5.1 Principle of equality
- The principle of equality is that everyone should be treated fairly without suffering prejudice or discrimination
- The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone should have the same rights and freedoms whoever and wherever they are
- Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood
- Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration, without distinction of any kind
- Prejudice is an idea or feeling which one person holds and which affects another person
- Discrimination is when they act on this prejudice and treat the other person accordingly
5.2 Biblical teaching about equality
- According to Christian teaching, God created everything and therefore no one is superior or inferior in God's eyes other than by their own actions - all made in "God's image"
- Jesus: "As I have loved you, so you must love one another" - John
- We are all made in God's image
- "...neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" - Galatians
- Many Christians such as Mother Teresa, Desmond Tutu and MLK fought against prejudice and discrimination
- The Parables of the Good Samaritan and the Lost Sheep
- "do unto others what you would have them do unto you" - Matthew
- "Love your neighbour as yourself" - The Good Samaritan, Agape
5.3 Christian attitudes towards racism
- Although Christian teaching has always opposed racism there are many example in the past of Christians and Christian organisations being guilty of racism
- The Parable of the Good Samaritan
- Martin Luther King, Civil Rights Act 1964 - "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you"
- The crusades - thousands killed in the name of Christianity, Slavery
- Apartheid and segregation in South Africa not abolished until 1994
- RC Church was silent about the persecution of Jews in WW2
- "When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him... Love him as yourself" - Leviticus
- "God does not show favouritism but accepts men from every nature" - Acts (Simon Peter goes to Cornelius even though it is against the law for Jews to associate with non-Jews
- "Racism has no part in the Christian Gospel... it contradicts our Lord's command" - Dr George Carey
Pope John Paul II condemned the fact that Christians had contributed to the slave trade from the Catholic Association for Racial Justice.
1965 2nd Vatican Council - "The Church reproves as foreign to the mind of Christ any discrimination...on the basis of race, colour, life or religion".
Catechism of the Catholic Church - "People are created in the image of one God, with rational souls, redeemed by Christ's sacrifice, every form of discrimination must be eradicated as being against God's design"
The Church and racism report 1988 condemned racism in the past with slaves, slave trade and Nazi practice was morally outrageous.
Church of England/Liberal
World Council of Churches (C of E) 1980 - "Every human being is created in the image of God and a person for whom Christ died...racism is a rejection of his sacrifice"
"Faith in the city" document called for C of E to have more black clergy
United reformed church - committed to "challenge racism within themselves, within the church and within society generally"
Methodist - "racism is a direct contradiction of the gospel of Jesus"
Quaker - "to say you love God but then impose cruelty on his creations is a contradiction"
"let the spirit lead your life"
5.4 Men and Women - Anglican
- Do ALLOW Women Priests. The Anglican Churchordained the first women priests in 1994 (but cannot be bishops)
- Despite living in a male dominated society – Jesus showed utmost respect to women. The story of Mary & Martha (Lk10) shows Jesus encouraging women to learn from him
- The Risen Christ chose to reveal Himself to women first, which suggests that he held women in high regard
- In OT, many women are seen as strong, important and occasionally rulers
- Jesus treated women as equals, and had female followers
- "There is neither... male or female... for you are all one in Christ Jesus" Galatians
Men and Women - RC and Orthodox
- Genesis: "...God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them"
- Second creation story states woman was created as companion and helpmate to man - some fundamentalist Xians might use this to argue that women have a lesser/different role to men
- Even though men and women are of equal worth. They do not have the same roles.
- Roman Catholics believe Scripture intends men to be leaders of the Church Family.
- RC and Orthodox do not allow women to be ordained
- Reason: Jesus only chose men to be his disciples, and at the Eucharist the priest represents Jesus
- "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife as Christ is head of the Church" Ephesians
- “ I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over men; she must be silent” Timothy
- "The husband is head of the wife as Christ is head of the Church"
- It is the wife's duty to care for the home and children
- The husband's role is to provide financially for his family
- Eve - "I will make for him a wife" said God - she was created after Adam - when the Bible was written, women considered as the "home makers"
- St. Paul "Wives, submit to your husbands"
- Genesis "God created mankind in his image to be treated equally"
- We are all equal in the eyes of God, but have different roles to play, however it is not so vital who does what
- Scripture must be reinterpreted to allow for modern culture
- There is evidence in the Bible that women taught and led congregations in the very early Christian Church, e.g. Phoebe (Romans 16:1-2)
5.5 Christian attitudes towards other religions
- Christianity is a proselytising religion.
- Although Christians believe everyone should have the right to practice their own religion, they also believe that only Christianity has the complete truth about God
- They believe it is their duty to go out and convert people
- NT - Only JC's followers can go to heaven when they die
- "I am the way and the truth and the life" - Jesus, in John
- Groups such as the Salvation Army have a strong tradition of evangelism and believe that it is a very important part of their Christian life and duty
- Many Christians travelled abroad as missionaries
- Ecumenism is the movement where different Christian denominations work together with joint services and community work e.g. Taize
- "No one comes to the Father except through me" - John
- Pluralists: religions can coexist
- Prosthelytizing - trying to persuade others to join religon
- Only Christianity holds the truth about God
- All other religions are false
- Members of other religions should abandon their wrong ideas and convert to Christianity
- "I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me" - John (eternal life is only for Christian believers)
- When JC was crucified he took the punishment for human sin so humans could be forgiven by God
- God is able to forgive those who believe Jesus died for us to have a relationship with God and so accepting Jesus as saviour is the only way God can be known
- "Christianity is the one true religion because no matter how good a religion might seem, it is false unless the light of Christ has fallen on it" - Karl Barth, Evangelical Protestant
- Ecumenism - promoting all Christians to become one denomination
- Exclusivism - only one religion
- Evangelism - "God forth and make disciple of all nations"
- Everyone who is genuinely trying to follow God is doing the right thing, regardless of their religion
- They encourage members of different faiths to worship together and to meet for discussions to try and understand each other better
- A loving and forgiving God will not reject someone because they were born into a non-Christian religious tradition
- "The difference between Christianity is not the difference between truth and error but between total and partial understanding" - Bishop Stephen Neil
- INCLUSIVISM - not Christians can still go to Heaven
- Less likely to believe in ecumenism because the Bible is inspired by God and interpreted by humans
5.6 Forgiveness and reconciliation
- Demonstrated in the Eucharist - forgiveness and reconciliation through JC's sacrifice
- The Lord's Prayer
- "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven" - JC, Matthew
- JC gave his disciples power to forgive sins on behalf of God
- The RC Church teaches that this power had been passed on to priests
- RC - reconciliation is a sacrament, confession is important
- Parables of the Lost Sheep, Lost Son and Unforgiving Servant
- Jesus' death was an act of atonement which showed that God had forgiven people for their sins and if they truly repented they would be allowed into Heaven
- "If someone strikes you on the right cheekm turn to him the other also" - Matthew
- Forgive "seven times seventy"