Can you still feel the Crusade?
Is Christianity a White, European or Western Religion ?
There is much criticism and much controversy that is usually accompanied with the interpretation of the Holy Bible, however when recently posed with the question “is Christianity a white mans religion?” it was if the urgency and all the commotion centred on the bible had subsided. Why? Why were those very same outspoken commentators averting discussion of the subject? It seems that when we start bringing race as a topic people begin to tread lightly, and this very topic is shrouded in political and ethical tension, Nevertheless I attempted to receive word from those who were willing to delve into this matter, people who are convicted Christians, others who are not and individuals and organisations that are still true to their outspoken nature.
I remember being asked this question on a whim and I thus I was so taken back that I was unable to provide a response at the time, however over time I was able to conjure my own answer for this question. I also decided to ask a person whom I was familiar with and is experienced in this subject as she is a convicted Christian catholic, my mother, Anna Moabelo. After asking my mother this question I expected her to provide me with some information that have helped ‘for’ this argument, because she is an individual who has suffered the full ravages of Apartheid and has always seemed to have a critical view on the topic of race and ethnicity. However she responded with a resounding no and continued say that she would not give ownership to a religion she was raised with and fully invested in, to the oppressive white powers, as it is the one thing they could not truly take from her.
Church organisations such as ‘Lady of our Lourdes’ from Rivonia, Morningside Manor, answered similarly, as if the very idea of Christianity being a white man religion out of the question. “How can such, an accommodating religion belong to one race?” Stated the priest associated with this church group, Father Peter, reinforced the groups answer with a quote from scripture “Proverb 22.2, the rich and the poor have a common bond, the LORD is maker of them all.” This organisation and popular opinion represented here by the Rhodes University student body provided me with more-or-less the same direction of argument and same points.
An interesting argument provided from an advocate of Catholicism and Deacon, Andrew Woghiren, was that religion has been tied with human nature since the beginning of time; some of the inherent behaviour displayed long ago is what is displayed now in religion, such like the worship of the sun or moon etc. Just like religion humans have it in nature to borrow things from other cultures and civilisations, such as the use of hindu-arabic numerals, which is the same as the numeral/decimal system we use now. To reject something that may have come from a different culture is something that not practical, human’s transform on the same spectrum of technological and cultural evolution, “ we take advantage of what other human beings have developed and make it useful to ourselves”. This is very evident in how Christianity was used by many ethnicities in times of oppression to maintain moral, keep faith and have hope. “So when people tell me Christianity is a white man or European religion. I respond and say what if it is?”
My initial response to this question was also no, but after listening to what people, other than myself, I realised that there still could be more as to why this question is even posed in the first place, if it may hold some truth in it, does Christianity in fact represent a white colonial power? Right now I am inclined to believe it does not, but I still feel as if that is subject to change. This question I believe is important, especially in a South African context, because it deal with the race consciousness battleground that still plagues our country and the sentiments of this topic tie in with the battle against white ideology and supremacy, which is still perpetuated.
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