4 Biblical Reasons Why Racism Is Irrational

I assumed we lived in a post-racial society, you know where racism didn’t exist.  But, the hateful and racist reactions to a new Old Navy ad, which featured an interracial couple and their child, proves that we don’t. According to Scripture, not only are these racist reactions ugly and ignorant, they are absolutely irrational and illogical.

Why did I assume we lived in a post-racial society? Why did I think we were passed certain conversations about race? Maybe it was because we elected a Black man to be POTUS (President of the United States) almost eight years ago. Maybe it’s because I am the Lead Pastor at majority white church (we are becoming more and more diverse). Or maybe it was because I deluded myself into thinking we were.

Well, the venomous responses to the Old Navy ad, prove that we are far from a post-racial society. When the ad dropped, racists went to Twitter and spat unspeakable hatred. Their ignorance was unashamedly blatant. Their moronic and mindless comments infuriated me. How is this still an issue in 2016?  Are there still people in our world who espouse to this kind of racial hatred? I wish racism weren’t a reality, but the sad truth is, despite all of our progress, it is as real today as it was 60 years ago.

I am still trying to wrap my mind around why someone would hate another person because of skin color. Or, how one race of people believe its race is inherently superior to another’s. When I read the Bible, there are, at least, four reasons why racism is absolutely irrational.

Why Racism Is Irrational

  • Racism is absolutely irrational because God created us in his image.

In Genesis 1:26-27, it is clear that God created us in his image. To be created in the image of God means that humans share in, though imperfectly and finitely, God’s nature. This includes His communicable attributes (life, personality, truth, wisdom, love, holiness, justice). Therefore, we have the capacity for spiritual fellowship with Him.  Therefore, all people have value, worth, and purpose in the sight of God.

To assume a place of superiority over people or treat people as inferior or “less than,” is an affront the God who created them. When we treat people “less than,” our problem is not with the person, but with God.

To treat the creature poorly is to treat the Creator poorly. Racism is irrational because God created us in his image.

  • Racism is absolutely irrational because we all descended from the same man – Adam.

Not only do we have the same heavenly Father, but according to Genesis 5:3-5 and Acts 17:26, we also descend from the same earthly father – Adam. Therefore, we are brothers and sisters. We are brothers and sisters. You have Whites relatives, Asian relatives, Black relatives, Hispanic relatives, Jewish relatives, and every other ethnic group under the sun.

To hate someone from another ethnic group is essentially hating ourselves.

We may not look alike, but we come from the same parent. Racism is irrational because we all descend from the same the same man – Adam.

  • Racism is absolutely irrational because it is impossible to love God and hate your brother/sister.

To love God and hate the people he created, is hypocrisy. First John 4:20 says the person makes a false claim. John often called this kind of person a liar. Rewind that. If you claim to love God but hate your White brother and sister, Black brother and sister, Asian brother and sister, or Latino brother and sister, then you are a liar.

Love for an invisible God can only be concretely expressed by love for our visible brothers and sisters.

You see, it is difficult for us to prove we love God just by our actions alone toward him. This is the reason John gave a verifiable command – whoever loves God, must also love his brother. The antithesis is true; if you hate your brother or sister, we can conclude you don’t love God. Racism is irrational because it is impossible to love God and hate your brother.

  • Racism is absolutely irrational because it ignores that fact that God’s family in heaven will include people of all ethnic groups.

When we read Revelation 7:9, we clearly see a multiethnic, multicultural, and multi-linguistic people. All kinds of ethnic groups will populate heaven. Thus, we will be together forever. Therefore, it behooves us to learn to value, honor and love one another now. We should look at our time on earth as a dress rehearsal for what we will do and who we will be worship with for all eternity.

The World Does Not Define Us

As followers of Jesus, let’s not let the world dictate how we treat one another. When we realize God created all of us in his image, we come from the same human being – Adam, can only express our love for God by loving our brothers and sisters and will be together for all eternity, then we will deconstruct the lies of racism and construct the mosaic of the kingdom of God.

