Thursday, April 19, 2007
Search Term: racismLinks Found: 12
Racism, Slavery & Terrorism Dr Peter Hammond
Racism, Sexism, Marxism John Frame
Biblical Antidotes to Racism (part 1) Ronald Kalifungwa
Biblical Antidotes to Racism (part 2) Ronald Kalifungwa
The Biblical Offense of Racism Douglas M. Jones III Though non-Christians may condemn racism, they have no justifiable ethical basis on which to do so. In contrast, the word of God not only specifies our obligation to be color-blind, but it prescribes how this obligation applies to soc
Prophets of the Apocalypse: White Supremacy and the Theology of Christian Identity How Christianity and the Bible is perverted to support white supremacist racism
Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization at its twentieth session, on 27 November 1978 Racism against
Racism against African
Racism against Asian
Racism against Hisapanic
Racism against Native Americans
Racism against Jews
There are a few observations that should be made about the results of this search. The first is that racism seems to be attributed only to white people. There are no articles here about the Black Panthers or the National Council of La Raza on this site. The only specific people that are blamed for racism are "white supremacists." If you follow the link to the article about the Christian Identity error you will find that the authors Dennis Tourish and Tim Wohlforth cite the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Southern Poverty Law Center as reliable sources of information regarding internet hate groups. It's ashamed to see supposedly Reformed Christians believe such tripe.
My second observation is that apparently it is impossible to be racist against white people. Notice that of all the groups mentioned at the bottom of the list, white people are conspicuously missing. The idea that someone could be bigoted against whites apparently never occurred to the folks at monergism.com. The obvious problem is that modern Christians have bought into the modern notions about "racism." As a result, they have construed a sin that only white people can commit, and can never be committed against white people.
Monday, April 16, 2007
- The Preadamite Theory: Adam is the ancestor of the white race only. Other races, or perhaps just blacks are descended from Preadamites.
- The Local Flood Theory: The Flood of Genesis was local and Noah's family were the only survivors within the Flood plane. This does not rule out other survivors outside the Flood region.
- The Traditional Theory: Everyone descends from Adam. Everyone died in the Flood except for Noah's family. Therefore, everyone descends from Noah. Whites from Japheth, Near Easterners from Shem, blacks and Asians from Ham.
- Modified Theories: These are modified forms of the Traditional theory. They believe that everyone descends from Noah but adhere to a different scheme of descent.
Problems with the Preadamite Theory
The Preadamite Theory seems to have several theological problems as well as with anthropology. By denying that anyone of any race has direct descent from Adam essentially denies that they are in fact human. There are many verses in the Bible that suggest that Adam and Eve are mankind's universal parents (Gen. 3:20, Rom. 5:12, Acts 17:26, 1 Cor. 15:22). Furthermore, if we conclude that a race such as the blacks is not Adamic, then we are suggesting that they are not really sinners because humanity inherits our sinful nature through Adam. This theory is expounded on in Adamites and Preadamites by John Roberts. He combines the Preadamite Theory with the local flood theory that I will mention next. While he makes interesting points, I find the theory untenable with the Christian faith.
Problems with the Local Flood Theory
Whether or not the Flood of Genesis was global or confined to a local region it seems impossible that there could have been survivors other than Noah's family. The idea that there may have been other survivors besides Noah's family is easier to allow than the idea of Preadamite humans. There is no passage in the Bible that explicitly says that everyone is descended from Noah. However there are passages that seem to suggest that only Noah's family survived the Flood (1 Peter 3:20, 2 Peter 2:4-9, 2 Peter 3:5). Another difficulty is that many nations all over the world have some sort of Flood account in their ancient traditions. I suppose I'm more open to this idea than the last one, but I still don't think that it is accurate.
Problems with the Traditional View
The traditional view is Biblical because it teaches that all men descend from Adam and Noah. It also enjoys a long line of proponents from Church history. However there are some difficulties with the way that people view the descent of man from Noah. As I stated before this view holds that whites descend from Japheth, blacks, Amerindians, and East Asians descend from Ham, and Near/Middle Easterners descend from Shem. A variation of this theory states that East Asians descend from Shem rather than Ham. Some concerns that I have with this theory are:
- Many of the traits that describe Shemites such as fair and ruddy (reddish) usually apply to white Indo-Europeans, not contemporary Middle Easterners.
- It seems odd that Ham would be the ancestor of so many people. Sub-Saharan Africans (blacks), North Africans, East Asians, Amerindians, Dravidians, and Australian/New Zealand aboriginals would comprise a disproportionate percentage of the earth's people.
