It’s a good table…just bear in mind that it has a few errors on it.
The churches previous position — The earth is the centre of the universe
The blog claims that this was just because of biblical passages (in fact, it uses the wrong passages even here). In reality, the reason the church backed up geocentrism had more to do with Aristotelian science (the dominant scientific model for the universe at the time) and the fact that Galileo’s argumentation was actually pretty weak (http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100305/full/news.2010.105.html). Reinterpreting the passages wasn’t the problem (as most in the church recognized that the Hebrews were writing poetically in praising God), the problem was overturning the established science of the time based on weak models.
The churches previous position —White is superior, black is inferior
Seems to ignore the fact that:
1. This statement came from a secular viewpoint.
2. That there were just as many (if not more) Christians and Jews who used those same passages to REJECT slavery and promote equality.
3. The story of Ham has NOTHING to do with ‘racial inferiority’. The translation of the passage clearly indicates that Ham’s curse was marking of the skin (as you would see with burst boils), a universal (for the ANE) sign of being cursed
for trespassing. His skin didn’t turn black.
4. Slavery in the Ancient Near East and European slavery had nothing in common (the former being indentured servitude to pay off a debt for a limited time, the other being a permanent captivity).
5. The Bible did not condone slavery. It simply regulated an existing system. In fact, study of the passages concerning the ownership of slaves reveals that the laws seem to favor simply forgiving/finding alternate payment for the debt and not taking on a servant in this manner (as the penalties and regulations made it extremely cost prohibitive) .
6. The mission schools were actually government formed and funded and were actively opposed by religious groups.
The churches previous position — God separated the races therefore they should never marry
Once again, not the case. As above, this was a case of a secular viewpoint contaminating a religious view (in fact, Jacobin dominated France had the same viewpoint and they were Atheists). In fact, the very first interracial marriages were conducted by religious groups despite the grave costs should they be caught.
The churches previous position — men are superior, women are inferior
Really now? Then explain why countless times in both the OT AND the NT are there Holy Women who are held by God as being even greater in both word and deed than the mightiest men of their age? Once again, this is a case of a secular cultural norm being ignored in favor of blaming religion (when in fact, Judeo-Christian views on women were and still are ahead of their time in their praise of women and the demonstration of both men and women being equal in the sight of God).
I admire the thought behind it and I support the last point (though I usually just send people here: http://whosoever.org/bible/), but it’s the above historical/textual errors that can ruin the argumentation.
Just a thought.
Yours in Christ,