Religious Conviction in Robinson Crusoe
Critics disagree about Robinson Crusoe’s religious convictions, but they generally concur that Crusoe’s faith begins when he acknowledges that his sins are a major cause of his island captivity. Beyond that, opinions diverge. Karl Marx writes that Crusoe’s beliefs are a source of “pleasure” and “recreation” and reflect no genuine piety. This essay argues that Crusoe’s religious conviction is sincere, as evidenced by his Biblical references, change in attitude, and mission to convert Friday.
Before his acceptance of Christianity, Crusoe feels wretched and ashamed: “I left them to mourn over my Folly, and now I am left to mourn under the consequences of it; I refus’d their help and Assistance who would have lifted me into the World, and wou’d have made every Thing easy for me” (p.67). His most fervent hope is for deliverance from the island; not coincidentally, one of the first Bible passages he reads is Psalms 50:15: “‘Call on me in the Day of Trouble, and I will deliver, and thou shalt glorify me’” (p.69). Crusoe then becomes very sick and believes his failure to glorify God is the cause of the sickness: “Now I look’d back upon my past life with such horrour, and my sins appear’d so dreadful, that my Soul sought nothing of God,...
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