go to his family; he does not belong to any city, so he does not want to go to his city… When you bring a slave girl from the hills, she brings both good and evil with her. The good is in the hands; the evil is in the heart.
Another example, this one from Ancient Egypt, is the “purchase order” for 40 concubines sent to Milkilu, the Canaanite prince of Gezer, from Pharaoh Amenhotep III (who reigned from c.1390 to c.1350 BCE and was the father of the “first monotheist”, Pharaoh Akhenaten):
Behold, I have sent you Hanya, the commissioner of the archers, with merchandise in order to have beautiful concubines, i.e., weavers; silver, gold, garments, turquoises, all sorts of precious stones, chairs of ebony, as well as all good things, worth 160 deben. In total: forty concubines – the price of every concubine is forty of silver. Therefore, send very beautiful concubines without blemish.
From those two examples, one might gain the impression (which seems to be correct) that men especially wanted female slaves – and not just for weaving.

But it’s one level of evil for a father (such as Curuppag) to misguide his son to adopt errors of his culture, it’s a greater evil for a leader (such as Amenhotep III) to pay to pander his sexual appetites, but then, it’s a still greater evil of the cleric who wrote the myth about Noah ordaining the enslavement of Canaan and all his descendants.

Such “greater evil” is common for clerics. Not only do they essentially always support the status quo (for their own benefit) but for millennia they also magnified the evils of slavery by 1) identifying an entire group of people as slaves (e.g., the Canaanites, the alleged descendants of Ham, just as Negroes were also idiotically claimed to be descendants of Ham – whereas, in reality, we’re all descendants of Negroes!) and by 2) “sanctifying” slavery as being “God’s will”. Thus, without a shred of evidence to support their claims and with threats of punishment and pain if their advice is ignored, Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Mormon clerics claimed (and still claim) that no less than the creator of the universe demands that people obey the commands recorded in their discredited, absurd, ridiculous, ludicrous, preposterous, damnable “holy books”.

But again, certainly it wasn’t (and isn’t) just the Jewish clerics who promoted such evil. For example, similar was advocated by the Hindu clerics, who promoted the horrible Indian “caste system”, remnants of which persist to this day. Its original description (to which I’ve added the comments in brackets; someone else added the comments in parentheses) was given in The Laws of Manu, which are suggested to be from about 1500 BCE, which are recorded in The Veda, and which include the following “explanation” (according to the damnable Hindu clerics) for different classes of people:
[To] protect this universe [although it’s clear that the system is most designed to protect the caste system, with the clerics at the top of the social structure] He [the creator of the universe], the most resplendent one, assigned separate (duties and) occupations to those who sprang from his mouth, arms, thighs, and feet.

To Brahmanas [i.e., to the clerics, who the clerics say sprang from the chief god’s mouth – to be his “mouthpiece”!] he assigned teaching and studying (the Veda), sacrificing for their own benefit and for others, giving and accepting (of alms).

The Kshatriya [the leaders and warriors, who sprang from the chief god’s arms, i.e., the next lower class, after the clerics – for after all, wasn’t it obvious that the clerics were the highest class!] He commanded to protect the people, to bestow gifts, to offer sacrifices, to study (the Veda), and to abstain from attaching himself to sensual pleasures.

The Vaisya [the third class, who sprang from the chief god’s thighs] to tend cattle, to bestow gifts [especially to the clerics!], to offer sacrifices [again to the clerics!], to study (the Veda), to trade, to lend money, and to cultivate land.

One occupation only the lord prescribed to the Sudra [the lowest class, who sprang from the chief god’s feet], to serve meekly even these (other) three castes.
The Hindu clerics who wrote the above junk then list hundreds of “laws” for each class – with all the laws prescribed by the gods (with, of course, the clerics being the gods’ interpreters).

In the OT, written many centuries after the Laws of Manu, the Laws of Moses (written many centuries after Moses lived!) stipulated details about the clerically approved way to sell one’s daughter into slavery and beat one’s slaves to death [to which I’ve added the italics and the notes]:
Exodus 21, 7: When a man sells his daughter into slavery [!], she shall not go free as a male slave may [i.e., even worse treatment for female than for male slaves]. If her master has not had intercourse with her [it was permitted?!] and she does not please him, he shall let her be ransomed [!]… If he assigns her to his son [!]

