Black and white illustration of Frederick Douglass

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

by Frederick Douglass
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Can you cite at least three examples from "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass" of the influence of religion on Douglass?

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In addition to the information above, also note the times when Douglass refers to elements of "divine providence."  Douglass does not see his good fortune and opportunities as simply being twists of luck or fate--he does acknowledge some type of "higher power" as being present in his life.  However, he is critical of Christianity, as noted above, which prevents him from identifying with any Christian notions of a higher power.  Finally, at the end of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Douglass does include an explanation of how he feels about religion, namely Christianity.

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This is a fairly powerful element in Douglass' work.  He spends a great deal of time analyzing and discussing it.  I would pay attention to the passages where Douglass identifies the difference between "false" Christianity, used to justify slavery, and a more "true" version of it, in which Douglass fervently believes.  Douglass is quite critical of the manner in which Americans in support of slavery use Christianity as a way to justify the institution's presence.  Similar to his exploration of the difference between American promises and its deliverance in terms of people of color, Douglass seeks to articulate that the "Good Christians" that extol the power of the religion, yet still actively participate in slavery cannot be all that "good."  In the same light, Douglass argues that the "slave auctioneer's bell" and the church bell are reduced to the same element when the religion is misused to justify something as non- Christian as slavery.

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