The Algerian Captive: Religious Difference Critical Thinking Example

Type of paper: Critical Thinking

Topic: Religion, Church, Christians, Jesus Christ, Debate, Muslim, Islam, America

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/12/17

In the novel “The Algerine Captive,’ Updike Underhill has been sold into slavery among a Muslim population after capture the ship where he serves as a surgeon. The slaves are beaten, whipped and treated cruelly. The captors will only free him only if he agrees to convert to Islam. Underhill does not quickly accept these terms and stayers stoic engaging in intensive debate with his captors. Underhill faces the spiritual danger of converting to Islam, but he is not ready to pick up Islam and drop Christianity. He is focused on enduring the cruel captivity as a mere trial of his religious fidelity.
The exploration of the theme of religion occurs when Mullah approaches Underhill for a debate on their two religions. Their religious debate lasts for a whole five days. Underhill utters that his religion, Christianity, was disseminated in a peaceful manner, and Mullah’s Muslim religion was promulgated by the sword (Tyler 139). This utterance shows that Underhill has strong feeling that Christianity is the legitimate religion since it is handled in a peaceful manner. Moreover, the Mullah shares with Underhill the notion that a man who is wise should not adhere to his religion. The reason the Mullah says this is because he feels that the religion belongs to the ancestors of the man. This notion does not elicit any interest in Underhill; he remains tongue-tied. Underhill’s attitude suggests that to him, religion is quite an important element that to some extent defines him.
Further debate between the Mullah and Underhill leads to them questioning the eligibility of the two religions. Mullah suggests that the history of Christianity is fraught with bloody massacres. Underhill counters this by stating that Christianity is the true religion because it has been able to spread across the world in spite of the fact that its spread was started by a few fishermen (Tyler 137). According to him, Christianity achieves absolute legality because it was started with a not so prosperous people, but it has managed to spread its tentacles across the world. The humble beginnings of Christianity and its ultimate spread, to him, confirms that Christianity is the true religion.
In the novel, Underhill extols the pre-eminence and superiority of Christianity over other religions all the way from the time he was a physician to his days in false Hajj while in captivity. With time, his Christian rhetoric fades away, and he gets absorbed in the desire to solve the American identity problem. The captivity opens up Underhill’s eyes, and he starts to see the need for developing a notion of an American identity that is clear. This becomes the most important thing fro him to pursue because he is in danger of transforming into his own enemy if he agrees to convert to Islam. The debate he has with the Mullah does not influence him to accept the Islamic religion. However, the debate influences him to look at Christianity from a whole new perspective. The Mullah has managed to influence him to examine the creeds that apply to other nations and make a comparison with those of his country, and after this examination pick those which are right.
At the end of the novel, there is a limited discourse on religion. This suggests that Underhill is taking a new viewpoint. This new role is that, spirituality does not influence morality as an aspect of American identity. Rather, morality in America can only be influenced by the virtues of nationalism. The words of Mullah Influence Underhill to examine the foundation of the American ideology of examining everything and making conclusions based on what is right.

Works Cited

Tyler, Royall. The Algerine Captive. New Haven: College & UP, 1970. Print.

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WePapers. (2020, December, 17) The Algerian Captive: Religious Difference Critical Thinking Example. Retrieved April 14, 2024, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/the-algerian-captive-religious-difference-critical-thinking-example/
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"The Algerian Captive: Religious Difference Critical Thinking Example." WePapers, Dec 17, 2020. Accessed April 14, 2024. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/the-algerian-captive-religious-difference-critical-thinking-example/
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"The Algerian Captive: Religious Difference Critical Thinking Example," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 17-Dec-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/the-algerian-captive-religious-difference-critical-thinking-example/. [Accessed: 14-Apr-2024].
The Algerian Captive: Religious Difference Critical Thinking Example. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/the-algerian-captive-religious-difference-critical-thinking-example/. Published Dec 17, 2020. Accessed April 14, 2024.
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