This past Tuesday, a panel was held at Kent State University by its Impact Movement on the subject of whether or not Christianity is the white man’s religion. The event was also sponsored by UHURU Magazine, a derivative of Black United Students. The speakers consisted of Lisa Fields (who founded a group “equipping those of African descent”), ShoBaraka (who is the co-founder of AND Campaign), and Vince Bantu (a professor of missionology at Covenant Theological Seminary).
All three individuals appeared to insist that Christianity was the religion of white people, and that it had been imposed, even forced, on those of other skin colors (particularly blacks). All three of them also used twisted logic to stress their points.
Fields emphasized the link between Christianity and slavery (i.e. slavery in America) by saying that slave owners took Christianity from slaves because Christians could not be slaves, and thus by taking Christianity away from slaves, one can justify slavery.
This is not true, because slave owners in America were Christian (despite engaging in such a despicable practice). In addition, the slaves they owned were Christians (or would convert to Christianity). It should be noted that Christianity never sanctioned slavery, and in fact would bring it about an end to it throughout most of the world.
Baraka commented by saying Christianity was a white man’s religion due to identity politics in which humans assign certain cultures to different groups. He then stated that black people don’t want anything to do with Christianity since it is more aligned with white culture. He even said that Christianity creates systems and structures that benefit people of a certain skin color (i.e. white people).
I don’t think cultures are assigned to different groups, especially in the West. Nor did Christianity go about assigning certain cultures, considering many cultures were in place throughout various parts of the world. When Christianity spread across the globe, it brought many positive changes. Such changes included an emphasis on equality (whether it be race, gender, etc.), the end of slavery and other barbaric practices (e.g. human sacrifice, cannibalism, killing family members), and the concepts of freedom and knowledge.
The concept of knowledge brings me to my next point. Whereas the people living in Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas have contributed much to civilization, Europe would become more advanced.
I don’t know how many black people Baraka has talked to regarding Christianity, or if he has any reliable polls to back up his claims. I should add that Christianity is not aligned with white culture, nor did it create systems and structures that only benefit white people. In fact, the Christian faith has been embraced by various cultures, and the systems and structures that came about by Christianity promoting wisdom and knowledge have been beneficial to people of all races.
Finally, there was Professor Bantu, who said Jesus was a Palestinian Jew living in an oppressive state under an oppressive regime, and that Christianity became an oppressive theology. He then added that, in order to fight such oppression, “we” (I presume by “we” he is referring to African-Americans) must decolonize against such a theology. In addition, he said that due to settler colonists like Christopher Columbus, Americans were able to do whatever they wanted with people who didn’t fit their descriptions of Christianity.
Christianity is not oppressive, nor was it ever intended to be, even if some Christians over the centuries did choose to oppress others.
I’m not sure what Professor Bantu’s call for decolonization actually means. Perhaps he is calling for black separatism in America, something Malcolm X advocated. As for people like Christopher Columbus, it was tragic that many Indians died since the Americas were discovered by European explorers (most of whom succumbed to diseases to which they were not immune), but such tragedies were not a genocide as some people claim. In fact, the nations of Europe formed alliances with various Indian tribes. And keep in mind there were those in the United States who respected the Indians.
Thus, Christianity is not the white man’s religion. It is a religion for everyone, regardless of their race, gender, etc. In fact, I sign off by providing scripture.
• Psalm 22: 28, 29 – All the ends of the earth will worship and turn to the Lord; All the families of nations will bow low before you. For kingship belongs to the Lord, the ruler over the nations.
• Matthew 28: 19 – Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
• Luke 24: 47 – and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
• Acts 1: 8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Image: Excerpted from: Tom noll – Template:Conrad schmitt studios, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8270031