Religion and Eqaulity

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  • Created by: devinter
  • Created on: 21-04-16 17:20

Christian Beliefs about Equality

Christians believe that God loves all humanity unconditionally and they believe that people should try to show the same love to each other and be concerned for other people’s welfare, whoever they may be.Other reasons why people should be regarded as equal are:

  • All human beings are ‘made in the image of God’
  • All human beings have a soul, given by God
  • Jesus welcomed people from all backgrounds and groups; he healed social outcasts, worked with tax collectors and the Romans who were hated and despised, and used a Samaritan in one of his parables to illustrate good qualities even though the Jews viewed Samaritans as little better than animals 
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There are active Christian Churches all over the world and Christianity teaches that racism can never be justified

Jesus’ famous commandment ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself’ refers to the whole human race as neighbours who should be treated equally

Some famous activists against racism have been committed Christians:

  • Trevor Huddleston: campaigned in South Africa to end apartheid
  • Desmond Tutu: campaigned against apartheid; Nobel Prize winner
  • Martin Luther King: campaigned for civil rights in America; was assassinated as a result of his work but his campaign was ultimately successful 
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The Dutch Reformed Church

The Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa supported apartheid and the segregation of white and black people, teaching that God was a ‘great divider’ who had separated races in the same way He had separated different species. The DRC was expelled by the World Alliance of Reformed Churches for this teaching, and has since changed its position on race.

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The Role of Women

Most Christians believe that men and women were created to be partners for one another, with different but complementary skills and abilities. In general terms:

  • Men are physically stronger than women and have a better sence of direction
  • Women can become pregnant and breastfeed have a better endurance of pain

Some Christians believe that men and women were made different because they were meant to play different roles in life:

  • Men should do physical work and provide for their families
  • Women should remain in the home to care for their husbands and children
  • Women have a duty to bear children
  • Both parties are responsible for bringing the children up to be good Christians
  • Both have the responsibility for their own spiritual welfare
  • Neither is better than the other: both have equal responsibility but in different areas 

Other Christians feel that this view no longer has a place in the modern world and that both men and women should share duties and responsibilities equally and most Christians agree that everyone should use the talents God has given him or her to the best of their ability

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Women in the Ministry

The Roman Catholic Church only allows men to become priests. This is because:

  • Christ and his apostles were all men
  • The priest during mass represents Christ himself
  • St Paul said that women should remain silent in Church

Nowadays most Protestant churches allow women to be ordained as priests. This is because:

  • Christ allowed women to be active among his followers
  • Those who remained faithful at his trial and execution were all women and a woman was the first to see him resurrected
  • God has no gender •
  • The injunction to women to remain silent in church does not apply in modern society where women and men are equal
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Christianity and other Religions

Christianity is an evangelical religion – Christians believe it is important to share their beliefs with others and try to persuade them to become Christians.Strictly evangelical Christians believe:

  • Only Christianity has the truth about God
  • It is their duty to spread the word of God and Jesus
  • Non-Christians should be encouraged to convert
  • There would be no point in the death and resurrection of Jesus if there were lots of other ways to achieve salvation

Other Christians belong to the ecumenical movement. They believe that:

  • Everyone who is genuinely trying to follow God through the message of Jesus Christ is on the right path
  • Christian denominations therefore have far more in common than they have differences
  • Christians should meet to talk and worship together and celebrate the fact that they all believe in Jesus
  • A few Christians may take the view that a just and loving God will recognise sincere belief and right intention whether it is within a Christian or not; however this does ignore specific statements to the contrary in the Bible 
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The evangelistic nature of Christianity encourages many churches and individual Christians to engage in missionary work.The point of missionary work is that everyone deserves the opportunity to hear the word of Christ

Missionary work can take a variety of forms:

  • ‘Witnessing’: talking to people in the street or going door to door to discuss matters of faith in the hope of winning converts
  • Building and running hospitals or schools in the developing world
  • Providing homeless shelters, soup kitchens or drug abuse clinics for the poor and vulnerable in your own country
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Internal Divisions

It is a sad fact that there are as many divisions within Christianity as between it and other faiths.

Although they are all Christians some churches take the view that they are the true Christianity and everyone else is wrong.

Others are active in the ecumenical movement trying to bring churches together – the World Council of Churches is one organisation promoting this.

Sometimes these divisions have led to violence – as in Northern Ireland.

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Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Forgiveness is an important concept in Christianity. Jesus mentions it at many points throughout the New Testament. To forgive means not holding grudges or dragging up old arguments and differences.

The Lord’s Prayer says: ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.’ Christians believe that any sinner who truly repents of their sins can be forgiven by God and Because Christ asked from the Cross for God to forgive those who were crucifying him Christians believe that sets an example of forgiveness that they should try to follow

The death and resurrection of Christ are also believed to redeem all of our sins, and as long as we accept the sacrifice of Jesus we can be forgiven

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Biblical teachings on equality

“Then Peter began to speak; „I now realise how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” Acts 10:34

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galations 3:28

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

 “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, do not show favouritism” James 2:1

“When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt” Leviticus 19:33–34

 “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.” Acts 17:26

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Biblical teachings on the role of women

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your husbands as unto the Lord. For the Husband is head of the Wife, even as Christ is the head of the church.” Ephesians 5:21

 “Likewise ye husbands dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel and as being heirs together of the grace of life.” 1 Peter 3:7

“To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Titus 2:5 

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Biblical teachings on the outer religions

“Jesus answered: I am the way, the truth and the life. No-one comes to the father except through me.” John 14:6

 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galations 3:28

“Jesus drew near and said to them „I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go then to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples.” Matthew 28: 18–19

“The disciples went and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and proved that their preaching was true.” Mark 16:20 

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Biblical teaching on the forgivness

“But I tell you do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic give him your cloak as well.” Matthew 5:38–39

“But I tell you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:43

 “For if you forgive men when they sin against you your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But it if you do not forgive men their sins your heavenly Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14–15

“If your brother sins rebuke him and if he repents forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in one day and seven times comes back to you and says „I repent‟ forgive him.” Luke 17:3–4

 “When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals. One on his right and the other on his left. Jesus said „Father forgive them, they don‟t know what they are doing.‟” Luke 23:33–34

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Coventry Cathedral

On the 14th November 1940, much of the City of Coventry was reduced to rubble by German bombs.The Cathedral, at the heart of the city, burned with it.

In the terrible aftermath that followed, Provost Howard wrote the words ‘Father forgive’ on the smoke-blackened wall of the sanctuary. Two of the charred beams which had fallen in the shape of a cross were set on the altar and three of the medieval nails were bound into the shape of a cross.

The Cross of Nails is a very powerful and inspirational Symbol worldwide of reconciliation and peace. After the Second World War, Crosses of Nails were presented to Kiel, Dresden and Berlin, cities shattered by Allied bombing: Out of the ashes grew a trust and partnership between Coventry and the German cities. 


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