Christianity and Slavery (Extra Credit)

Christianity and Slavery (Extra Credit)

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Christianity and Slavery (Extra Credit)

The first concept that will be examined in the article “How Christian Slaveholders used the Bible to justify Slavery” is the historical concepts of prejudice and discrimination. The notions are centered on a deeply ingrained belief that people of certain races or groups possess various qualities or abilities that make them more superior or inferior to others. As such, it leads to social characteristics such as mistreatment, denying of rights, and economic and social marginalization. On an institutional level, these groups are placed at an inherent advantage or disadvantage depending on the manner in which society has viewed them. When such discrimination occurs at an institutional level, it becomes highly challenging to not only debunk the beliefs and stereotypes that have been established, but also to reposition them to equal status to those deemed either inferior or superior to them.

            Another concept that will be applied to the article is culture and religion. Culture encompasses the beliefs and values held by a group of people, and that which distinguishes them from another. Religion, which is a subset of culture, centers on the spiritual aspect of people’s existence. In particular, Christianity, which is addressed in the article, entails the belief of God and the Holy Trinity. The Bible, which has been used as a reference, provides Christians with doctrines by which to live. The will of God is aimed at helping believers achieve an eternal and glorious life in heaven. Historical references are also provided, which allow people to view the world through the path that Christianity has taken up to today. Through this, connections can be made regarding the ways of life employed today.

            The first concept of discrimination and prejudice can be applied in the article through examining the institution of slavery from when it was developed hundreds of years ago. Described as a “peculiar institution,” slavery was seen as a practice that was characterized by racism, which is a form of discrimination. Through racism, slaveholders and traders promoted the narrative of the inferiority of black people as well as other people of color. While the primary aim of slavery was for economic gain, the strong yet false prejudice that was established allowed the practice to grow to an institutional level. Africans were seen as physically strong, less intelligent, savage, and soulless because they were not Christians. The contention made the idea of subjugating and making them perform arduous labor more comfortable to the larger American society.

            The second concept of religion and culture can also be examined from the institution of slavery. To be regarded as Christians, people needed to adhere to the divine will of God through instructions from the Bible. As such, slaveholders needed to be seen as part of the larger Christian society. They would thus need to use the Bible to justify their slaveholding practices. The article is centered on how the slaveholders reconciled their religious beliefs with the practice of keeping slaves. One of the most significant religious justifications was that Jesus did not condemn slavery. Furthermore, slaves were seen as people who were required to be “obedient to their masters according to the flesh” and “in singleness of the heart.” While subjugating a group of people was seen as sinful in some Biblical passages, slaveholders justified this institution through stating that it was also common in Israel in the old days.

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