Slave Religion

Topics: Slavery in the United States, Slavery, African American Pages: 5 (2060 words) Published: February 24, 2013
Is the bible a basis of survival or a crutch to promote slavery?

Ancestors were bound, not by choice, but against their will, serving as the property of a slaveholder or household. The only source of faith came from the belief in religion. However, that same belief in religion is the same belief that sanctioned slavery. Is that notion true, or not? For years, it has been known that African Americans live closely by depending on prayer to uplift their spirits as well as guide them to the light “positive success”. Most of the first black congregations were formed before the year of 1800, and many were founded during slavery. Even during slavery there was a split in churches when it came to the master’s family and the slaves. After slavery was abolished, most blacks continued to host their own congregation but instead of having to praise behind closed doors, they were allowed to praise in public. What was different about the white church and the black church was the fact that the slaves created a unique experience by exercising African spiritual traditions within their faith.

However when you think of Religion, you think of God, the ultimate belief in Savior. This same belief could also possibly be the reason why slaves remained captive. The bible wasn’t used in a positive nature when it came to preaching to the slaves. But yet, illiteracy played a major part as to why the bible was interpreted the way it was. What alarmed me was the irony behind something so sacred being used as a crutch to slavery. If slaves didn’t believe in a higher being, would slavery have even been held out so long? Slavery was continuous due to the belief that Jesus said that it was okay to be held captive; at least that’s what masters told the slaves. But in reality, the bible was misconstrued into placing belief that it was African American people’s duty to serve the white man.

The question that I proposed was has religion been used as a crutch to promote slavery? The answer to that question is yes. Religion has been held to a high nature of respect. A lot of individuals that believe in Christianity have the mental frame that “God heals all”. When you have that much respect for a higher being, you believe what has been associated to such. I feel that slaves were in a vulnerable state of not knowing. Because they could not read, they were not able to interpret the bible correctly. With that being said, the slave masters took that advantage and ran with it. They manipulated the belief of the Lord and made it seem as though Slavery was indeed in the bible and it was the way to do things right if you wanted to be saved. Religion was a crutch into serving survival means to slaves, but also a crutch into keeping them enslaved. It wasn’t the bible’s fault as to why slaves were kept, but yet the slave masters for using something that the slaves believed in and changed the meaning of it. Everything downs to slaves being illiterate as to why this huge lie continued to live on through years.

Relationships have been formed between slaves and religion. A relationship between slavery literacy and religion has been formed as well. Scripture reading played a major part in the antebellum south, there was one issue though, and up to 90 percent of them were illiterate. In When I can Read My Title Clear, Cornelius asserts that literacy played a major part as to why the chains were kept on our ancestors. He states that “literacy was a mechanism for forming identity, the freedom to become a person.” (pg. 2) That quote implies that without literacy, the slaves of the south, we’re not aware of what they could become. It was also highlighted that it was ordered that everyone, every human, should study God’s word, but there wasn’t a positive motion behind that order. This order was made to denigrate African and African Americans. Slave-holders knew exactly what the power of literacy could to do the African American people and that is why they used the bible...
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