The Instigator
AndyHood
Pro (for)
Tied
9 Points
The Contender
AlphaTBITW
Con (against)
Tied
9 Points

The Bible mandates beating slaves nearly to death

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/9/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,680 times Debate No: 73191
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (105)
Votes (5)

 

AndyHood

Pro

I need not say much in opening, but I'll make what I think is a watertight case:

Exodus 21 : 20 - 21
When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.

Note: I sincerely hope that nobody will accept this debate, ever. I fear that somebody will. My earnest hope is that a few Christians will look at the debate, consider taking it on, then realise that it's impossible to defend. HOPEFULLY, then, they might not be so quick to jump to "the bible says so" as a reasonable justification for any moral position they might wish to take.
AlphaTBITW

Con

In my opening, I will try to give a clarified way of thinking of how I interpret the verse.

I think we need to clear a few things up with the way in which the topic is understood in relation to how the verse should be understood.

These men and women were not slaves, they were Canaanite maids and servants. As such, the very topic itself is flawed. If one is slave to another, it is meant to mean one is obligated in their own human service to another. However, the human rights of these maids and servants were upheld. A rod was used to correct, and if one went too far in their correction that the servant or maid died, the owners themselves were put to the sword. Also notice that the tool used here is a rod, which is for discipline...not a weapon.

The topic also seems to be worded in a way in which this law is a command for one to nearly beat one's maid or servant to death. Rather, this law is in a chain of laws pertaining to human ownership. This was for the purpose of protecting the rights of life to the servant/maid, so that a master would know not to go too far, lest he be put to death himself.

I would also like to note that by definition, slavery is the legal possession of another human being. However, the cultural treatment of various slaves in history gives the term a negative connotation, which certainly trivializes the concept of this form of ownership and limits the overall understanding of the debate. I would like it if we used a more proper word instead of slave, one which agrees more with the intention of the writers.

(This is my first debate. If I failed to do something that was needed, or if I need to provide sources, please correct me)
Debate Round No. 1
AndyHood

Pro

Welcome to DDO; no, you've done nothing wrong so far! Well, nothing that violates the rules of DDO, anyway... you've committed a grave moral error in my book, but that's for me to explain and you to rebutt and the voters to decide!

You say outright "these men and women were not slaves" and go on to claim that this, on it's own, invalidates the assertion. I ask that you go some way further to explain yourself. I know how fond Christians are of claiming that the word "slave" is not a fair translation and I am fully aware of all of the debates that have gone on over the years - on the whole, biblical scholars (even Christian ones) are of the opinion that "slave" is the best translation... but... I don't care about that too much because it does not help inform this debate!

If I use a word in plain English, using a computer in the 21st century, I expect it to be understood in its modern sense. That is, unless I am doing something like quoting a bronze age text... then I agree that we might need to look at the original language and discuss possible alternative interpretations...

So, what does the modern word "slave" mean?

Slave: a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them.

The bible is absolutely explicit about the fact that these "maids" can be bought or sold; it is clear that they are the property of their masters; it is clear that they can be left, like any other property, to their masters children when their masters die. The bible is also explicit about the fact that they are forced to obey them, and the verse I chose even tells us how much such force may be employed. Do you deny any of these facts?

If you do not deny any of these facts then I fail to see how you can refute the proposition. You may, I suppose, challenge the word "mandate" - and, to a degree, you did when you wrote:

"The topic also seems to be worded in a way in which this law is a command for one to nearly beat one's maid or servant to death."

No, that's not what I intended... I intended

"The topic is worded in a way in which this law is a command that one may nearly beat one's maid or servant to death."

Mandate, as a verb, means "give (someone) authority to act in a certain way"

If you don't believe me, put "define:mandate" into Google and see what you get (remember to look for the definition of "mandate" as a verb, not a noun)[1].

