Does the Bible Promote Racism?

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Does the Bible Promote Racism?

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Does the Bible Promote Racism?

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When we investigate what the Bible actually says, the clear message from cover to cover is that God loves all people and is "not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9 2 Peter 3:9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
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, emphasis added throughout).

Part of the cultural backdrop of the early New Testament Church was the false idea that God favored the Jews more than all other nations or races of people. For this reason, there are numerous clear statements in the New Testament dispelling the notion that a person's ethnicity or nationality impacted their salvation. Peter was specially commissioned by God to teach the truth that "God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him" (Acts 10:34-35 Acts 10:34-35 [34] Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: [35] But in every nation he that fears him, and works righteousness, is accepted with him.
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). The apostle Paul also combated racism in his writings. Perhaps his most famous and poignant teaching on the matter is Galatians 3:28 Galatians 3:28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
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, which says, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

In light of such powerfully inclusive teachings, there is certainly no basis in the New Testament for racism, but what about the Old Testament? Despite how certain passages have been misconstrued and abused, there is not a single scripture that promotes racism in the Old Testament. Instead, we find that God has always regarded people by one standard only: whether they love and obey Him. This was echoed in Acts 10:34-35 Acts 10:34-35 [34] Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: [35] But in every nation he that fears him, and works righteousness, is accepted with him.
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above, but is actually found as far back as the Ten Commandments, where God Himself said, "I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments" (Exodus 20:5-6 Exodus 20:5-6 [5] You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; [6] And showing mercy to thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
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).

Even from the very earliest interaction between God and Israel, namely the Passover just before the Exodus, God included a provision for non-Israelites to become a part of His people if they would obey His law (Exodus 12:48-49 Exodus 12:48-49 [48] And when a stranger shall sojourn with you, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. [49] One law shall be to him that is home born, and to the stranger that sojournes among you.
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). Within the nation of ancient Israel, God made dozens of provisions in the law to protect, care for and respect foreigners living in the land, and to allow them to participate in worship of Him at the Tabernacle (see Exodus 20:10 Exodus 20:10But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates:
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, Exodus 22:21 Exodus 22:21You shall neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
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, Leviticus 19:10 Leviticus 19:10And you shall not glean your vineyard, neither shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.
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, Leviticus 19:33-34 Leviticus 19:33-34 [33] And if a stranger sojourn with you in your land, you shall not vex him. [34] But the stranger that dwells with you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
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, Leviticus 24:22 Leviticus 24:22You shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God.
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, Leviticus 25:6 Leviticus 25:6And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for you, and for your servant, and for your maid, and for your hired servant, and for your stranger that sojournes with you.
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, Numbers 15:15 Numbers 15:15One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojournes with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as you are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD.
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, and many more!).

There are numerous occasions in the Bible where God did pronounce judgment and punishment against a nation or group of people; however, this was always based on their actions, never their race. In Jeremiah 18:7-10 Jeremiah 18:7-10 [7] At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; [8] If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do to them. [9] And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; [10] If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, with which I said I would benefit them.
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, God explained that His blessing or curse on a nation was entirely dependent on whether they obeyed Him, and that any nation that repented would receive mercy. That same mercy and fairness extends to the individual level as well. Consider that Ezekiel 18:4-9 Ezekiel 18:4-9 [4] Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins, it shall die. [5] But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, [6] And has not eaten on the mountains, neither has lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither has defiled his neighbor's wife, neither has come near to a menstruous woman, [7] And has not oppressed any, but has restored to the debtor his pledge, has spoiled none by violence, has given his bread to the hungry, and has covered the naked with a garment; [8] He that has not given forth on usury, neither has taken any increase, that has withdrawn his hand from iniquity, has executed true judgment between man and man, [9] Has walked in my statutes, and has kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, said the Lord GOD.
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says: "Behold, all souls are Mine . . . the soul that sins shall die. But if a man is just and does what is lawful and right . . . He shall surely live!"

From the very beginning of the Bible, God has consistently shown grace, mercy and favor to anyone willing to repent and obey Him, regardless of their race. Attempts to interject race into stories such as those of Ham and Cain are completely without basis. Such interpretations are in direct conflict with Scripture. Such claims display an ignorance of God's love for all mankind and His desire to honor us as His sons and daughters for all eternity. God's love for every race of people is summed up well in Revelation 7:9 Revelation 7:9After this I beheld, and, see, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
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, which envisions "a great multitude . . . of all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb."

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