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What does the Bible say about racism, prejudice, and discrimination?

I became interested in this topic after a number of experiences while living in the southern United States where racial intolerance appeared (to me at least) to be more alive and active than in other parts of the country. Once while out doing street evangelism I met a pastor that asked me if I approved of blacks and whites marrying. I clearly told him that the Bible only forbids marrying of different spiritual races (1 Cor 7:39, 2 Cor 6:14-18). Another time while riding on a bus to a church a gal was sitting right behind me and she was parroting her boyfriends white supremacist views. I quickly got tired of it and politely asked her to stop. The girl sitting next to her butted in, and told me to mind my own business, and I told them that I did not wish to hear their views after of which others on the bus jumped in defense of her, and some suggested that I should mind my own business and let her say what she wished.  If that's not apathy towards racial intolerance then I do not know what is!

The Bible has much to say on racial intolerance in both testaments as explained in the article below. The good Samaritan story of Lk 10:25-27 was an attempt by Jesus to expose the wrongful attitude of racial intolerance that existed between the Jews & Samaritans during the time of Jesus. In Matt 28:19 Jesus told his followers to go out and make disciples of all nations and this would include all people groups. Jesus never said to only make disciples of some people groups, he said “all nations.” Also Paul in Gal 3:28 condemned racial intolerance in the church. As the article explains below racial discrimination should not be a part of the true regenerated Christian.

Question: "What does the Bible say about racism, prejudice, and discrimination?"

Answer: The first thing to understand in this discussion is that there is only one race—the human race. Caucasians, Africans, Asians, Indians, Arabs, and Jews are not different races. Rather, they are different ethnicities of the human race. All human beings have the same physical characteristics (with minor variations, of course). More importantly, all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27). God loved the world so much that He sent Jesus to lay down His life for us (John 3:16). The “world” obviously includes all ethnic groups.

 God does not show partiality or favoritism (Deuteronomy 10:17; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9), and neither should we. James 2:4 describes those who discriminate as “judges with evil thoughts.” Instead, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves (James 2:8). In the Old Testament, God divided humanity into two “racial” groups: Jews and Gentiles. God’s intent was for the Jews to be a kingdom of priests, ministering to the Gentile nations. Instead, for the most part, the Jews became proud of their status and despised the Gentiles. Jesus Christ put an end to this, destroying the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:14). All forms of racism, prejudice, and discrimination are affronts to the work of Christ on the cross.

Jesus commands us to love one another as He loves us (John 13:34). If God is impartial and loves us with impartiality, then we need to love others with that same high standard. Jesus teaches in Matthew 25 that whatever we do to the least of His brothers, we do to Him. If we treat a person with contempt, we are mistreating a person created in God’s image; we are hurting somebody whom God loves and for whom Jesus died.

Racism, in varying forms and to various degrees, has been a plague on humanity for thousands of years. Brothers and sisters of all ethnicities, this should not be. Victims of racism, prejudice, and discrimination need to forgive. Ephesians 4:32 declares, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Racists may not deserve your forgiveness, but we deserved God’s forgiveness far less. Those who practice racism, prejudice, and discrimination need to repent. “Present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Romans 6:13). May Galatians 3:28 be completely realized, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”



 

Recommended Resources:

Bible Answers for Almost All Your Questions by Elmer Towns. 
A audio rebuttal to racism by John Wolf.

Article (besides intro) copied with permission from http://www.gotquestions.org/racism-Bible.html