Does Christianity Make You Racist?

Others can take aim at the methodology and conclusions, but a study published by Baylor University researchers finds that “Priming Christian Religious Concepts Increases Racial Prejudice” (PDF).

The gist of the experiment:

They subliminally primed one group of students with neutral words like “butter” and “hammer” and another group of students with Christian words like “gospel” and “heaven,” each of which flashed on a computer screen for half a second while the students were performing a task. Then the researchers tested the students attitudes toward blacks.

And the Christian-primed group had an increased level of racism.

Kate summarizes the conclusions:

Researchers offer some possible explanations for why these Christian terms have such negative effects. They can cue fundamentalism or political conservatism, which can isolate “out-groups,” or echo the notion of the Protestant work ethic, which has been connected with anti-Black attitudes, the study said.

So why does it do that? The researchers don’t know. They admit (as I do) that this doesn’t mean all (or most or even a large minority of) Christians are racist. Obviously, some of our greatest civil rights leaders were in part motivated by their faith. To me, the study just suggests that Christian thinking can lead to an us vs. them mentality.

If their research is accurate, I imagine the same results would be found of Christian-primed attitudes toward gays, lesbians, atheists, people of other religions, Democrats, and pro-choicers.

As one commenter put it:

Absolutely shocking! I can understand Christianity… being associated with war, genocide, torture, corruption, and greed. But racism? Shocking!

What do you think? Is the study flawed? Does it make sense?

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • MaleficVTwin

    I just read through some of the comments over there. Same old BS; ‘try that with Islam’, ‘why attack religion’, etc. Pathetic.

  • mikero

    I’d be cautious to single out Christianity as a cause here. Wouldn’t any ingroup-specific language trigger the same response? How would seeing words like “reason”, “secular”, “skeptical” affect those of us who strongly identify with freethought? Or “progress”, “liberty”, “equality” for those who associate with the Democratic party? Or “Jeter”, “Babe Ruth”, “Gehrig” for Yankees fans?

  • Andrew

    I’d be interested to see the study replicated with other words that we associate with certain groups – governmentally/politically-charged words, words we associate with advocacy organizations, etc. Right now there’s not enough info as to whether it’s religion, or the association with rewards or absolute truth, or the association with a particular group.

  • Gin

    Not sure about the study, but take a look at the make-up of a basic congregation. You don’t often see many, if any, black people in a white congregation or vice-versa.

  • hexsormax

    interesting post…but does not suprise me one bit.

    here a interesting youtube video “Frank Schaeffer – Author of “Crazy For God”” related to this topic,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uSdl2jCWRk

    do agree with Hemant, not all christian are like this

  • bigjohn756

    I have observed that people who have been religiously indoctrinated successfully as children have also, in many cases, been indoctrinated to hate at the same time. Who they are trained to hate seems to be related to their religion. Always hate people of the ‘other’ religion, gays(why?), and, I expect that there are some other commonalities, too. Such hate generally seems to be diametrically opposite to the religious teachings that they so fervently, but, falsely, profess.

  • aketzle

    “They can cue fundamentalism or political conservatism, which can isolate “out-groups,” – that really resonates with me. i can see that for sure. I don’t know about the “Protestant work ethic” – I’ve never heard of that. I definitely think that even if your brand of Christianity is not extremist or racist, you still have a certain sympathy with the more extreme versions of your faith, based on the fact that you both believe basically the same thing. Really, the extremists are often just taking what you claim to believe to its logical extreme, and there could likely be a subconscious respect for that among more moderate Christians or those sympathetic to the Christian faith.

  • Karen

    I think all studies are flawed :), but I’m curious what the dynamics were of this group who did the study? Were they predominantly atheist?

  • Miko

    Note that the groups weren’t divided into Christians vs. non-Christians. It’s the words themselves that were changed between the groups, so the affect has nothing to do with the people in question being Christians per se. It’s the Woody Allen effect (paraphrased, “whenever I listen to Wagner, I get the urge to invade Poland”).

