The Only Answer to Racism

Ota Benga in 1906

The Andaman islands are small pockets of land that exist in the Indian Ocean, southeast of India’s mainland.  They are the home to a tribe of several hundred “primitive” people called the Jarawa.  This unique people group is making news this week because video footage has surfaced of native Jarawa women dancing naked for tourists in exchange for food, after a local policeman apparently accepted a bribe to produce them.

India’s Tribal Affairs Minister V. Kishore Chandra Deo has commented on the footage, saying “It’s deplorable. You cannot treat human beings like beasts for the sake of money.  Whatever kind of tourism is that, I totally disapprove of that and it is being banned also.”

This behavior – the subordination of perceived “primitive” people – is  nothing new and almost seems primitive itself in a very sensitive, very liberated 2012.  But let me share with you a similar story that’s really not that ancient of history.

In 1906, a Congolese Mbuti pygmy by the name of Ota Benga was featured in the Monkey House of the Bronx Zoo.  If you’re unfamiliar with what a “pygmy” is, its breed is…..human.  The zoo exhibit’s intention was to evidence the contemporary evolutionary belief of a “Missing Link” who bridged the gap between humans and ape ancestors.  Bottom Line: they put a human on display in a zoo.  One can only imagine what kind of psychological damage this would inflict upon the African man.  In fact, you don’t really have to imagine.  Benga committed suicide in 1916 at the age of 32, shooting himself in the heart with a stolen pistol.

While I’d certainly agree that there should be laws against treating humans like beasts, I’d suggest that no legislation is ever really going to stop the problem of the human heart that perceives others, especially those whom we struggle to understand, to be inferior to us.  And, let’s be honest – a belief in macro-evolution, still the current paradigm taught in public schools for the origin of mankind, is not only not helping, but in reality, it creates a justification for the mistreatment of certain people groups.

The simple logic that Darwinian evolution helps contribute to modern racism is as follows: If humans have evolved from apes, then different ape groups likely would have evolved into humans at different rates, depending on a variety of factors.  Consequently, some of us would be closer to modern man, while others of us would be closer to lesser evolved animals.  Understandably, we treat animals very differently than we do humans.  Therefore, according to Darwinian logic, there’s nothing wrong with putting “less-developed” humans on display in cages as a result of their color, language, and culture.  Sound offensive?  It should be.

It’s important to see that the Bible teaches something so very different and so much more beautiful and true.  The Bible consistently speaks in language that sees mankind as one race, which has divided into two races – believers (offspring of the woman) and unbelievers (offspring of the serpent) as referenced in Genesis 3:15.  Acts 17:26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.  The Bible indicates that from our common ancestors, Adam and Eve, all of us descendants inherited a sinful nature.  Therefore, in our natural state, we’re not only more genetically alike than we assume, but we’re more spiritually alike than we realize as well.  We’re all in the same boat; we’re all in dire need of outside help. Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.  And finally, just as we all have the common problem of sin which leads to death, we also similarly require the same medicine for healing – Jesus Christ.  1 Corinthians 15:45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam (i.e. Jesus), a life-giving spirit.

Racism existed long before the theory of evolution.  For example, we see it clearly in Numbers 12 when Moses’ siblings, Miriam and Aaron, speak out against Moses because of his marriage to a dark-skinned Cushite woman (to see God’s ironic rebuke, check out the chapter).  It’s important to understand that Darwinian evolution is not the root cause of racism.  Sin is.  There are plenty of people who believe in evolution who do not necessarily practice racism.  However, what Darwinian evolution does is it provides people with a very, very convenient rationalization for perceiving certain people groups as inferior and blaming them for the problems of the world, i.e. racism.  In other words, if I believe that another people group, whom I don’t understand, is truly more like animals than me, then it becomes easy to treat them like animals.

Harvard Professor and prominent evolutionary biologist, Stephen Jay Gould, in his book Ontogeny and Phylogeny, wrote, “Biological arguments for racism may have been common before 1850, but they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory.”  Do you see what he’s saying?  One of the foremost minds in recent evolutionary thought is freely admitting that belief in Darwinian evolution lends itself towards human prejudice.  It’s a painful reality that you simply will not find in any high school biology texts.

But what about Jesus?  He’s so much different and so much better than all of this.  The Bible does not teach “survival of the fittest.”  Instead, it teaches that the “fittest” (God in human form, i.e. Jesus) came down to earth to rescue the unfit (fallen mankind).  It teaches that we all are essentially family as common ancestors of Adam and Eve, and Jesus came to save our family to make us part of God’s family.

You see, if you have an evolutionary paradigm, you will not condescend to love and rescue those who are “less than” you.  You probably wouldn’t give your life for a random animal, whereas you probably would give your life for family.

Many anti-racism advocate groups, celebrities, etc. out there will tell you that we should all get along and be nice to each other and love one another.  Telling someone they should love people  does state a reality, but it has never actually motivated anyone to love, and therefore cannot generate a new reality.  These groups are dealing with symptoms, not root problems.  They sense that there is a better world out there, but can’t/won’t see that the Savior of the Bible is the only road to worldwide family.

The day a person sees God’s intended oneness for mankind in Christ Jesus is the day that they will actually care about people who are different from them.

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