What other biblical reason would you give to prove that racism is irrational? 

What can we do to continue to deconstruct the walls of racism and construct superstructures of love and unity? 

 

 

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  • Promise Keeper

    Pastor Williams,
    Thanks for the thoughtful article. As a society of fallen human beings, we are subject to all kinds of irrational ‘isms’. Early in my career, I was a police officer. I was judged, condemned and acted upon only because I was white and wore a blue uniform. I learned that this was the product of ignorance and learned to apply the first part of ignorant to react to it – ignore. We must understand the true basis on how we should treat one another (as you’ve pointed out here), teach our kids, and ignore the ignorant with a good does of Jesus love! Meanwhile, I think we’ll take a shopping trip to Old Navy this week!

    • Marvin Williams

      Yep and yep! I appreciate your honesty. I try to tell people that not all of anyone group is bad, corrupt or dishonest. Because we don’t take time to listen and understand, we make all kinds of prejudgments. Those prejudgments lead to discrimination and racism. Personally, I am so sorry that people judged you before they got to know you. Thanks for being transparent. I think I might take a trip to Old Navy as well and buy up some stuff. : ) Thanks for adding your voice here.

  • grstatdoc

    Alas, similar reactions occurred when a Cheerios commercial featuring an interracial couple aired a couple of years ago…

    • Marvin Williams

      You are right. There was an uproar then and there is an uproar now. Both times reveal the ignorance of people in our world. This is the reason I believe the only solution is the gospel of Jesus. Thanks for coming by and visiting and adding your voice here.

  • Marvin,

    Thanks for writing this. It infuriates me when I see these things occur. From my experience, people who spout off with these comments and have these internal beliefs are ones who have never had a conversation with someone of another ethnicity. They buy into whatever stereotypes they are fed and never question themselves.

    It’s pathetic and, as you have shown, completely irrational.

    If only we all laid down our preconceived ideas and stereotypes, and actually had a meal together, a conversation together, something.

    • Marvin Williams

      Brandon, thanks for adding your voice. I so appreciate you and the present blog series you’re doing. Bro, you are “going in.” We are called to usher in the Kingdom, and many times Kingdom thinking and living disrupts our comfort. The issue of racism, prejudice and discrimination is near and dear to my heart. I suppose this is the case because God has called me to be a bridge builder, spanning the chasm of racial tension with the gospel. By the power of the Spirit, I am trying to live this out and inviting our people here at Trinity to do the same. Thanks for being a fellow disrupter.

      • Thanks for taking the helm and being a bridge! The Church should be leading the way in this, unfortunately though, that’s often not the case.

        Have you, by chance, read “Church Diversity” by Scott Williams?

        • Marvin Williams

          Yeah, I sure did. He actually had me to write a section in the book. So, I am intimately acquainted with the work. Scott’s a good friend.

          • Ha, that’s awesome! I read that book a few years ago. Such a great work and even better to see it being lived out!

  • Ayla

    Thank you for treading in controversial waters to share sound Biblical truth regarding the ugly reality of racism. I agree with everything you said & appreciate you breaking scripture down with such clarity, conviction & courage.

    One thing I’ve wrestled with is that the debate on racism seems to be confined to AA vs Caucasian, which while very prevalent in America with deep historical roots, isn’t the only kind that exists today. I’m grateful for conversations about interracial families given we are one & I’ve faced all kinds of backlash for it from multiple races; from AA women for “taking one of their men,” from Pakistanis for “marrying someone darker,” from Caucasians for “not marrying into a more stable & honorable culture.” Yes these are direct quotes. & my kids have heard it all too albeit more subtly when it comes to their skin color being too light to be AA & too dark to be Pakistani or unfounded comments about their hair texture, the way they talk, even play Lord have mercy. There’s always this implication that they’re not enough. Not enough to be AA. Not enough to be Pakistani. My race class in grad school was the first place where the racial identity plight of interracial families & children was addressed since I’ve been in America; as well as those of us who while not AA are minorities & recipients of some major prejudice like being handcuffed & being pushed around by an AA police officer 3 times your size for being a “potential terrorist.”