- Modern genetic evidence that measures genetic distance suggests that Africans and Asians are more distant from each other than whites and Asians. This suggests that Ham couldn't be the direct ancestor to them both.
- Some nations that are thought to descend from Shem or Ham are thought to be Indo-European according to secular history. These include the Persians (from Elam), the Egyptians (from Mizraim) and possibly the Assyrians (from Asshur).
There is also evidence that the white race is partially descended from pre-modern members of the Near/Middle East. One apocryphal verse that fascinates me is 1 Maccabees 12:21 which says "It is found in writing, that the Spartans and Jews are brethren, and come out of the generation of Abraham." This would be an interesting twist to the traditional understanding of the origins of race. Interestingly enough, while New Advent believes that all people descend from Noah, the Table of Nations in Genesis 10 represents only the Caucasian nations: "Nor can the distribution of the nations as described in the tenth chapter of Genesis be appealed to, seeing that this section does not enumerate all races of the earth, but confines itself probably to the Caucasian." These are interesting points to ponder. Let me know if anyone out there has any opinions that could help clear the matter up for me.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Ethnocentrism can be defined as a particular regard for one's own culture and nation over other cultures and nations. If there is anything that modern American's lack, it is ethnocentrism. The same white middle America that has completely lost its racial and ethnic conscience in the last few decades comprises the core of these seeker-sensitive churches. Whites today take pains in order to be "politically correct" in order not to offend anyone. The greatest good according to many American whites is "multiculturalism" and whites today bend over backwards to ensure that they and their children will enjoy the "multicultural experience." In this vein Michael Horton ensures his readers that "the ancient creeds, confessions, and liturgies represent the most genuinely multicultural agenda." Thus if you really want to pursue a multicultural form of worship then you should actually become more conservative and liturgical. Is it just me, or does this seem like a case of reverse psychology?
Allow me to use an example of how this is false if I may. I recently witnessed Sean Hannity on the Fox TV program Hannity and Colmes shame a former Clinton advisor asking him why President Clinton did not include more minorities in his cabinet. The obvious implication that Hannity was trying to make is that Republicans are the real party of minorities while Democrats ignore them. This ignores the fact that 90% of votes for Republicans come from whites. As much as Hannity may deny it, minorities persistantly vote Democrat. This is similar to what Horton is trying to convince us of when he asserts that modern worship is really ethnocentric, and conservative worship is multicultural. The fact is that most churches that have conservative worship are dominated by one race or another, and most of these (at least in America) are white. White America could use a healthy dose of ethnocentrism.
Horton complains that many people often think that ancient Christian worship has a "Eurocentric" bias when the reality is that ancient Christian worship is a bastion of multiculturalism. He assures us that "we are talking about prayers and forms that often are either direct biblical citations or date back to the first few centuries and come from Palestine, Asia, and Africa." This is a partial truth but the way that Horton states this is misleading. The most ancient of Christian worship was formulated in the Roman Empire, which spanned into what is today Palestine, Africa, and Asia. However the content of the ancient creeds, confessions, and liturgies were overwhelmingly developed by white Europeans. For example St. Athanasius and St. Augustine were two of the early church's greatest thinkers and defenders. Both of these men were white Romans living in north Africa. I find it odd that Horton is surprised regarding the notion that ancient Christian worship is Eurocentric. Ancient Christianity flourished in the West, and as a result Christianity is one of the most recognizable bulwarks of Western Civilization today.
Why does Horton consider modern worship to be ethnocentric? I think he confuses ethnocentrism with self-centeredness. Modern American worship is the product of self-indulgence, consumerism, pragmatism, and multiculturalism. Today many people have substituted their love of heritage and people for self-indulgence. Modern America also promotes the idea that "the customer is always right" and the American church seeks to apply this principle to Christian worship. Churches have also adapted the postmodern hatred for reason and knowledge by emphasizing feelings in worship. All of these influences have combined for America's current love for "diversity" and "cultural enrichment" to form contemporary Christian worship. Many megachurches have incorporated ethnic dancing, tribal music, or even worse, U2 into their Sunday worship in order to attract crowds. The idea that ethnocentrism influences modern American worship is patently untrue. Ultimately I applaud Michael Horton's efforts to champion conservative worship. I think that America desperately needs a conservative Christian witness in our age of postmodernism. But this tactic of reverse psychology isn't going to hack it.