    Other research along this line has looked at how people rate the lightness/darkness of “religious themed” and “neutral” words written in shades of gray, and has found that people will consistently think that the religious words are lighter/darker than they really are based on connotation (e.g., heaven is lighter, sin is darker). Atheists demonstrate the same effect. (Try it yourself at yourmorals.org – “Grayscale Perception” study).

    @mikero:

    I’d be cautious to single out Christianity as a cause here. Wouldn’t any ingroup-specific language trigger the same response? How would seeing words like “reason”, “secular”, “skeptical” affect those of us who strongly identify with freethought? Or “progress”, “liberty”, “equality” for those who associate with the Democratic party?

    This assumes that the language depends on the in-group, which is not necessarily the case. (Although, given the predominance of Christianity in the U.S., it may have been a factor.) At any rate, words like “reason,” “progress,” “liberty,” and “equality” are not in-group specific. In particular, Republicans spend much more time talking about “liberty” than Democrats do, although their policy record is of course just as bad if not worse than the Democrats. Incidentally, on the Rokeach scale (in The Nature of Human Values), support for both liberty and equality is equated with socialist/anarchist beliefs, and not with the beliefs of managerial liberalism (which tends to view equality favorably and liberty negatively).

  • http://zackfordblogs.com ZackFord

    This study jives with a recent study that found that religious belief motivates racism. I wrote about the study here: http://zackfordblogs.com/2010/03/religion-motivates-racism-the-supporting-research/

  • Chris

    No idea what the implications of the study are, but on a complete tangent, I do notice that religions tend to be racially appealing for the local culture.

    How rare is it for the depiction of a religious leader to be radically different in race from the race of the majority of local followers? Certainly Jesus had an image makeover in transition from Middle East to West.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_of_Jesus#Artistic_portrayals

    Most white US Christians will be aware of the geographical context of Jesus, but I wonder how readily they would accept a Jesus that did not live up to their racial aesthetic ideals?

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    Yes, I think the study is fundamentally flawed. To quote the abstract:

    Participants subliminally primed with Christian words displayed more covert racial prejudice against African-Americans (Study 1) and more general negative affect toward African-Americans (Study 2) than did persons primed with neutral words.

    The problem is pretty obvious: What’s the overlap? Which of the participants who responded with prejudice and/or negative affect after hearing the Christian words would have responded the same way to the neutral words?

    Prior to arrival at the lab, participants were randomly assigned to either the Christian or the neutral prime condition.

    This means there was zero overlap. How seriously should we take the claim that, within a specific individual, Christian conceptual language is tied to racial prejudice? There’s no control on an individual basis. They say they pre-screened people on their religiosity and spirituality; what about their possible existing racist tendencies?

    Not to mention: They specifically picked African Americans because of the historical racism toward them in America. Couldn’t this create an exaggerated effect?

    This concept seems to be a theme for Wade C. Rowatt (one of the researchers). He has been involved in two studies with similar conclusions in the past, according to one of his webpages which mentions that he focuses on “the psychology of religion (e.g., religion and prejudice).”

    Their conclusion:

    Consistent with the Christian-racial-prejudice hypothesis, people who were subliminally primed with Christian words reported significantly more covert racial prejudice than did people primed with neutral words. Participants subliminally primed with Christian words did not self-report more cold feelings toward African Americans on the thermometer item than did people primed with neutral words. This experiment reveals an influence of Christian religion on subtle racial prejudice. Priming Christian concepts in American college students caused a slight (but significant) negative shift in attitudes toward African Americans on a covert measure. This effect remained when controlling for preexisting levels of religiosity and spirituality.

    My rebuttals:
    1. There was no control for existing racial prejudice, only for religiosity and spirituality.
    2. There was no method used to determine whether priming with Christian words would increase a particular individual’s racial prejudices.
    3. The second experiment was done to “replicate and expand the effects of priming Christian concepts on racial prejudice found in Experiment 1.” However, if you’re going to replicate the effects of an experiment, you don’t modify the experiment – you just repeat it. Otherwise you’re doing a different experiment, and its results have to be taken on their own. For example:

    Participants were asked to complete measures of general negative affect and specific negative emotions (i.e., fear and disgust …) toward African Americans. Including these measures allowed us to determine whether the slight but significant increase in covert racial prejudice observed in Experiment 1 was because of a change in a specific affective or emotional response.