Exodus 21, 20: When a man strikes his slave or his slave-girl with a stick [Isn’t it amazing that the creator of the universe busies HIMself with details about how to beat your slave?!] and the slave dies on the spot, he [presumably meaning the master] must be punished. [So, don’t beat your slave quite to instantaneous death!] But he shall not be punished if the slave survives for one day or two [so, just beat your slave unconscious, and don’t worry if he or she dies on the third day], because… the slave is worth money to his master [and Lord knows, the few coins of silver that you paid for your slave is far more important than the life that you beat out of your slave]
Christian clerics claim that the teachings of Jesus abrogated such hideousness, but that’s not what Jesus allegedly said. At Matthew 5, 17-18, for example, Jesus allegedly stated (here from the King James Version of the Bible):
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets [i.e., the 613 (or however many) “commandments” in the OT]: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
So, wayward Christians should apparently mend their ways: they should start selling their daughters into slavery and beating their slaves to death by following God’s instructions to the letter (omitting not the smallest jot or tittle).

Meanwhile, the real founder of Christianity (not Jesus but the insane “Saint” Paul) couldn’t be bothered with minor details such as slavery, since in his insanity, he had convinced himself that the world was about to end (here quoted from the New International Version, 1 Corinthians 7, 25–31):
Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord [but otherwise, doncha know, I, Paul, receive regular communications from the first, symmetry-breaking fluctuation in the total void] but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy [that is, when I don’t receive direct communications from God, then just assume that I’m speaking for God – or, if you want, assume that I am God].

Because of the present crisis [no, not a financial crisis; the world is about to end!], I think that it is good for you to remain as you are. Are you married? Do not seek a divorce. Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife. But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. [How are those for great “family values”? Under normal circumstances, marriage and sex are sins!] But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.

What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none [another great, fundamental Christian “family value”!]; those who mourn, as if they did not [e.g., “let the dead bury their dead”]; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away. [Italics added]
It’s then at least consistent (with Paul’s crazy worldview) for him to advise slaves not to try to change their station (Colossians 3, 22):
Slaves, give entire obedience to your earthly masters, not merely with an outward show of service, to curry favor with men, but with single-mindedness, out of reverence for the Lord. Whatever you are doing, put you whole heart into it, as if you were doing it for the Lord and not for men, knowing that there is a Master [God] who will give you your heritage as a reward for your service. Christ is the Master who slaves you must be… [A horrible concept, to which I’ll return in this and later posts.]
And then, at Ephesians 6, 5, Paul adds to the misery of slaves by promoting not only their continued slavery but also their fear:
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, single-mindedly, as serving Christ. [Another horrible concept, to which I’ll return.]
In a later post I’ll defend my claim that Paul was insane. The authors of the Gospels of the New Testament (NT) claim that also Jesus predicted the imminent end of the world, but almost certainly that’s a misattribution: there’s no hint in the Gnostic Gospels that Jesus made such a prophecy; I expect that the NT authors were promoting Paul’s insanity.

