Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

what is Douglass's attitude towards toward Christianity?


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Douglass does not hold back on his views regarding the slaveowners' interpretation of Christianity. When writing about Thomas Auld, he explained that his master had experienced a religious conversion but did not change for the better; rather, he found greater sanction for his cruelty through religion. Covey was also a religious man, but readers of the autobiography learned about his deceit, treachery, and brutality. At Freeland's farm Douglass remarked how pleased he was that the man pretended no religion; according to him, "religious slaveholders are the worst. I have ever found them the meanest and the basest, the most cruel and cowardly, of all others" (57). Such slaveowners were capable of gross misdeeds and blasphemy but pretended that they were paragons of virtue. In the Appendix, Douglass clarified his views on Christianity. He explained that he was not irreligious, but that the Christianity of Christ was far different than the Christianity of the southern whites. They were above all hypocrites and traitors to the word of God. Throughout the work it is clear that Douglass locates the true faith in the black community, where it was purer and unadulterated by racism and evil.