Hi everyone I am Solomon. I am interested in understanding how to challenge the objections to the Christian faith in the context of racism, colonialism. My burden is how aforementioned are used to dissuade many young African and African American youth from the Christian faith under the guise that this is a faith from the “white man” so to speak.
Welcome! You have such a good question and it is so important for us to take an honest look at the reason why this question is so important and how we can answer it in a responsible way.
One resource you may benefit from is Lisa Field’s organization The Jude 3 Project. For instance, this podcast episode might be helpful to you:
Thanks very much Carson. I appreciate the gesture
This is a key topic in America, too. Many groups claim that Christianity is for this or against that, or sponsors oppression. But most of these claims do not deal with the Bible’s definition of God’s people (requirements to enter God’s people, and behavioral requirements to live a life that is pleasing to God). Most of the people who use these arguments, are not interested in the Bible’s definition of who is a follower of Jesus.
And then there is “cultural Christianity.” That is people and groups who label themselves as “Christian” and who use some of the language of the Bible, but are not concerned with meeting God’s requirements of how his people must live.
On top of this, in America there is a convenient confusion that is promoted, over the definition of “European.” The first European explorers of the Americas were the Portuguese/Spanish. But in America today, you will find political groups clearly saying that hispanics are non-white, and non-Europeans. This is a denial of basic history.
If you go back before Christianity reached Europe, you will see the same concerns about whether Christianity is a “racial” religion. The first Christians in Jerusalem, were all ethnic Jews. It took them a while to realize that the new covenant of Jesus was open to non-Jews also! Christianity is not a Jewish religion.
Then, with Paul reaching out to non-Jews, and creating congregations of Christians who were non-Jews, we see Paul carefully teaching that God has not rejected the ethnic Jews. Christianity is not a non-Jewish religion. Christianity is not an ethnic religion.
Then, in the 300’s when the emperor Constantine became a Christian, and made Christianity the official religion of the empire, we see Christianity associated with any abuses committed by the Roman empire. Even by emperors or officials who did not accept the teaching or required lifestyle that the Bible teaches.
Around the year 1000 the pope claimed that any men who fought in the Crusades in Palestine, could earn the forgiveness of their sins, or the forgiveness of the sins of their dead ancestors/relatives. This is not a Christian teaching. Yet all sorts of groups call the Crusades in the Middle East, “Christian.”
This goes on and on, in history.
Christians need to start with a careful definition of what the New Covenant described in the new Testament is, and what Jesus taught. And Christians need to be careful to identify the differences between orthodox Christian belief, and merely cultural/rhetorical Christianity.
I like what one of the articles on the web site mentioned. That, when someone says “I am an atheist” we need to ask, “What is your definition of God, that you are rejecting?”
A lot of people who label themselves as “Christian,” do not accept the definition of the God of Abraham that the Bible presents. (Or, his moral/ethical code, that the Bible presents.) These people are literally “atheists” in relation to the God described in the Bible.
For those who call themselves “Christian,” yet do not embrace the Bible’s moral/ethical code, Jesus says: “Why do you call me Lord, when you do not keep my commands?”
Jesus himself says that at the final judgment, there will be many who call him “Lord.” But Jesus will tell them, “I never knew you.” In essence, you were never my follower.
Being a Christian is not claiming a label, but is living out a life of righteousness that God requires and has planned for us to live out. We see this in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.