In any case, three hundred years after Paul, when his incompetence as a prophet (that the world was about to end) was found to be comparable to his incompetence as a lawyer and as a philosopher, the “first great Christian philosopher” (Christians are immune to oxymorons), “Saint” Augustine (354–430 CE), provided Christian clerics with a new excuse to continue promoting slavery:
God… did not intend that His rational creature [Augustine assumed that Christians were ‘rational’]… should have dominion over anything but the irrational creation [Augustine assumed that a coyote, for example, that can rationally identify a rabbit as food is irrational!] – not man over man, but man over the beasts… And this is why we do not find the word ‘slave’ in any part of Scripture until righteous Noah branded the sin of his son with this name. It is a name, therefore, introduced by sin and not by nature… The prime cause, then, of slavery is sin, which brings man under the dominion of his fellow – that which does not happen save by the judgment of God, with whom is no unrighteousness, and who knows how to award fit punishment to every variety of offence…
The horror of Augustine’s idiotic analysis was to make slavery even more horrible. As I wrote elsewhere:
…think for a moment about the horrors of Augustine’s stupidity. “The prime cause… of slavery is sin”? Kidnapped, enslaved, brutalized, dehumanized people are ‘sinful’?! It’s “the judgment of God” that a person be a slave?!! Slave traders do God’s work?!!! Slave traders are simply agents of God “who knows how to award fit punishment to every variety of offence”?!!!!
The errors in Augustine’s reasoning are obvious: his conclusion is based on the unjustified premisses: 1) that God exists, 2) that if God exists, then “with whom is no unrighteousness”, and 3) that if God exists, the “holy Bible” is the word of God (rather than what the Bible really is, i.e., silly speculations, fabricated stories, and mangled history produced by schizophrenic and power-mongering clerics).

Furthermore, by the way, Augustine was wrong even in his biblical reference: the first mention of slavery in the OT is not by Noah; instead, it’s at Genesis 3, 16, where God punishes Eve for her non-sin (of not obeying God, when he precluded her knowing that it was “good” to obey him!) by making her (and all women) slaves to their husbands:
You shall be eager for your husband, and he shall be your master.
The above details, however, are trivial compared with the blatant evil contained in Augustine’s conclusion. How could he have suppressed his humanity sufficiently to permit himself to record such a hideous conclusion?

As I’ve emphasized elsewhere, Nature relentlessly teaches all humans (and in fact, teaches all animals) her two fundamental principles of justice: that all effects have their causes and that we generally get what we deserve. From those two principles, interpersonal moral codes then obviously follow, such as “Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to yourself.” How, then, could Augustine and the writers of the OT so horribly twist what Nature taught them?

• A woman (Eve) did nothing wrong (God allegedly didn’t permit her to know the difference between right and wrong) and yet, she’s to be her husband’s slave – and then, all women (because they are women and are related to Eve) are to be slaves to their husbands?

• A boy (Canaan) did nothing wrong (it was his father who allegedly saw his own father naked – big deal!) and yet, the boy is to be a slave – and then, all Ham’s descendants are to be slaves?

• Slaves are slaves because they are sinners? Men, women, boys, girls, living peacefully on their own land (working hard, trying their best to survive) are invaded by brutes (who have subverted their own humanity and subverted what Nature taught them about justice), and it’s those who were peacefully living on their own land that are the sinners – and so, should be taken as slaves by the brutes?!

Such brutality is repeatedly “sanctified” in “the holy Bible”. For example, at Deuteronomy 20, 10, the Jewish clerics allege that Moses (allegedly in direct communication with God) advocated the following horrible policies:
When you advance on a city to attack it, make an offer of peace. If the city accepts the offer and opens its gates to you, then all the people in it shall be put to forced labor and shall serve you [i.e., Policy #1: peace for those unwilling to fight shall mean enslavement]. If it does not make peace with you but offers battle, you shall besiege it… You shall put all males to the sword, but may take the women, the dependents, and the cattle for yourselves, and plunder everything in the city. You may enjoy the use of the spoil of your enemies [i.e., Policy #2: if the people don’t accept slavery, kill all the men and “enjoy” the rest of your “spoil”]… That is what you shall do to cities at a great distance, as opposed to those which belong to nations near at hand. In the cities of these nations… you shall not leave any creature alive. You shall annihilate them… [i.e., for nearby cities, then Policies #1 & #2 are superseded by Policy #3: just annihilate every living thing, but…] do not destroy its trees…
In reality, essentially certainly, Moses said no such thing. As I intend to address in later posts, essentially certainly all stories in the OT about Moses are priestly fabrications, designed to frighten the Jewish people.

