Friday, 13 December 2013

The curse of Canaan - an excuse for slavery?

       If ever there was an argument for Creation, the idea that humans just evolved - some races more slowly than others – must take the biscuit.  Dismissing the belief that ‘mankind’ was made in God’s image surely led to the atrocities of the slave trade, undertaken by so-called godly men who claimed their captives were ‘not quite human’.  (How they squared that with the Book of Genesis, which says we all descended from Adam and Eve, has never been explained.)
       Adding insult to injury, Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution led to his cousin Francis Galton developing the concept of eugenics, so favoured by Hitler and the Nazi regime with catastrophic results.
       On the other hand, racism – especially against Africans – has been blamed on the Bible which, they say, condemns black people to slavery. The scripture most commonly used to support this travesty is Genesis 9:25 where Noah is quoted as saying: “Cursed be Canaan. Let him become the lowest slave to his brothers.”  However, this verse doesn’t mention skin colour. Instead, the curse was made against Ham’s son due to a shocking act perpetrated against Noah while the older man was inebriated.
       It helps, of course, to identify who Canaan’s descendants actually were. Not black, but with paler complexions, Canaanites settled by the Mediterranean in land later occupied by Israel and surrounded by Arab nations. They eventually came under divine judgement because of their depraved practices and rites, including child sacrifice. Most were wiped out by the Israelites, and those Canaanites who survived were forced into labour by their conquerors, so fulfilling Noah’s curse.  
       As for the black races, these did not descend from Canaan but from another of Ham’s sons,  Cush, whose own offspring included Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah and Sabteca (Gen 10:6,7) When mentioned in later portions of the Bible, the term Cush corresponds to Ethiopia, while Seba refers to people in Eastern Africa.
       The Bible offers no basis whatsoever for racism or apartheid in any form. On the contrary,  in Acts 10:34,35, the apostle Peter states that “God is not partial, but in every nation the man who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”


  1. the cases used in 16th century to label the people of Africa as cannibals. Therefore, explains the reason why it was ok to divide the land among various countries and enslave the people.

  2. Thanks Bouvier. An interesting comment, something I wasn't aware of. Amazing to what lengths oppressors will go to justify their abhorrent activities. Notorious Nazi Joseph Goebbels once said: "If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself." Propaganda has a lot to answer for!

  3. Following your reasoning, a certain prominent religion used to bar black people from its ranks, and while they have rescinded that, they still may not be elders. And they base that on the same misunderstanding of the scripture.