OPINION: Racial Misconceptions of Christianity      

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What we know or could easily learn about Christianity

The facts and realities below are not listed in any particular order of importance. They are also not listed in topical order. Yet, they are things that one can easily come to know or verify.

The vast majority of the people and tribes mentioned in the writings that are accepted as books of the Holy Bible are of African descent. Europe was largely unknown at the time. For decades most honest and credible anthropologists have found that the earliest humans evolved in Africa. They have found that many of these early Africans migrated from Africa to the Arabian Peninsula and then to other areas of Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

At the time that the Old Testament was written, Egypt, Ethiopia, and other African civilizations were thriving, while most of Europe was still what modern Westerners described as “barbaric, savage, or uncivilized.” It was only by the time of the writing of the New Testament that the Europeans mastered the necessary technology to travel to Timbuktu in Mali, Memphis and Thebes in Egypt and other centers of learning at that time. It is then that one meets the Romans, who were at best only a mixture of African and European. So yes, Pontius Pilate may have been white, but the vast majority of the Biblical characters were Black.

Much of what has been preserved as the Ten Commandments had existed as the moral codes of the Egyptians and other Africans during the same ancient period. It was believed that when an Egyptian died, he/she would be judged on the basis of “the Negative Confession” as being worthy or unworthy of a blessed after-life. Likewise, although it is seldom discussed, an Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaton is the first recorded person to ascribe to monotheism. There are still other ideas that were prominent in the Christian faith or theology that existed in ancient Africa. 

This should not be surprising because, as quietly as it is kept, the Holy Bible is an African book, based upon African literature and philosophy. It was different only in the sense that one tribe, the Israelites, collected many of these writings together as one book, which Christians now call the Old Testament.

From the beginning of the Christian era until the early 300s A.D., the Christian movement spread from Africa and the Fertile Crescent throughout the region, including southern Europe. Many of its leaders were of African descent.

Once the Roman rulers adopted and gained control of the Christian movement, in the 300s, the writings of the Christians were collected, named the New Testament, and joined with the Old Testament to form the Holy Bible. Under the control of the Europeans, the influence of African Christians waned; many other Christians were not made aware of the leadership and heroics of such African saints and leaders as St. Victor, St. Augustine, St. Monica, and St. Cyprian; new creeds and organizational patterns established; European liturgical expressions became dominant; and a European image of Jesus emerged.

By the time that the Europeans “discovered” the Americans and colonized Africa and the Americas, the racialization of the world’s people had begun. Africans and Arabs were considered as “heathens, savages, or infidels.” They were not only stereotyped and oppressed. Even much of what was written about them in the Bible was negatively re-interpreted. The Europeanizing process has continued so that today, many people, Black and white, think that Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were somehow Europeans, that Black people are cursed descendants of Moses, that only white patterns of worship are genuinely Christian, and that Christianity is a creation of white people.

 On the contrary, however, the facts and realities are easy to know and verify. To many atheists, agnostics, and other non-Christians these facts do not matter because they feel that the entire Christian philosophy is false and/or a waste of time and resources. Many white supremacists and white nationalists cling to and promote the myths referenced above because they help support their belief-system and agenda. Perhaps, the majority of the American people, Black and white, refuse to consider these truths and realities because racism or the propaganda of white supremacy has become so entrenched that whatever these white leaders teach is accepted as “the gospel truth.” 

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OPINION: Racial Misconceptions of Christianity      

By Dr. Ivory Phillips
September 25, 2023