Is Racism a Deeply Theological Problem?
Is racism a deeply theological problem? Finding answers to this fundamental question can offer valuable insights into how racial differences between and among congregation members have shaped the Christian story and way of life. Brown (2018) explained that while African-American Christians and white evangelicals may be perceived to share a good deal theologically, their social understandings are relatively distinct. On the one hand, while African-American Christians may be said to possess a politically and socially active faith, their white evangelical counterparts tend to place more attention on personal religion and a belief in individualist explanations. In the same way, Wytsma (2017) said that the strength of the principle of whiteness shows how Christianity is structured racially in the Western world, while the early European Christians’ spread of Christianity in the New World seemed to strengthen a different kind of racial faith.
In other words, while the European Christians played a significant role in the spread and expansion of Christianity, the pedagogical imperialism of Christianity contributed immensely to the rise of contemporary Christianity that is not open to changing, learning, adapting, and becoming new. On the contrary, the Christian life that emerged in the wake of colonialism and imperialism placed a strong emphasis on segregating and assimilating people into their distinct version of Christianity, something that has, over time, formed the basis of racial faith (Husain, 2017).
So, the whole history of the relationship between race and religion needs to be looked at to get a better idea of how faith and racialization are connected in the present day. Roberts (2020) pointed out that religion has the great potential to inspire harmony and mutual understanding amongst people from different cultural backgrounds and with highly unique experiences and can form a crucial starting point for mobilizing resources aimed at reducing or averting racism.