We will write a custom Research Paper on The Role of Christianity in Enslaved African’s Lives specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Slave trade was necessitated by America’s manual agricultural activities, which required a huge workforce. Therefore, the American’s acquired labor by enslaving Africans so as to ensure a continued supply of agricultural products to Europe.
After slavery, evangelists made efforts to convert the African slaves from their cultural religions and belief to Christianity.
Most slaves embraced this new religion. This discussion explores how the conversion of African slaves into Christianity impacted on their lives.
The Role of Christianity in the Lives of African Slaves
European evangelists explored the bible to explain the concept of slavery of Africans. They concluded that Africans were being enslaved as a punishment for their sins.
They explained that according to the bible, Africans were the descendants of Ham (Noah’s son) who was cursed for laughing at his drunk and naked father. Therefore, slavery was accepted as it was seen as the fulfillment of Noah’s curse (Glasson 42).
The bible has many references to the concept of slavery. In the Old Testament, there are rules on how servants should be treated and what their rights are.
For instance, there were rules that inhibited the masters from killing their slaves and forcing them to work during Sabbath. In the New Testament, slaves who embraced Christianity were taught to respect their masters and serve them as if they were serving Jesus.
Those people who use Christianity to justify slavery claim that the bible does not condemn the act but just gives guidelines on how the slaves should be handled (Curtis 79).
The Americans enslaved Africans claiming that this would enable them to be exposed to Christianity. Once in slavery, evangelists tried to teach Christianity to the slaves and emphasized the biblical teachings that teach slaves to respect their masters.
Therefore, these missionaries used Christianity to justify slavery. However, some other Christians referred to the bible to condemn slavery.
Many Christian churches were opposed to slavery on the ground that all human beings are equal in God’s sight and had equal rights. No one was superior to the other and, therefore, none should be a slave of the other (Brown and Miller 88).
The slave masters felt that it would be easier to govern the slaves if they were not culturally united. Some slave masters were against the idea of their slaves converting to Christianity because they felt that this would make them feel defiant.
They saw the baptism and acceptance into Christianity would make the slaves feel equal to their masters spiritually and consequently would start pushing for equal rights.
The evangelists however explained to the slave masters that conversion of their slaves to Christianity would make the slaves to understand their responsibilities and serve them even better (Brown and Miller 94).
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
Conversion to Christianity had several impacts on the lives of the African slaves. Firstly, they saw Christianity as a path to freedom. The slaves who converted to Christianity used the scriptures to condemn slavery.
They likened their masters to the Egyptians who were punished by God for enslaving the Israelites. Other slaves were offered freedom in exchange for their conversion to Christianity.
The African slaves also used Christianity to preserve some of their cultural practices like shouting and dancing during worship (Brown and Miller 118).
Christianity also enabled the converted slaves to become literate. Literacy enabled the slaves to read the bible on their own and discover that it contained hope for their freedom.
For fear of disobedience from the slaves, the masters only allowed for the teaching of verses that emphasized on the submission of slaves to their masters.
They did not allow any other scriptures to be taught to them. The African slaves who accepted Christianity got enlightened and lived with optimism since they likened their situation to that of the enslaved Israelites in the bible and hoped that God would send someone like Moses to rescue them (Curtis 11).
The slavery of Africans led to their conversion to Christianity. The missionaries justified the act of slavery as a way to convert the Africans into Christianity.
Supporters of slavery used various bible quotes to prove that the act was allowed by God. Those people who condemned slavery also used bible scriptures to justify that all human beings were equal in the sight of God.
The conversion of slaves into Christianity had several impacts on their lives and led to their general welfare. Christian slaves were able to enjoy the privilege of literacy, which enlightened them on many issues including the bible teachings.
After conversion, these slaves also lived more optimistic lives as the new religion gave them hope for freedom. Converted slaves were also able to rise and fight against the mortifying act of slavery.
Therefore, Christianity helped in making the lives of African slaves more bearable and played a great role in facilitating the abolition of slavery.
Brown, Sally, Ann, and Miller, Patrick. Lament: Reclaiming Practices In Pulpit, Pew, And Public Square. USA: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005. Print
Curtis, Nancy. Black Heritage Sites: An African American Odyssey And Finder’s Guide. USA: ALA Editions, 1996. Print
Glasson, Travis. Mastering Christianity: Missionary Anglicanism and Slavery in the Atlantic World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print