Christianity in "The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Christianity as True as the Sky Is Blue
If one man were to say that the sky was blue and another man were to say it was brown, there would be obvious conflict.   The truthfulness of either of these declarations would completely discredit the other.   Fortunately, it is easy to recognize which is the accurate statement in this case.   This same principle can be applied to the portrayal of Christianity in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.   While touting the redeeming merits of the true form of Christianity that he practices himself, Douglass sees the Christianity of the South as being corrupted by slavery to the point that it becomes the antithesis of true Christianity.   He shows that it is impossible for slavery and Christianity to coexist and in so doing, takes the very religion with which the South justified slavery and puts it to his own purpose: the condemnation of slavery.
In his narrative, Douglass presents two versions of Christianity.   On one hand, there is the true, or pure, form of Christianity practiced by Douglass, other slaves, and white abolitionists. On the other, there is the southern, white slaveholder’s false form of Christianity.   Douglas portrays practitioners of the former version as “good, pure, and holy.”   Throughout his account, he never ceases to speak of the love and charity that abounds between the slaves who adhere to the tenets of true Christianity.   Alternatively, he describes southern Christianity as “bad, corrupt, and wicked” with cruel men such as Mr. Covey and Rev. Hopkins as prime examples.   By constantly juxtaposing these two opposing versions of Christianity, Douglass reveals the underlying corruption of southern Christianity while promoting the redemptive qualities of true Christianity.
Through Douglass’s discussion of religion, the reader is left with the sense that slavery and Christianity are conflicting forces and that one cannot exist while the other is present.   Even if the true form of Christianity is being...