|What About Slavery? (First in a series)
By Dr. Don Boys
© 2001 Cornerstone Communications
Slavery was known throughout Africa for centuries before white traders sailed into African ports. Slaves were used as money to purchase a wife, cattle or crops and to pay taxes.
Slavery cannot be defended by the most brilliant, eloquent person even though many have tried. Aristotle said that nature gave stronger bodies and less understanding to those born to serve while free men have less physical force and greater understanding. He also said that just as some are by nature free, so there are by nature slaves, and for these latter the condition of slavery is both beneficial and just. Aristotle was wrong! Slavery can never be justified.
Most Americans have a romantic and skewed impression of slavery that they have received from a flawed public school system and the media moguls. They have been inculcated with the lie (spoken loudly and at length) that white Christians are somehow responsible for slavery! The fact is we did not start slavery. We ended legal slavery!
We watched Alex Haleys Roots on our television sets, being told that it was an historic novel. We saw a handsome black man walking through his idyllic African jungle home when he was accosted by vicious white men, subdued after valiant effort of resistance, chained and taken to America where he lived and died a slave on a Southern plantation. That myth has been perpetuated by black preachers (who should be more dedicated to truth) when they tell their people that their ancestors were black royalty who were dragged from their homes by white Americans. Sorry, but it didnt happen that way.
Most Americans still dont know that historians confronted Haley with his inaccurate screed, and he admitted, I tried to give my people a myth to live by. I believe thinking blacks would rather live by the truth rather than a myth. The fact is that Haley pirated from The African and settled with the author for $650,000!
When slavery is discussed it usually focuses on Southern slavery with more heat than light. Slavery was a reality before Joseph was sold into slavery in the early days of civilization as recorded in Genesis. Far more whites have been slaves than blacks, and it is always wrong.
Black slaves were first taken to Europe in the late 1400s and to the New World in 1502. Between 1500 and 1860 it is estimated that over nine million blacks were taken from Africa to the New World, but less than three percent were sold in America during the 350 years preceding the Civil War. Brazil was the biggest market by far.
Black slaves usually fell into one of three categories: (1) captives taken in war or those kidnapped by black chiefs, (2) convicted criminals such as killers, thieves, etc., or (3) those born into slavery.
It is suggested by some that white men introduced slavery to the African continent; however, that is a fairy story. Slavery was known throughout Africa for centuries before white traders sailed into African ports. Slaves were used as money to purchase a wife, cattle or crops and to pay taxes.
Some have used the Bible to justify slavery but without success. Exodus 21:16 clearly forbids slavery: And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him shall surely be put to death. So God prescribed the death penalty for those who deal in human flesh! And the death penalty was for both buyer and seller! But what about the Bible supporting slavery in other places? It doesnt. The Mosaic Law did not establish slavery. The Old Testament recognized slavery as a reality and sought to mitigate it since it was a fact of life throughout the world. (The taking of captivities in war is another matter, but has been a factor in slavery since the beginning of time.)
In I Timothy 1:10, the Apostle Paul condemned menstealers affirming that such a sin was why the Law of Moses was given. The epistle of Philemon does not endorse slavery as some suggest. Onesimus was a run-away indentured servant who owed a debt to Philemon, and Paul recommended that Philemon release him when he returned to him. Paul promised to pay any debt Onesimus owned to Philemon. In Christ there is neither bond nor free. All are equal in Christ.
Some have tried to defend slavery because the enslaved blacks were taken to enlightened countries where they heard the Gospel of Christ. Sorry, but that dog wont hunt! While Christianity is the answer to paganism, the residual effects of slavery do not justify the buying or selling of humans.
The degrading, dastardly, and despicable practice of slavery has gone on since the beginning of time in all nations of the earth, but my focus in the next issue will be on North America.