Saturday, April 7, 2007
Today's Modern Interpretation
Many people latch onto certain key concepts of the parable. People who believe that Jesus was here preaching against racism point out that a man was beaten, robbed, and left close to death on his way from Jerusalem to Jericho. Christ points out that the man is passed by without being helped by a priest and then a Levite. Finally a Samaritan passes by and helps the man and cares for him. Many modern interpreters correctly point out that mainstream Israel looked down upon Samaritans (John 4:9). Thus many Christians today infer that Jesus was shaming his listeners for their racism against Samaritans. The account begins with a lawyer asking Christ who his neighbor is and ends with him admitting that the Samaritan acted as a true neighbor to this wounded man. Some have concluded from this that Christ was in fact teaching that all men everywhere ought to be brothers and neighbors to each other. As a result the parable of the Good Samaritan has become a rallying point for modern day neo-babelists. But do they interpret the text correctly? I don't believe so, and there are several reasons why.
A Closer Look
There are several aspects of this narrative that have been ignored or minimized in order to make this fit the neo-babelist agenda. The narrative begins with a question posed by a certain lawyer. It's important to understand that this lawyer is said to tempt or test Jesus by asking him this question. This means that this was not asked by an honest inquirer, but rather by someone who was hostile to Christ's ministry. Failing to recognize this will hamper our ability to properly understand what Christ was teaching. This man is also called a lawyer or an expert in matters of the law. He probably would have been heavily involved in politics and government. This man then questions Jesus about how to obtain eternal life, to which Jesus responds by asking him what is written in the law. The lawyer then responds with a summary of the Ten Commandments based on Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18, that he should love God and his neighbor as himself. Christ responds that he answered correctly and that he would live if he kept these commandments. At this point the lawyer responds wishing to justify himself by asking Jesus "who is my neighbor?"
This is the point at which Jesus begins the parable. As was previously mentioned there is a man who is traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. From this we can infer that this traveler is probably a common Israelite. He is then beaten, robbed, and left for dead by thieves during his journey. The man is left by the side of the road, and during this time he was passed by a priest as well as a Levite. What is the significance of the priest and the Levite? These individuals were from the most respected sects of society. The priests were Levites that were to live a holy and sanctified life. Surely a priest would help a man dying on the side of the road! But no, he passed by, apparently he had something more important to attend to. If the priest was too preoccupied then certainly a common Levite would help this man. Levites who were not priests often still held positions of respect and authority. But no, this man also passed by this wounded man who was dying on the side of the road. At this point a Samaritan passes by who finally feels compassion for the man who is dying on the road that he is traveling on. He helps the man and cares for him until he recovers. This Samaritan serves as an example of Christian compassion and neighborly virtue.
It's important to pay attention to the races of the characters in this story. The man traveling in the beginning was probably a common Israelite. The priest and the other Levite were by definition Israelites. What about the Samaritan? Contrary to what many people think today he wasn't really someone of a different race than the other people in this story. The Samaritans are the descendants of the Shemitic Israelites from the northern kingdom and the Assyrians. The Assyrians descended from Shem's son Asshur (Gen. 10:22) and possibly Abraham as well by his wife Keturah (Gen. 25:3). Because of their common ancestry it's not correct to consider the Israelites and Assyrians of a different race.
Instead of being a story about racial harmony or racial reconciliation this story served to reprove the snobbery of those who were deemed respectable in Israel during Christ's time. This story shows that the Samaritan who was not respected in Israel could behave respectably by helping those who needed it. This also shows that Israel's elite had neglected their responsibility to care for Israel herself. During Christ's day the religious, social, and political "movers and shakers" had betrayed their own countrymen by cooperating with her enemies. This parable was definitely intended to rebuke the lawyer who asked the original question, "who is my neighbor?" This lawyer was no doubt a member of the very same ruling class who had betrayed and neglected their own countrymen and brethren in order to maintain their own selfish interests. Christ was not shaming the people that were gathered there for their "racism" but was rather shaming the lawyer for his role similar to the priest and Levite. Jesus ends this narrative by exhorting the man to act like the compassionate Samaritan who cared for the needy in his midst.
Modern Day Applications
What are the applications for this parable in our modern day concept of a melting pot? I believe that this parable serves to condemn our current attitudes rather than affirm them. The modern concept of the universal brotherhood of mankind is utterly meaningless as Pierre-Joseph Proudhon observed, “If everyone is my brother, I have no brothers.” Today the American elites as well as the elites of most European countries in general have neglected their own countrymen and brethren in order to accommodate foreigners and outsiders. They do this in order to keep themselves in power and wealth. The modern allure of cheap labor and new voting constituencies is what causes our politicians to champion mass immigration and naturalization for non-whites into white countries. Politicians are willing to allow their fellow countrymen to be robbed and left to die on the wayside so that they can buy lettuce two dollars cheaper. This is most certainly not Christian compassion! Christians should be compassionate in a manner that does not help one group at the expense of another. The modern concept of "racism" is simply a way for people to excuse their own snobbery and greed and to condemn those who protest the mistreatment of their own people. As a result whites are condemned as racists when the reality is that whites are the world's most compassionate and caring people!
