Welcome

How can racist people be Christian?

15 posts in this topic

Hey all, I accidentally ended up on storm front today. I saw posts of people saying (not exactly exact) that "those beasts will not go to heaven" "a place with [then] would be heaven" and stuff like that. I don't really understand how they could claim to be religious if they say such things

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey all, I accidentally ended up on storm front today. I saw posts of people saying (not exactly exact) that "those beasts will not go to heaven" "a place with [then] would be heaven" and stuff like that. I don't really understand how they could claim to be religious if they say such things

 

It all depends how you define "Christian". If you mean it in the widest possible sense - someone who's been baptised a Christian and/or believes (at least intellectually) that Jesus is the Son of God and died for our sins - then it's very possible for them to be racists, too. Simply being baptised and holding an intellectual belief doesn't in and of itself make you a good person. Lots of people say, "Oh, yes, I believe in Jesus," but they don't make any attempt to follow the teachings of Christianity.

 

If you mean "Christian" in a wider sense - someone who's not just been baptised Christian and believes in Jesus, but is also trying seriously to live their life according to Jesus's teachings - then you're right: it's not possible to be a Christian and a racist. Christianity is very clear that we are all of equal value, regardless of race, sex, or societal status (Galatians 3:28).

 

I'd say that it's always important to judge a belief system by those who are living up to the teachings of that belief system, not by those who disobey it. Every religion has good and bad people following it, and simply being "religious" won't make you a good person.

 

xxx

9 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

America has, throughout most of its history, been both extremely religious and extremely racist. I'm more than certain that the average person living in the 19th century South -- probably one of the most highly religious places in a highly religious time period -- would've told you that slavery was condoned by Christianity. So it is certainly more than possible for someone to be both a sincere Christian and a sincere racist. I've met more than one in my life.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't they feel any cognitive dissonance? How could they deduce that entire groups of people won't go into heaven just because of their heritage?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

America has, throughout most of its history, been both extremely religious and extremely racist. I'm more than certain that the average person living in the 19th century South -- probably one of the most highly religious places in a highly religious time period -- would've told you that slavery was condoned by Christianity. So it is certainly more than possible for someone to be both a sincere Christian and a sincere racist. I've met more than one in my life.

I disagree with the notion that someone can be a 'sincere Christian' while being a racist. They may have been saved, but I wouldn't consider them to be walking in their faith. Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love your God will all of your heart, mind, and strength. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-39)

That said, I find it ridiculous that a practicing Christian can look at another human being and consider them 'inferior' based on the color of their skin. It runs against the heart of the Gospel entirely!

6 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well; first of all we know that we are CALLED as Cristian to love one another, otherwise we are not really his disciple.

 

34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

 

and we see all across scripture about RIGHTEOUS judgement:

 

24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

 

 

being all equal:

 

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

------------------------

Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

------------------------

26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

-------------------------

My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.

For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;

And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:

Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?

 

 

ect. so; it is pretty much impossible to accept racism and call yourself a Christian because you are going against the very thing that Christ stood for.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Bible was used to justify black people as slaves.

It really all depends on how you define a christian.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be honest I've never met a "true" christian. My best friend is a christian. Goes to church 3 times a week. Very religious. Great guy I love him as a friend have known him for years but he's too nice to be a christian. To me a true christian means to follow the bible 100% and some of that stuff is not very good. Fundamental christians and muslims have done nothing to make the world a better place in my opinion. I do like that we live in a place where we can disagree though.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i find it even crazier that all the racism lately has been black churches being burnt down and of course the church shooting

 

 

racist christians targeting other christians

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"As for the male and female slaves whom you may have, it is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves. You may also acquire them from among the aliens residing with you, and from their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property. You may keep them as a possession for your children after you, for them to inherit as property. These you may treat as slaves, but as for your fellow Israelites, no one shall rule over the other with harshness." Leviticus 25:44-46

 

"When a slaveowner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner’s property." 

