Throughout history the race card has always been played, even at times when it shouldn't surface. Though racism exist, an obvious fact in the world today, many have stretched the boundary of racism beyond it's scope. I was once told by a black American that Christianity is a western religion forced on my ancestors and used to enslave them. Yeah, given the time and circumstances around the slave trade, many would be tempted to believe that lie is true. In this article I would tackle this question by looking at the major subjects it bears:
*Is Jesus a western God?
*Was Christianity forced on Africa?
*Was Christianity responsible for the slave trade?
*Should Africans and the civilizations of the world return to worship the gods of their ancestors?
Is Jesus a Western God?
Before the advent of Christianity, almost all of Europe was pagan. The only race that can truly claim historical ownership of Jesus are the Jews. The Jewish writings as recorded by the ancient prophets from Moses explain that most of the early world turned away from God save a few which included the Jewish patriarchs. God respected their difference in a world of rebellion and worked with them and their descendants with the aim of bringing the whole world to God through the Jews. This plan echoed throughout God's interaction with Abraham as recorded by the Jews.
When Christianity arose, it was kicked against by Jewish and Roman leaders alike. The early Christians were persecuted as recorded by historians including Tacitus whom clearly showed Christians were outcasts that could be accused of causing a devastating calamity by a noble person trying to escape a blame. Tacitus recorded that on 19-27 July 64, Rome was destroyed by a great fire: only four of its fourteen quarters remained intact. The emperor Nero was blamed by the Roman populace, and in turn blamed the Christians.
In due time, Europe turned from pagan ways when Rome under Constantine turned to Christianity. History clearly doesn't point at Christianity being the property of mainstream Europe or European culture. Though the Jews currently call the country Israel their native land, a land classed as a European country, historically they are Semites, more related to the Arabs of Asia and North Africa than to mainstream Europe.
Christianity is not the property of Europe, in fact the Europeans and their elites kicked against Christianity in its early days until Europe itself fell not by sword but by revelations in a dream to Constantine. Europe can only boast of receiving Christianity first, Africa, native America and most of Asia received it few decades and centuries later. Even some parts of Asia and Africa like Ethiopia received Christianity before some parts of Europe did.
Was Christianity forced on Africa?
The Bible explains that faith cannot be forced on anyone, that would be making a mockery of God, not true faith. God knows all our hearts and if faith is forced, it is mere pretence at work not faith.
The missionaries sent to Africa by various church bodies knew that faith cannot be forced. They had just one interest, to preach Jesus to the whole world. They endured the less luxurious environment in Africa, some died, suffering for the gospel of Jesus. They built schools which endure till today, schools named after saints and churches. They built hospitals and more.
Some called the Europeans spreading Christianity to many parts of Africa as similar to slave masters forcing their religion on their slaves whether force was used or not. The truth is that Christianity throughout it's history has passed from slave to slave master and vice versa. Let's trace this back to the earliest spread of Christianity. Christians were the minority and the Jews were like slaves living in servitude to Rome yet in this case the slave passed his religion to the slave master, this example dismisses the idea of the spread of Christianity being associated with slave to slave-master relationship.
Is Christianity responsible for the slave trade?
Indeed the ethnicity of those who championed the slave trade was same as those who brought Christianity, that was the only true similarity between these two movements, this similarity in ethnicity has brought about the race card being played in regards to Christianity.
While Christianity arrived Africa from a desire to share truth, the slave trade arrived from the fact that Europe needed labor to build the newly found America. The slave trade was by far more political than religious. The scramble for Africa the political stuff again happened still for economic benefits. Yet most of the abolitionists were prominent Christians Truth is religion and politics often walk side by side and form the framework of culture. But nonetheless religion is different from politics.
The question that should always be asked is: "If Christianity didn't exist, would it mean the slave trade would never have happened?" I tell you that long as Europe needed labor and Africa was not strong enough to defend herself, the slave trade would have happened. The slave trade did not happen because of Christianity but because of the human nature. Humans are selfish enough to take advantage of each other's weaknesses. Africa had a weakness and the Europeans took advantage of it. Whether Christianity existed or not, the slave trade would have happened.
I know that Christianity was used as a conditioning system in some situations during the slave trade era. But I always say that evil is good abused or mutated. Love can be abused, likewise trust. Every good thing can be abused and used to perform evil. Even the name of God was abused by the Catholic Church and used to burn women called witches and so called heretics at the stake in Europe. Many Christians (the protestants) stood against this evil and were burnt at the stake too. Christianity was abused, long abandoned Old Testament laws which were useful for their time not the 1800s which are New Testament times were used as a tool to further the course of slavery. I tell you the truth, without Christianity, the slave traders would use other conditioning systems as they actually used. They used force the most important conditioning system. It must be noted that the abuse of Christianity wasn't the main or important conditioning system that ensured the slave trade survived. Force was the necessary conditioning system and other conditioning systems were used to support it when necessary.
Should Africans and the civilizations of the world return to serving the gods of their ancestors?
Of course not. That would mean a return to human sacrifices, female genital mutilation and more ills our ancestors did. From pagan Europe to all ancestral civilizations, these ills exist in the name of religious service. Culture evolves and Jesus is a step forward.