Christianity during “the era of slavery is not homogenous: it is extremely complex” (Davis, p. 72). Christianity ranged from one extreme to another representing the hypocrisies and horrendous uses of religion. Douglass and Jacobs both paint a striking, and unpleasant, picture of the contradictions in the Christianity of the South. Douglass illustrates how slaveowners used Christianity as one of their main strategies in keeping slaves docile and “their minds starved” to be “shut up in mental darkness” (p. 198). The passages of the Bible that “emphasized obedience, humility, pacifism, patience, were presented to the slave as the essence of Christianity” (Davis, p. 62). The idea of exposing slaves to religion was to provide a reason for slavery, not for...
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...d 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. Douglass’ and Jacobs’ ability to read allowed them to make their own inferences of the Bible and learned that God did not advocate enslavement. This alienation enabled them to use faith and the Bible’s passages relaying equality as tools against their enslavement, first mentally and then physically.
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