Issues involving ethnicity and Christianity (along with Ethnicity and America) have been at a broiling point nearly seventy years. Recently, I had a miniature, informal debate on facebook in the “defending the Faith” group with a kinist (someone who advocates ethnic segregation in the name of Christianity), until he blocked me when, I assume, he was unable to answer the problems with his argument.
After another discussion on Kinism on the same page, I did some cursory examination of kinist and found a number had neo-nazi symbols. One of the real issues with neo-nazism today is that they are infiltrators – they have a difficult time winning adherents if they are open about their viewpoints (which tells us something about how much ethnic progress America has really made since the era of the old left’s open advocacy of Social Darwinism). As a result, many neo-nazi’s attach themselves to other causes in order to win adherents, and we as Christians need to be watchful when symptoms of such an anti-Christian ideology begins to appear within the church.
Kinists are an extremely small sect, but unfortunately this is not a new idea.
It is one of those arguments that many atheists raise against Christianity – but is this a reasonable attack on the faith? Furthermore, how should Christians respond to those who advocate segregation?
In order to successfully answer this question, I think we need to take two steps before actually addressing the arguments, and raising my counter argument. First, today I want to define terms. Sometimes in these discussions we use terms in different ways than others, and this can create confusion, so here are the definitions I will be using for this series.
Racism – Racism is the belief that one’s ethnic origins determines a person’s value (to God or society), beliefs, or standing before God. This is often related in modern times to Social Darwinism. Race can refer to one’s physical/genetic history/origins.
Social Darwinism – Social Darwinism is the theory that certain ethnic groups are better than others. Social Darwinism is related to the argument Darwin himself raised in his book, The Descent of Man, when he argued one of his two proofs that man was the result of an evolutionary process was the distinctions between ethnic groups, some of which were more advanced than others.
Ethnic group/ethnicity/ethnic – I am personally trying to remove the term “race” from my vocabulary, at least in terms of politics and ethnicity in my colloquial usage. I am attempting to replace it with references to one ethnicity because I believe the American concept of race is hopelessly muddled with racist ideas drawn from social darwinism.
Ethnicity is hard to define, one can argue that it refers to a common culture, a history of ones descent (ie where someone is from) or a combination of these with a common language and beliefs. To an extent, the way one will view ethnicity will depend on the academic discipline one is discussing – a cultural anthropologists will think of this in different terms than a linguist.
For our purposes, we will assume one’s ethnicity is the culture with which one defines oneself, and the cultural community that in turn accepts that person.
Segregation – The voluntary or involuntary separation between ethnic groups. Involuntary segregation enforces this by means of intimidation and the force of law. Voluntary segregation can occur for numerous reasons, including common languages and traditions, and to varying degrees. For example, many immigrants to the United States settled in communities due to the mother tongue they all spoke. Some Jews have a tendency to settle in groups around businesses that cater to Jewish dietary laws.
While some will consider it controversial, I will treat opposition to “interracial marriage” as a form of segregation.
Consistent/Inconsistent monsters – This is the terminology I’ve used since a comparison of varying moral arguments from atrocities. An inconsistent monster is someone who commits a monstrous act, but it is inconsistent with the worldview that person espouses. A consistent monster is someone who commits monstrous acts and those acts are consistent with his worldview – he or she is not a hypocrite, whatever else they may be.
Christianity – the historic Christian faith including the belief that the Bible is the infallible authority of faith and practice; it is accepting the basic essentials of Christianity. I am not including nominally Christian groups such as Hitler’s “Positive Christianity,” Neo-orthodoxy, etc.