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The Misappropriation of Religion

Autor:   •  March 30, 2011  •  Essay  •  821 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,366 Views

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The Misappropriation of Religion.

Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs are two authors with very similar backgrounds. Both Douglass and Jacobs were slaves, and both wrote about the accounts they went through while enslaved. Douglass' views are expressed in "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave," and Jacobs views in "Incidents in The Life of a Slave Girl.

Fredrick Douglass' "Narrative of the life of Fredrick Douglass" addressed a more serious topic of Christianity in regards to morality. Douglass shows that slave owners would spoil the minds of their slaves by taking their only source of hope, a faith in religion, and twisting it around as a means of justification for slavery. They labeled blacks as being less than humans and outside of the grace of God. They would deliberately misinterpret religion to justify such brutality.

Douglass points out in his narrative over and over again that there is a difference between slaveholders' Christianity and true Christianity, hoping to show his firm beliefs in true Christianity and separating it from the corrupt slaveholder's own version. The best example in his narrative is in telling the reader the true story about Thomas Auld. Douglass talks about "Captain Auld" converted to Christianity, and how after his conversion he became even more evil towards his slaves. Douglass states this by saying "Prior to his conversion, he relied upon his own depravity to shield and sustain him in his savage barbarity; but after his conversion, he found religious sanctions and support for his slaveholding cruelty" (Douglass 66).

Even worse, Auld would twist scripture out of context and use it as an excuse for his cruelty. Auld, as he whipped a woman slave severely, "would quote this passage of scripture- ‘He that knoweth his master's will, and doeth not, shall be beaten with many stripes'" (Douglass 68). The part that got me the most in this narrative was when Douglass separated this "Christianity of the Land" from his true beliefs in Christ's message of equality. Christianity offers hope for all man and it is no doubt that this reason alone was enough for all slaves to fall into safe haven.

As for morality, Douglass says that slavery has a negative effect on the slaveholders as well. He says that slavery leads slaveholders into performing actions that are simply inhumane. The worst part is that these slaveholders,


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