By this definition, racism exists in many parts of the world in some form or fashion and is woven into the fabric of everyday life. Counter to the exclusion and alienation of racism, Christianity promotes love, peace, and goodwill. It is based on the divine. However, the Bible points out that we are born sinners and despite our best efforts to be Christ-like, we will sin. It also points out that there are those who do not believe in the word of God. Therefore, racism in Christianity developed and continues to exist because humankind is flawed.
The word of God does not condone racism in Christianity. However, Christianity has been used to justify unthinkable acts of cruelty, abuse, and denigration against humankind. For instance, during the time of slavery in the United States many "Christians" justified the dehumanization of black Africans by believing and promoting the idea that they were the descendents of Ham, who had been cursed (supposedly) by his father Noah. This is not correct. It was Canaan, Ham's son, who was cursed (Genesis 9:18, 25, 10:6). In Genesis 9:25, Noah said: "Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers." Furthermore, Canaan's descendants most likely had mid-brown skin (Genesis 10:15-19) and not dark brown or black skin.
The Bible is full of examples that refute the very notion that racism in Christianity is acceptable. For instance, in Matthew 22:39, Jesus says, "...love your neighbor as yourself." Such statements show that Jesus promoted love, peace, and harmony the very opposite of the misery, discord, and hatred that racism creates.
The story of the Good Samaritan is also an example of how Jesus made it clear that racism in Christianity is not condoned. The story takes place in the first century when Jews and Samaritans were embroiled in a bitter feud. Geography, race, and religion divided them and they hated each other. Jews thought of the Samaritans as "racial 'half-breeds.'" The Samaritans were equally as hostile to Jews; therefore, many Jews went out of their way to bypass Samaria when travelling. At some point in time, a Jewish lawyer asked Jesus who was his neighbor. Jesus was Jewish but had no problem befriending Samaritans. To answer his question, Jesus told the lawyer the story of the Good Samaritan: A Jewish traveler was attacked and beaten nearly to death. Two Jewish leaders passed by the injured man and made no attempts to help him. However, a Samaritan stopped to help the dying man - his cultural enemy - by bandaging his wounds, taking him to an inn, and paying for his care.
How can we begin to eradicate racism from Christianity? Christians must look deep within their hearts to find the Christ-like place within and honestly examine their ideas about racism and Christianity. They must commune with God to gain a greater understanding of the role Christians play in promoting and perpetuating racism in Christianity.