[1] Google definition of "mandate": http://bit.ly...
AlphaTBITW

Con

When I say that the men and women as described in the verse are not slaves, I am referring to the common understanding of the word slave. As we both have at least a rudimentary understanding of western culture, we know of the great struggles that African Americans had to take in order to be free of their bondage. They were treated as inhuman, with no rights or authorities under the law. Because of this, as well as many other civilizations who unfairly treated their slaves, the term slave has taken a new meaning in the minds of the recent generations. We seem to forget that any culture which had servants, maids, legal contracts to human duties, etc. all had forms of slavery because of them. Today, the term slave has taken on an emotional meaning, where the subordinate person is stripped of human rights.
This definition is not productive to the debate, as the people that this verse is referring to do have rights under the law, they are treated as human beings. It therefore is reasonable to conclude that the use of the term slave in this situation gives the Pro a semantic edge, as which to use the common understanding of the word slave to further his own case on an emotional perspective versus the intended meaning.
The actual definition of slave, however, describes a legal contract in which one person is subservient to another. While the topic statement does fit with the definition, the colloquial meaning of the word will impact the way other people see the debate.

I find it only fair to use the terms servant and maid. This understanding is even biblical:

In taking the original Hebrew words, we can see that the words used are not meant to describe a slave as we would commonly understand them, but as a term used to describe a relationship in which one person is below another.

http://biblehub.com...

This link shows that the words being used for male and female are the words ’ă·mā·M91;!3;w (female) and ‘aL87;·d!3;w (male)

We can use contextual reference to get a good understanding about how the word is being used.
In Exodus 14:31, Moses is referred as "ab dow" in respect to the LORD (Yahweh). You can find the evidence for such here:

http://biblehub.com...

With that, I hope we can now accept that "slaves" in this sense are better understood to mean servants. For the sake of an intellectually honest debate, I hope we can now use the terms servant and maid when referring to these passages.

The next reason why I think this debate is in err, is due to the understanding of mandate. Mandate comes from the Latin word "mandatum" meaning something which is commanded. It is used in both formal and informal language to express a command or a directive. The topic therefore is contorted, using yet again a semantic approach to convey an understanding of the passage that is not there.

These people were not slaves as you would like it to be meant, and the use of the word mandate is not productive to a proper understanding of the topic.
Debate Round No. 2
AndyHood

Pro

Gentle voters, you are being asked to make three judgements:

1. What does "slave" mean?
2. What does "mandate" mean?
3. Do the verses cited, in proper historical context, represent mandating the beating of a slave?

I have been to Google and entered the following search terms (taking the first, primary definition), and I ask that anybody in any doubt do the same (especially Con). I'll make it easy and include the literal results here, to make it easy for everybody:

Google "define:slave"
(especially in the past) a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them.

Con's attempt to overload the modern word "slave" with aditional meanings and then claim that the resolution is not right because what the bible was saying doesn't comport with Con's new superslave concept is, frankly, risible.

Google "define:mandate"
Verb give (someone) authority to act in a certain way.
N.B. - Notice that the word "mandates" in the resolution is being used as a verb, so this is the appropriate definition.

(I've also checked the OED, Freedictionary.com, dictionary.com, etc.)

So, I suggest that the resolution can be rewritten in plain English so that Con has no wiggle room for shifting the definition of words to suit their ends:

The Bible authorises the legal owners of people to beat those people (who are their possessions) nearly to death.

But I must note (to avoid any shiftiness) that I mean the word "legal" in the sense of Biblical, Mosaic Law (the "law" that Jesus said he "did not come to change").

I will now cite two verses which clearly illustrate the resolution AND the bold statement, which is equivalent. I am sad that we have devolved the debate into a petty argument about definitions.

I'm using the NIV but you can check other versions. If there are any gentle voters out there who happen to have your own Bibles, I encourage you to look up the following verses (and read the context around them if it so suits you). We should look at the original writings, not translations, but we don't have time to learn the ancient language required for this!

Leviticus 25:44-46
Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life

Exodus 21:20-2
Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.


I realise it's hard for a Christian to pass the resolution but I beg you, before your God, be honest and true!

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are, collectively, the Torah. They are called the "five books of Moses". The rules they lay down are called "Mosaic Law" and this is the "law" that Jesus said he "came not to change".
AlphaTBITW

Con

Voters who wish to be intellectually honest, lend me your eyes.

The topic that was to be debated is stated clearly above us all. "The Bible mandates beating slaves nearly to death"

Have we come to a better understanding of the issue? Not at all. Rather, the issue is helplessly misguided. At an attempt to pander to a specified group of voters, Pro has constructed a loaded topic...one that pulls at the heartstrings with rhetoric while maintaining a false basis of meaning in proper definition.

Your judgments should be as Pro listed them, and I will address them accordingly.