    This is not the same as the original hypothesis: “activation of Christian concepts in Americans increases racial prejudice.” The new experiment tests a hypothesis based on the assumption that the first hypothesis is true, rather than attempting to confirm the original results.

  • DSimon

    MikeTheInfidel, I disagree with the first two of your objections (though I agree with the third):

    1. There was no control for existing racial prejudice, only for religiosity and spirituality.

    The very fact that the subjects were randomly assigned to either the neutral-word group or the Christian-word group controls for these two factors. That is, if it were merely a matter of existing racial prejudice, then that prejudice would be just as likely to occur regardless of which words were shown.

    2. There was no method used to determine whether priming with Christian words would increase a particular individual’s racial prejudices.

    By splitting the people randomly into the two groups, and still seeing a measurable difference, doesn’t that clearly indicate the causal effect of the Christian words in individuals? Even without testing anybody more than once, the study shows that, on average, flashing the Christian words will tend to make a typical individual act more racist.

    Now, I disagree with the conclusion that this study means that Christianity makes people racists; as other people have pointed out, it’s at least as plausible that it’s just that certain words prime an us vs. them mentality. I’d also like to see another similar experiment tried with various political and non-Christian-religious words.

  • muggle

    This is surprising? Really?

    I’ve known some genuinely open-minded Christians to be sure but I’ve also heard the n word frequently dropped too and when I think of the three various Protestant churches I went to as a kid — well, there were no black faces in the crowd and I doubt any would have been welcome. At best, they wouldn’t have been kicked out but everyone else would have froze.

    My extremely religious mother sounds somewhat like Archie Bunker and I can remember my dad quite seriously explaining the difference between a guinea and a wop to me.

    My sister lived in Florida for a time and dated a black Cuban. When I dated a black man she freaked out and asked how I could lower myself like that? In absolute surprise, I said what about David? She actually screamed at me, he wasn’t black! He was Hispanic! I guess Hispanic was all right with her but black wasn’t. I just laughed at her and said, “Lowering myself from what? Our white trash family?” Er, that did not go down so well.

    The real irony is that I have a mild suspicion that my French-Canadian grandmother might have been passing. I have nothing to base this on other than some physical traits in my family and, beyond curiosity, I don’t really care but, given the bigotry in my family, it’d be hilarious as hell.

  • Robyn

    So…what would happen if they tested black people? If they’re non-Christians, they’re 100% not racist?

    This sounds like an odd study.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    By splitting the people randomly into the two groups, and still seeing a measurable difference, doesn’t that clearly indicate the causal effect of the Christian words in individuals? Even without testing anybody more than once, the study shows that, on average, flashing the Christian words will tend to make a typical individual act more racist.

    Unless you know the degree to which they are already racist, how can you make that assertion about a specific individual?

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    By the way, Robyn, they did test black people. I originally objected to that as well, but then I noticed that their statistics do mention the demographics:

    A total of 73 college students (57 women and 16 men; M = 19.6 years) were recruited from introductory psychology classes to participate in a personality and language usage study. Participants were somewhat ethnically diverse (37 Whites, 13 Asians or Pacific Islanders, 13 Hispanics, and 10 African Americans) but predominantly Protestant or Catholic (n = 43, n = 17, respectively). A few participants were of other religions (Muslim n = 1, Buddhist n = 1, “other” religion n = 8 ) or had no religious group at all (n = 3).

    Of course… 78.1% female? That’s an awfully small male sample size.

  • Neon Genesis

    If the study is accurate, it doesn’t strike me as that surprising that there’s a link between racism and Christianity. The bible was used by Christians in the civil war to justify slavery and racism. The story of the curse of Noah’s son was used to justify racism and there are pro-slavery passages in the NT and let’s not forget all the antisemitic passages in the NT.

