Religious Justifications of Slavery in the Caribbean

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Religious Justifications of Slavery in the Caribbean The doctrine of Christianity grants eternal life to all persons who accept that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and choose to follow him. Such a statement leaves little room for interpretation of the scripture itself. Nevertheless, the nineteenth century Christian churches of the Caribbean Islands created a racial distinction between humans which determined who could and who could not be granted eternal life through the Christian faith. This concept of race was based on the belief that Africans were intellectually unable to make an educated decision regarding personal religion. Planters supported this discrimination against their workers because then they did not have to be cruel to fellow Christians. Two kinds of Christianity existed in the Caribbean during the nineteenth century. Planters and the church of the elite, mainly the Anglican church upheld a Christian faith that served mainly to justify the wealth of the ruling class, and the oppression of the enslaved peoples. The other side of the Christian religion served to promote the religious education of the slaves by operating under the non-traditional belief that all men were worthy of hearing the gospel, and making a choice for or against Christianity. This underground form of Christianity more closely represents the true ideals of the Christian faith, and grossly illuminates the corruption of Christianity at the hands of the planters. During slavery many families were separated: fathers, mothers and children were attached to different plantations with the result that some never saw their family members again. The responsibility of bringing up the children rested primarily with the mothers and grandmothers. This sit... ... middle of paper ... ...of Social and Economic Research. 3. Karasch, Mary C. (1987). Slave Life in Rio de Janeiro: 1808-1850. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 4. Patterson, Orlando (1969) The Sociology of Slavery. Cranbury, New Jersey: Associated University Presses. 5. Phillippo, James M. (1971) Jamaica. Freeport, New York: Books for Libraries Press. 6. Russell-Wood, A.J.R. (1982) The Black Man in Slavery and Freedom in Colonial Brazil. London: The Macmillan Press. 7. Schuler, Monica. (1980) "Alas, Alas, Kongo": A Social History of Indentured African Immigration into Jamaica, 1841- 1865. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. 8. Sells, William (1972) Remarks on the Condition of Slaves in the Island of Jamaica. Shannon, Ireland: Irish University Press. 9. Turner, Mary (1982). Slaves and Missionaries: The Disintegration of Jamaican Slave Society, 1787-1834. Urbana,

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