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The Great History Made by Religion

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Yimin Guo

Professor DeLay

History 7A

Sep 12, 2018

The Great History Made by Religion

        It was a great fortune that Cabeza de Vaca could survive in the unreliable expedition which was under the leadership of Panfilo de Narvaez to the unknown land of North America. In addition, during the miserable and hopeless journey, Cabeza de Vaca reached to the best of his potential to make himself alive over and over, and the sacred religion of Christian was definitely the key reason of his unbelievable survive; more than that, such a pivotal religion had a suspicion of “changing” the history.

There was no doubt Cabeza de Vaca was a devout Christian throughout the Narrative of Cabeza de Vaca. During his unexpected troubles on the journey, such as Hunger while nothing to eat, cold while he was naked, or the endless death threatens from the Indians, those were not enough to kill him and he gave all the credit to the God’s mercy and omnipotence. Moreover, during every misfortune, he prayed to his Lord, Jesus Christ, and after every fortune, he never forgot to express his feeling of grateful to his Lord. “It was Our Lord's pleasure, who many a time shows His favor in the hour of greatest distress, that at sunset we turned a point of land and found there shelter and much improvement.” (Narrative of Cabeza de Vaca, 63) Cabeza de Vaca believed the existence of Jesus Christ, and he helped them to get out of the dilemma. When a person was in a hopeless danger, it made sense for them to call the help from the most trustworthy person in the first reaction. For example, many people would call “Mom” or “Dad” because the parents are the most powerful people in their hearts. However, Cabeza de Vaca choose his Lord, Jesus Christ at his death-point moment. Moreover, he thought it was his Lord’s pleasure, which also identifies his powerful faith in the Lord. The first reason was that the “pleasure” represented Cabeza de Vaca thought it was a delighted thing for the Lord to support him to break away from the dilemma, and this thought was built by his strong confidence on the Lord. The second reason is Cabeza de Vaca thought the Lord was willing to help him and he never had a single doubt on that. Therefore, in Cabeza de Vaca’s mind, the Lord was always accompanying with him and saved him from every dangerous situation.

It was really easy to get the conclusion that Cabeza de Vaca’s faith on the Lord was never fluctuate as if the hardest screw was attached on the firmest golden board according to Narrative of Cabeza de Vaca. Although the miserable experience of Cabeza de Vaca actually had him changed a lot, his faith was not one of those. Living with the different nature Indians which had different living habits or cultures made Cabeza de Vaca have adopted the raw food, the erratic clothing, and the strange customs. Also, the most terrible experience, which was enslaved by the Indians and lived like a slave. The enormous fall from a noble man in Spain to a salve by a group of nature savages in an unknown land was enough to break everyone’s willpower or the faith to their omnipotent God, but Cabeza de Vaca confessed to the Lord about his sins and believed this was the Lord’s arrangements. Maybe his sincere faith really moved the Lord, Cabeza de Vaca even survived from the darkness of slaver period. In addition, he gave the credit to his Lord, Jesus Christ once again.

Under the “divine power” of religion, Cabeza de Vaca identified the common peculiarity among the massive differences between the Indians and himself, which is worship. More than that, Cabeza de Vaca was able to use his Christianity to bring himself reputation and followers. One of the most impressive scene in Cabeza de Vaca’s narrative told a story which Cabeza de Vaca with his companies healed some Indians’ pain or diseases by putting down a cross and they explained it as the power of Christianity. “At sunset, he made the sign of the cross on them [sick Indians] and commended them to God our Lord, and we all asked God as best we could, to restore their health, since He knew that this was the only way for those people to help us. And God was so merciful that the following morning they all awakened well and healthy. They went away as strong as if they had never been sick” (Cabeza de Vaca, 77) After curing the Indians, Cabeza de Vaca and his companies was treated as a God and they were given the name which is” children of the sun”. Also, the Indians even insisted to give all the food to them first, and they would only consumed the food which Cabeza de Vaca and his companies had breathed on. These behaviors looked ridiculous, but it revealed how important religion was among the Indians’ minds at that period. When the resources were limited, people could not effectively utilize their brain to explore the ideology deeply; then they would like to rely on something imaginable which was given with the superpower to support their unsatisfied needs. Moreover, in the story, the Indians who healed their sick person by putting down a bow and they believed the God would save them. Therefore, when Cabeza de Vaca healed the Indians’ pain by their religious way, the innocent Indians who were willing to accept the religion automatically treated them as the God. However, the most significant reason was still the luck because this kind of experience was rare during the whole eight-year journey, but most experiences of Cabeza de Vaca were still suffering.    



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