In his first narrative, education is presented as a paradox and so is the idea of religion and Christianity (Douglass and Frederick, 68). On one side religion is presented as a saving grace especially to the slaves and as a result, they are always joyful when they participate in religious activities, like singing songs as well as other activities. However, on another side there is another form of Christianity that seems to be false that is also presented as well. This kind of Christianity is practised majorly by white people. This kind of Christianity is the one that, preaches whine while it takes water. In other words, this Christianity is a clear image of hypocrisy.
In beginning to expound on this thesis statement, it is important, to begin with looking at the views of Douglass concerning Christianity. Besides Douglass criticizing the manner in which Christianity has been subverted and used as a tool of power, especially within slavery, he also holds on some very crucial Christian views and in all that he does, there is no point that he blames the religion, in the manner that it is used by some members of the Southern churches like Mr Covey. According to Douglass, it is in order, when Christians give thanks to their Creator by recognizing all the good things that He has done to them, for him this is what he calls true Christianity as compared to the hypocritical actions that the whites who own slaves do in the name of Christianity. It is evident from the first narrative that he clearly understands the bible and the good thing about his knowledge on the Bible is that he applies the moral stories of the bible in his situation.
Douglass begins his narrative by relating the knowledge of Christianity and the Biblical knowledge to the way he feels about how slaves are mishandled by their masters and think how the slave children will grow up with their fathers who happen again to be their masters (Ross and Kelly, 2017). The fact that Douglass begins his narrative with a Christian and Biblical statement, he points out very clearly to the readers about his faith and by so doing he places himself right within the same Biblical faith. As Douglass goes to places where men like Mr Covey go, bearing in mind that these are kind of men who use the Bible as a shield as they do none of what they tell Christians. Therefore in trying to bring to an end the false Christianity that is portrayed by people like Covey, Douglass clearly shows and stands on his position on what true Christianity is all about, in doing this he uses the word of God as it is from the Bible, as well as a clear and true sense of what is wrong and right. And as per the true Christianity doctrines later Douglass gives thanks to God, by doing this he also shows the reader his faith in the Bible and true Christianity. Douglass does this instead of using the image of holiness so as to look more religious or more holy, while he understands very well from the Bible that, Providence is in his favor and that the good spirit is from God and he is supposed to offer thanks and praise to Him. This is after he was moved to Baltimore.
Douglass, Frederick. Life and Times of Frederick Douglass: The Illustrated Edition. Zenith Press, 2016.
Ross, Kelly. "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass eds. by John R. McKivigan, Peter P. Hinks, and Heather L. Kaufman." Early American Literature 53.1 (2018): 216-218.
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