Pertaining to the use of the term slave, Pro uses an emotional appeal. The horrendous nature of it being legal to strip the fellow man of his rights, thus dehumanizing him, is appalling. I showed how this understanding was not Biblical. However, when called out on his attempt, he manipulates his original meaning to a counteractive issue, saying that a slave is merely one who is in legal human service to another, as the definition clearly states.

This is sophistry at its finest. I certainly do hope to that you voters can see through his ruse.
We think of slaves as owned humans, with no legal protection and no rights. This clearly is not the case, no matter how much Pro would like to make it seem so. To begin a discussion with an emotionally charged term, with which to direct the term to a semantic basis when called out on such an attempt is dishonest, duplicitous, and disrespectful to both your opponent and the audience.
Please, people, look at the meaning put at the start of this entire discussion. Then look at how such meaning changes to continue the false proposition. I have no doubt that you will see that the original intention was to appeal to the emotional backing of the word "slave', thus the entire topic is in err.

Next, the term mandate. As explained, the word mandate is used almost exclusively to mean an order or a direction to do something. Pro later justified his use with the definition, which allows for it to mean when one is given authority to do something.
Again, while this is true, the use of the word is used to mean where one is made able to do something necessarily, as if a board of directors were mandated to judge certain company actions. They must necessarily do so. Such is not the case with the meaning used in The Bible.
Pro also attempts to make another topic or resolution to further the belief that he is not truly committing the attempts he is accused of, but he does so knowing that it practically cannot be rebutted in my closing argument, since it is an entirely new issue.

Finally, Pro blunders on minor issues such as Jesus not coming to change the law, which is used to demonstrate that we are still under such law. We are not, the death of Jesus fulfills the law, we are under a new covenant. Also note that the first five books are called the Pentateuch, not "Five books of Moses".

The issue is loaded, fraudulent, and made in bad taste. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
105 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Zack95 2 years ago
Zack95
@Bluesteel, You need to be impeached. Your moderating skills are bias towards an idea. Your Decisions for reporting clearly defends the argument pro makes. Depriving debaters of their feedback is a communist move. Voting IS based on OUR opinions, not yours. If you want to argue about some one's decision, i believe there is a pretty good internet site for that (www.debate.org). But abusing your power as a moderator is not the way to do it.
Posted by AndyHood 2 years ago
AndyHood
Well, that's fair enough; as I say, I don't mind losing the debate...

But, as a matter of fact, slave is simply "owned person" no matter which way you look at it. I may have only provided Google evidence of this (Google:define is very good), but my opponent failed to give any evidence at all for the idea that slave means more than "owned person". They couldn't, because there is none!

My opponent is even under the delusion that "servant" is also an "owned person". This is not a matter for debate, this is a joke. This is simple misapprehension about what words mean. And I don't mind people rushing to defend their good book by fair means, but bending the definition of words to suit your end is just fundamentally dishonest. And if you have to be dishonest to defend your good book, I would hope that this would provide pause for thought.
Posted by bluesteel 2 years ago
bluesteel
==================================================================
>Reported vote: Lmoney // Moderator action: Removed<

7 points to Con. Reasons for voting decision: Pro does not know the bible

[*Reason for removal*] Vote bomb.
==================================================================
Posted by bluesteel 2 years ago
bluesteel
==================================================================
>Reported vote: Lmoney // Moderator action: Removed<

7 points to Con. Reasons for voting decision: Pro does not know the bible

[*Reason for removal*] Vote bomb.
==================================================================
Posted by Scorchtheblaze 2 years ago
Scorchtheblaze
Andy the voters voted fairly (except for that one guy that went and voted for alpha) and you both tied. He accepted the debate and provided clear examples and great evidence to back up his claim while you used google to find definitions. You said that people will come to the aid of their "precious good book" but since you started this debate, you should've seen that people were going to come and try and prove you wrong so why are you saying that? Also you said you hoped no one would ever accept the debate, if thats so then why didn't you make it a poll instead of having this?

Thats all I have to say for this. Goodbye :)
Posted by AlphaTBITW 2 years ago
AlphaTBITW
I do agree that it talks about such things. But the point needs to be made that these weren't 19th century slaves. Your use of such a word gives a wrong view of The Bible's actual meaning and use of the word "ab-dow".

