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The title of this article is 'Race and Racism,' with a picture of the arms and hands of people of diversity on top of each other on the globe.

We have had some discussions with Chinese writers who claim that their culture is superior to all others because of its history. These discussions remind us of the Nazis in Germany who claimed racial exceptionalism for political purposes.

White and black hands connect.

It is essential to understand that racial differences are at least to some degree a function of the environment in which people live. It is a physical fact that black objects radiate heat better than white objects. It is a biological fact that some diseases like sickle cell anemia and Tay-Sachs are more common in certain populations, and there is a genetic factor in those disorders. Some populations have a greater sensitivity to alcohol than others. Nose shape and size can offer sensitivity to humidity and temperature in extreme climates like deserts and polar areas. Another biological fact is hybridization. When two dissimilar living things combine, the product of that combination is different and sometimes physically superior to either of the two original sources.

What is not factual is what causes strife between racial groups. One race is not superior to another in intelligence. No race has a higher tolerance for pain than another. In reality, politics and religion have caused racism, not biology or physical properties. The conflicts in Ireland, the world wars, the Korean conflict, and the strife in the Middle East were not rooted in physical race differences but in political and religious differences.

The strife that we read about in the Old Testament was religious in nature. Israel was in constant conflict with surrounding nations. The conflict between Jew and Gentile was again not due to physical differences but due to religious and political differences. It was Jesus Christ who eliminated the cause of racial strife in the world of his day.

At the start of the ministry of Jesus, he spoke to the Jewish population into which he was born. The “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5-7 was given primarily to a Jewish audience, but the message was a radical departure from everything these people had ever heard. That is why he would begin his teaching by saying, “You have heard that it was said by our ancestors,” and then gave a very different picture of what we should do. When Jesus gave the “Great Commission” in Matthew 28:19, his statement was, “Go therefore and make disciples of ALL nations … .”

Jesus talking to the woman at the well.

In his life, Jesus lived what he taught. In John 4, we read about the discussion between Jesus and a woman the Jews would have despised and rejected. She was a Samaritan, and Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans (see John 4:9). She was a woman, which at that time minimized her status in society (see John 4:27). She had been married five times and was living with a man to whom she was not married. There was nothing about her that a good Jew in those days would have wanted to have any connection with. In this unlikely setting, Jesus revealed that worship in the future would not be on a mountain or in Jerusalem but anywhere, as long as it is “in spirit and in truth.”

In Acts 10-11, God presents Peter with the truth that the Gospel of Christ was not just for the Jews. God wanted all of humanity to have access to have a relationship with him through Christ. Peter’s conclusion in Acts 10:34-35 was, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation, he who reverences him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for [we] are all one in Christ Jesus.”

A multi-racial group of male and female college students.

God created the human genome with characteristics that would allow us to live anywhere on planet Earth. While this design allowed us to have physical features that make us look different from one another, there is no biblical reason to use any of those physical traits to do violence to someone else. There is no room for racism in any teaching of the Bible.

Racism is from Satan. It is a political, selfish, arrogant, violent, hateful, exploitive behavior by people who are ignorant of the teachings of Jesus Christ and all that Christianity stands for. Everyone on this planet should study and apply Matthew 5-7. The only hope we have for peace on Earth is to convince all people that the teachings of Jesus make sense and hold the key to the kind of life we all want to have.

— John N. Clayton

Picture credits:
© melitas. Image from big stock.com
© Korobova. Image from BigStockPhoto.com
© Graficai. Image from big stock.com
© flippo. Image from big stock.com

Scripture links/references are from BibleGateway.com. Unhighlighted scriptures can be looked up at their website.