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← More African-Americans leaving religious faiths

Steven Mading's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by Steven Mading

Comment 1 by dloubet :

Good for them!

I don't know how to phrase this with sensitivity, so I'm just going to blurt it out harshly: It's good to see people finally freeing themselves from slavery. It never made sense to me why an enslaved people would adopt the religion of their slavers in the first place.

As to the "religion of their slavers" comment, it's important to note that there's a lot of misconceptions about the order of events in "Westernizing" black Africans. (I hate that word in this case since Europe is NORTH of Africa, not west of it). People seem to have a misconception that things happened in this order:

Step 1: Slavers take Africans to the Americas.

Step 2: After arriving in the Americas, the African slaves convert to Christianity.

They happened in that order some of the time, but not all the time. A lot of the time it was like this:

Step 1: Missionaries appear in Africa prior to the slavers and start converting natives to Christianity. Remember that Christianity had about 1600 years to reach West Africa before the slave trade "triangle route" started going strong.

Step 2: Slavers start taking Africans to the Americas.

Step 3: The Africans arriving in the Americas are Christians already. They are new to being slaves, but not new to being Christians.

It's also important to note that it didn't take very many decades before it hit the point where the majority of African-American slaves were people who were born in the Americas to slave parents as opposed to being born in Africa and brought to the Americas in the slave trade. The law of exponential growth sort of demands that this happens, as birth rates will always eventually outpace manual relocation rates. These slaves born in the Americas would have far more exposure to Christianity than to the religions of their ancestors. To them Africa is just as foreign as it is to anyone else in the Americas.

Thu, 17 May 2012 05:04:59 UTC | #941972