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The White Mans Religion: a Savage Hypocrisy Essay

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When people choose to follow a religion they agree to practice the tenets and standards put forth by that religion. If a person is a practicing Christian they would need to follow the teachings of love and kindness that are given forth by Jesus Christ. Frederick Douglass in his work, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself, and William Apess in his work, "An Indian's Looking-Glass for the White Man" both disagree with the form of Christianity practiced and preached by their white oppressors. Although Douglass and Apess are from different cultural backgrounds, both men's works share the theme of the white mans perversion of the Christian religion.

In his work, Frederick Douglass speaks of
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Auld. When this man found religion, Douglass was sure that he would, at the very least, become "more kind and humane" towards those kept in his service (2063). But the actual change upon his religious awakening was that he became "more cruel and hateful in all his ways" (2063). Before he found religion, Mr. Auld had no justification for his treatment of his slaves. He was cruel to them because of "his own depravity" (Douglass 2063). Mr. Auld tried and failed to intimidate the mannerisms of a "successful" slave owner and didn't know how to regain control. After his "enlightenment" he had religious sanctions for his cruel actions, which absolved him from any feelings of guilt towards the cruel treatment of another man. This religious justification is illustrated in the incident that occurs with the lame slave girl. Mr. Auld would tie up this girl, who had been disfigured by a fire, and beat her until her blood would flow. He backed up this action by quoting Luke 12.47: "'He that knoweth his masters will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes'" (Douglass 2064). If one was to read the entire passage of scripture this quote came from, they would see the misuse of this justification. This verse is telling man that if he knows the will of God and chooses not to follow it, he will be punished for his actions. It is not saying that slavery and the mistreatment of slaves is acceptable in the eyes of the Lord.

For men like Auld, religion is just
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