Is Christianity a white man’s religion? It’s clear that we are currently in a state of racial awareness in the United States. Things that seemingly have nothing to do with race suddenly are taking on racial overtones. And religion in general, and Christianity in particular have also been thrust into the fray.
There are many who now claim that “Christianity is a white man’s religion”. This is a somewhat unusual objection; in that it’s not an objection that rejects the truth of Christianity. Rather, it’s an assertion meant to dismiss Christianity out of hand. The person making this claim is in essence saying, “Because white people follow this religion, it is automatically invalid”. But is the premise itself true? Is Christianity a white man’s religion?
Christianity, and its parent religion Judaism, were certainly not started in Western Europe by white men. They originated in the Middle East in Israel, Africa and other countries in the region. These were middle eastern people of color. Not white in any sense of the word. I think it would be hard for even the most ardent opponents of Christianity to deny this fact.
Early Christianity was also heavily influenced by Middle Eastern and African Churches, along with Mediterranean countries. Some of the greatest thinkers in the early Church, including Augustine of Hippo, Tertullian and Cyprian were African.
The original Disciples spread the Gospel into Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean and yes, Europe. In essence, the entire known world at the time. There were no favorites. And the early Church made it clear the message of Jesus was for all the world, not just those located in Israel.
While people may agree that the origins of Christianity were not European, they will still argue that the message has been co-opted by white Europeans to justify atrocities. And let’s be honest, yes, European Christians have done some bad things over the years. I don’t think we should shy away from that truth.
But any serious student of history will be faced with the uncomfortable conclusion that atrocities have been committed by all people groups through the ages. This says nothing about whether their views on religion are true or false.
The truth is that Christianity is practiced on every continent on the globe. It has devotees of all colors and races. And they are having a significant impact on the Church today.
To simply dismiss Christianity as a white man’s religion ironically dismisses the contributions of these Christians of color. It claims they either don’t exist or aren’t important. This dismissal itself is racist. Christianity is not a white man’s religion. It is open to, and practiced by, people of all races and genders. It is the most inclusive religion on the planet.
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