“They produce the most pernicious effect on manners. Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant.”There is something about having absolute control over another human being that brings out the worst in some people. Slaves were treated in ways that free labor would never tolerate.
One reason that slavery died out in Christian Europe and was the teaching of the Bible. Nowhere is slavery condemned in Christianity or any other major world religion but the conditions put on it were such that you could not maintain the relationship. We see this in the letter of Paul to Philemon. Paul had come across an escaped slave name Onesimus who had become a Christian. He and Paul worked together in Rome but then Paul realized that he needed to return to his master, who was also a Christian. When Paul sends him back he includes the letter we have. In it he says to Philemon,
(Phm 1:15-18 NAS77) For perhaps he was for this reason parted from you for a while, that you should have him back forever, no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. If then you regard me a partner, accept him as you would me. But if he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account;He was sent back as a slave but was to be treated as a brother. This kind of attitude makes it pretty hard to maintain slaves.
Slavery allows the sinful nature of all human beings free reign. It gives us the idea we are superior and have the right to inflict pain on others. It gives us the idea that others exist for our pleasure and exploitation.
This is an attitude that Americans have rejected just as we led the way in rejecting slavery.
To be continued...
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