Does the bible contain accounts of genocide, racism, and sexism as we know them today? Does the bible tell us that the holy and good God at various times instructed His followers to carry out acts that fit today’s definitions of genocide, racism, sexism? The unequivocal answer to both questions is YES.
Yes; there is a significant amount of those things in the bible. Only people who do not read and study that book – or those who live in denial – will deny it with a straight face. It is all in there. God instructed the Jews to wipe out certain peoples – in some cases even demanding that nothing – including their animals – be allowed to survive. Genocide.
Yes; in the bible, God was very discriminatory about races. He favoured the Jews and even gave instructions that His nation of Jews were not to mix, eat or intermarry with those other nations (races). Racism.
And there is no way anyone can read that bible and not see that it is very patriarchal in its theme. It is a book that puts the male gender in a special position. As far as the bible is concerned, woman was created for the man and not the other way round. God’s finest men and closest friends were polygamous too. Sexism.
It is all there – God inspiring, commanding and backing these things that the modern world defines as bad: Genocide. Racism. Sexism. It is all there. And there are even more than just these three. But I’m sticking to the thrust of this article.
The traditional response of many Christians is to spit fire and threaten judgement on people who point these things out – suggesting that they would rather those issues be ignored or overlooked. The right attitude however should be to read the whole book, acknowledge everything you find in there – especially the hard issues – and then sit down to pray, study and search for understanding and meaning. And then, when people point these things out, the Christian can have an explanation that makes sense to offer.
1 Peter 3:15:
…always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect
Cursing at someone who points out issues in what you believe is not what the good Lord requires of you. And if you don’t have a clear answer or explanation, perhaps shutting up is a good thing to do. The bible approves of people who have control over their tongues. Plus, that you curse someone doesn’t mean God will send them to hell. It isn’t your call.
Too many Christians spend time being busybodies than studying the bible to understand their hope and faith and patiently, lovingly explain it to others. Too many.