  • DSimon

    Unless you know the degree to which they are already racist, how can you make that assertion about a specific individual?

    The study can’t make any assertions about any specific individual. But with a statistically significant difference between the experimental and control groups, it can still support a claim of an average causal increase in racism, because whatever pre-existing racist tendencies there are would be randomly distributed between the control and experimental groups.

    Of course… 78.1% female? That’s an awfully small male sample size.

    That’s true. And the overall sample size seems small too (at least, to my gut; IANAS)

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    To clarify my post a few posts back, in response … to DSimon’s response … to my rebuttal:

    I agree with your first point. The population randomization would lead to less ‘clustering’ of people with particular views.

    As for the second point, if you only test somebody once, you don’t have a baseline for that individual to determine whether or not the priming with Christian words actually did increase their level of racism. You can draw a correlation between higher levels of racism and Christian word priming over the entire sample population, but you can’t say with reasonable certainty that it was a causal connection for each member.

    I would be interested to see the study repeated with different ideologically tied language and with other ethnic/minority groups as the ‘target’ of the discrimination. I can understand the idea of ideological language being linked to in-group vs. out-group thinking, but whether subliminal cues can cause an increase in that sort of thinking isn’t clear to me. It’s worth a further look.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    DSimon: I essentially agree with what you’re saying. My problem is that the researchers appear to be insisting on causality rather than correlation here, and I’m not quite ready to accept that based on such a small study.

  • DSimon

    You can draw a correlation between higher levels of racism and Christian word priming over the entire sample population, but you can’t say with reasonable certainty that it was a causal connection for each member.

    Mike, you seem more knowledgable about this than me, so consider this not an argument against your statement, but just a way for me to confirm that I know as much of what I’m talking about as I think I do. :-)

    Okay, so a correlation between A and B means one of the following: 1. A caused B, or 2. B caused A, or 3. Some third thing, C, caused (possibly indirectly) both A and B

    If A is a Christian word being flashed instead of a non-Christian word, and B is a racist answer being given on a test instead of a non-racist answer, then:

    It can’t be 2, because the answers were given after the words were flashed.

    And, it can’t be 3, because the random selection that caused the Christian word instead of a non-Christian word was entirely independent of what answer they gave on the exam except through the appearance of the Christian word.

    So doesn’t that leave only 1, that whatever effect we saw (other than noise) was a causal relationship between the appearance of the word and the answer given?

  • DSimon

    Mike, saw your reply after I made my long post. :-) Agreed on the issue of the study size being a (at least, on a gut level…) too small for a really confident statement that this was causation instead of just noise.

  • Chal

    MikeTheInfidel, I’m not sure you understand how experiments work…

    In a drug test, for example, you give one group the drug and the control group a placebo. As long as the participants are randomly divided into the two groups, then you can identify causation if there is a correlation between taking the drug and the effects. This is because the only explanation for the correlation is that the difference was caused by the drug.

    For this kind of study, if you accept that there’s a correlation, then you have to accept causation.

  • cathy

    @Chal, yeah I’m with you.

    @Miketheinfidel, this: “Not to mention: They specifically picked African Americans because of the historical racism toward them in America. Couldn’t this create an exaggerated effect?” is a really dumb statement. You know what its called when a people have an exaggerated negative attitude to a historically and currently oppressed racial minority? Racism. You are essentially saying a study on racism is flawed for looking at racism.

    As to the demographics of the study, women and Asians are overrepresented in the field of psycology right now, so the fact that these studies, which tend to recruit heavily from intro to psych classes, are woman and Asian heavy aren’t really surprising. Though, it does make a difference that the students in this study are of a certain age, economic class, region, etc. It usually takes a number of these smaller studies for researchers to get funding for longer term, larger studies that do give a better view of application to the rest of the population, though, so while the limits of the study are relevant, they aren’t a cause for criticism of this researcher, who makes the demographics and methodology used very clear for just that kind of analysis and further study.