Christians should be far more compassionate as this Samaritan was compassionate. Who are the modern day Samaritans? I think that the Scotch-Irish "rednecks" and the southern people in general are treated like modern day Samaritans. Making fun of "rednecks" isn't taboo at all in an age in which everything is governed by political correctness. Redneck southerners are viewed as backward, uneducated, and uncouth, and yet it was redneck southerners who created "southern hospitality!" As a northerner I can definitely say that I appreciate the role that southerners have played in this nation's history. It was the work of decent and respectable northerners and southerners who made America the great nation that it is today. In our day, the lawyer is an American politician who seems to deny that other Americans are his neighbor, while the old conservative southern redneck is caring for his battered countrymen victimized by multiculturalism. I exhort everyone to behave more like the Good Samaritans in our own time. Go and do thou likewise!
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Monday, April 2, 2007
Before ripping into the film I should say a few words in its favor. I generally enjoy period films and this one was no exception. Even if the films subject matter was somewhat troublesome I still enjoy viewing a historical period that was for the most part more pleasant than our current situation. The film is also a healthy alternative to Hollywood as usual because the movie presents its dialogue without swearing (unless you count "nigger") or lewd and offensive scenes. The film has some references to Christianity and seems to present the Christian faith of Wilberforce and Newton in a positive light.
However despite the films bright spots I ultimately found it unconvincing. I tend to be a stickler for accuracy in films such as this one especially when the film has a moral message attached to it. There are some minor historical inconsistencies including that Parliament appears as a single chamber with no distinctions between Lords and Commons. Another is the prominence of the hymn Amazing Grace in the film. The film period spans from the 1790s to the abolition of the slave trade in 1807. During this time the hymn Amazing Grace is sung often as we would recognize it today. The problem with this is that the hymn as we know it didn't take its present form until being adapted to an American tune in the 1830s. The frequent singing of the hymn well before this time in our modern tune is inaccurate. These errors are tolerable and don't overly discredit the films message, but the more major errors are the films undoing.
The most troublesome aspect of the film is the way that John Newton is portrayed. He appears as an dodering old fool whose conscience won't let him have any peace about his role in the slave trade. A memorable line of his is that "they (black slaves) were human, we (whites) were apes." Obviously this falls into what so many other Hollywood typically portray; collective white guilt over history's problems. It's one thing to mention that the slave trade was problematic both morally and practically, but quite another to suggest that whites played the role of the "ape." There is no doubt that Newton was personally troubled by his role in the slave trade and was a passionate proponent of abolition as is evidenced from his book, Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade. However it is also worth noting that Newton converted to Christianity and repented of his wayward behavior but continued to be involved with the slave trade for some time after his conversion. It was only much later that he quits in order to become a minister and campaign against the traffic that he had been involved in. There is also no evidence that Newton was driven mad by his role in the slave trade although he was personally troubled by the role that he played.
Another problem with the movie is the prominence that it gives to Olaudah Equiano (aka Gustavus Vassa). In the film Equiano is shown to be a major figure in abolition in a way that he was not historically. After viewing the film, one would come to believe that the movement would have failed without Equiano's valuable contribution. The reality is that Equiano was best known as the author of The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. Interestingly enough it appears that Equiano may have lied about his place of origin in this book thus rendering his account of the "middle passage" and his claim to have been an African prince entirely void.
Then there are the important historical omissions. The film doesn't mention this but the reality is that slavery was largely unknown to most English at the time because slavery had been abolished in England back in 1772. Far from the liberal affair that abolition became in America, abolition in England was peaceful and resulted in the repatriation of most free blacks back to Africa. The cause of abolition in England that Wilberforce took up was often associated with keeping Britain white and preventing her reliance on alien labor. The film also portrays Wilberforce as uniquely Christian among a mostly lethargic or apathetic English Parliament. This was not the case as Christianity was much stronger during this period in Britain and the West in general than it is now. How sad to see Christians accept such historical revision and omission.
For these reasons Amazing Grace fails as a historical narrative. I'm not surprised at this seeing that director Michael Apted is an Anglican turned agnostic. Thus Amazing Grace conforms to a certain Hollywood outlook while appearing to break Hollywood norms. Sadly, many Christians will remember it as a Christian film that mentioned God and in which good (political correctness and equality) triumphed over evil (white racism).