Quote for equality: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female for you all one in Christ Jesus" and Jesus taught everyone to "love thy neighbour"
The principle of equality states that everyone should be treated fairly, without suffering, prejudice or discrimination. This is enshrined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human rights.
Prejudice= an idea or feeling which one person holdsand which affects another person even before getting to know them
Discrimination= when someone acts on their prejudice views and treats the other person accordingly
Discrimination can take place whenever someone with power exercises that power over people that don't have power, so: Discrimination= Prejudice + Power
Many Christians believe that God created everything therefore no one is superior or inferior in God's eyes other than by their own actions. People should be shown the same love as they are all made in God's image.
Martin Luther King Junior was a baptist minister who fought against racism in the 1950s and 60s trying to get rid of the Jim Crow Laws separating whites and blacks which were eventually abolished with the civil rights act in 1964.
There have been many occasions in the past when the Christian Church were rightly accused of racism and religious intolerance:
- During the crusades (11th-13th centuries) thousands were killed in the name of Christianity
- In South America (16th century) the invading Spanish Navy massacred tens of thousands of locals to force them to become Christians
- Slaves were almost always black and in what is now the USA the owners were Christians who believed they were helping the slaves by forcing them to convert (although Christians were active in campaigns to end slavery- which was abolished in 1865)
- In 1948 the South African Prime Minister Daniel Francois Malan, a Dutch reformed Minister introduced the apartheid legislation segregating blacks, coloured and whites. Abolished in 1994
- There has also been a lot of debate about the silence of the Roman Catholic Church about the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany during WW2
Role of women in Christian society
Some Christians believe that men and women have different roles but that both roles are equal.
For equal roles:
- Men and women were created at the same time in the first creation story
- Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene after death
For different roles:
- Man was made before woman in the second creation story
- Eve was the first to sin
- Jesus was critical of his Mother at the wedding at Cana
Some Christians believe women should have an equal role in worship and Priesthood as times have changed. Others like Roman Catholics and the Orthodox Church disagree as the role of the Priest is as Jesus' representative on Earth which can't be done by a woman.
A quote supporting this is by Paul: "Women should remain silent in the Churches"
Attitudes to other Religions
Christianity is a Proselytising religion. Although they believe everyone should have the right to practise their Religion, they also believe that only Christianity has the complete truth about God and that it is their duty as members to go out and convert people like Jesus told them to:
"Go out and make disciples of all nations" This is an example for Evangelism.
Some Christians you cann only go to Heaven if you accept Jesus as the son of God and the saviour. Other Religions don't do this so they don't think they can go to Heaven. A quote supporting this is:
"No one comes to the Father except through me" - Jesus
Some Christians believe in Religious freedom and that everyone deserves respect and love regardless of Religion, this is the teaching of Agape (unconditional love). Other Religions can have equal value (Religious Pluralism) equality with Religion.
Different Christian denominations working together is known as Ecumenism, so even though there may be major differences between some groups they still share the same essential beliefs. An example of where this has happened is in Taize (France).
Forgiveness and Reconciliation
Jesus told everyone to "love thy neighbour", although Jesus wasn't incapable of anger, he showed anger when people acted in a way which was offensive to God.
Jesus' sacrifice showed us humans had been forgiven for the original sin and could now enter Heaven. Jesus taught us forgiveness through the parable of the lost sheep, lost son and the unforgiving servant.
Jesus gave the power to his disciples to forgive sins on his behalf. Roman Catholics believe this power has been passed to Priests.
A person seeking forgiveness goes to the Roman Catholic Priest to ask to be forgiven, the information is confidential.
Religion and the Media
Media= a medium for communicating with other people
Why is the media so influential?
- Audience- It can meet a large range of people and can go global quickly
- Speed- New technology can transport the information more quickly
- Appeal- Wide appeal to everyone, reaches lots due to the different forms of media
- Money- More stories=more money
Most Christians use media but believe you need to choose carefully what you watch and read.They are concerned about the influences that TV has on family life and lifestyles as some forms of media present a view of the World that doesn't fit in with other Christian views on life, life priorities and the values people should live by.
