Racial reconciliation: where do we begin?
Published: 12 June 2020 (GMT+10)
One would think that today we would be closer to the end of racism than ever before. Few people feel comfortable expressing racist opinions, let alone acting on them. There are legal protections preventing official racism in important areas like hiring and housing, and even in public speech in some countries. There are more interracial marriages than ever before. The average person feels that a person’s ethnic background has nothing to do with their intrinsic worth or equality with anyone else.
Yet today we see that racial tensions are still high. People perceived as privileged are pressured to state that “black lives matter”, and corporations, surely not motivated by their bottom line, fall into line to state exactly what they are doing to advance the cause. But as Christians, we should not be concerned with mere appearances or political correctness. It is not enough to say that racism is wrong, but we must come from a biblical foundation which will often put us at odds with a culture that says things that are on the surface very similar to what we believe.
Why do any lives matter?
Today, the idea that all humans are equally valuable is almost a given, so much so that the average person would struggle to say why that is, even though they would likely strongly feel that it is true. But this is a historical and geographical anomaly. Slavery still exists in parts of the world today, and throughout history, the inequality of different people groups was as much as given as their equality is today. Certain classes of people were considered not worthy of what we would consider basic human rights even well into the 20th century in ‘civilized’ countries. And when two of our scientists recently published their article Racial mixing is perfectly biblical! Debunking the anti-biblical racist arguments of ‘Christian Identity’, it unfortunately revealed that racist ideas are still alive today. This only confirms what many of our speakers frequently hear when out on ministry, particularly here in the US. There is really no excuse for this. Modern genetic studies have shown that across the whole gamut of human diversity, that all humans are over 99% genetically similar, indicating that there is only one race—the human race.
As Christians, we believe that all human life is precious from conception to natural death, regardless of ethnicity, economic status, or any other variable. This is because humans, unlike animals, are created in the image of God. This belief spurred the abolition of the African slave trade in both England and America, because if we see someone as an equal image-bearer just like we are, it is impossible to claim ownership of that person.
By contrast, evolution has many racist skeletons in the closet. The Descent of Man, the less-well-known book by Charles Darwin written after The Origin of Species, is a deeply racist manifesto. This evolutionary racism is not unique but pervades evolutionary literature, and even subtly raises its head in some fairly recent examples. Our documentary The Voyage That Shook the World had interviews with Darwin historians who freely admitted this.
Get informed with answers!
Christians can be intimidated when it comes to dealing with sensitive topics like racism, and this can cause us to retreat from the debate. The last thing anyone wants is to be insensitive or to minimize perceived injustice. We believe that the best approach is to start from Scripture, because that gives us truth that transcends current events. In 2011, Carl Wieland, the former CEO of CMI-Australia, wrote the comprehensive book One Human Family. It was so well-received that all of our paper copies sold out. We are substantially revising this title before we reprint it due to the ever-changing and ever-increasing scientific knowledge that makes racism untenable. But in the meantime, we are making the e-book versions of One Human Family at a greatly reduced price compared to the print version to get this vital information into the hands of anyone who wants it. Dr. Wieland comments:
Not only are the principles timeless, but in many ways even its analysis of events and situations in 2011 will be seen as prescient of the painful matters that are at the forefront of public attention worldwide. In short, it is no longer possible to say that race has ceased to be a frontline issue of concern for the believer.
Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, Head Scientist of CMI-US, calls that book:
A masterpiece, one that avoids the extremes of lack of compassion and political correctness.
And Dr. Felix Konotey-Ahulu, Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics at University of Cape Coast, Ghana, and world-famous sickle-cell anemia researcher, says it is:
the best in-depth account of racism I have ever read. The book has information that will surprise, if not amaze, most readers.
Change starts at home!
It is my view that the Bible is the only answer to racism as it clearly states that all humanity was made in God’ image and is precious. Our CEO, Gary Bates, has often pointed out that hundreds of years ago Christian missionaries went to third-world countries to preach the Gospel. Yet, they had no understanding of the science of modern genetics. Even though people may have looked different they trusted and believed God’s Word that all humanity was precious in God’s sight and worthy of salvation. And their beliefs have obviously been soundly vindicated.
It is useless to wish for large-scale change if we are not ready to begin with ourselves and our own families. And a good first step is to become informed and be a force for good, particularly in the current environment.