Is the bible racist?

Port

Ad Honorem
Feb 2013
2,090
portland maine
In the fourth book of the Torah Noses sister is angry at him for ignoring his wife and marrying a women from Cush. I have always thought that this women was provably an Ethiopian and black(?) I do not know if this can be called racism. I am curious if the bible has specific references that are racist or how it has been used by racist?
 

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
4,287
Caribbean
The Bible is a book or collection of books. I don't think a pile of bound paper ca be racist. Perhaps the attribute has to be associated or not associated with the author.
(Also, it depends on how you define racism).

Who made the races or nations?
Who separated them? and Why?
 

Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,279
here
The Bible is a book or collection of books.
Agreed.

You might find "racism," in Genesis, but maybe not in Psalms.

Having said that, the Hebrews are clearly the chosen people throughout the OT. So, in that sense, maybe the Bible is "racist." But I don't think one can seriously apply that term to a collection of books that were written in the ancient world.
 

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
3,047
Crows nest
Who made the races or nations?
Who separated them? and Why?
The Aten, though this probably comes originally from Atum.

Excerpt from the Great Hymn

The countries of Syria and Nubia, the land of Egypt, Thou settest every man in his place, Thou suppliest their necessities: Everyone has his food, and his time of life is reckoned. Their tongues are separate in speech, And their natures as well; Their skins are distinguished, As thou distinguishest the foreign peoples.
 
Jan 2019
297
Montreal, QC
As other posters have noted, the use of the word 'the Bible' is quite problematic, as it denies the nuance that is due to this subject. I'm going to assume that by Bible, you mean the compilation of 66 discrete (or 73, if you're a papist) books, written over hundreds of years. Of course, a wide variety of authors' work is represented in the whole, which explains many internal inconsistencies. When most people quote controversial verses from the Bible, they generally come from what we call the Old Testament, or the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible). When one examines the word Tanakh, within it we can see three separate Hebrew words: torah, meaning teaching; nevi'im, meaning prophets; and ketuvim, meaning writings. These different genres, of course, consist of different stories. We have creation narratives, instances of bewildering theophany, prophecy, apocalypses (see Daniel), and even quasi-erotic poetry (see Song of Solomon). When considering the literary contents of the Tanakh, we absolutely cannot divorce its contents from the context of its time. The verse in question concerns Miriam and Aaron taking trouble with the fact that Moses married a Cushite. They did complain that he married a woman that was not of their culture, but we can't take that and run with it, believing that it's an enduring theme throughout the rest of Numbers. Miriam and Aaron's bemoaning of Zipporah, however, was not the real focus of Numbers 12, which is the book that OP is referring to. Rather, it deals with the jealousy of the two aforementioned directed towards Moses, in all of his prophetical power. Here is the entirety of Numbers 12, emphasis mine:

While they were at Hazeroth, Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had indeed married a Cushite woman); 2 and they said, “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it. 3 Now the man Moses was very humble, more so than anyone else on the face of the earth. 4 Suddenly the Lord said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting.” So the three of them came out. 5 Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud, and stood at the entrance of the tent, and called Aaron and Miriam; and they both came forward. 6 And he said, “Hear my words:

When there are prophets among you,
I the Lord make myself known to them in visions;
I speak to them in dreams.
7 Not so with my servant Moses;
he is entrusted with all my house.
8 With him I speak face to face— clearly, not in riddles;
and he beholds the form of the Lord.
Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”
9 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and he departed.


10When the cloud went away from over the tent, Miriam had become leprous,as white as snow. And Aaron turned towards Miriam and saw that she was leprous. 11 Then Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, do not punish us for a sin that we have so foolishly committed. 12 Do not let her be like one stillborn, whose flesh is half consumed when it comes out of its mother’s womb.” 13 And Moses cried to the Lord, “O God, please heal her.” 14 But the Lord said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, would she not bear her shame for seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp for seven days, and after that she may be brought in again.” 15 So Miriam was shut out of the camp for seven days; and the people did not set out on the march until Miriam had been brought in again. 16 After that the people set out from Hazeroth, and camped in the wilderness of Paran.
What, then, can we deduce from the entirety of Numbers 12, rather than reading just 12:1 without any context? The complaints about Zipporah were secondary. They couched the real grievance of Miriam and Aaron: they were jealous of Moses' role. Even then, it is foolish to ask if the Bible is racist based upon this one instance. We cannot apply this theme to the rest of the Bible, let alone the rest of Numbers, based upon just one verse. Miriam and Aaron said something that was quite normal within their culture, that some of us may find repulsive today. But their issue with Zipporah isn't the main focus of this chapter. Rather, it is their envy of the relationship that Moses has with God.

Anyone can turn to the Bible to find justification for just about anything, in short. Does that mean it's right? Absolutely not. We need to understand each book of the Bible on its own, within its own context, and then explore their relationships with one another before we move on to trying to apply it to things contemporary.
 
Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
There's a difference between xenophobia and a dislike of outsiders or others as a general attitude, and racism, as in the belief that specific races are inferior to yours. Xenophobia of various sorts has existed since human beings first developed the ability to form tribes and think for themselves; racism is a relatively more modern concept. Just because the target of xenophobia is not of the same race as the person holding this attitude does not imply racism as the motivation. One can very easily be xenophobic while not being racist.
 
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Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
4,287
Caribbean
As other posters have noted, the use of the word 'the Bible' is quite problematic
I know what you mean, but I would not say the Bible is problematic. It's people and their incompatibility with rules that are problematic. Ever hear of a guy named Adam? One rule was one too many.

by Bible, you mean the compilation of 66 discrete (or 73, if you're a papist)
Again, I know what you mean, but "a Papist" does use rely on books. He relies on the Papa. lol. Otherwise, you would never have a heard of Martin Luther.

There's a difference between xenophobia and a dislike of outsiders or others as a general attitude, and racism, as in the belief that specific races are inferior to yours. Xenophobia of various sorts has existed since human beings first developed the ability to form tribes and think for themselves; racism is a relatively more modern concept. Just because the target of xenophobia is not of the same race as the person holding this attitude does not imply racism as the motivation. One can very easily be xenophobic while not being racist.
I would say over the course of my life there has been a substantial movement toward several things. One of them is reductio ad absurdum, Almost everything white people think or say is a called an "ism" or a "phobia. . Whose idea was that?

------
Biblically speaking, people should be proud of who and what they are. That's how God made you.
There are significant aspects of racial consciousness in the Bible. But if you speak of that too approvingly, it's probably an "ism" or "phobia."



'
 
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Edratman

Forum Staff
Feb 2009
6,701
Eastern PA
I doubt that you could find a single virtue or sin in the entire catalog of human traits that is not in one place supported and elsewhere condemned in the Bible.