We Called Them Savages and Slaves

Article #296
by Bill Nugent

The attitude that regards certain tribes as less than human is the foundation of brutality. If you believe that a person is less than human, you can treat that person badly and your conscience won’t bother you. Your conscience permits you to butcher an animal and eat it. Why wouldn’t your conscience permit you to kill a person that you regard as less than human?


The term “Indian” was originally used by Europeans to describe people who lived to the east of the Indus River in south Asia, i.e. the region that comprises modern day India. When the first European settlers arrived in America they thought they had landed on the eastern extreme of the Eurasian land mass. They thought the natives they encountered were Asian Indians.


It wasn’t long before conflict arose between the newcomers and the natives. The first Europeans to arrive were strong, aggressive young men. The natives were pagans whose worship was led by shamans. Some of the Europeans were Christians but most were Christian in name only. The Europeans had a different concept of land ownership and they had more advanced technology. There was intense culture shock and cultural conflict.


Many of the white newcomers coveted the lands and property of the natives. They moved onto the natives’ land and the natives struck back. When whites were killed it was called a “massacre.” When Indians were killed, even villages with women and children, it was called a “battle.” The situation soon deteriorated to the extent that Indians were called “savages.” By implication “savage” meant “brute” or “beast” which is subhuman. In the minds of many of the whites, the lands of subhuman savages could be taken with impunity.


To be fair, I’ll point out that in the Bible belt, which in early America was Calvinist New England, American Indians were respected in law and could sue whites in court and win. Conservative Christian New England was also the first region of America to abolish slavery.


I read one pundit’s analysis that claimed the early Americans regarded both Indians and Africans as “forest dwellers without permanent architecture and were considered not fully human.” Sounds bizarre doesn’t it? If you live in the woods and your home is a tepee or a hut you’re not a human being created in God’s image worthy of the full respect and dignity as a fellow human.


This brings us to the other major ethnic group that was dehumanized. African slaves were economically oppressed but not massacred. They were regarded as valuable livestock and were not murdered en mass, though some were lynched. I read one account where African hands and feet were called “hooves.”


Thomas Jefferson, no raging fundamentalist, wrote “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever” (inscribed on the Jefferson Memorial, Washington D.C. from Jefferson’s book: Notes on the State of Virginia).


Great judgement of recompense came on the US in the 1860s during the war between the states. Lincoln, in his second inaugural address on March 4th, 1865 said, regarding the then raging Civil War: “if God wills that it continue . . . until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword . . . it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.'” The US Civil War was payback time for generations of mass murder and cruel oppression against people who were considered subhuman.


It’s so easy to reflect on the sins of the past without dealing with the social injustices of the present that are staring us in the face. What portion of humanity do we dehumanize today? What portion of humanity do we massacre today? Who are the people we regard as “not fully human“? The obvious answer is the preborn. We don’t call them savages or slaves but we use the term “fetus.” The term fetus is a bit more opaque than preborn child.


A fetus is a preborn child and it is fully human. Any objective scientist will tell you that the life of any organism begins at conception. A bald eagle, a species protected by law, is protected from conception. Break an eagle’s egg and you go to jail. When a baby is born it’s already nine months old. His or her young cells already have the beginnings of oxidation damage that we associate with age.


More than forty million babies have been aborted in the US since the Supreme Court of the U.S. invented the so called “constitutional right to abortion” in 1973. Can the U.S. escape the judgement of God this time? We pray for America’s repentance and we pray for God’s mercy. The judicial decrees that allow the mass murder of the unborn must be overturned! If every Christian voted for pro-life candidates it would overthrow the abortion power structure.


God is the Creator of life and He put human beings on planet earth for a purpose. The Westminster Catechism states that the purpose of man is to know God and to enjoy Him forever. In order to come to know God and to enter heaven in the afterlife we must first deal with sin. God has provided for our forgiveness by sending Jesus of Nazareth, the promised Messiah of Israel.


Jesus came in fulfillment of over 300 Old Testament prophecies. No other figure in all of world history can make this claim! The prophecies foretold that Jesus would die for our sins. This means that when He suffered and died He took the penalty of our sins upon Himself. “He was wounded for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5). He rose from the dead to offer forgiveness to all who call upon Him. Turn to Christ today to receive forgiveness of sins!

Steps to salvation:

Jesus said “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).

  • 1) Believe that God created you and loves you and sent the Messiah (Messiah is Hebrew for Christ) to redeem you.
  • 2) Believe that Jesus Christ came in fulfillment of over 300 Bible prophecies to die for you, to take upon Himself the penalty of your sins (Isaiah 53:5-6, John 6:29, Romans 4:5, First Peter 3:18).
  • 3) Turn from sin and call on the name of Jesus to receive forgiveness of sins (Romans 10:13).
  • 4) Receive Jesus as Savior and experience the new birth (John 1:12, Acts 2:38).
  • 5) Follow Jesus Christ as Lord (John 14:21).

Prayer to receive salvation:

“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

To receive the salvation that Jesus purchased for us at the terrible cost of His suffering and death on our behalf I invite you to pray this simple prayer:

“Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus, the promised Messiah, to die for my sins. I admit that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins and I ask for your forgiveness on the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit to empower me to serve you under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

If you prayed this prayer in the humble sincerity of your heart then you have received everlasting life, which includes power to live right in this life and entrance into heaven in the afterlife!

(C) 2016 William P. Nugent, permission granted to email or republish for Christian outreach.

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