Religion and Prejudice

These are notes taken from my revision guide about Prejudice.

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Prejudice - prejudging a person or group of people before facts are known about them.

Descrimination - acting on prejudice (openly expressing prejudice).

Stereotyping - building an image of a group of people based on prejudice (eg. all women are bad drivers).

Scapegoating - blaming groups of people for problems in society (Germany and the Jews).

Positive Discrimination - treating people more favourably because they've been discriminated against in the past (treating people better due to a disability).

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Types of Prejudice

  • Racism
  • Homophobia
  • Disability
  • Sexism
  • Ageism
  • Religious Prejudice
  • Class, looks, lifestyles
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Causes of Prejudice

  • Ignorance - people do not understand a group ---->
  • ---> Fear - people feel threatened by what they don't understand
  • Family upbringing - people raised to have a certain attitude find it hard to shake it off.
  • Media - it builds on and creates stereotypes that feeds into society.
  • Scapegoating - people use a group of people to blame them for society's troubles.
  • Bad experience - victims of discrimination or a bad encounter with someone of a particular group.
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Religious Beliefs

Christian Attitudes to Prejudice

 Jesus said, "Love thy neighbour" [All types]

  • Basically saying that you should love everyone around you.

A parable he taught, The Good Samaritan [Racism]

  • It was about a man who needed help and the only person who helped him was a Samaritan, a person from a group who hated the man's group.
  • This is the example Jesus used to show how rivals should still love each other.

In the Old Testiment, "Do not ill-treat foreigners who are living in your land." [Racism]

God said that he created man "In the Image of God" [All types]

Jesus healed the lepers, who would have been outcast because of their disability. [disability]

He also allowed women to befriend him (eg. Mary and Martha) [sexism]

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Religious believer who fought against prejudice.

Martin Luther King

A Christian minister who became the leader of the Civil Rights Movement. He worked for the right to vote and against the segregation of the black population of America in the 1950s to the 1960s.

He used non-voilent protest such as:

  • Bus boycotts
  • Speaches (I have a dream)
  • Marches
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Positive Discrimination

Treating people more favourably because they've been discriminated against in the past (or treating people better due to a disability).


  • Gives ethnic minorities a chance to be employed in industry without the fear of discrimination (a quota is set by the government saying how many employees of ethnic minorities should be given jobs)
  • The disabled would be given help to, in some ways, reach the same standard as able bodied people.


  • It favours the ethnic minority which, although it's positive discrimination for them, it's negative discrimination for others.
  • The ethnic minority and women are given jobs more freely than white males regardless of whether those whites had better skills.
  • It's still discrimination and all people should be treated equally.
  • Fighting discrimination with discrimination is similar to "an eye for an eye" which, as Ghandi said, "an eye for an eye makes the world go blind."


  • Everyone is one in Christ and should be treated as such. Positive discrimination treats some people favourably than others which is not equal.
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