Religion and Equality


Principle of Equality

  • Equality --> treating people in the same way as others
  • Discrimination --> unfair treatment of one person or group
  • Prejudice --> judging someone before you know them

UN Declaration of Human Rights
-everyone has the same rights and fredoms whoever and wherever they are 

Many people are not actually treated equally and suffer prejudice and discrimination:

  • Race
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Sexuality
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Social class etc 
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Biblical Teachings about Equality

  • 'Love one another' 
    -Jesus taught to love others and then humanity would be saved from all war and suffering
  • We are all 'made in the image of God' -Genesis
    ^no difference whether people are black or white, male or female etc
  • Acts of Apostles:
    'From one man he made every nation'
  • Christians are taught to fight against prejudice and discrimination:
    -Mother Theresa 
    -worked for the Missionaries of Charity to help the poor and suffering
    -^ followed teachings from the Parable of the Sheep and Goats- Christians must care for the poor and hungry
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Attitudes Towards Racism

Against racism- Bible and Christian example:

  • 'Love thy neighbour'
  • Martin Luther King Jr
    -peaceful protests against racial discrimination
    -USA 1950's and 1960's

Acts of racism- Christian Church:

  • Crusades
    -thousands killed in the name of Christianity
  • Spanish navy invaded South America
    -massacred thousands
    -trying to force them to become Christians
  • Many Christians were slave owners in the 'Deep South'
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Attitudes Towards Gender & The Role of Women

Some people think women should be treated equally:

  • 'in the image of God'
  • Jesus shows great respect towards women
  • When Jesus resurrected, he first appeared to a woman
  • In the first days of the early church, women worshipped together with disciples

Other people think men and women should have different roles:

  • Genesis 2 --> Adam was made before Eve, Eve was made to be his helper
  • Genesis 3 --> Eve was the first to sin
  • Jesus was very critical of his mother, Mary, at the wedding at Cana
  • Roman Catholic Church --> do not allow women to be priests as they do not believe they fulfill the role of being Jesus' representative on Earth 
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Attitudes Towards Other Religions

Converting others to Christianity:

  • New Testament:
    -only Jesus' followers can go to heaven when they die
  • Evangelism:
    -the spreading of Jesus' teachings from gospels or 'good news'
  • Salvation Army --> strong tradition of Evangelism:
    -believe it's a very important part of Christian life and duty
  • Many travelled abroad as missionaries:
    -their duty to convert as many people to Christianity as possible

Not converting others to Christianity:

  • Missionaries:
    -now more concerned about helping people in developing countries
  • Ecumenism:
    -different Christian denominations work together with joint services and community work
    -example: Taizé, France
  • Interfaith dialogue
    -recent years, particularly with Jews and Muslims 
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Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Forgiveness --> pardoning someone for something which they have done wrong

'seventy times seven times'

Reconciliation --> the ending of a conflict or renewing a friendly relationship between disputing people or groups 

  • God is merciful- he shows love and forgiveness:
    -Lord's Prayer- must always forive to be forgiven by God
    -'Love your enemies'
  • Central Christian service of Eucharist:
    -forgiveness and reconciliation
    -receive and remember God's forgiveness through celebration of Jesus' sacrifice
  • Roman Catholic Church:
    -priest hears a confession in a confessional and forgives 
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