Today is the day set aside to remember the remarkable accomplishments of a life cut all too short, that of Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s the day we celebrate the peaceful movement started by Dr. King in an effort to use love to overcome senseless and unfounded hate. It is regrettable that we don’t have his voice actively ringing in our society’s ears today. What do you imagine he would say about the current condition of many cities? He wanted people to love each other for who they were on the inside, that part that each individual is responsible for and has full control over. And yet now we still have people on all sides of current issues focusing on the external part of a person, the part that they are not responsible for. In his famous speech, Dr. King longed for a time, not where no one was ever judged at all, but that the judgment be made on things that matter – on a person’s character, not on the trivial things that make no bearing on who a person is.
His words were a shining beacon of that time especially in how he broadcast them through the lens of love and not hate. He wanted there to be forgiveness on all sides. He wanted there to be equality of people, an idea that was first established in the Declaration of Independence. Only under that auspice was there even a hope for equality among all individuals because it stated: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” Ah, and here’s the connection. “Created” equal. What worldview would even allow for the hope of equality among people, men and women, educated and uneducated, black and white? Only under Christianity are those principles given.
Now, that may seem flawed given so many atheists, Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists may say that racial or gender discrimination is wrong. But they have no basis to form such an opinion if they are to be intellectually honest with their beliefs. They may decide for themselves that all people are created equal, but it is at direct odds with their worldview. For the Buddhist, Buddha originally refused to even allow women into the order of discipleship. Once he finally conceded to permit women, he created more rules for them to follow. Jews would often begin their prayers saying, “Thank you Lord that I am not a Gentile, slave, or woman.” Muslims treat women as property, denying them basic civil rights. They want to destroy anyone that has a different religious belief than them in accordance with the ninth chapter of the Quran to make them “objects of the sword.”
The real irony of belief though is found in the atheist. Because the atheist believes in only naturalism, then he must rely on evolution to achieve human life. In that respect, human life has no value anyway – not any more than a rock or a tree or a frog. The problem really comes down to whether evolution could have resulted in a moral value system that would even tell us that racial hatred is wrong. But evolution can’t do that. Mankind could not have ever received a sense of morality if it were left up to nature and evolution alone. Evolution would mandate that anything that progresses the species would be “good.” It means if rape or infanticide or racial discrimination progressed evolution, we could not declare it as wrong. There would be no evolutionary advantage to protect the disabled and elderly in our societies since they would be simply less fit to survive. Consider the reality of the mindset of the Nazi efforts to exterminate certain ethnicities. They were trying to cleanse the “lesser” species to promote the “fitter” species for survival. This was humankind enacting Darwinian evolution. If morality were simply a result of evolution, then those efforts would have to be applauded not condemned. It simply was aiding the survival of the fittest. Yet we unmistakably denounce those actions as evil. The same would have to be said for racial discrimination. Evolution would have to say that discriminating against a particular race for the benefit of the “human species” would be ok. Nothing from evolution could ever tell mankind that was wrong, yet we know that to be wrong.
Charles Darwin even said: “If men were reared under precisely the same conditions as hive-bees, there can hardly be a doubt that our unmarried females would, like the worker-bees, think it a sacred duty to kill their brothers, and mothers would strive to kill their fertile daughters; and no one would think of interfering.” Yet even the atheist should find issue with a society that condoned that behavior.
The reason why we know racial discrimination and hatred to be wrong, that our equality is “self-evident,” is because our morals come from a higher authority. It is because our morality was given to us by something outside of nature and mankind. It came from an ultimate moral authority, a Moral Law Giver, a God. And we see that it is within Christianity that the equality of the individual finally comes into focus, especially at a time when women were less than human and slavery was rampant – among all races. But Jesus showed mankind a different way. He showed love to the Jew and the Samaritan; He showed love to the tax collector and the fisherman; He showed love to the woman in sin and the man with leprosy. He looked over the crowds of men, women, and children and it broke His heart for them. Mark 6:34 “When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.” He saw not the different classifications of people, but He saw people dead in their sins.
Paul says in Galatians 3:21-29: “Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
The unification of people into loving one another without regard for skin color or ethnicity is that we are all united as sinners and enemies of God. And only through our faith in Christ are we then united again as sons of God through that faith. Only with Christianity is there neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, black nor white. Only under faith in Jesus and only from the moral law given to us by God can we truly be colorblind.
Jesus didn’t teach this way through a violent riotous protest. Jesus didn’t teach this way by enacting Roman legislature. Jesus taught it by teaching love and forgiveness. Only when people are able to love and forgive one another can we truly move beyond discrimination of any kind to see people for the content of their character and not for the color of their skin.