According to a new study, religious people tend to be more racist than their non-religious counterparts:
The purpose of the study is to be “a meta-analytic review of past research evaluated the link between religiosity and racism in the United States since the Civil Rights Act.” The report observed that “members of religious congregations tend to harbor prejudiced views of other races.” The study surveyed over 20,000 white Christians, citing their role as the largest demographic, both in terms of race and religious denomination, in the United States.
The reason the study states, is because of in-group prejudice. In other words, those who are outside the group are considered less worthy.
We certainly see this sometimes when it comes to Christians saying that atheists have no reason to be moral. However, the article does mention this little tidbit, which I tend to disagree with:
The message of Jesus was universal and most certainly did not include racism.
Not really. Jesus showed his racist nature a few times in the bible. For example we have this in the book of Matthew:
“Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message: The kingdom of heaven is near.”
So many Christians believe that Jesus’ message was for everyone, but during the time that Jesus supposedly lived, he would have been preaching to the Jews, who at the time, were under Roman occupation. He wasn’t preaching to everyone, but trying to reunite the twelve tribes of Israel so that he could free the Jews from under the yoke of the Romans.
We also have this in the book of Acts:
“Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.”
We also see some inherent racism in the image of Jesus. Ever notice the Jesus of North America is white?
Is this is true image of what Jesus would have looked like? Or is it simply a Europeanized Jesus?
What would Jesus have really looked like if he had lived?
According to forensic science, Jesus would have looked more like this.
Like a lot of things that have to do with religion, reality is distorted, and yet so many Christians see nothing wrong with this racist view of Jesus.
As the article notes:
According to Wood the report’s findings “may ring false to practicing Christians in mixed-race congregations,” noting however that “there aren’t many churches that practice with a mixed-race congregation.” Interaction and exposure to Christians of other races would easily help to eliminate the myths and false notions that fuel racism. What is quite ironic, and even hilarious, is that Christ himself was an Arab Jew, a Levantine native and dark skinned. Reality is quite contrary to the classical image of the white, hunky, and hippie-esque imagery that proliferated in medieval and renaissance Europe and still resonates in the minds of Christians.
Perhaps I’m a skeptic, but I doubt racist or discriminatory behavior will disappear from Christianity. We see how rampant homophobia is within many Christian communities. That doesn’t mean every Christian is homophobic, but to deny that it’s fairly common place, even among more progressive Christians, would be misleading, in my opinion. Even liberal Christians I’ve personally talked too will have no problem pronouncing that same-sex couples are living in sin or other such nonsense.