    Ultimately all forms & degrees of racism are a direct contradiction to God’s heart & it breaks mine to see so much of it exists even in the so called progressive world we live in & even more so how divided the body can be concerning this & how some believers misappropriate scripture to justify racist beliefs. The world can’t be held to the same standard but those who really know God & His heart & design behind all creation should know better. Btw that would be a good post; how to respond to racist attitudes by people in your church, small group, etc. while still maintaining the unity of the Spirit though the bond of peace.

    • Ayla, thanks for adding your voice here. You are right, that there is racism beyond African Americans and Whites. The Old Navy ad pinpointed a specific kind of racism, and so that was what I was reacting to. I can only imagine what you and your family have gone through over the years. You and your family are enough. I know you know that, but sometimes we need to be reminded. The ultimate weapon against any kind of racism, prejudice, discrimination is the gospel. We have to keep pressing this issue with the power of the Spirit. Your point about people experiencing racism in their church (if they are part of a diverse church) could be an interesting post. As always, thanks for adding your voice here. Grace and peace.

    • Marvin Williams

      Ayla, thanks for adding your voice here. You are right, that there is racism beyond African Americans and Whites. The Old Navy ad pinpointed a specific kind of racism, and so that was what I was reacting to. I can only imagine what you and your family have gone through over the years. You and your family are enough. I know you know that, but sometimes we need to be reminded. The ultimate weapon against any kind of racism, prejudice, discrimination is the gospel. We have to keep pressing this issue with the power of the Spirit. Your point about people experiencing racism in their church (if they are part of a diverse church) could be an interesting post. As always, thanks for adding your voice here. Grace and peace.

      • Ayla

        Thank you for the encouragement. Praise God we are all enough because He is more than enough! My comments weren’t directed at your post but at racism in general & my experience of it. I was actually trying to say that contrary to the typical discussion, you using the example of controversy surrounding an interracial family to address racism, was appreciated because it illuminates another element of racism & a group of people {interracial families} that tend to be invisible in the discussion. Typically the conversations revolve around AAs & Caucasians on polar opposite ends disagreeing on the prevalence of racism in the context of social constructs; law, politics, jobs, health care etc. Those conversations are vital no doubt but not necessarily inclusive. I was trying to say I can relate to the kind of racism that interracial families experience regardless of the race because I & especially my kids have experienced it. I don’t know if that makes sense. Good discussion though! Thanks for engaging in it & for unspamming me ?

    • Promise Keeper

      Ayla, I appreciate your sharing. Stories such as yours breaks my heart…I long for the time (and had hoped we were closer) where people would be judged, to quote Rev. MLK, by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. While we can’t shield each other from such things, I can (and will) pray for you and your famly!

      • Ayla

        Thank you for your encouragement! Praise God His grace has been so very sufficient in & through the situations I mentioned in my comment. Yes it is disheartening to see how little we have progressed, if at all, concerning race. Grateful that we can take heart in the fact that in spite of the trouble we experience here, Jesus has overcome the world. Thank you again for your kind words & prayers. God bless you!

  • Jim de Vries

    Elucidating more expansively for the opening of this Biblical lesson, Genesis 1:1-27, which is an opening passage in the Holy Bible, introduces the reader to the God of the Bible, as a Trinity. (In v.1 the Creator of all that’s far and all that’s near; in v.2 the Spirit which operates on the creatures; and in v.26 the Image into which mankind was made to exist.) As the Bible narrative turns out, that Image is Jesus of Nazareth, the one and only hope for every human being.

    • Marvin Williams

      Jim, thanks for adding your voice here. You are absolutely right, Jesus is the only hope for the ills of humanity, including the issue of racism.

  • Joel

    Great biblical response , Thanks Pastor Marvin .Racism is more about sin than skin .

    • Marvin Williams

      Joel, you are absolutely right. Racism is sinful and we need to repent so that it doesn’t take root in our lives and the lives of our children. Thanks for adding your voice here. I am grateful.

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