Channing’s Secular Interests

Channing refuted so many popular doctrines, such as Calvinism, while preaching a very personal and believable faith that emphasized the individual's reasoning ability. He became a reputable name in the community of liberal religion. He was able to spar effectively with the religious right. As his notoriety increased, he was able to successfully voice his credible opinion concerning the institutions of slavery and war. As these are not overly religious issues, I will only overview them.

While never a staunch abolitionist, Channing was clearly against slavery on grounds of morality. He thought the treatment of slaves was unjust and undeserved. But he never quite had the conviction to fully immerse himself in the slavery debate. He would occasionally write a letter denouncing slavery, but never became a strict abolitionist.

A similar stance was taken with the evils of war. Always a fan of harmony and unity, Channing saw the futility of war. He was a genuine pacifist. Dying in 1842, he was never confronted with a war that involved the entire country. Thus his views never evolved through the careful and extensive development that urgency insists.