Exodus 21:20-21

 

"Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ" Ephesians 6:5

 

"Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be blasphemed. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful to them on the ground that they are members of the church; rather they must serve them all the more, since those who benefit by their service are believers and beloved." 1 Timothy 6:1-2

 

It seems to me that there are really two options; either some of the most devoutly Christian societies of all time were not really Christian, or that those people did consider themselves to be deep followers of their faith...and focused on different parts of the Bible when deciding how to practice their faith. Culture and time has always influenced which passages people zoom in on and choose to live by. In the deep South, Christians were able to back up their deeply-held pro-slavery beliefs using passages like the ones I quoted. Now, people are using entirely different quotes to back up their deeply-held anti-racist beliefs. I'm on the side of the anti-racists in terms of moral philosophy, obviously, but it seems a bit disingenuous to say that the Bible gave people of the South nothing to justify their beliefs with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"As for the male and female slaves whom you may have, it is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves. You may also acquire them from among the aliens residing with you, and from their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property. You may keep them as a possession for your children after you, for them to inherit as property. These you may treat as slaves, but as for your fellow Israelites, no one shall rule over the other with harshness." Leviticus 25:44-46

 

"When a slaveowner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner’s property." 

Exodus 21:20-21

 

"Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ" Ephesians 6:5

 

"Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be blasphemed. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful to them on the ground that they are members of the church; rather they must serve them all the more, since those who benefit by their service are believers and beloved." 1 Timothy 6:1-2

 

But none of those passages are condoning slavery. The Mosaic law was never supposed to be, "Here's what God wants you to do." The laws aren't meant to be perfect - a lot of them are just damage-control, like the laws concerning slavery and divorce. Remember that you're starting out with a society in which slaves had absolutely no rights whatsoever. While it's true that eventually there are to be no slaves or masters with everyone a free citizen, it can't go there overnight, just as going from "Have sex with as many woman as you like and dump them when you get bored with them" to "You get one wife, for life, and you're never allowed to have another as long as she lives, nor can you have sex with anyone else" isn't going to work. These kinds of societal attitudes take generations to change, just as it took many generations for our society to see women or anyone who wasn't white as being equal (in fact, most will argue we're still not there).

 

Even St Paul isn't saying that slavery is a good thing. He's saying, "This is a non-Christian society in which slavery exists, so if you are a Christian who happens to be a slave, here's how to live." He himself is very clear about the fact that these are just societal constructs, and that for Christians, everyone is equal whether the civil law recognises them as citizens or not.

 

 

It seems to me that there are really two options; either some of the most devoutly Christian societies of all time were not really Christian, or that those people did consider themselves to be deep followers of their faith...and focused on different parts of the Bible when deciding how to practice their faith. Culture and time has always influenced which passages people zoom in on and choose to live by. In the deep South, Christians were able to back up their deeply-held pro-slavery beliefs using passages like the ones I quoted. Now, people are using entirely different quotes to back up their deeply-held anti-racist beliefs. I'm on the side of the anti-racists in terms of moral philosophy, obviously, but it seems a bit disingenuous to say that the Bible gave people of the South nothing to justify their beliefs with.

 

You gave two options - "either some of the most devoutly Christian societies of all time were not really Christian, or that those people did consider themselves to be deep followers of their faith and focused on different parts of the Bible when deciding how to practice their faith." But it seems obvious to me that it's not an either-or. There were people who read the Bible, interpreted to mean that Christians could support slavery, and therefore considered themselves to be good Christians. But no matter how sincere they were in their beliefs, they were wrong. Christianity doesn't support slavery. They were not, therefore, fully following Christianity - they may have been right about everything else, but in being wrong on this one issue, there is a real sense in which they were not "fully" Christians.

 

Christianity is not some abstract belief system. If it was, then you could have Christians on both sides of the slavery debate, and as long as they were backing up their beliefs from the Bible, then they could all equally be said to be following Christianity. But that's not what Christianity is. The teachings of Christianity come from Jesus Christ Himself. That's why there's no room for disagreement on something like slavery. The question is, does Jesus support slavery? If He's against it, then no amount of "But I interpret the Bible to support slavery" is going to cut it. That's not what Jesus taught, and therefore slavery is not okay.

 

Now, how do you work out what Jesus taught? Simply put, not from the Bible alone. As has been pointed out, you can read the Bible and interpret it to mean pretty much anything you like. And as we've seen from history, when Christians are left to read the Bible and interpret Jesus's teachings from it - instead of the other way round, using what Jesus taught to read the Bible correctly - you end up with a hundred different beliefs about Christianity, which can't all be true since Jesus is a real person who taught real things. Jesus knew a Bible wasn't going to be enough, and He left a Church which would have the authority to carry on His teachings and make sure no one came up with weird new beliefs.