  • http://dergeis.livejournal.com/ Geis

    So, here’s the thing. I posted the “He has raisin” picture that was over at Unreasonable Faith (http://unreasonablefaith.com/2010/04/03/he-has-raisin/) on my facebook page. One of my so-called friends, someone I knew from college, started with the “whould you say that about Islam?”, jumped all over me for offending his faith and that I should be more polite if I want to get my point across while at the same time mentioning the atheist agenda, Stalin and Pol-pot. This went back and forth for a while when another so-called friend jumped in to simply call me a racist because the people I was making fun of were Indian and I am not. Apparently if I make fun of anyone who isn’t white, I am being inherently racist.

    Project much?

  • Revyloution

    It makes perfect sense to me. I never understood how you could be religious and not racist.

    Think about it logically. (I know, hard to do when religion is in the mix) God creates the heavens and the earth. He makes the animals and the fishes. Then he makes man.

    Ok, so he made man. Thus man is made exactly how he wanted him. So if there are different ‘types’ of humans, the obviously he did it for a reason. Check back in the holy book, and sure enough you can find passages that describe some people as better than others, including complex rules about how you can enslave, rape, torture and murder those other humans.

    Only through science is a racism free society possible. Sample the DNA of the darkest skinned person you can find, then sample a blond pale skinned person. Compare them, and you will find them 99.9999999% similar. Done, racism is ended. We’re all the same.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    Chai:

    For this kind of study, if you accept that there’s a correlation, then you have to accept causation.

    Except that this is not that kind of study. The outcomes of this study depend heavily on the viewpoints of the people being studied. In this study, there are multiple inputs that could be causing the observed effect, not just the actual study itself. If you rule out those other inputs, that would be like ruling out the height, weight, age, etc. of people involved in a drug trial.

    And Cathy, as for my “dumb statement,” you’ll notice that I didn’t say it would cause the effect, but that it could cause an exaggerated effect. The results for such a test, when other minorities are used instead, may not be so great. I am saying that a study looking for racism is flawed for looking for signs of racism toward a minority group that many people may already be prejudiced against.

    In the case of an already racist person whose racist tendencies increase as a result of the Christian word priming, the racism was already there, and was not caused by the study. It would be much more interesting to see if a person with no racist tendencies were caused to become racist. Only then could causality be demonstrated as opposed to correlation. But the fact that people’s views on race were not pre-screened means that this study can’t answer that question.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    And of course now I’ve completely lost track of the fact that the hypothesis was that racist tendencies would increase, not that they’d be created. I think I’ve been arguing against a bit of a straw man here. My bad.

  • http://www.givesgoodemail.com Givesgoodemail

    Yepper. Seen this sort of thing before.

  • Stephen P

    I’d have to spend several hours refreshing my statistics (if I can still find my textbook) to do a proper analysis, but this is a small sample and the effects are only marginally significant. At most I’d say this study suggests that it’s worthwhile repeating the experiment with a larger sample, to see if the effect is real. Until then it hardly seems worth discussing.

  • eclaire

    I don’t need a study to equate religion with racism. I live in the southeast and observe every day the bias against any group that doesn’t fit the “white anglo-saxon protestant” (WASP) mold. I have lived in many states in the “Bible Belt” (Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas) for almost 40 of my 64 years and exclusion (socially or economically) based on race, sexual orientation, belief system or the lack thereof, and other discriminatory practices against those who don’t fit a predetermined “biblical” mold definitely exist in subtle and overt ways. It is reinforced every Sunday and every Wednesday from Bible Study to sermon.

  • Ron in Houston

    I’m assuming this study was only done on students at Baylor.

    If so then that’s clearly not a large enough sample to draw any conclusions.

    Further, it is Baylor. Baylor is a very white, very religious school.

    Hey, at least Baylor has a pretty fair basketball team.

  • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

    I was going to say something like this, but Neon beat me to it.

    “If the study is accurate, it doesn’t strike me as that surprising that there’s a link between racism and Christianity. The bible was used by Christians in the civil war to justify slavery and racism. The story of the curse of Noah’s son was used to justify racism and there are pro-slavery passages in the NT and let’s not forget all the antisemitic passages in the NT.”

