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Jesus Was Not Colorblind: Racial Slurs and the Syrophoenician Woman
David Henson

Was Jesus a racist?

This might be an uncomfortable question for Christians to ask, but, given this week’s lectionary text, I think it’s one we must ask. And we must ask it unvarnished.

Our immediate response likely is, “Of course not! Jesus couldn’t possibly have been racist!” But Jesus’ exchange with the Syrophoenician woman seems to tell a different story. In it, Jesus calls the woman, who was desperate for a miracle for her child, a dog, a dehumanizing ethnic slur common at the time. No matter what theological tap dance we might create to avoid this uncomfortable truth, eventually, we have to face this stark truth.

Jesus uttered a racial slur.

#Christianity   #Mark   #Jesus   #Lord   #Christ   #Racism   #women   #Bible   #apologetics  
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Sergio Blanco's profile photoKeegan West's profile photoDaniel Hussey's profile photo
6 comments
 
Agreed, stays in your mind for a bit as well!
 
Funny you say that. I was reading the whole article over again just now since it's been on my mind all day.
 
For the record, Jesus was not a racist. To read racism into this passage is to misunderstand Jesus' intent with the Syrophoenician woman. By using such degrading language with the woman Jesus is testing her faith, and quite mildly at that. You may recall God calling on Abraham in Genesis 22 to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, as a testament to Abraham's faith. God, in His grace and mercy, spared Isaac, as Abraham proved undoubtedly that he feared God. This is why I say that the test of faith that Jesus presented to the woman was relatively mild when measured against the test of faith endured by Abraham. The fact that the Syrophoenician woman neither took offense (as far as the scripture reads), nor verbally retaliated was enough for Jesus to deem her faithful, and reward her by ridding her daughter of the demon. Yet another fine example of God's grace.

Racist - unequivocally not. Demanding of us to prove our faith - certainly. The real question we should be asking here is would one of us pass such a test? Or would we be pridefully offended, and continue in self love?

God is good.

#Apologetics   #God   #Racism   #Jesus   #Syrophoenician   #Christianity  
 
Great response Daniel! You should think about posting a similar one on the forum that has grown at the bottom of the original article as the author seems quite willing to respond to criticisms, it would be interesting to see what the author thinks. I think though that the author did try to say that Jesus wasn't significantly intentionally racist but rather simply caught up in the Jewish lingo of the day? Or have I just tried to soften what he tries to say??:s I definitely can see how we can use this as a way of showing God's grace as you say. 
 
Agreed, Daniel you should post it on the form I would love to hear what the authors response would be. Keegan, I think what he was trying to say is that Jesus was caught up in the Jewish racism going on back then and that she changed his mind with her response.
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