Slaves in the US originally followed the ‘Pagan’ Religion. They would have converted to Christianity without any coercion since this was the most popularly followed religion. Their status as slaves made their conversion into Christianity appear a matter of fact.
Methodists believed as early as 1780 that slavery was converse to the rule of god, nature and man. This was seen as hurtful to the society, contrary to the dictates of religion or conscience. Methodists were the earliest to condemn slavery. By 1784, it was declared that any Methodist who practiced slavery would be excommunicated. By 1820, these Methodists targeted the religion of these slaves. Due to their kindness towards slaves, the follower-ship was easy to achieve. Many slaves were attracted to this religion also because it dealt with emotions which they needed to express in some kind of safe heaven.
Many whites feared to preach Christianity to these slaves since they felt that they might actually live some of the mentions in the Bible like ‘Exodus’. Their worst fears came true when rebellions became intense like that of Nat Turner. They refrained from conversions of slaves to keep such fears at bay. The churches were opened to blacks in order to regulate them. Whites expected slaves to believe that they were meant to be slaves and not revolt as advocated by god who preached that one should learn to ‘turn the other cheek’ when required. Hence, the whites thought of educating blacks regarding Christianity.
Some non-slaves intended to advocate Christianity to blacks with the intention of making them a part of a fine culture. Some other good Samaritans intended the conversion only to save their souls. The Americans did not feel the need to know more about the pagan religion since they concluded by themselves that they were supreme.
John Jasper a regions speaker who was a black brought the religion of Christianity to slaves. He proclaimed that god would be able to intercede and turn the natural order up side down. This argument was used since most Americans employing the slaves called slavery a natural order. He sowed the seed of hope that god would intercede and save them from the horrors of slavery. His popularity was seen in the delays people undertook even in funerals till Jasper came to deliver his speech.
Many factors contributed to conversion of slaves to Christianity. The link was intrinsic and irrespective of whether slavery existed or not, these conversions would have still come through.
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Your Dictionary: How Did Christianity Spread to The Slaves?