  • AtheistAtBaylor

    3 comments from a non-religious grad student at Baylor (apologies for the long post):

    1. I was going to say something like what Ron From Houston said, but was beat to it. Yes, the study was done on Baylor Intro to Psych students, and BU students (in my experience) tend to be quite devout Christians (about 1/2 of them Baptists). So the subjects were primed with keywords from their own religion. I think that that lends support to the “in-group vs. out-group” suggestion in the discussion of the paper. Interestingly, potential explanations weren’t really discussed in the in-house publicity for the study (http://www.baylor.edu/lariat/news.php?action=story&story=72270).

    2. Say what you will about Baylor’s administration and the average undergrad, the folks doing actual research at BU do pretty good work even when the results make Christianity look bad. For example, someone in Sociology did a study last year about sexual misconduct by clergy targeting adult women that generated some in-house controversy, but they published anyway (rumor has it that one person actually refused to be named co-author because they feared that the results would do harm to African-American churches…again, just a rumor I heard; I don’t know anyone involved in the study). And in the science departments we get plenty of support from the uni and surprisingly little flak about evolution/Big Bang/etc.. I’ve had perhaps 3 such conversations with undergrads in 4 years, and in each case they seemed genuinely interested in my explanations.

    3. MikeTheInfidel and DSimon: 78% female in a class at BU is about average…great odds if you’re a Christian guy…not so great for us non-Christians.

  • littlejohn

    First of all, Leviticus endorses slavery.
    Second, you all remember the ridiculous story (I don’t think it’s in the Bible, but it’s attributed to it anyway) about the three sons of Noah, one white, one yellow, one black, being sent to various places to repopulate the Earth.
    How Noah wound up with three boys of different colors raises some tough questions for Mrs. Noah…

  • http://www.cis.org.uk True Freethinker

    If this is a “friendly atheist” site, I’d hate to view an unfriendly one.

    The researchers seem to have approached the studies with their own preconceived anti-Christian bias and selected those students who would conform to their own preconceptions.

    Christianity teaches that there is one race, the human race, and all people are created equal by God. People should be judged on their character, as the great Christian preacher Martin Luther King said.

    On the contrary, Atheism says nothing against racism and actually encourages racism due to it’s materialistic worldview which says that people are mere physical objects who can be categorized according to their physical attributes as opposed to spiritual attributes.

    As for slavery, unlike atheism which allows anything including slavery, Christianity condemns slavery. The NT says their is no difference between slave and free, or male and female, Greek and Jew, but all are one in Christ. People forget that Atheists have been around for hundreds of years. Slave owners were mostly atheist, and any who used The Bible were hypocrites. It was Christians such as William Wilberforce who had slavery abolished in Christian countries (slavery continues today in some Muslim lands).

    http://www.jubilee-centre.org /document.php?id=51

  • http://www.cis.org.uk True Freethinker

    Atheists are engaging in an “in-group vs. out-group” mentality against Christians. Christians are portrayed as the “other”, a group unwilling to conform to Atheist dogma. There is nothing in The Bible describing the three sons of Noah as being “one white, one yellow, one black”. If anyone said such a thing they had no religious basis for doing so. The Bible doesn’t describe people’s physical traits as God is only interested in our spiritual status. The NT is not anti-Semitic, it was written by Jews! It features inter-Jewish debates, not Antisemitism. The NT does not condone slavery, it condemns it and says there is no difference between slaves and their masters and therefore there is no basis for slavery.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Beth

    @ True Freethinker, I usually know better than to feed the trolls, but I disagree with this part of your comment. “On the contrary, Atheism says nothing against racism and actually encourages racism due to it’s materialistic worldview which says that people are mere physical objects who can be categorized according to their physical attributes as opposed to spiritual attributes.

    I don’t think you know a whole lot about atheism as a whole. Never have I once encountered an atheist group which encouraged categorizing individuals based on something as trivial as skin color. In fact, it is quite the opposite. As an atheist with a lot of atheist friends, I can say that from my own experience, we don’t classify people based on physical attributes. We classify them based on actions. That is the logical thing, after all.