Many encourage the media as it is fulfilling Jesus' commandment to "make disciples of all nations". In places where Christians are persecuted for their beliefs it allows a way of communication. The lifestyles of celebrity Christians such as Cliff Richard and Nicky Cruz can be seen as good role models for children to follow.
Christian issues with the media
Alcohol- Some Protestant Evangelical denominations are teetotal (don't drink) as they have seen they harm it can do, others believe moderation is the key to living in the modern material world but not excessive amounts as "the body is a temple for the Holy Spirit". The biggest concern is with addiction to alcohol or drugs as you are putting your addiction before God which could lead you to sin.
Role Models- Christians are concerned that they will have a bad influence on children and they could form idols from it which is against the 10 commandments: "you shall not make for yourself any form of idol", whereas others accept having heroes is a natural part of a young persons life. Some Christians don't own a TV as they fear it will distract them from their faith.
Music- Most Christians don't mind music providing they are respectable and unoffensive. However most songs now are about finding and losing love which can lead to lustful thoughts and behaviour
Astrology- Many Christians think basing your life on any type of fortune telling is silly and wrong as God is the one who decides what happens to you.
Christian media uses
Christians use the media to present a positive and accurate representation of Christianity such as Songs of Praise which appeals to even those who don't go to Church.
- Evangelical Churches use dance, drama and art for young people as they believe they should use appropriate media to convey that Christianity is exciting
- Religious comics and books for children are used as the message is in a way that makes sense to them
- They use to media to educate others (e.g. Church of England and the Vatican websites)
- The Greenbelt festival (since 1974) where they celebrate arts faith and justice as they believe in the modern world they need to engage will people on their terms so that Christianity is relevant to them and their lives
Christianity in the media
Some Christians think that God or Jesus should not be acted by a human because ordinary people are not perfect like God
Examples involving the breaking of the 10 commandments of when people made idols was when the Roundheads and Puritans in England smashed stained glass windows because they wanted to cleanse the Churches of idolatrous images. Even today some Christians still think these images would cause distractions to worship.
The Last temptation of Christ- Based on Jesus' life Jesus is seen as impure (sexual dream about Mary Magdalene)
Da Vinci Code- Making Christian history appealing to a wider audience Saying Jesus had children, contradicting the Bible
Life of Brian- Entertaining, appealing to a wider audience Mimics Jesus' life
Christians like the Lion, the witch and the wardrobe (Narnia) and even paid for some of the production as it is teaching children who may not have otherwise learnt about Jesus.
Sex and Violence
Christians believe the amount of sex and violence in the media can lead people to think that they are not wrong.
People have been desensitized to violence and possibly as a result there are more victims of violence that the public do less and less about as people can copy what they see.
Many Churches condemn the media for any material that seems to condone promiscuity, pre-marital sex, adultery and homosexuality.
Christians also believe *********** is wrong as they think that it can exploit people as sex objects.
There is the freedom of speech and press so countries don't become dictatorships or police states, however not all countries do this and even those that do (e.g. the UK) there are still some limitations on what can be said or published.
E.g. 1)Lady Chatterley's lover (an aristocrat having a relationship with a working class man). It was censored because of the sexual content
2)1984 by George Orwell (set in the future where there is a total invasion of privacy), not censored but it said that too much censorship & control may lead to a dictatorship or violence
3)Hitler in WW2 (burning of books). The information was censored as it didn't fit in with the new German teachings and they wanted to cleanse peoples minds.
In the 1980s the Satanic Verses which caused offense to many Muslims caused a big issue, the courts decided that in England, blasphemy only offered protection to Christianity and possibly only to the Church of England. Until 2003 when the law was repealed blasphemy was an offense.
In countries like North Korea Christians aren't allowed to proclaim their beliefs.