Lopez 1Nastassja LopezMs. De MareAIT English III ¾March 11, 2013 Christianity and Slavery Christianity has been around since the beginning of time to introduce hope, and a set ofmoral guidelines that people follow in order to reach “heaven” or in other terms, Christianity hasprovided a false sense of security that their followers would attend paradise in the afterlife.Christianity itself is an ironic religion that promotes “spiritual freedom” while being a firmadvocate for slavery.Every religion has an evitable flaw, and as it turns out to be, slavery isChristianity’s flaw. “The Christian Bible is very clear that slavery was not only permitted inancient Israel, but was in fact endorsed by God” (Faithless). Using verses from the Bible,Christianity has negatively impacted slavery throughout the ages by convincing humans thatslavery is just and fair. That sort of thinking gave birth to the ideology behind slavery in the1800’s in the U.S. Slaves were treated the same way in the 1800’s as they were in ancientChristianity; like property. Christianity has negatively influenced and encouraged slavery sincethe birth of the Bible to the renaissance of slavery in the United States. “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them youmay buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you andmembers of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You canbequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but youmust not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.”(Lev 25:46) The Bible blatantly states thatone may own a foreigner slave, thus ensuring that the slave is the property of the master and
Lopez 2inheritance to the master’s children. Slaves in the Israelite society had limited rights, wereemotionally and physically abused; they were worth less than an average person. “Israel’s lawabout releasing a permanently disfigured slave applied to the master’s treatment of theslave.”(Thom Stark). If the slave is beaten by the master, and is not deathly injured then themaster has not committed a crime, and is not fined. Slaves during ancient Israel came from thepoor families who needed food, or people who have sinned. These people eventually becomeslaves and are looked down for being inferior. Slaves are subject to coercion and violation, withno rights to integrity or privacy.“Since as a result of sin, different classes of men have beenproduced, and that these differentiated classes are "ordained by divine justice."”(Quodlibet) PopeGregory in 600 A.D divided mankind into a hierarchy of rulership, where one man is moredominant than the following. This notion of supremacy is exemplified in the story of Ham. Thestory of Ham involves Ham and his descendants being cursed to eternal servitude due toHamseeing his father naked. The curse slowly turns Ham’s descendants black referencing thatHam is the biblical ancestor of African-Americans. By doing so, people of darker skin wereforced to become slaves. While there are bold and clear slavery commandments in the Bible, and there are no anti-slavery commandments. This culminates to pro-slavery activists having the upper hand in thebiblical debate against the abolitionists on whether slavery should be kept or condemned. Usingthe Bible as a tool, pro-slavery advocates were able to institute slavery in pre-war America. “Ifwe apply sola scriptura to slavery, I’m afraid the abolitionists are on relatively weak ground.Nowhere is slavery in the Bible lambasted as an oppressive and evil institution.”(Faithless). Theabsence of anti-slavery passages and verses on how slaves were treated are found in the OldTestament, and spoken naturally in the New Testament inferring that slavery is normality.
Lopez 3Therefore, by using just the Old Testament, promoters of slavery were able to enact a doctrine ofslavery during the times of the slave trade in America. From the prosecution to the beating of aslave, the masters in pre-war America were able to defend their crimes by arguing that underGod’s right, slaves were to be treated inferiorly to their masters as they were in biblical times. In addition contrary to modern belief, the eradication of slavery in the United was not dueto Christians. In fact, the Bible was used to justify the American slave trade for years. Slavery inancient Christianity is the basis for slavery in the antebellum South. Slaves were brought, sold,and kidnapped if they ran away from their masters. This is how early Christianity influenced theactions of the Europeans. While the Bible establishes the code of conduct for the treatment ofslaves, these codes were vague and easily bent. Usually those codes of slave treatment are onlyapplied to Hebrew slaves, none else. Just how in Israel you could kidnap, capture, or purchase aslave against their will, so could you in the South. More over in the South, the enslavement of aU.S. citizen was termed illegal in the same way that an Israelite could not enslave a fellowIsraelite. Slavery in early Christianity set the foundation for the building blocks of slavery in theeighteenth-century South.Since slavery was God’s right, Christian slave holders would use thisterm as an excuse to buy slaves, or a cheap work force. The slave holders would use the Curse ofHam to rectify the use of African-Americans during the triangular trade. All in the name of God,slaves were ill-treated and sometimes even killed during the Atlantic slave trade. Christianity planted a seed that blossomed to a rose; beautiful but deadly. Just like howthis religion gives humanity hope, this religion also enslaves humanity to serve under oneanother. As corrupt as slavery was, this was the norm of the people in biblical times for theyoperated at different standards than modern day societies. Just as how Europeans believed theEarth was flat, the people in Israel believed slavery as being commanded by God. While this
Lopez 4theory is sane, slavery advocates during the pre-civil war in America knew slavery as beinghorrid and still held on to the notion of slavery by acclaiming to the bible for support. Until thisday, not only did Christianity negatively impact the use of slavery but there still pious Christianswho try to defend and justify the use of slavery in the antebellum South.