    As far as the ingroup/outgroup thing–we all do that. Atheists, Christians, women, men, whites, blacks. It’s part of being human, a social animal. We make social groups, and a person’s religious beliefs or lack thereof make a convenient grouping. Christians do it to us, other religious groups do it to each other. We all do it.

    And maybe Christianity as a theoretical institution tries to teach equality, but Christian people have not always followed that. The most bigoted people I know have some sort of religious basis to that prejudice. And that prejudice exists regardless of the supposed overarching teachings of equality in the bible.

    I’d love to tell you how the bible certainly does not treat everyone equally or even attempt to, but I think my words would do little good. I’ll just say there’s a lot of shitty things in the bible, and I don’t care which testament they’re in, they’re still terrible. And you don’t get to ignore them just because “we don’t believe that anymore.”

  • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

    “If this is a “friendly atheist” site, I’d hate to view an unfriendly one.”

    Freethinker,
    Try “Pharyngula”. I hear the atheists there are REALLY friendly.

  • Baconsbud

    I have to second nomads comment. They are the friendliest I have ever seen. :)

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    Many Religions (Christianity being a prime example) have as their central doctrine discrimination based on belief. God supposedly damns those that don’t believe the “right things” to hell and rewards those that believe the “right things” to heaven. To discriminate, is to be “God-like”. It doesn’t surprise me that there might be a correlation (or even causality) between those that worship such a discriminating God and those that tend to discriminate themselves when they are religiously primed.

  • http://www.cis.org.uk True Freethinker

    @Revyloution

    God made man exactly how he wanted him spiritually. Skin color or race are not even described in The Bible because they are irrelevant. There are different ‘types’ of humans because of evolution/ natural adaptation to diverse environments, not because God “did it”. The Bible describes some people as better than others only in their faith and behavior, not in their race. Slavery, rape, torture and murder are banned by God. The Bible describes these things happening when people abandon God and make up their own rules.

    As for science freeing us from racism, ask the Jews and Gypsies tortured by the scientist Dr. Josef Mengele. So what if everyone’s 99.9999999% similar, people will become racist over the 0.0000001% difference.

    We’re all the same because God made us the same.

  • http://www.cis.org.uk True Freethinker

    Actually this site is quite friendly, if a little misinformed. I was just trying’ to be witty 😉

    And I’m a friendly Christian. Honest.

    @Beth
    Actually I agree with most of what you said regarding my comments. And if you read my comments again you’ll notice that you didn’t disagree with them. You mentioned Atheists as people, I talked about Atheism as an idea. I have Atheist friends who I like and respect, the point is that they don’t get their morals on issues such as racism from their Atheist view of God and religion.

    Atheism is morally neutral, that doesn’t mean that Atheists are themselves immoral, just that they get their morals from somewhere else. Often, it may in fact be Christianity, even if it’s subconsciously. An Atheist can choose to be racist or not. A Christian racist is a hypocrite that is not following their beliefs.

  • Cassandra

    “Revyloution Says:

    April 9th, 2010 at 8:57 pm
    It makes perfect sense to me. I never understood how you could be religious and not racist.

    Only through science is a racism free society possible. Sample the DNA of the darkest skinned person you can find, then sample a blond pale skinned person. Compare them, and you will find them 99.9999999% similar. Done, racism is ended. We’re all the same.”

    Why do you believe that atheism is the answer to racism? Even with all the “there is no such thing as race” talk that scientists engage in, I am sure that there can be racism amongst scientists. After all, there is something about Black people that makes them look different than Whites, and vice versa.

    Please see the link below:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_racism

  • http://bytheirstrangefruit.blogspot.com Katelin

    Wow, a lot of interesting dialogue going on here. Thanks for the post, Hemant. I stumbled across this post on a Google search. You and/or your readers my be interested in By Their Strange Fruit, a blog about racism and Christianity:
    http://bytheirstrangefruit.blogspot.com/

    This post, on the importance of the issue, is a good place to begin: ‘Why it is Important’