To cut it a better way, you're trying to appeal to the view that slavery is bad by using the word slavery instead of servant. It stacks the emotional side of the debate in your favor.

Study Late-Bronze Age texts, they were very inventive and amazing pieces of writing.
Posted by AndyHood 2 years ago
AndyHood
Alpha, do you agree that the bible talks about ownership of human beings? If the answer is "yes", then maybe you need to study 21st Century English.
Posted by AlphaTBITW 2 years ago
AlphaTBITW
As I said, I gave you sources to biblehub which show that the same word used in the verse is always used to describe servitude by possession, and it is shown to be servant. Perhaps you should study Old Testament and Hebrew?
Posted by AndyHood 2 years ago
AndyHood
Spherical dangly bits! You never ever showed (how could you?) that anybody reasonable on this planet thinks that servants are owned.

You know what the essential difference between "slave" and "servant" is? Human ownership! I'm afraid that you are just plain wrong about the debate, mostly because you do not accept the standard definition of words... but also because of your religiously inspired bias.
Posted by Death23 2 years ago
Death23
"A servant is still human property of another human"

What a lie.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Paradox_7 2 years ago
Paradox_7
AndyHoodAlphaTBITWTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: If you are ever going to use an ancient text, especially a religious one, you cannot simply brush off any need to set cultural context. I understand this is very boring and time consuming, but if you wish to take on the challenge, you need to be prepared. Unfortunately, Con didn't nearly use the adequate sources, otherwise he would have effectively won this debate. His argument that Pro was appealing to emotion and misinterpreting terms was in my view, spot on and frustrating. However, this could have been a more productive debate, had term been agreed upon beforehand... 6/10
Vote Placed by Vox_Veritas 2 years ago
Vox_Veritas
AndyHoodAlphaTBITWTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con provided the meaning of the original Latin word where "mandate" comes from. In fact, a word which is related to mandate, "mandatory", means "required". Now, the definition of mandate which Pro gave looks nice, but it follows logically from the above that mandate has a different meaning, actually: to give somebody authority to do something and to order that person to do that act. For example, a judge mandates that an executioner behead the "treasonous scum". That is, the judge gives the executioner permission to commit the killing of the treasonous scum without it counting as murder under the law but he also orders the executioner to behead the treasonous scum. However, Con did not make this case. So without this case having been made, this debate abides by Pro's usage and context of the word "mandate". If so, the resolution reads as "The Bible permits slave owners beating their slaves nearly to death". I would contest the idea that this is a immoral law overall, but I'm not Con.
Vote Placed by TheMarquis 2 years ago
TheMarquis
AndyHoodAlphaTBITWTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I didn't think that the bible gave the majority of people the right to do anything with slaves based upon something that was totally forgotten in this debate, that I will not state as it would be rude and possibly influence other voters. Con gets the conduct vote because Pro was a little bit demeaning. "Note: I sincerely hope that nobody will accept this debate" He seemed to think that the only reason a person could have to oppose him is if they were OK with it, not if he was wrong. "You've committed a grave moral error." I give Con grammar because Pro used ellipses. Those have no place in a formal setting. I didn't find either of their arguments especially convincing. They just took turns defining things. As the debate was about the bible, I would say that Con had the best sources. Modern definitions don't always apply to the bible. Biblical definitions usually do. Biblehub beats Google for this debate.
Vote Placed by Death23 2 years ago
Death23
AndyHoodAlphaTBITWTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RE: Convincing - Con's discussion over definitions was not convincing. Pro showed that his use of "mandate" was proper by showing that it was consistent with a dictionary definition. Con's assertion that these were not slaves but servants was refuted by Pro's point that the definition of slave requires only that humans be property. Pro refers to bible verses showing that these servants could be bought and sold, strongly implying that the servants in question were property. This point was not addressed by Con.
Vote Placed by Chaosism 2 years ago
Chaosism
AndyHoodAlphaTBITWTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Disappointing that it descended into a definition war. In comparing "slave" and "maid" (which follows "servant") [dictionary.com], the situations (verses) presented more so reflect "slave" (descriptions are more towards property than employment for those in question). The use of the word mandate is grammatically correct. I lean towards Pro's arguments being stronger. I give conduct to Con because of the lack of provided definitions by Pro (whether is was intentional or not to leave them out; doesn't matter).