Social Problems--Part C

Russell Maatman (
Thu, 12 Feb 1998 20:12:04 -0600

Here's the third part of my five-part series:

Social Problems and God's Plan of Redemption

CAPS show the context of each part.

(A) Introduction
(B) Marriage
(D) The Right to Life
(E) The Beginning of the Human Race

C. Racism

Racism has been challenged widely in recent years. Here are some of the
reasons used by many well-intentioned people as they combat racism:

1. Because racial differences, such as skin and hair color, are
superficial, all races are actually one. Therefore, every member of every
race is a human being and all should be treated equally.

2. The unity of all races can be proved by showing that races possess equal
distributions of ability, skill, and intelligence.

3. Racism has always been the cause of hatred in some form, resulting in
conditions such as enslavement or war. Eradicating racism would eliminate
these evils.

Immense efforts have been used to prove there are no observable differences
between races. Behind such efforts lies the incorrect idea, usually not
articulated, that if a difference between races is found, then some races
are better than others. Then, the argument seems to say, racism would be
justified. Furthermore, while efforts to eradicate race hatred are
laudable, it is not certain that using incorrect or incomplete reasons for
such removal can ultimately be successful.

A better line of reasoning is taken if we consider biblical teaching. Human
beings, who possessed the image of God, sinned and the image was severely
damaged. In redeeming his people, God restores that image. Who bears the
image that is being restored? They are not just Greeks, just Jews, just
barbarians, just Scythians, or of any other particular group (Col.
3:10-11). They can be found in any place and in any walk of life. What is
not important is skin color or good performance on an intelligence test. In
God's plan to build his Kingdom he makes no distinction. Every person can
be renewed by Christ; every person can possess an image that is being
restored. God's plan of redemption rules out racism and racial hatred.

Non-Christians will not accept Paul's argument about Greeks, Jews, and so
forth. But if Christians listen to Paul, they will not debate among
themselves, for example, on whether skin color is important or whether
such-and-such a test indicates that people of all races are "equal." Once
Christians agree with each other because they have the same starting point,
they can present a united front in combating racism. The Lord will bless
their efforts because those efforts will be based on the teaching of his

What happens if we do use the worldly way of proving that all races are

First, it is conceivable, as suggested earlier, that scientific studies
will suggest that some races are inferior. Such a conclusion might be the
consequence of using intelligence tests. Obviously, that conclusion could
be invalid; scientific conclusions are usually tentative. But if we are
going to depend upon scientific conclusions, the only usable conclusions
are those we have, not those we might have in the future. Then, if we use
the worldly way of thinking, racism would be justified at the time results
showing inferiority are obtained. Later, racism could be proven wrong by
newer results. It is obviously ludicrous for morality to depend on
scientific analyses.

Second, determining human worth by means of scientific analyses is
unchristian. The more we analyze any supposed difference between races by
scientific studies, the more we contribute to the modern incorrect idea
that human worth depends upon performance. In our commendable desire to
eradicate racism, we might depend upon means that are harmful in areas of
human activity quite apart from the matter of race.

It will still be left for Christians to strategize on how they will
approach non-Christians and obtain justice for those who are victims of
racism. But agreement among Christians on the correct starting point is
infinitely better than starting out with an incorrect idea.

Russell Maatman
Home: 401 5th Avenue
Sioux Center, IA 51250