Unfortunately for humanity, though, Muhammad (c.570–632) didn’t realize that such horrible policies were just clerically concocted stories. After hearing such stories, he proceeded to implement similar policies, instigating the Islamic rein of terror, which has continued for more than a thousand years. As given in the Muslim’s “holy book” (the Koran), Muhammad did, however, modify some of the OT policies claimed to be advocated by Moses. For example, he offered besieged people the option to convert to Islam:
Koran 9, 5: …kill those who join other gods with God [the Christians] wherever you shall find them; and seize them, besiege them, and lay wait for them with every kind of ambush: but if they shall convert [to Islam]… then let them go their way.
But for the horrible atheists and for Christians and Jews who didn’t follow Muhammad’s rules exactly, Muhammad ordered them killed:
Koran 9, 29: Make war upon such of those to whom the Scriptures have been given as [and] believe not in God, or in the last day, and who forbid not that which God and His Apostle [Muhammad] have forbidden, and who profess not the profession of the truth.
Poor old Muhammad: he was too ignorant to realize (as most Muslims and other religious fundamentalists are still too ignorant to realize) that in open systems such as reality, it’s not even theoretically possible to discern “the truth”. Instead, “truth” is a concept applicable only to closed systems, such as kids’ games, pure math, and all religions.

Yet Muhammad knew well enough that he and his brutish followers wanted sex. Thus, consistent with the policies promoted in the OT, it was only the men who were to be killed; the women were “saved” to be sex slaves:
Koran 33, 50: O Prophet! [Allah (“the God”) allegedly said to Muhammad] surely We have made lawful to you your wives whom you have given their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses [i.e., your slaves] out of those whom Allah has given to you as prisoners of war… specially for you, not for the (rest of) believers; We know what We have ordained for them [the rest of the Muslims] concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess [i.e., their slaves]
Again, poor old Muhammad: he lost both parents when he was a child, he was reared by his tribal-chief uncle in a brutal society, his first wife was his boss and was old enough to be his mother, he desperately sought the approval of his peers, and yet, when voices in his head convinced him that he knew “the truth”, his peers called him a “mad poet”. Pity that he hadn’t heard stories about the Buddha, rather than stories from the OT; if he had, he might have become a role model for Gandhi rather than for Hitler.

And the worst horror of the resulting Islamic reign of terror was (and in some cases still is) that subsequent Muslim clerics convinced brutes that the Koran is “true” and that invading, killing, enslaving, and raping had not only the approval but even the encouragement of no less than the creator of the universe. Yet, most of the damnable Christian clerics were just as evil. Serfdom in Europe was close to slavery, and the Christian clerics promoted it with their idiotic “divine right of kings” – at least it was “divine” so long as the kings supported clerical power.

Clerical power and slavery was further supported by “the second great Christian philosopher” (another oxymoron), Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), whose major accomplishment (e.g., his silly “proofs” of the existence of God) was to repackage Aristotle’s work and claim it as his own. In turn, the errors made by Aristotle (384–322 BCE) were glaring. The following is his notoriously flawed argument in favor of slavery, “justifying” it as “natural”:
Again, the male is by nature superior, and the female inferior; and the one rules, and the other is ruled; this principle, of necessity, extends to all mankind. Where, then, there is such a difference as that between soul and body or between men and animals (as in the case of those whose business is to use their body, and who can do nothing better), the lower sort are by nature slaves, and it is better for them as for all inferiors that they should be under the rule of a master. For he who can be, and therefore is, another’s and he who participates in rational principle enough to apprehend, but not to have, such a principle, is a slave by nature.
Aristotle’s mistakes include: 1) arguing by analogy, 2) from unjustified premisses, 3) using undefined concepts, and 4) failing to test his conclusions against data. In particular, if he had considered the "principles" described so powerfully by the slave from Samos, Aesop, then surely such data would have revealed to Aristotle that his argument was fatally flawed.

