A Refutation of Hatred
A guide on beating Christian racists with their own book
Recently, I have had a heated discussion or two with people who claim that the Bible justifies their hate.
In one circumstance, this went so far as a grown man frightening a child by telling him that “God will send you to hell” for not hating the same people for the same reasons he did.
In this specific instance, the child was being told that he wasn’t to associate with people of darker skin, because “God has cursed them.”
When you fall this deep down the rabbit hole, it never suffices to simply tell someone that the book could be wrong, or that times are changed from when it was written… or any of the other arguments I have used in the past.
No, this person believes so wholly in the Book, that the only way to combat their hatred and ignorance is to show them that the book itself condemns it.
So, let’s start simply, shall we?
God doesn’t care about race. And I can prove it.
(Acts 10:34-35) . . .At this Peter opened his mouth and said: “For a certainty I perceive that God is not partial, 35 but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.
(Romans 2:11) For there is no partiality with God.
(Galatians 2:6) But on the part of those who seemed to be something—whatever sort of men they formerly were makes no difference to me—God does not go by a man’s outward appearance—to me, in fact, those outstanding men imparted nothing new.
Those words are from the same book that is supposedly condoning their hatred.
There is no simpler way to prove that a person’s outward appearance means nothing before the LORD.
But the problem goes deeper than this. Growing up in the Mormon church, I heard this rhetoric early, and I’ve since heard it espoused by people of other protestant faiths as well: “Black people are cursed by God for ______.”
I’ve heard two different curses referenced. The ‘Mark of Cain’ and the ‘Curse of Ham.’
We’ll address these one at a time, starting first with Cain.
The ‘Mark’ or ‘Sign’ of Cain was a mark, believed to be visible, placed upon Cain after he slew his brother Abel, so that no one would kill Cain while he lived out the penance for his sin.
I will quote the text in question, to save anyone the trouble of looking it up, themselves.
Genesis 4:11-16 21st Century King James Version
11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand.
12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength. A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be on the earth.”
13 And Cain said unto the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear.
14 Behold, Thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth, and from Thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth. And it shall come to pass that every one who findeth me shall slay me.”
15 And the Lord said unto him, “Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
16 And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod to the east of Eden.
Notice how not once does it mention black skin.
The curse is ill-defined, but they do not state that black skin was the curse. Most ancient sources believed it was a Hebrew letter placed either upon the brow or arm.
Whatever the mark was, they do not mention it. To assume that this mark would be dark skin seems a hollow excuse to justify hatred against those with darkened skin, implying they are descendants of murderers.
Also, early church father Origen made the very logical point that all of Cain’s descendants would have perished in the Flood, so no living person could be descended from Cain anyway, further invalidating this theory.
Now we’ll focus on Ham.
Ham was the son of Noah, and he had a son named Canaan.
One day, Ham beheld Noah passed out drunk and nude, and went and told his brothers, who, walking backwards that they wouldn’t see him nude, covered Noah’s nakedness.
When Noah awoke, noticing that someone had covered him, and thus had seen him naked, he cursed Canaan, son of Ham, that his descendents should be forever servants of his two uncles’ descendants.
Again, I will quote the text.
Genesis 9:20-27 21st Century King James Version (KJ21)
20 And Noah began to be a husbandman, and he planted a vineyard.
21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brethren outside.
23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.
24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
25 And he said, “Cursed be Canaan! A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.”
26 And he said, “Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.”
This passage has been debated and controversial for over 2000 years.
What did Ham do wrong? Why was Canaan cursed for his father seeing his grandad naked? What had Ham even done that was wrong?
This passage exists only to justify the subjection of the Canaanites to the Israelites. It exists, yes, as a justification for enslaving an entire people. But what it emphatically does not do is state that anyone’s skin was darkened. That assertion is plainly false.
The Bible nowhere mentions darkening of the skin as a permanent curse placed upon a race of people. It simply doesn’t. These beliefs were not even particularly common until the 19th century, during the height of slavery and the abolition movements in America.
So not only are they not in the Book, they’re not even ancient! These are relatively recent additions to the Word, done so only to justify the slavery of an entire race of people. And that is a sickening perversion of a faith whose adherents wish to be known for their love and charity.
And so I’ll finish by quoting Proverbs 30:6;
Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.
Just a quick note, I thought that some of my Mormon family and acquaintances might appreciate the following quote, taken in whole from Wikipedia:
Like many Americans of the era, Mormons of the 19th century commonly assumed that Cain's "mark" was black skin, and that Cain's descendants were black and still under Cain's mark.Mormonism began during the height of white Protestant acceptance of the curse of Cain doctrine in America, as well as the even more popular curse of Ham doctrine, which was even held by many abolitionists of the time.This belief seemed to be confirmed by a scriptural passage in the Book of Abraham which suggested that Cain's bloodline was preserved on the ark through Egyptus, wife of Ham, (an interpretation now rejected by the LDS Church). While Joseph Smith indicated his belief in the curse of Ham theory in a parenthetical reference as early as 1831, the only early reference to the curse or mark of Cain was in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, which included the following statement:
And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them.
There is evidence that Joseph Smith did not consider the restriction between blacks and the priesthood to be relevant in modern times, since he himself (and other church leaders close to him) did ordain black men to the priesthood, notably Elijah Abel and Walker Lewis.
References and Further Reading