Black and white illustration of Frederick Douglass

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

by Frederick Douglass
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What is the difference between the “Christianity of Christ” and the “Christianity of the Land" in Frederick Douglass's narrative?

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Douglass speaks of this in the appendix. Upon reflection, he realizes that parts of his narrative has spoken scornfully of "Christian" slave owners, and he thinks that people who don't know his personal faith may misinterpret the way he has characterized these people and their "faith." He wants to draw...

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Douglass speaks of this in the appendix. Upon reflection, he realizes that parts of his narrative has spoken scornfully of "Christian" slave owners, and he thinks that people who don't know his personal faith may misinterpret the way he has characterized these people and their "faith." He wants to draw a clear distinction between the false Christianity, or "Christianity of the Land," and a desire to truly follow Christian principles.

Douglass hates the hypocritical Christianity of the world around him. He believes that classifying people who believe in slavery as also being Christians is "the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds." On one hand, these false Christians purchase and sell women into prostitution, yet on Sundays they speak of the importance of Christian purity. The slave owner who beats his slaves until they bleed throughout the week speaks on Sundays of the great and wonderful meekness of Jesus. Douglass insists that within true Christianity, there is no room for the principles of slavery.

Instead, Douglass points to the true nature of Christ as his foundational faith. He maintains that he believes in "the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ" and therefore hates the

corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.

The principles of Christ were based on love, peace, meekness, joy, patience, self-control, and kindness. Since slavery stands in direct contradiction to these principles, Douglass rejects the claim that slave owners are Christians at all.

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