Saturday, July 12, 2008

Does The Bible Condemn Slavery?

I did not want to enter into this debate because I have had to deal with it several times. However, let me reluctantly just jump in right quick hoping I will enthusiastically jump out. The word of God is mute on slavery; it does not discourage nor encourage it. Rather it makes the conditions for keeping a slave difficult. The Bible does not openly stand against or for slavery because slavery inherently was not evil. If it was inherently evil, seeing that the Bible has been very vocal on evil then God would not have given guidelines on setting slaves free, Jesus, the apostles, the disciples and church fathers would have had the same posture of denouncing it even before the New Testament was compiled. That was not done.
There were two types of slaves: slaves with a criminal background worked or were assigned unskilled labor while those who did not commit any crime were assigned skilled labor. Slavery initially had a good intention. Though God did not include it in the creation ordinance rather he did acknowledge its existence and ushered guidelines (Lev 25:39; Deut 15:12-14). Paul tried to raise the status of slaves but that did not improve still (Col 4:1) because he had earlier called on total surrender of the servant slave to the master as unto God (Col 3:22)). The nature of that slavery was not the stolen property like the Americans and Europeans did to Africans rather for people who could not pay their bills or war prisoners. What was now the rudimentary canon was how to use Christian principles to treat people and this class called slaves. It was under this assumption that slaves were acquired that the apostles exhorted faithfuls to obey their masters as unto God.
Prisons are evil but they are evil by-products of sin. Is it then wrong to have prisons? However when there is overcrowding, wrongful imprisonment and other vices associated with it then we condemn those acts and not the institution. The institution of slavery was meant to bail out the poor and war prisoners so they could serve some time to compensate the victor or the victim and give them (the slave) an opportunity to regain the freedom lost (Lev 25).
What happened to Africans that they were taken into slavery by westerners was not in any of this category. It was a misuse of the institution of slavery. The act of stealing other humans and selling them as slaves was greatly condemned both in the Old and New Testaments (Ex 21:16; Deut 24:7; I Tim 1:8-11). If people were not stolen and sold then the slavery of oppression would not have existed. It was pure evil and exploitative use of an institution. The idea of slavery starts right from when Abram had Hagar as a slave. Though it is called handmaid in translations the Hebrew equivalent / shiphchah/ is slave girl or servant girl[1]. This practice of helping the helpless whereby they were to be set free quickly became an implementation of Survival of the Fittest when the Middianites rounded up people from neighboring tribes and sold them to Egypt. Consequently Joseph was sold (Gen 37:28) and Samson became a slave (Juges 16:21). The new people in new lands usually posed a problem to their taskmasters. Thus, the law of natural selection was applied.
The fear of growth of other people prompts slavery or slave markets (Ex 1:9-10). The fear of the growth of Africa prompted the western world to use Africans as slaves. It is still that fear of their expansion that unsettles the West to still try their gimmicks with the pretext of democracy to hold Africans and others under constant bondage. In this condition, the slaves must rebel because it is evil and every child of God should resist evil. The Native Americans though did not use a plausible method of resisting evil by committing suicide discouraged the Americans from using them as slaves. That is why they had to go to Africa for slaves for their modern plantations.
Nowadays there is a systematic plan to redo the same thing. There is a fight to eliminate Africa in a more subtle manner. Why should a bad vaccine in America be good for developing countries? Why are all epidemics only breaking out in Africa? Why are most vaccines tested in Africa? Africans will no more be taken into slavery but they must watch out against a new method to eliminate them. They say HIV that lives only in Humans came from monkeys in Africa. Buruli that is caused by Mycobacteriun ulcerans they say it is zoonotic so that they could find a testing ground and cavies for their new drugs. Africans must realize that this mentality to enslave them is an ever persistent attempt that they must look at Patrice Lumumba, Julius Nyerere, Simon Kibangu, Um Nyobe, Ernest Oundjie, Thomas Sankara, Ken Saro Wiwa and now Robert Mugabe.
Many have vilified Mugabe because of fake reports coming from paid British and turncoat Zimbabwean journalists whose job is to demonize anyone and everyone who rejects their slave mentality. If it was for the sole purpose of democracy then every African knows that there are presidents: Omar Bongo of Gabon since 1967 and Gnassingbe Eyadema since 1967 who have each ruled their countries for 41 years almost doubling the number of years Mugabe has been in power. Why do they not ask those same presidents to share power? Mugabe’s death emanates from the fact that he redistributed land in Zimbabwe. The white Zimbabweans who took the land at gun points during the slave period of colonization make only 0.3 % but they own 73% of the cultivable land. To the British that is equality and fairness, and Mugabe must leave the status quo because some Zimbabweans are more equal than others. Well, his right hand man has told them: go hang!

Until then, let no mortal make you a slave.

Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk

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