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The contrast between authentic Christianity and false Christianity is one of the central themes of Douglass's Narrative. Essentially, Douglass argues that slavery corrupts everything it touches, and religion is no different. Many of the most sadistic figures in his story are active, churchgoing Christians, but Douglass denies that true Christianity is compatible with slavery. The very cruelty of the institution cannot be reconciled with its message. On the other hand, and somewhat paradoxically, Douglass shows clearly that the version of Christianity that he identifies as "false" is an indispensible prop to the institution of slavery in the South. Douglass sums up one of the most bitter ironies of slavery when he says that "...the slave auctioneer' s bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other."
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