We’re all Users

I’m reading Bill Cosby and Alvin Poussaint’s Come on People: on the path from Victims to VictorsComeOnPeople_HQ. On p. 32 they write:

One way slaves survived such brutal conditions was to turn the Christianity they had learned into a liberation theology.  The stories of the Hebrew slaves became their own. Even as slave owners used the Bible to justify slavery, black people used the Bible as God intended-to give people hope for a time when there would be true justice. (emphasis added)

I love this! (Except for the part that the term liberation theology immediately turned some of you off because you pigeon-hole such labels)

What slaves did with Christianity, in turning it into liberation theology begs the question of what kind of label ought we put on to kind of theology that justified slavery?

Cosby and Poussaint correctly identify that slaves and slave owners used the Bible to support their own vision of the future, and of the way life ought to be.  Don’t we all do this?

I’m a user.  I read the Bible regularly. I preach from the Bible.  I gain much of my understanding of life, of the world, of humanity, of the future, from the Bible. I also read it and understand it differently now than I did when I was a teen, and also differently than when I was only 30.  At all these ages, I used the Bible.

Slave owners used the Bible to enslave people. For at least a century after slavery was abolished, some continued to use the Bible to subjugate people. (Cosby and Poussaint point out wisely that science has been used too).

Slaves, I think, had a better claim to using the scriptures than did slave owners.  They had the stronger claim to scripture the same way Moses, not Pharoah, had the message of God.

If you ever catch yourself thinking or accusing someone else of using the Bible to support their cause, consider how you might be doing the same.

It seems to me that whenever the Bible is used in the direction of giving “people hope for a time when there would be true justice” is a great way to use the Bible.

2 thoughts on “We’re all Users

  1. Muslims Believe In JESUS
    (Peace be upon him)

    To know more please visit : http://islam100.wordpress.com

    We are presenting this not to placate you out of policy or diplomacy. We are only articulating what our Creator had commanded us in the Noble Qur’an (Which is translated as follows);

    “Say (O Muslim), “We believe in Allah and that which has been sent down to us and that which has been sent down to Abraham (Abraham), Isma’il (Ishmael), Ishaque (Isaac), Ya’qub (Jacob), and to Al-Asbat [the twelve sons of Ya’cub (Jacob)], and that which has been given to Musa (Moses) and ‘Iesa (Jesus), and that which has been given to the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we have submitted (in Islam)”. [Chapter 2: verse 136]

    As Muslims we have no choice. We had said in many words:

    ” WE BELIEVE IN ONE CREATOR, WE BELIEVE IN ALL HIS PROPHETS, WE BELIEVE, THAT JESUS (peace be upon him) WAS ONE OF THE MIGHTIEST PROPHETS OF GOD, THAT HE WAS THE MESSIAH AS WELL AS THE WORD OF GOD, THAT HE WAS BORN MIRACULOUSLY- WITHOUT ANY MALE INTERVENTION (which many modern-day Christians do not believe today) , THAT HE GAVE LIFE TO THE DEAD BY GOD’S PERMISSION, AND THAT HE HEALED THOSE BORN BLIND AND THE LEPERS BY GOD’S PERMISSION.”

    Islam respects all religions. Nevertheless, Muslims consider the view of Christendom to be a misguided one. The Noble Qur’an highlights the important aspects of Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him) mother, his birth, his mission and his ascension to heaven.
    VIRGIN MARY:
    Story of Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him) in the Noble Qur’an starts with the conception of his mother, Mary, when the wife of Imran, Mary’s mother, vowed to dedicate her child to the service of God in the temple. This is mentioned in the following verses (Which is translated as follows);

    “(Remember) when the wife of ‘Imran said: “O my Lord! I have vowed to You what (the child that) is in my womb to be dedicated for Your services (free from all worldly work; to serve Your place of worship), so accept this, from me. Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knowing” “Then when she delivered her child [Maryam (Mary)], she said: “O my Lord! I have delivered a female child,” — and Allah knew better what she delivered, — “And the male is not like the female, and I have named her Maryam (Mary), and I seek refuge with You (Allah) for her and for her offspring from Shaitan (Satan), the outcast.” “So her Lord (Allah) accepted her with goodly acceptance, He made her grow in a good manner and put her under the care of Zakariya (Zachariya). Every time he entered Al-Mihrab (a praying place or private room) to (visit) her, he found her supplied with sustenance. He said: “O Maryam (Mary)! from where have you got this?” She said “This is from Allah” Verily, Allah provides sustenance to whom He wills, without limit” [Chapter 3: verses 35-37]

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