Actor Morgan Freeman’s comments about the state of race relations in the United States had already become well known a few days before his interview was broadcast to millions of Americans on the popular CBS-TV program 60 Minutes last Sunday night (December 18).
The Academy Award-winning African-American actor was asked by CBS correspondent Mike Wallace about the topic of “race”* in America. Freeman responded that it would probably help race relations if Americans simply stopped talking about “whites” and “blacks.” By stressing differences between certain people groups or by highlighting one group over another (as with, for example, “Black History Month” each February), America will see potential harmony among races as being hindered, not helped, declared Freeman.
While in one sense, the downplaying of differences between races/people groups is to be applauded (especially by those who reject evolution and believe that all people groups descend from Adam and Eve), Freeman’s comment that race relations can be improved by not talking about it is not a strategy, we would contend, that should be adopted by the church in general. For many Bible-believing churches, racism is still a problem that, rather than being ignored, needs to be fully addressed-which can be accomplished through sound biblical teaching.
Sadly, though, there are some pastors who continue to pass along false teachings on race, including the belief that the skin color of “black” people is a result of a curse on Ham and his descendants (as refuted in a chapter of our book One Blood: The Biblical Answer to Racism-see Are black people the result of a curse on Ham?).
Beliefs and biases take root firmly within the hearts of fallen men. Unfortunately, feelings towards men and women of difference “races” will still be held and talked about, and thus these attitudes will still be acted upon “behind closed doors”-even if the politically correct stance switches from special recognition (e.g., Black History Month) to pretending that everything is OK. However, biblical teaching as described in One Blood-presented in as many churches as possible-can be a powerful antidote to racism of all forms.
The church also needs to recognize that evolutionary beliefs have fueled racism, and, thus, any compromise that Christian leaders decide to have with evolutionary beliefs is adding to the racism problem. The false belief system of evolution has been used to justify the mistreatment of various people groups, including Nazism and the subsequent Holocaust.
While racism can be an uncomfortable topic for some Bible-believers (even though it is less of an overt problem today, compared to the 1950s), this sin still exists among some in the church. But it can be met head-on with biblical teaching on the true origin of people groups.
For example, if we share the real history of humankind as given in Scripture, Christians should recognize that we all go back only a few thousand years (to Noah’s family, and then ultimately to Adam and Eve), and this would refute racism. The study of genetics confirms that we are all extremely closely related biologically. For more information, read How did all the different “races” arise (from Noah’s family)? from The Answers Book.
Indeed, the answer to racism is in Genesis, and it is confirmed in Acts 17, which tells us that all people are of “one blood” and are thus all closely related.
The church can and should be the means by which the problem of racism is solved. The church, using Scripture to deal with the hearts of people, can be the most effective agent of change in dealing with modern-day racism. As Dr. Charles Ware, president of the multi-ethnic Crossroads Bible College in Indiana, USA, told AiG: “We were created as one, divided by sin, and reunited by One-Jesus Christ, who makes peace between us.”
* We prefer to use the term “people groups” as opposed to “races.” Saying that there are many “races” suggests that there is no common ancestor for all people, when the Bible clearly teaches in Acts 17 that we are all of “one blood” (going back to the first couple, Adam and Eve).
The idea of unrelated, separate “races” is an evolutionary notion, one that increased in popularity in the last half of the 1800s and all through the 1900s. Many racists have even argued that darker-skinned people are less evolved than other races, and are, therefore, inclined to produce less-civilized societies than, for example, the lighter-skinned Europeans. Return to text.
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