Sunday, January 6, 2013

CHRISTIAN FAITH AND SLAVERY

Someone (on one of the blogs I read) just asked if "the Christian God condones slavery." I have a hunch the question was meant to stir up the pot, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume it was an honest question. Since others have indeed asked the question (after reading much about slavery in the Bible), I'll give my answer.

British Anti-Slavery Society Convention (1840)
The New Testament does not approve of slavery (though many in the past have interpreted that way). The Christian Scriptures merely accepted the reality of slavery during the first century, and the writers (particularly Paul) tried to help Christians know how to deal with the circumstances. When Christianity began, it was not a military or political movement, but a religious one, so Jesus did not call for anyone (slaves, Jews, women, etc.) to rise up against their oppressors.

However, one verse gave American abolitionists justification for their cause in pre-Civil War America: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28, NIV). Here Paul speaks most clearly about the equality of ALL people, which is why Christians today work hard to end the cruelty of slavery and the oppression of women in many developing nations.

Read what thousands of Christians college students in Georgia are doing to fight against slavery. (Beware of the typical, mindless anti-religious rants in the comment section. They are all too common on the CNN Belief Blog)

The movie "Amazing Grace" highlights the role of the Christian values of mercy and justice behind the anti-slavery passion of John Newtwon and William Wilberforce.

Read more about the history of Christians against slavery at Christianity Today.

Here's a thorough article on the history of Christian faith and slavery from Wikipedia.

CNN interview "Jesus Was the Original Abolitionist"


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