FirstImpressions123 - Columbus's understanding of religion...

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I I I Columbus's understanding of religion and the religious character of his mis-' sion are evident in the surviving record of his encounters with "los Indios" :,>~~''''II!?Wrt> I in 1492.: The conclusion of his entry reads: Tiley should be good servants and very intelligent, for I have observed that they I soon repeat anything that is said to them, and I believe that they would easily be made Christians, ior they appear to me to have no religion. God willing, when I make my departure I will half a dozen of them back to their Majesties, so that Ihey can learn to I saw no animals of any kind on this island except I parrots. ' Just five days later as Columbus wrote of his observations of the island he named Fernandina, immediately following his detailed description of the I trees, and preceding his note that the fish were very different, he wrote: They have no religion and I think that they would be very quickly Christianized, for they have a very understanding.' I Columbus's criteria for calling something was clearly determined by his understanding of Christianity or certain perversions of it. He did not I oDserve them engaged in Christian actions nor in idolotrous acts expected of non-Christians, so he could, even in such a brief encounter, state without apparent equivocation that they had no religion. In the account of his second voyage, while steadily maintaining that the I people whom he visited in Hispaniola had no belief nor did !-hey practio; idolatry, Columbus described several nt'!ral activities th"t we can- not avoid considering as religiOUS. His description of them in the same par- I "lgraphs in which he stated that they have no religion suggests that Colum- bus made this association himself. This account was prepared by Fernando, the son of Christopher, who claims to "copy the Admiral's own words." I I have not been able to discover any idolatry or other religiOUS belief among them. However, each of the many kings in Hispaniola and the other islands and on the
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course HUM 191 at San Jose State.

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FirstImpressions123 - Columbus's understanding of religion...

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