The Bible—Is It a “White Man’s Book”?
Why do many feel the Bible is a “white man’s book”? Whose book is it? For whom is it?
“A RELIGION organized and backed by the devils for the purpose of making slaves of black mankind.” This is the way Christianity was described by the leader of a militant colored organization. The Bible? He called it a “poison book.”
While many in the realm of Christendom may consider this an extremist viewpoint, the hard fact remains that a large number of colored peoples throughout all of Africa and Asia, as well as colored peoples in other parts of the world, feel similarly. They consider Christianity a “white man’s religion” and the Bible a “white man’s book.”
Some would be quick to dismiss these conclusions of such colored peoples as prejudiced and without any basis. But are such viewpoints without basis? Why have many of the colored peoples of the world come to such a conclusion? And, of vital importance, is it true that the Bible, and hence Christianity, is for the white man principally?
BASIS FOR ILL FEELING
To appreciate adequately the sentiments of colored peoples who feel this way, we must do as one said: “Walk in my shoes first.” If white persons put themselves in the position of these colored peoples, it will not be too difficult to see why many of them have concluded that the Bible is a “white man’s book” and that the Christianity it teaches is principally for the white man.
For decades, sometimes centuries, most of the colored peoples of Asia and Africa have been dominated by colonial powers, usually European. These colonial powers make up the heart of Christendom, for they are all so-called Christian nations, and white. Those who were dominated by them would naturally feel that these nations of Christendom were representative of Christianity, believing Christendom and Christianity to be one and the same thing.
In many cases this colonial rule has been oppressive. It has kept subject peoples in ignorance through poor education. Local economies have suffered so the controlling power could benefit. Social conditions for colored peoples have been held much below the level of the colonial “Christian” nation in authority. In some cases colored men, women and children were caught like animals and sold as slaves to other “Christian” nations.
Even where this colonial domination has had its good features, the colored subject peoples have felt their pride stung to be controlled and dominated by foreign powers against their will. Also, the attitude of superiority frequently displayed by the white powers made the colored persons constantly feel like second-class citizens, often in their own land.
Adding to this has been the expression of some that the colored are an “inferior race.” One young colored boy noted this when observing a great painted diagram on the wall of a museum, a caption of which informed him that it was an explanation of the races of mankind. The chart had taken pains to show the colored “branch” somewhere only slightly above the apes and below the specimen who crowned the tree, which specimen had a noticeably uncolored skin.
Over the years resentment has been building up. One colored person attending a seminar on race relations in the United States said: “For generations we had been trained and counseled by our elders to conceal our resentments and hatred—because it would have been inadvisable to do otherwise. But in the last two years this hatred has become explosive and is being manifested in many different ways.” When a white student claimed that many white people in the southern United States had formerly regarded their Negro servants with paternalistic and friendly consideration, a young colored girl replied: “Yes, they always regarded us as lap dogs and cannot understand why we refuse to be lap dogs.” (New York Times, February 10, 1964, p. 16) This feeling is intensified in other countries where white colonial powers have dominated a colored majority for a long period of time.
Since many colored people, rightly or wrongly, feel that most of their lack of education, unequal social standing, lower standard of living and humiliation stems from their white colonial overlords, their displeasure spreads out to embrace all that those powers stand for. The consequence is that the religion of the colonial powers has come under suspicion.
The nations of Christendom claim to be Christian, the colored person reasons, yet they often oppress and humiliate the colored peoples. Their priests and missionaries are sent out to convert the local population to Christendom’s brand of religion. But because of what many colored people see done in the name of Christianity they reason that Christianity is not for them. It does not raise them to a level equal to or acceptable to their white masters. It is then a simple matter for them to conclude that the white man’s religion is just a tool to pacify the local population so their subjugation can continue. Christendom and Christianity are thus thought to be spearheads for colonialism. The next conclusion drawn is that the book Christendom uses must also be a white man’s book, another tool to be used against colored people.
This is not to say that the claims of oppression are all right or are all wrong. Nor does this ignore the fact that there has been good done by many white persons who have been heads of colonial administrations. But the sad truth remains that there has been enough bad done to raise the feeling of resentment.
ATTITUDE TOWARD BIBLE CORRECT?
Anyone who studies the situation impartially can see why many colored peoples feel as they do, and why they have come to regard Christianity as a white man’s religion and the Bible as a white man’s book. But the question remains: Is it true that Christianity and the Bible are at fault and are mainly for the white man?
The Bible itself confronts us with a striking fact, one that all persons, white or colored, would do well to appreciate. Forcefully it brings to our attention that the Christianity of the Bible is positively not the Christianity practiced by the nations of Christendom!
The Bible shows that what Christendom practices is apostate religion. It is a religion that has taken the name of Christianity but that does not practice it in any true sense of the word. It is a religion so alien to Bible Christianity that the words of Jesus Christ apply when he said: “You hypocrites, Isaiah aptly prophesied about you, when he said, ‘This people honors me with their lips, yet their heart is far removed from me. It is in vain that they keep worshiping me, because they teach commands of men as doctrines.’”—Matt. 15:7-9.