But Aristotle didn’t check his argument against data, nor did Aquinas see Aristotle’s errors. Consequently, subsequent popes polluted humanity with their pronouncements. One horrid illustration is the “papal bull” Dum Diversas issued on 18 June 1452 by Pope Nicholas V, which is “credited” with “ushering in the West African slave trade”:
We grant you [Kings of Spain and Portugal] by these present documents, with our Apostolic Authority [which in reality is zip, save for what the people permit!] full and free permission to invade, search out, capture, and subjugate the Saracens [Muslims] and pagans and any other unbelievers [those horrible unbelievers] and enemies of Christ wherever they may be, as well as their kingdoms, duchies, counties, principalities, and other property… and to reduce their persons into perpetual slavery.
Another illustration is the proclamation in 1548 by Pope Paul III “confirming that any individual may freely buy, sell, and own slaves, and runaway slaves were to be returned to their owners for punishment.” Still more illustrations are that Pope Urban VIII in 1629, Pope Innocent X in 1645, and Pope Alexander VII in 1661 “were all personally involved in the purchase of slaves.”

During the same time period, most Protestants were as evil as the Catholics. During the 1600s, English Protestants conducted one of the world's most horrific slave trades, although it doesn't get so much press as the African slave trade (possibly because it was based on religion rather than race).  In particular, during the 1650s, alone, (Protestant) Englishmen brutality rounded up, treated like cattle, and shipped to the Americas more than 100,000 (Catholic) Irish men, women, and children, where their treatment was "cruel to the extreme, worse than that of black slaves" (because the Irish were "free for the taking" whereas black slaves cost money).

During the 1700s, however, some Protestants (initially the Anabaptists and Quakers) began antislavery movements. During the early 1800s, with the movement to abolish slavery growing in strength in England (leading to the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833), arguments over slavery raged within American Christian sects, leading (for example) to the formation of the Southern Baptists, who clung to the OT’s approval of slavery.

The Mormons similarly clung to the OT’s curses on Ham and Canaan (and on Cain). For example, in the April 1836 issue of the Mormon paper The Messenger and Advocate, the Mormon “prophet” (better, “profit”) Joseph Smith wrote:
If slavery is an evil, who could we expect should first learn it? Would the people of the Free States, or would the Slave States? All must readily admit [Why?], that the latter would first learn this fact…

It is my privilege then to name certain passages from the Bible, and examine the teachings of the Ancients upon the matter, as the fact is inconvertible, that the first mention we have of slavery, is found in the Holy Bible, pronounced by a man [Noah] who was perfect in his generation, and walked with God.

And so far from that prediction being averse from the mind of God, it remains as a lasting monument to the decree of Jehovah [Yahweh], to the shame and confusion of all who have cried out against the South, in consequence of their holding the sons of Ham in servitude! “And he said, Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.”

…The curse is not yet taken off from the sons of Canaan… those who are determined to pursue a course, which shows an opposition, and a feverish restlessness against the designs of the Lord, will learn when perhaps too late, for their own good, that God can do His own work, without the aid of those who are not directed by His Counsel…

The Scripture stands for itself; and I believe that these men were better qualified to teach the will of God, than all the Abolitionists in the world.
Poor old Joseph Smith: when he was a boy, his superstitious parents (immersed in “folk magic”) taught him how to con people into paying him for digging up buried treasures. When he was a young adult, he was found guilty of being an “imposter” and “glass looker”, as shown in 1824 New York State court records. A few years later, he conned people into believing that he had dug up a golden “holy book” (called the Book of Mormon), which he claimed to translate with his magical “seer stone”. Subsequently, Smith and Sidney Rigdon (brain damaged from being dragged by a horse when he was a child, almost certainly the author of the Book of Mormon, and the first “high priest” of Mormonism) then made a fortune conning people into "believing" that the “golden bible” was “true”.

In 1859, in the Mormon’s Journal of Discourses, 17, p. 290, the next Mormon “profit”, Brigham Young, added to Smith’s idiocy as follows:
Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. [Says who?!] Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race – that they should be the ‘servant of servants’; and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree.
Meanwhile, what an astounding contrast: shortly after President Lincoln (who stated: “The Bible is not my book, and Christianity is not my religion…”) signed the 1863 American emancipation proclamation, Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1866:
Slavery itself, considered as such in its essential nature, is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law, and there can be several just titles of slavery and these are referred to by approved theologians and commentators of the sacred canons… It is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or given.
A century later, Martin Luther King was still fighting the remnants of slavery’s evils in America, and even now, I feel obliged to add a personal note to any American planning to vote in next month’s presidential election: if you’ve decided that there’s not much difference between the two principal candidates’ capabilities to address our problems, then to compensate for the dishonorable White Americans who will never vote for a Black candidate, I hope that you’ll take the opportunity to express your opinion about slavery by casting your ballot for Barack Obama.

