RE:QUESTA space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith
Lat Blaylock, Editor, RE Today
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Christian Teachings on Prejudice and Discrimination
The Example of Jesus
Christians are against prejudice and discrimination. One of the reasons is because they copy Jesus' example.
Jesus experienced prejudice and discrimination himself, coming from a poor background; his father was a carpenter, so there was not much money around. He preached about the Kingdom of God and taught things that were in direct disagreement with the Jewish rules at the time. This led to some important people disliking him, ridiculing him, and finding ways in which to act against him, ultimately leading to his death.
During the three years of his ministry, from the age of 30-33, he practiced agape love. He warmly welcomed people who were often seen by others to be outcasts. Lepers, prostitutes, the sick, the poor, foreigners, sinners. All were valued by him.
In Luke 15 we can read about how he welcomed tax collectors. These were despised by many in Israel at the time as they were seen as traitors, working for the enemy Roman rulers, taking their money from them..
'Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”' Luke 15:1&2
There are many teachings in the Bible that also support the disagreement with prejudice and discrimination. Some examples of these include:
- 'So God created human beings, making them to be like himself. He created them male and female.' Genesis 1:27. God created all humans; they are of equal value.
- 'Treat others as you wish to be treated.' Matthew 7:12. This is known as the Golden Rule. If you wouldn't like to be treated with prejudice and discrimination, then don't treat others this way.
- ' God does not judge by outward appearances...' Galatians 2:6. All Christians try to follow God's teaching and leading, so if God doesn't judge others, then they shouldn't either.
- 'But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”' 1 Samuel 16:7. Again, this refers to the belief that Christians shouldn't judge people for external reasons, eg race, gender, age.