 

Right, I'm going to leave before I annoy the Protestants any more  :P (love you, Vincey!)

 

xxx

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems to me that there are really two options; either some of the most devoutly Christian societies of all time were not really Christian, or that those people did consider themselves to be deep followers of their faith...and focused on different parts of the Bible when deciding how to practice their faith. Culture and time has always influenced which passages people zoom in on and choose to live by. In the deep South, Christians were able to back up their deeply-held pro-slavery beliefs using passages like the ones I quoted. Now, people are using entirely different quotes to back up their deeply-held anti-racist beliefs. I'm on the side of the anti-racists in terms of moral philosophy, obviously, but it seems a bit disingenuous to say that the Bible gave people of the South nothing to justify their beliefs with.

 

Well first off, you can't take people in the South seriously since they can't read and are about as enlightened as the cattle they raise. I'm just kidding, that was regionalist. 

 

The thing is that critics of the Bible often make the mistake of viewing slavery through the lens of a postmodern worldview. When we think of slavery, we think black people in a cotton field or brutal or forced capturing in the ancient world. But that is not the case in the biblical texts, even though admittedly the word "master" and "slave" are not the most accurate translations. In the Bible, the Hebrew word for slave is "ebed" which means "employee" or "servant" while "master" is translated as "adon" which means "boss." An Old Testament scholar named John Goldingay stated, "...there is nothing inherently lowly or indignified about being an 'ebed.' Instead it is an honorable and dignified term." So whenever the Bible uses the terms "buy," "property" or "sell" when talking about slaves, it is not referring to the slave themselves, but rather the acquisition of their services. 

 

These servant/boss relationships were usually voluntary contract agreements. There were many reasons for these contracts such as repaying a debt, not unlike 17th century European immigrants who worked for colonial Americans because they couldn't afford passage. Sometimes a person would enter into such contract because it's their only choice for survival. While others do act in a way similar to modern nannies or butlers. They were almost never in ball and chains or mistreated contrary to popular belief. In fact in Leviticus 25:53, these servants were to be treated as men "hired from year to year" and not "to be ruled over ruthlessly." Deuteronomy 15:13-16 says that servants usually thought of their masters as family and that once a servant's term is over, a master is to compensate them with goods.

 

Christianity is not some abstract belief system. If it was, then you could have Christians on both sides of the slavery debate, and as long as they were backing up their beliefs from the Bible, then they could all equally be said to be following Christianity. But that's not what Christianity is. The teachings of Christianity come from Jesus Christ Himself. That's why there's no room for disagreement on something like slavery. The question is, does Jesus support slavery? If He's against it, then no amount of "But I interpret the Bible to support slavery" is going to cut it. That's not what Jesus taught, and therefore slavery is not okay.

 

Now, how do you work out what Jesus taught? Simply put, not from the Bible alone. As has been pointed out, you can read the Bible and interpret it to mean pretty much anything you like. And as we've seen from history, when Christians are left to read the Bible and interpret Jesus's teachings from it - instead of the other way round, using what Jesus taught to read the Bible correctly - you end up with a hundred different beliefs about Christianity, which can't all be true since Jesus is a real person who taught real things. Jesus knew a Bible wasn't going to be enough, and He left a Church which would have the authority to carry on His teachings and make sure no one came up with weird new beliefs.

 

Right, I'm going to leave before I annoy the Protestants any more  :P (love you, Vincey!)

 

xxx

 

*sigh, not this again. Jegs, you say Christianity isn't an abstract belief system, yet you also say we need the Catholic Church to give correct interpretation of Jesus' teachings for us because of many different interpretations. So I'm confused as to what you're trying to convey.

 

Secondly, I have yet to find a Catholic who is able to quote even a single word spoken from Jesus or His apostles that is not recorded in Scripture. If the Catholic Church cannot produce that, then it cannot say Jesus  passed on the so-called oral teachings not found in the Bible or how to interpret it. Especially when much of the Bible, especially Paul's letters were addressed to ordinary people in the cities he visited. Paul didn't say, "Be sure to give this letter to Peter or another apostle otherwise you won't understand it. Or you can refer to my last week's sermon that I didn't write down, assuming you didn't sleep through it." I always found it strange how the Catholic Church seems to imply that Jesus wasn't clear enough in His teachings so He needed other people to clarify things for Him.