And if you should think that slavery is an evil of our past, then I hope you’ll think again. Today, there are more people enslaved in the world than ever before: more than 25 million people are slaves, approximately 80% of whom are women and children. Of course such slavery is illegal in essentially all countries and essentially all clerics claim that they are now opposed to slavery, but Wikipedia reports the following:
In 2003 a high-level Saudi jurist, Shaykh Salih al-Fawzaan, issued a fatwa claiming, “Slavery is a part of Islam. Slavery is part of jihad, and jihad will remain as long there is Islam.” He attacked Muslim scholars who said otherwise maintaining, “They are ignorant, not scholars… They are merely writers. Whoever says such things is an infidel.” At the time of the fatwa, al-Fawzaan was a member of the Senior Council of Clerics, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious body, a member of the Council of Religious Edicts and Research, the Imam of Prince Mitaeb Mosque in Riyadh, and a professor at Imam Mohamed Bin Saud Islamic University, the main Wahhabi center of learning in the country.
Clerics always were and continue to be so stunningly ignorant and arrogant! They arrogantly claim certain knowledge that their god (or gods) exist, without a shred of reliable evidence to support their claims. They arrogantly and illogically claim certain knowledge that their “holy book” relays “the truth”, direct from their omnipotent, omniscient god, who wants their commitments (even though logic demands that such a god could have no desires, and thereby, they insult their god while claiming to worship him).

Meanwhile, though, no communication from some fictitious, omnipotent, omniscient god is needed to understand that slavery is wrong. All that’s needed is to tap into the empathy and compassion that Nature has programmed into the DNA of all social animals and to learn the lessons in natural and personal justice that Nature has taught each and every one of us since the first day we became aware of our surroundings. Illustrative of the results of tapping into our nature and learning from our experiences are the first recorded objections to slavery, written by Greek playwright Euripides (480 – c.406 BCE).

Euripides wasn’t religious; he was a budding scientific humanist. He didn’t claim to know what he didn’t know; yet, he learned from Nature what justice means. In his play The Trojan Women, he had Hecuba (the wife of the slain king of Troy) state:
O thou that dost support the earth and restest thereupon, whosoe'er thou art, a riddle past our ken! be thou Zeus, or natural necessity, or man's intellect, to thee I pray; for, though thou treadest o'er a noiseless path, all thy dealings with mankind are by justice guided.
And based on his understanding of natural and personal justice, Euripides saw that slavery was wrong. In his play Hecuba, he had Hecuba say:
Slavery... that thing of evil, by its nature evil, forcing submission from a man what no man can yield to.
Long ago, even some Christians became opposed to slavery – especially those who had experienced slavery themselves. For me, the most poignant example is "Saint" Patrick (and I proudly admit that my mother was Irish). Patrick (some say he was born in 387 in France; others say Scotland… many nations would claim him as their own!) was kidnapped in his mid-teens and sold into slavery in Ireland. An unidentified author at All Saints Parish wrote the following:
Not surprisingly, his own experience in captivity left Patrick with a virulent hatred of the institution of slavery, and he would become the first significant figure in Church history to speak out unequivocally against it. His time in captivity also increased in him the ability to suffer and to understand what other people’s suffering is like. As a result Patrick has been adopted as one of the great patrons of the downtrodden and excluded, or for anyone living on the fringes of society.

