Systemic Racism Is Real—But Not What Most People Think

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Headlines touting the prevalence of the systematic racism that permeates western culture continue to jam news and social media feeds around the world. Hot takes and counter-arguments are shot back and forth as the average person stands on the sidelines like a fan at a ping-pong championship, trying to figure out who’s winning in the blur of activity.

Politicians mostly play hot potato with the issues, desperately trying to direct people’s attention away from themselves to someone else while assuring everyone that they agree with whatever stance will keep them most popular in the public eye. Even many evangelical leaders are weighing in, with emotive messages that seem more like opportunistic virtue signaling in an attempt to be relevant rather than providing any real answers.

And in a culture that has largely deemed the Christian church a by-product of how it “used to be,” some are even hinting that perhaps the church itself is part of the problem that needs to be eradicated, along with most of the older institutions that somehow contribute to these problems.

With the seemingly never-ending saga of racial crimes being perpetrated against (so-called) races of all kinds, could it be that there is truly a systematic racism being taught that is influencing people at a subconscious level? Whether consciously aware of it or not, are people being programmed to view people that look different than they do as inferior? And are Christians susceptible to being influenced to think that way as well?

The System That Teaches Racism at a Foundational Level

Underneath all of the tumult, barely noticed like a virus of the mind, is the hidden root of the teaching of racism at a systematic level. For several generations now, the vast majority of young people in the West have been educated in state-run schools that teach the concept of humanistic naturalism as a foundational tenet. To understand what that means, we just need to examine the humanist manifesto to understand that starting premise more fully:

Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created. Humanism believes that man is part of nature and that he emerged as the result of a continuous process . . . As non-theists we begin with humans not God, nature not deity.1

And to emphasize how that is taught in schools, in 1995 the US National Association of Biology Teachers stated the following:

The diversity of life on earth is the outcome of evolution: an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process of temporal descent . . . 

Now, do you see any differentiation with a real difference between these two declarations? One is supposedly a philosophical creed while the other is apparently a “scientific” definition. But “unsupervised” means there’s no Creator God; “impersonal” would mean life has no special meaning. “Unpredictable” means we are a product of blind chance and “natural process” means processes inherent in matter—so the conclusions of both statements are one in the same.

This means that the vast majority of young, impressionable minds in the West (including children from Christian homes) are being programmed systematically with atheistic naturalism from their kindergarten years all the way through to university. The practice of which comes through the teaching of the story of evolution, which would of course apply to human evolution as well.

Racism

Racism requires the concept of different races existing to justify the belief that one’s own race is superior to another. The idea of superiority of one race over another requires some sort of scale to judge the races against, to decide who is more or less advanced than the others. The story of evolution provides just such a set of metrics.

A simple, common example is the classic “ape-to-man” diagram so popular in textbooks and on T-shirts that is imprinted into the minds of millions of students every year. It almost always depicts dark-skinned hairy apes turning into Caucasians over millions of years, and so provides a simple visual concept illustrating that the less melanin you have in your skin, the more advanced you are. The idea is simple to grasp: We are just evolved animals, and some races are more advanced than others. Although supposedly scientific, it is racist to its core.

The Bible, in contrast, teaches that we are all “one blood” (Acts 17), descendants of our original parents (Adam and Eve), and that there is only one race: the human race. Scripture also reminds us that the outward appearance is not what matters:

Do not look at his appearance . . . for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7 ESV)

However, many in the church have rejected standing firm on the foundational teaching of Genesis 1–11 as plainly written and have adopted evolutionary teachings, and so have abandoned the authority of the seedbed of all Christian doctrines. And this compromise has led to a lack of ability on the church’s part as a whole to bring clarity and healing to the issue of racism. In fact, many in the church have accepted evolution and so can give no clear answer to the issue because of it.

Evolutionary Syncretism

God’s Word gives many clear instructions and warnings against being corrupted by false teachers and teachings of the world, such as the following:

Beware lest there be among you a man or woman or clan or tribe whose heart is turning away today from the Lord our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Beware lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit. (Deuteronomy 29:18 ESV)

Many believers would not consider themselves evolutionists as they don’t accept biological evolution. But for the humanist, the concept of evolution extends to all areas of origins and so includes cosmological, geological, chemical, biological and human evolution, all firmly entrenched in the necessity of deep time, which most Christians accept.

Evolution in a sense is the humanist’s “god,” as that is how they say they originated. As most western countries have adopted humanism as their religion, evolution has become the conceptual “god of those nations.” And despite these warnings, many in the church have bought into evolutionary teaching at some level, often leading to disastrous consequences.

Bitter Fruit

One radical, prominent example is the infamous David Duke, a leader of several racist groups including the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi party. Most people can’t even fathom how such a person’s utterly racist mindset could come about. But in his case, it is well documented in his own words.2 Duke’s father, a Methodist Sunday school teacher, was a geologist. After accepting secular interpretations in geology, he then accepted the same in biology and tried reconciling Christianity with evolution by concluding that God used evolution to create life. This was the backdrop for David’s acceptance of Darwinism.

While attending a Church of Christ school in New Orleans, he often openly challenged biblical teaching regarding literal creation, Adam and Eve, and the idea of one human race in his Sunday school class. Studying Darwinism led him to believe “how racial differences originated,” and he was offended that a number of churches taught racism was a sin and allowed “mixed-race” marriages to be conducted. Duke’s acceptance of evolution led to the conclusion that “all life on Earth had evolved and is still undergoing change”3 and is at the root of his racist beliefs.

Consistency of the Mind

Thankfully, not everyone is as consistent in their thinking as David Duke is. And even though many believers have adopted some portion of the evolutionary story, the vast majority of Christians would declare racism is an ungodly and abhorrent ideology that is against Jesus’ teachings. However, for those Christians that have adopted theistic evolution, what logical argument against racism could they bring if they truly believe that different races of people have evolved at different rates over millions of years? Why wouldn’t there be some more advanced (superior) to others? And for non-Christians that also protest racist attitudes that also accept evolution, what consistent, reasoned argument could they bring to justify their claims that racism is wrong if we are simply more or less sophisticated animals?

Unconscious Bias

The question of unconscious bias is a big focus today. Whether people fully embrace and adopt it or not, there is a racist ideology being taught systematically all over the world now: the teaching of human evolution. Perhaps this racist programming is playing itself out in the subconscious of millions of people that have been exposed to evolutionary teaching. Until people come to grips with the reality that there is only one race—the human race—there will always be “racial” tensions. And Christians shouldn’t automatically assume they are immune. After all, Scripture says:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

Believers need to guard their hearts and minds against the infiltration of ungodly beliefs by standing firm on the authority of God’s Word starting in Genesis 1:1. We are commanded to take every thought against his Word captive and to destroy arguments against it as well (2 Corinthians 10:5).

In this way we will protect our minds against false teaching and fulfil Jesus’ explanation of the greatest commandment:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind . . . (and) . . . love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37–39)

Footnotes

  1. Paul Kurtz, Humanism Manifesto I and II (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1974), 8, 16.
  2. David Duke, My Awakening: A Path to Racial Understanding (Covington, LA: Free Speech Press, 1998).
  3. Duke, My Awakening, 101.

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