 

As always, I say this in love :)

4 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 I always found it strange how the Catholic Church seems to imply that Jesus wasn't clear enough in His teachings so He needed other people to clarify things for Him.

 

Well, Jesus clearly forbids divorce in all four gospel accounts, yet most Protestants (at least those in the largest denominations) allow for divorce at least in the case of adultery. Now, as I've pointed out in another thread, whether or not there's an exception for adultery all comes down to how you translate one Greek word in Matthew's gospel. Translate it to mean "adultery", and divorce is acceptable in cases of adultery. Translate it as "unchastity", specifically unnatural relationships (e.g. a brother and a sister), and it's about a civil divorce where you have an invalid marriage. Now, I think there's a stronger case for the latter translation, but it's not that clear. And if all you're relying on is that Bible verse alone, there's not really a way to prove which translation is right. You'd need something else.

 

The Catholic Church would argue that we know Jesus didn't make any exceptions for divorce because that's what we have in Sacred Tradition. In other words, Jesus's apostles, who heard Him teach a lot more about marriage and divorce than what we have written down, taught the first Christians, and would be able to clarify any ambiguities in the gospel texts. Those same teachings have been passed down from generation to generation of Christians. When someone first asked, "Is there an exception to divorce in cases of adultery? The Greek isn't clear to me," it was very easy for the Church to say, "There's no exception, and we know this because in all the centuries of the Church, we've always understood there to be no exceptions and taught accordingly."

 

Also, sometimes Jesus's words seem pretty clear indeed, but people will still argue about them. "This is My Body" is about as clear as it could be, but we have people argue about whether on not it's symbolic. That's not a small doctrinal disagreement, either - if Jesus means what He says literally, then that's one of the most important things in Christianity. You can't just shrug and say, "Hey, I guess that piece of bread really is Jesus. I'll just carry on with my life as it was before." When people first started arguing, "You know, this whole thing about the bread and wine being Jesus's body and blood, that could be read as a symbol," the Catholic Church was quick to say, "Guys, this has been a constant teaching of the Church right from the beginning, and dates back to Jesus's apostles."

 

Okay, I'm rambling again :P Basically, if Jesus's teachings were so clear from the Bible alone, then there'd be no disagreement in Christianity based on different interpretations of the Bible.

 

xxx

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Well, Jesus clearly forbids divorce in all four gospel accounts, yet most Protestants (at least those in the largest denominations) allow for divorce at least in the case of adultery. Now, as I've pointed out in another thread, whether or not there's an exception for adultery all comes down to how you translate one Greek word in Matthew's gospel. Translate it to mean "adultery", and divorce is acceptable in cases of adultery. Translate it as "unchastity", specifically unnatural relationships (e.g. a brother and a sister), and it's about a civil divorce where you have an invalid marriage. Now, I think there's a stronger case for the latter translation, but it's not that clear. And if all you're relying on is that Bible verse alone, there's not really a way to prove which translation is right. You'd need something else.

 

The Catholic Church would argue that we know Jesus didn't make any exceptions for divorce because that's what we have in Sacred Tradition. In other words, Jesus's apostles, who heard Him teach a lot more about marriage and divorce than what we have written down, taught the first Christians, and would be able to clarify any ambiguities in the gospel texts. Those same teachings have been passed down from generation to generation of Christians. When someone first asked, "Is there an exception to divorce in cases of adultery? The Greek isn't clear to me," it was very easy for the Church to say, "There's no exception, and we know this because in all the centuries of the Church, we've always understood there to be no exceptions and taught accordingly."

 

Also, sometimes Jesus's words seem pretty clear indeed, but people will still argue about them. "This is My Body" is about as clear as it could be, but we have people argue about whether on not it's symbolic. That's not a small doctrinal disagreement, either - if Jesus means what He says literally, then that's one of the most important things in Christianity. You can't just shrug and say, "Hey, I guess that piece of bread really is Jesus. I'll just carry on with my life as it was before." When people first started arguing, "You know, this whole thing about the bread and wine being Jesus's body and blood, that could be read as a symbol," the Catholic Church was quick to say, "Guys, this has been a constant teaching of the Church right from the beginning, and dates back to Jesus's apostles."