These words are very clear. Any who claim to be Christian yet do not live up to the standards of Christianity as found in the Bible are not Christian in actual fact. The religions of Christendom are not Christian. They have departed far from the Christianity found in the Bible. Their roots are in the perverted teachings and practices found in ancient Babylon dating back centuries before the time of Christ.
So any who feel resentment at Christendom and let that resentment fall on the Bible and Christianity should know that the Bible and true Christianity do not support what Christendom has done. The Bible plainly condemns their wars, their hatreds, their immorality, their religious rivalries and hypocrisy, their superior attitudes, their humiliating of other peoples. But know this as well: The Bible condemns these same things when they are practiced by people of any color!
THE BIBLE—FOR WHOM?
This brings our attention to a fundamental fact about the Bible: It is not just a “white man’s book,J’ nor is it just a “colored man’s book.” It is for peoples of all skin colors. It was not written by Europeans, but by Asiatics, Orientals. Yet, it was not to remain the private property of Orientals. Said a God-fearing man whose words are preserved in the Bible: “For a certainty I perceive that God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.”—Acts 10:34, 35.
God is a God of love. He did not create man and then favor one above the other because of his skin color. All have the same ancestor if we look back far enough. As Acts 17:26 says: “[God] made out of one man every nation of men, to dwell upon the entire surface of the earth.” All people have descended from the first human pair. Genesis 3:20 states: “After this Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she had to become the mother of everyone living.”
No, the colored races are not “cursed,” as some claim. This claim is a distortion of the account at Genesis 9:25, where a curse is pronounced on Canaan shortly after the global flood of Noah’s day. But Canaan’s offspring were not the colored peoples of Africa. Canaan’s descendants were white. So if the argument is to hold, then it was a “white race” that was cursed! But this is not so, for the Bible clearly shows that no peoples are under a special curse related to their skin color.
It would be well for no one to get arrogant about his ancestry. We all trace ourselves back to the first man Adam. He rebelled against God. What is there to brag about in that? His course of action brought great difficulty to all his offspring, the entire human family. “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men.” (Rom. 5:12) For this reason all need the redemption provided by Jesus Christ. He gave his life that those who serve Jehovah God from all nations might get everlasting life in God’s new system of things. As the Bible puts it: “For just as through the disobedience of the one man [Adam] many were constituted sinners, likewise also through the obedience of the one person [Jesus Christ] many will be constituted righteous.”—Rom. 5:19.
That God blesses those who humbly serve him, regardless of skin color, the Bible makes plain: “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for there is the same Lord over all, who is rich to all those calling upon him.” (Rom. 10:12) As God told a faithful Oriental man of ancient times: “By means of your seed all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves due to the fact that you have listened to my voice.” (Gen. 22:18) Later Bible writers confirmed this by adding: “ [God’s] will is that all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.” “I saw, and, look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, . . . crying with a loud voice, saying: ‘Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.’” Yes, God’s blessings in his new order will extend earth wide and will encompass persons who have been faithful to him no matter what their national origin or skin color.—1 Tim. 2:4; Rev. 7:9, 10.
THE BIBLE TO ENDURE
The Bible will endure. How can we be so sure? Because its author is Almighty God himself. “All Scripture is inspired of God.” (2 Tim. 3:16) How long will it endure? “The green grass has dried up, the blossom has withered; but as for the word of our God, it will last to time indefinite.” (Isa. 40:8) All the opposition, prejudice and misinformation leveled against God’s Word will not prevail, for he is its author and preserver. The fact that it has lasted thousands of years despite repeated, frenzied attempts to destroy it is eloquent testimony that God has preserved his Word in the past and will do so in the future.
Do not be misled by propaganda hurled against the Bible. It originates from Satan the Devil and his demons. It is this one “called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth.” (Rev. 12:9) He wants to discredit the Bible in order to turn people away from God. He does this through anti-God elements, as this article in the June 2, 1963, issue of the New York Times shows: “The chief organ of the Chinese Communist Party, Jenmin Jih Pao of Peking, appeared with a long editorial May 9 condemning the Bible and Christianity as tools used by the ‘exploiting class’ to undermine Marxism.”
The Bible is not a book to exploit anyone. Just the opposite is true. It is a book of freedom, designed to liberate from enslavement. It is not designed to serve people of just one particular skin color. It is no man’s book. It is God’s book.
One should take care not to try to justify his own selfish course by downgrading the Bible. Its standards are high, and it exposes hypocrisy and wickedness whether it comes from one whose skin is white or from one whose skin is colored. Realize that the bad that anyone does is noted by God, for he sees all: “The eyes of Jehovah are in every place, keeping watch upon the bad ones and the good ones.” (Prov. 15:3) He will hold bad ones accountable for their acts of injustice and he will bless those who love righteousness. His promise is: “Hope in Jehovah and keep his way, and he will exalt you to take possession of the earth. When the wicked ones are cut off, you will see it.”—Ps. 37:34.
No, the Bible is not a “white man’s book.” Do not permit false accusations against it to turn you from it, for that will deprive you of the benefits it was designed to bring you. The Bible can teach you the way to liberty; it can free you from enslavement to this old system of things; it can put you on the path that leads to eternal life. But to obtain these benefits you must listen to what it says. It is God’s book. It is for your benefit, no matter what your skin color is.