Black Slaves and Religion Essay

824 WordsApr 17, 20084 Pages
Black Slaves and Religion One of the first things that attracted the African American slaves to Christianity was a way of obtaining the salvation of theirs souls based on the Christian’s idea of a future reward in heaven or punishment in hell, which did not exist in their primary religion. The religious principles inherited from Africa sought purely physical salvation and excluded the salvation of the soul. However, they did believe in one supreme God, which made it easier for them to assimilate Christianity. Christianity provided African American slaves with hope, because although they were suffering as merely human instruments of work, God was watching them and all of theirs suffering would be rewarded by him. “Slavery, with all its…show more content…
His entire family was purchased by a New York Dutch couple that lived in rural New York. John Jea converted himself into Christianity when he was fifteen years old and after getting his freedom, he became a preacher and started to travel and preach religion among many other slaves and free blacks with his spontaneous literacy. Around 1811 John Jea, wrote a spiritual narrative called “The Life, History and Unparalleled Sufferings of John Jea”, in which he tells about the abuse of the slaveholders towards their slaves. He emphasized how Christian slave owners like his own master who would torture the slaves without any mercy: “…we were corrected with a weapon an inch and-a-half thick, and that without mercy, striking us in the most tender parts…” Nevertheless, not all the slaves that were converted became free. A man called Elias Neau, founded a school for slaves, that later would became famous, declared that Christian baptism could not alter civil condition; “Even if a slave was to somehow be converted, his conversion would not alter the fact that he was a slave.” Many slaveholders opposed the idea of slaves converting into Christianity. They feared that with conversion, slaves would acquire education and notions of equality and consequently demand the same human rights as the white free man. In order to keep the bondage, slaves had to be kept ignorant and many slave owners would do their best to keep the slaves the way they
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