Christianity was used as a tool for keeping the slaves docile and obedient to their master. They were only taught passages that emphasized submissiveness and learned only their master’s words. Throughout their narratives both Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs expose the hypocrisy and moral contradictions between the religion slaveholders preach and true Christianity. We learn that having a religious master is one of the worst things as a slave because masters feel a certain entitlement to commit these horrible crimes and that God is behind them. Separating the Christianity of the South and true or Godly Christianity became essential in realizing that religion could be used as justification for freedom.
Janelle Ferguson April 20, 2014 Dr. Marotta HUMA 202.011 Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave After the novel, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass soon became acknowledged for being an incredible abolitionist. In his novel, he expresses his theory on the most unfortunate era for all of African Americans in America, known as slavery, and utilize his life experiences to benefit the demolishing of slavery practices. By doing this, he is able to clearly express his oppressive viewpoints and how it is paralleled into the issues leading towards Christianity or religion, education, and white development. Frederick Douglass presents an astonishing representation of the issues towards Christianity and religion. According to the narrator of the novel, there are two forms of Christianity that are represented in the text.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe was a catalyst for the Civil War due to its depiction of slavery as harsh and brutal. The main character, a slave named Uncle Tom, and one of the slave owners, Simon Legree were used to attack the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and the institution of slavery that it protected. Throughout the novel, characters, scenes and plots were Stowe’s persuasions to the reader that slavery is evil, un-Christian, and should not be tolerated. She illustrates the fact that slavery and Christian values oppose each other and are not in any way compatible. Uncle Tom’s Cabin outraged the southerners and made the northerners more aware of the brutality of slavery.
A plantation missionary stated that sharing the gospel to slaves would “promote our own mortality and religion.” However the gospel and religion the masters shared with their slaves did not remain the same. The slaves were able to apply their faith to their lives, their work, and their future. The faith the slaves possessed was rich in emotion and free from preexisting regulations. In this class we focus on the many faces and interoperations of Christ that change with the seasons of history. The slave faith represented in Jupiter Hammon’s poem shows a high level of integrity and selfless, personal application of faith.
Against the backdrop of South Africa’s racial and cultural problems, Alan Paton uses Biblical references as a way to preserve his faith for the struggling country. By using Biblical references in his novel, one can see that Alan Paton was a religious man who hoped that there would be change in his country. Through Cry, the Beloved Country Paton teaches the idea of love thy brother as yourself, as Christ did, in an attempt to show the importance of ending racial injustice through the characters of Arthur Jarvis, James Jarvis, Stephen Kumalo and Absalom. Arthur Jarvis an engineer can be seen as the Christ figure. Although he was white, Arthur Jarvis was working as an advocate for the rights of blacks.
For the white man listening to this argument, it is required that he empathizes with the situation of the slave, because in actuality there is much in common between the free and the enslaved. This is precisely Douglass’s point; bondage is the only hindrance of slaves’ abilities to lead a fulfilling life. Douglass’s appeals to his audience are specifically directed toward white, Christian males. He is fully aware at all times he must show that he can relate with them. As Christians, how should they have felt had they been denied their right to practice religion and believe in their god?
Frederick Douglass’ story is credited as one of the great slave narratives and a pivotal document in the dialogue about slavery in the United States. Douglass’ Narrative of the Life explains the trauma and injustices incurred during his enslavement, shedding a light on the inhumane treatment of enslaved Americans. This text serves as a touchstone of the slave narrative genre. The success of the narrative is in part credited to the authenticity by the endorsement of popular white abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison in the preface and the addition of “Written by Himself” in the title. Furthermore, Douglass’ accounts can be verified by The Anti-Slavery Manual first published in 1834 as a handbook for abolitionists.
Religion left a positive influence on slave owners because religion supported slavery. If they slave owners ever felt guilty for installing punishment, religion would be the to rid them of their sins. Douglass remembers, hoping once his master came back from church, he would realize how unholy his actions were and he would be released. But, in fact, his master came back harsher than before, “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 sanction and support for his slaveholding cruelty. He made the greatest pretensions to piety.
In Equiano lifetime, historical events are presented throughout the narration. The African slave trade also known as the Atlantic slave trade is essentially the foundation and what brings hardship into his life. African men, women and children are taken from their native home and put on the market as slaves to be sold in the Caribbean, America and Europe (Skabelund) .He also makes several references to Barbados, as being one of the worst places for Africans to go (Equiano). The economy during the 18th century became prosperous because of the slave trade. Africans underwent poor living conditions and cruel punishment.
As a religious group that focuses heavily on the rights of the individual, the Quakers were pronounced advocates of abolition. The Quakers were a prime example of what a different interpretation of the Bible could mean for the cause. Both Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs had similar experiences in regards to their owners getting more involved with religion, resulting in a change in the treatment of their slaves. Frederick Douglass’ slave-owner in 1832 was a man called “Captain Auld” by his slaves. Douglass describes him as a “slaveholder without the ability to hold slaves”.