 

Okay, I'm rambling again :P Basically, if Jesus's teachings were so clear from the Bible alone, then there'd be no disagreement in Christianity based on different interpretations of the Bible.

 

xxx

 

There's no doubt that tradition can be useful, even necessary at times. But tradition is not equal to Scripture, rather tradition needs to be subservient to Scripture. We see in Acts 17:11, the Berean Jews were commended for testing Paul's message with the Old Testament to make sure what he is teaching was true. If even Paul's oral teachings, as an apostle chosen by Jesus Himself, is subject to Scripture, then that should also be so with his successors, the bishops
 
On a practical level, oral tradition is notoriously unreliable as a means of communication compared to written form. If you've ever played the game Telephone then you know what I'm talking about. Eventually somewhere down the line, the message is going to be modified and lost in translation to the point where the original message could be so distorted, it's barely recognizable. Oral teachings can't be transmitted reliably if it isn't in a fixed form that we can easily refer to like Scripture is. It's too much "he said, she said." 
 
Take for example, the Assumption of Mary, an extra biblical doctrine. The Catholic Church claims it was a divine truth taught by the apostles. Here's the problem: It wasn't. It's not found in Scripture and the Early Church Fathers were silent on the issue. The first Church Father to even speculate at Mary's fate was Epiphanius in 377 by saying "...for her end, no one knows." That's it, no mention of any assumption. The first Church Father to teach the possibility of the Assumption was Gregory of Tours in the 6th century. His sermon was heavily influenced set of 5th century books called the Transitus Mariae, which was condemned by Pope Galasius as heretical. Yet Gregory of Tours still taught it under the assumption (ba dum chee!) that the Transitus Mariae was real. Am I the only one who sees the absurdity here? A doctrine that has no basis in Scripture or tradition went from being a heretical belief in the Catholic Church to an article of faith that must be believed otherwise you are condemned. Even more incredible is that it took the Church one thousand, nine hundred and fifty years after the birth of Christ to dogmatize it. That's hardly what I call "always believed from the beginning of the Church." If the Assumption is so vital to the faith, why didn't John mention Mary's fate in any of his books since he was entrusted to care for her? Why didn't Polycarp or any other of apostle's disciples mention the Assumption in any of their writings? Simple, because none of the apostles taught it therefore no one in the early Church believed it. It only "happened" simply because the Catholic Church says it did.

 

What is perhaps most devastating to the case of Sacred Tradition is that the Church can't seem to decide what exactly Tradition is. The Tradition you ascribe to is the "partim partim" theory, meaning divine revelation is partly in Scripture and partly in oral teaching. This was the model defined in the Council of Trent:

 

It [council] also clearly perceives that these truths and rules are contained in the written books and in the unwritten traditions, which, received by the Apostles from the mouth of Christ Himself, or from the Apostles themselves,[3] the Holy Ghost dictating, have come down to us, transmitted as it were from hand to hand. -Council of Trent, Session 4

 

Yet in recent years following Vatican II, there is a second view of Tradition that is gaining support called the "material sufficiency" model. This model affirms that all revelation is contained in Scripture at least implicitly and Tradition, found in the writings of the Church Fathers, is simply an interpretive guide for Scripture. This was evidenced in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

 

Through all the words of Sacred Scripture, God speaks only one single Word, his one Utterance in whom he expresses himself completely. -Catechism of the Catholic Church, Article 3, paragraph 102.

 

Quite honestly, I've come across Catholics who ascribe to one view or another. It seems like Catholics aren't united in belief as it is often claimed. Based on all this, I'm simply not convinced in the slightest that Tradition is as equally inspired as Scripture. Yes it is unfortunate that there are many disagreements on biblical interpretation. But can we ever truly have perfection understanding of Scripture? Even the Catholic Church has only infallibly interpreted a tiny fraction of the entire Bible in over 2000 years. At least with the Bible, we know for sure that it is the Word of God. The same can't be said about Tradition.

 

Oh crap, I didn't realize until just now that we have gone way off topic. lol. Sorry guys. Well I guess that's enough from me :P

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now