John Loftus won’t answer my question.
What question? It started when he said things like this, found at http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showpost.php?p=1963804&postcount=289
Why is it God cannot speak clearly? I have the answer. Not only is history a poor medium to communicate, but God doesn't exist.
He also offered this sort of sentiment at http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2006/11/slavery-and-bible.html where he whined:
Why didn’t the Christian God ever explicitly and clearly condemn slavery?
He acknowledges the well-documented answer that Biblical “slavery” was nothing like American slavery – it was, on fact, more like indentured servitude, as documented by Miller at http://www.christian-thinktank.com/qnoslave.html (an article Loftus has been repeatedly corrected with at TheologyWeb when he hauls up this “slavery” complaint again and again, and which he repeatedly refuses to answer). But still, Loftus the swishy-wisher will find some way to blame the Bible, gosh darn it, so he pulls this out of his speckled arse:
Even if this is true, the Bible was still used by Christians to justify the brutal slavery in the American South. Distinguished Princeton professor Charles Hodge defended American slavery in a forty page essay written in 1860, just prior to the civil war. Just read the debates over this issue in Willard M. Swartley, Slavery Sabbath War & Women (Herald Press, 1983), pp. 31-66. Then you’ll see just how unclear this issue really was to them. So again, why didn’t God tell his people, “Thou shalt not own, buy, sell, or trade slaves,” and say it as often as he needed to? Why was God not clear about this in the Bible?
So here’s Loftus’ complaint in a nutshell: The brutal form of American slavery would have been able to be avoided (or at least combated) if only God had been more “clear” in condemning (the specifically American form of) slavery. More broadly, clarity in the Bible would have bred obedience and provided a moral panacea. God’s to blame for our disobedience, because He didn’t make things clear.
What a goofy idea.
There are two responses to make to this, and the second involves the great Question Loftus Will Not Answer.
Despite the appeal to “how unclear” the issue was to Americans, it isn’t hard to see who held the winning hand. You can see a great collection of American anti-slavery material at http://www.classicapologetics.com/special/slaverevolt.html It doesn’t take long to see that those who were on the other side of the debate – using the Bible to defend American slavery – were piddling into the wind, manipulating texts, using special pleas, and ignoring whatever they found convenient to ignore. In contrast, anti-slavery materials, while of course not up to modern standards of data collection, show far more respect for text and context and make much better arguments. Critical comparison makes it clear who the winner is, and to that extent, the Loftus Gang is more like the pro-slave party inasmuch as they don’t respect text and context except when it suits them. The issue was actually very clear – but like Loftus and his intellectually bankrupt cronies, the pro-slavery crowd didn’t have the guts to concede defeat, and didn’t have the necessary answers to bolster their position.
Of course, for someone as ignorant as John Loftus, whose idea of “research” is to consult Wikipedia and the Skeptics’ Annotated Bible before going down to the local Pic and Save to shake the gumball machine, asking for a critical comparison of pro- vs. anti-slavery arguments is like asking Pedro the Performing Pig to reproduce the finest rendition possible of the Blue Danube Waltz.
The Question Loftus Will Not Answer: If the problem is that the Bible isn’t clear enough, what did John Loftus find so “unclear” about the seventh commandment? Thou shalt not commit adultery. What’s not clear about that? More to the point, what was so unclear about it that Loftus saw fit to violate it back when he was a professing believer? I have asked Loftus this question numerous times on Theologyweb. Not once have I ever gotten an answer. Note that the issue here is not Loftus’ adultery per se. This just happens to be the commandment that he has openly confessed to have violated. It could have been any other commandment, or any other moral stricture in the Bible. The real issue is that if his “clarity complaint” has any bite, he ought to have stayed out of that affair.
Of course, the reality, as we know, is that “clarity” is not the problem. The problem is in John Loftus’ bathroom mirror every morning.
Pity the poor mirror!