The Clan Paradox

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“Race” and “racism” are probably two of the most misused and misunderstood words in our language. So often they are used and identified with skin color or other physical characteristics. But just how much difference is there between the Serbian people and the Croatian people? I don’t know that I could tell you the difference between a Russian and a Ukrainian, between a Kenyan and a Ugandan. And, in many cases, I would never be able to tell the difference between a German and a Jew; and yet they consider themselves very different races of people.

Racism, when we use the word, may actually mask a more *fundamental* tendency of human nature. It finds expression in nationalism or territorialism. In other words, “We are Germans, and you are French, and you are different from us.” It’s expressed in religion—as people along lines of doctrine, or belief, or creeds that they profess have gone to *war* with other people over religion. It comes out in family feuds like the Hatfields and the McCoys in this country, or like the Capulets and the Montagues of Shakespeare’s *Romeo and Juliet*. You can see in any of these situations—from a local church, to a great church organization, to a family, to a feud between families, to young people who marry across the boundaries of two families contrary to the wishes of their families—you can see in a microcosm, or you can see it in a macrocosm throughout the whole world, the forces that are at work in this area.

Racism is but one manifestation of a universal expression of human nature. Let’s consider today how it all started. First, I am going to do today strictly a *biblical* look at the subject of race. There are more extra-biblical theories concerning racial origins, and race, and the differences between humans than we could ever imagine to talk about. I’m going to approach this today strictly from a biblical point of view. What does the Bible tell us? The reason I want to do this is because so many people who adopt a racist posture on an issue point to the Bible for their justification for how they feel about it. That being the case, I think it would be a good idea for us to understand what the Bible says about racial origins and about the origins of the tendency in human beings to engage in what, for the want of a better word right now, we’ll call racism. To begin, I want you to turn back with me to the second chapter of Genesis, and verse 21…


Ronald L. Dart

Ronald L. Dart (1934–2016) — People around the world have come to appreciate his easy style, non-combative approach to explaining the Bible, and the personal, almost one-on-one method of explaining what’s going on in the world in the light of the Bible. After retiring from teaching and church administration in 1995 he started Christian Educational Ministries and the Born to Win radio program.

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Image Credits: James Tissot