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What changed was people's understanding of the what the Bible teaches about slavery.

Here is one of the things the bible teaches about slavery and it is pretty straightforward and unambiguous.

Exodus 21: 20-21, "When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged. 21 But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money."

Clearly states that it is acceptable to beat your slave as long as he/she does not die within a day or two. If you believe that is moral then I question your ethics. If you believe it is immoral then I question your belief in the bible as a moral guide.

You seem to be making the argument that the bible must be interpreted within the context of the time it represents. If the bible is so constrained, why believe it is relevant to today?

This is the problem I have with the morality of conservative and fundamentalist Christians like Paul and perhaps you (we'll see). These claim that the bible is an infallible and literal moral guide but then choose what scripture they take seriously in a way that seems at best arbitrary and at worse self-serving.

For example, we've seen how conservative Christians like Paul are willing to make very broad interpretations to get around uncomfortable scripture concerning stuff like Abraham's attempted murder of Isaac and the acceptability of beating and raping slaves. For these events they claim that we have to consider context and the cultural time period. On the other hand, when it comes to issues like homosexuality and abortion, conservative Christians take a hard and uncompromising position. The scriptural prohibitions on these acts are for some reason culturally independent and timeless.

One can find scripture that condemn adultery/divorce just as strongly as homosexuality. Yet conservative Christians rally around folks like Trump, who has had multiple wives and affairs, even as they condemn homosexuals. It all seems pretty arbitrary and probably has a lot to do with the fact that a lot more Christians want to commit adultery or get divorced than want to engage in homosexuality. The majority dictates what biblical principles should be emphasized.
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