What is one significant difference between the work of Jonathan Edwards and Frederick Douglass?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the major differences between Douglass and Edwards would be their view of religion.  Edwards sees religion as the only salvation for humanity.  In his sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," Edwards argues that a spiritual or religious solution to what ails humanity is the only possible answer to the sins and transgressions of human beings.  Edwards identifies religion and one's faith in God as the single most important element in salvation and in hope.  Douglass sees religion differently. He recognizes that slavery and enslavement of people of color is done under the allowance of religion.  For Douglass, Christianity is hypocritical in that Southerners who pledge their allegiance towards Christian values can still permit and encourage slavery.  For Douglass the "church bell" and the "slave auction bell" are on in the same.  This view of religion is one where by redemption is not found within it, but rather outside of it.  Douglass sees social and political notions of the good as more important than a religious one in ending slavery.  It is here, in the view of religion, where there is significant difference between both thinkers.

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