Is Racism Biblical?

Racism is alive and well.  Consider the following:

  • In January, two men were found guilty of the racist murder of a black teenager in London and were sentenced to more than 14 years in prison each.
  • After Jeremy Lin, the NBA’s first U.S.-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent, committed several turnovers during a game, ESPN published an article about the game with the headline “Chink In The Armor.” ESPN later issued a formal apology and announced the firing of the editor responsible for the headline.
  • An all-white Appalachian church in rural Kentucky has recently voted to ban interracial couples from joining its flock. The resolution states that the church “does not condone interracial marriage.”

Many atheists claim the Bible promotes racism, citing passages such as Nehemiah 13:23-25:

23 In those days I also saw Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. 24 And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and could not speak the language of Judah, but spoke according to the language of one or the other people.  25 So I contended with them and cursed them, struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters as wives to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons or yourselves.

So, what does the Bible actually say about racism?  First, the Bible teaches that there is only ONE race.  In Genesis 2-5, the Bible describes all of humanity as having descended from one literal man and one literal woman – only one race.  In Genesis 8-9, all of humanity, except for Noah’s immediate family, was destroyed in a global flood.  All humans after the flood were closely related – one race.  At the tower of Babel, God confused the languages – not the “races” – and humanity was divided into different people groups or nations – not races.  Acts 17:26 tells us that God “has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth…”

What about Bible passages such as Nehemiah 13:23-25?  First, note that the passage mentions different nations, not races.  The issue was not physical characteristics, but spiritual.  The Nehemiah 13 passage continues:

 26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? Yet among many nations there was no king like him, who was beloved of his God; and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless pagan women caused even him to sin. 27 Should we then hear of your doing all this great evil, transgressing against our God by marrying pagan women?” (emphasis added.)

The issue was that the people of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab were pagans – they worshipped false gods.  The Israelites were to worship only the One True God.  Nowhere in the Bible is Israel told to separate itself from other peoples because of physical traits or race – the issue is always spiritual.

What about Christian churches that claim interracial marriage is unscriptural?  Again, the Bible passages they use to justify such a position are always taken out of context, and usually refer to not marrying someone who is not a Christian (or, in the Old Testament, not Jewish).  To put it bluntly, any church that prohibits so-called interracial marriage is WRONG, since the Bible makes it clear there is only one race.  People can pull passages out of context from the Bible to justify almost anything, and this is just plain wrong.  Rather than starting with our own ideas, then finding something in the Bible to justify our thinking, Christians should start with the straight-forward meaning of the Bible, in context, and adjust our thinking to fit what the Bible actually says.

Galatians 3:28 tells us:

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Christian:  Racism should have no place in your thinking.  Period.

God hates racism.  Racism comes straight from the pit of Hell, in order to divide people and lead them away from God.  From God’s perspective, there is only one race.  God created all people through Adam and Eve, and the entire human race descends from Noah and his sons.  From God’s perspective, there are only two kinds of people:  Sinners who have received forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ, and sinners who have not received forgiveness.   “Race,” culture, skin color, and ethnicity have nothing to do with our standing before God; the only thing that matters is whether we have received the forgiveness and reconciliation with Him available only by trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

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