Women also find a great advocate in Patrick. As one scholar said: “It is clear that the man who wrote the Confession and Letter to Coroticus is deeply and sensitively open to women and womanhood. He does not take refuge in the pretentious asceticism, nor in that neurotic fear of and contempt for the feminine that has entered so deeply into the attitudes and structures of the Christian Church. In this respect he is a complete man.” Elsewhere in his writings Patrick lauds the strength and courage of Irish women: “It is the women kept in slavery who suffer the most – and who keep their spirits up despite the menacing and terrorizing they must endure. The Lord gives grace to his many handmaids; and though they are forbidden to do so, they follow him with backbone.”

Unlike his contemporary, St. Augustine, to whom actual women seemed more like personifications of the temptations of the flesh than human persons, Patrick’s Confession speaks of women as individuals. Some feel he was the first significant male Christian after Jesus to consistently speak well of women.
Unfortunately for humanity, however, Patrick was able to civilize only a portion of Ireland. Centuries later, a similarly experienced slave helped elsewhere in Western Europe:
Slavery [but not serfdom] ended in Western Europe in the 7th century, when a British girl, Bathilde, was taken as a slave and sold to Clovis II, King of the Franks (638–655). Clovis fell in love with and married her. After the king died, Bathilde, acting as regent for their three young sons, outlawed slavery.
From all of which an obvious lesson emerges: one needn’t be a student of philosophy or theology to understand morality and ethics; in fact, no academic study of evil is needed; instead, those who have experienced evil are quite likely the ones best able to distinguish it, to describe it, and to extinguish it. Thus, although anyone with an ounce of empathy, a pinch of compassion, the smallest measure of concern for fellow humans will rail against the injustice and inhumanity of slavery, yet anyone experiencing it knows that it’s evil and will seek to abolish it.

Another obvious lesson is available. Euripides saw some of it, writing: “This is slavery, not to speak one’s thoughts.” Even worse, though, is what all clerics seek, namely, to enslave our thoughts. Currently in the world, approximately two billion people are so enslaved, including most Muslims and Mormons, as well as fundamentalist Hindus, Jews, and Christians. But in view of the length to which this post has grown, I’ll delay going into details until later posts. Instead, to end this post, I’ll simply provide some illustrations of the thoughts of a few people who were able to break free from clerical enslavement of their own thoughts:
History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes… In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is error alone that needs the support of government. [Thomas Jefferson]

Since the earliest days the church as an organization has thrown itself violently against every effort to liberate the body and mind of man. It has been, at all times and everywhere, the habitual and incorrigible defender of bad governments, bad laws, bad social theories, bad institutions. It was, for centuries, an apologist for slavery, as it was the apologist for the divine right of kings. [H.L. Mencken]

Judaism, [Islam], and Christianity have taken away from us the liberty to think for ourselves. Each one of these… religions makes unconditional obedience the price of the salvation it offers, but do you know what other word in the English language unconditional obedience is a synonym of? – Silence! A dumb world, a tongue-tied humanity alone can be saved! The good man is the man on his knees with his mouth in the dust. But silence is sterility! Silence is slavery! Think, then, of the character of a religion which makes free speech, free thought, a crime… [M.M. Mangasarian]

To create a world in which reason is suspect, religious faith is a virtue, and doubt is regarded as sin, is to sanctify ignorance… Not a lack of belief, but adherence to false knowledge is the enemy of progress. And certain that we have found everything worth searching for, we see no point in further search and inquiry. Believing what is unworthy of belief, believing falsehood as if it were incontrovertible truth, and sure that we know everything we will ever need to know, we are worse than ignorant. [Chester Dolan]

History shows that there is nothing so easy to enslave and nothing so hard to emancipate as ignorance; hence, it becomes the double enemy of civilization. By its servility it is the prey of tyranny, and by its credulity it is the foe of enlightenment. [Lemuel Washburn]

…the world has suffered far less from ignorance than from pretensions to knowledge. It is not skeptics or explorers but fanatics and ideologues who menace decency and progress. No agnostic ever burned anyone at the stake or tortured a pagan, a heretic, or an unbeliever. [Daniel J. Boorstin]

…intellectual bondages are harder to shatter; the slave himself fights to retain them. [Ahmed Deedat]

A jealous lover of human liberty… I… say, “If God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him.” [Mikhail Bakunin]

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