What Does the Bible Say About Critical Race Theory?

September 19, 2023

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Today's question says, "On your March 9th podcast, you compared and contrasted critical race theory with the Bible. I listened to that area twice, and I'm pretty sure you were saying that CRT doesn't align with the Bible. It wasn't quite clear though. I don't think it aligns with the Bible. Where do you stand?" Listen as Elizabeth Urbanowicz models a process that we can take our children through any time we are having them evaluate some idea that they're presented with in culture and to see how it aligns with Scripture.


Note: The following is an auto-transcript of the podcast recording.

Hello friends, and welcome to another episode of the Foundation Worldview Podcast where we seek to answer your questions so that you can equip the children that God has placed in your care to carefully evaluate every idea they encounter and understand the truth of the biblical worldview. I'm your host, Elizabeth Urbanowicz, and I'm thrilled that you've joined me for another episode today. Today's question says, "On your March 9th podcast, you compared and contrasted critical race theory with the Bible. I listened to that area twice, and I'm pretty sure you were saying that CRT doesn't align with the Bible. It wasn't quite clear though. I don't think it aligns with the Bible. Where do you stand?" Good question. And if that was not clear, what I thought, I apologize because that should have been clear in the episode.

Before we dive down deep into answering this question, I would ask that if you found the content of this podcast beneficial, make sure you like and subscribes that you never miss a future episode, and would also ask that you would invest the time in writing a review so that more people can find this content and we can equip as many Christian adults as possible to get the kids in their care thinking critically and biblically.

Now, the purpose of that March 9th podcast was to model how to train our children to evaluate competing worldviews. So I included critical race theory in there as a competing worldview and how we should evaluate it, but I did that very briefly. I probably only took about two minutes to do that. So what I'm going to do in this podcast is rather than simply just stating what my beliefs are regarding critical race theory and its compatibility or incompatibility with scripture, I'm going to model for you a process that I think we should take our children through any time we are having them evaluate some idea that they're presented with in culture.

So I think that there's three questions that we should have our kids ask and that we should walk through with them. And the first question is, what is this belief according to those who founded it? Because anytime we're talking about a worldview belief, we want to know what are the actual teachings of this worldview? For those of us who are rooted in the biblical worldview, we know that not everyone who claims the name of Christ actually holds or lives out the teachings of scripture. And I don't know about you, but I want the Christian Worldview to be evaluated based on what the Bible actually teaches, not based on what one person who claims they're a Christian says or does or lives out, that Christianity is rooted in scripture and we want to give that same courtesy to those who hold to other worldviews. So what is this belief according to those who founded it?

Second question is, are there ways in which these beliefs align with scripture? So is there any ways that this Worldview aligns with scripture?

And then the third question, are there any ways in which these beliefs contradict scripture? First, what is this belief according to those who founded? Are there any ways in which these beliefs align with scripture? Third, are there any ways in which these beliefs contradict scripture? So first, what is this belief according to those who founded it? So if you are working with kids, this is a process that would take a week or multiple weeks. I'm going to summarize it for you in under 20 minutes hopefully. But just know that if I was going through this with kids, it would take multiple days to go through this process. So the first thing I would recommend is just start researching with your kids what critical race theory is. And don't just Google what is critical race theory and then click on the first thing that pops up. Actually go to an academic institution or like encyclopedia company. If you can get primary sources from people who founded or first started critical race theory, that's even better.

Now, in this 20 minute podcast, I don't have time to go in depth through any documents of what critical race theory actually is, but I just pulled up a definition for us from Encyclopedia Britannica that just summarizes what critical race theory is. And I'll read that definition and then modify what I would do if I was working with kids. So according to Encyclopedia Britannica critical race theory is the intellectual and social movement and loosely organized framework of legal analysis based on the premise that race is not a natural biologically grounded feature of physically distinct subgroups of human beings, but a socially constructed, culturally invented category that is used to express to oppress and exploit people of color. Critical race theorists hold that racism is inherent in the law and legal institutions of the United States in so far as they function to create and maintain social, economic and political inequalities between whites and non-whites, especially African-Americans.

Critical race theorists are generally dedicated to applying their understanding of the institutional or structural nature of racism to the concrete goal of eliminating all race-based and other unjust hierarchies. Now, I know that was a lot to listen to. I have it in front of me in my notes, but for those of you listening or watching, you don't have that definition in front of you. So if you'd like to hear it again, just go Google what is critical race theory Encyclopedia Britannica, and you can pull up this definition. So what I do is I would actually look up this definition with the kids in my care. We'd read through it, we'd talk through some of the words they don't know. I would probably print out a copy for them so that they could highlight some of the keywords. And then I would say, okay, if we had to pull out what you think are the most important features in this definition of critical race theory, what are they?

And talk through that. You can have them actually circle them on the page. You can write them down. And so I think after reading through that, there are three main features. One is that race is a social construct created to oppress and exploit people of color. Second, racism is embedded in the law and legal institutions of the United States. And three, all race-based and unjust hierarchies must be eliminated. So race is a social construct. Racism is embedded in the law and legal institutions of the US and all race-based and unjust hierarchies must be eliminated. Okay, so that was the first question. And again, if I was working on this with kids, I would take multiple days to do this. I'm modeling this for you in just a few minutes. So that was the question, what is this belief according to those who founded it? The second question I would go through with them is are there any ways in which these beliefs align with scripture?

So that's where I'd want to talk with kids and say, "Hmm, can you think of any ways in which these beliefs might align with scripture?" But make sure you have some scriptures to show that this actually aligns with scripture. Now, if you're working with kids 10 on up who have, maybe they've gone through our Studying the Bible Curriculum or they're very familiar with scripture and they know how to look things up, you can have them actually do this research on their own. If not, you can have some passages of scripture prepared ahead of time for them to read. And so if I was doing with kids, I would have them read through all of Genesis one and just talk through, "okay, what truths do we find revealed in this passage that God is the creator? Where did humans come from Adam, that all humans come from Adam?"

And then say, "Hmm, interesting. So does that align with critical race theory or contradict it?" Well, it kind of almost aligns with critical race theory because that definition that we read said that race is a social construct, that it's not actually real, that humans, it says race is not a natural, biologically grounded feature of physically distinct subgroups of human beings, but a socially constructed category. And saying, "Hmm, interesting. So this verse saying that all have come from Adam." Then you can take your kids to Acts 17 and verses 24 through 27 and Acts 17 says, "the God who made the world and everything in it being Lord of heaven and earth does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands as though he needed anything. Since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth having determined allotted periods in the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him, yet he's actually not far from each of us."

Then ask the kids you're working with, "Okay, what does this first say? Or sorry, this passage. This passage says that God made all humans through Adam, all humans come through Adam. So is there such a thing as race? Are there different groups of humans that are actually biologically different? They came from different ancestors? No, we all come from Adam." So we can agree with critical race theory that yes, race is a social construct. If your kids have already gone through a science class where they've learned about Darwin, it's from Darwinism that this idea of races actually stems. That's why one of the reasons people were so excited when Darwin was doing the work that he was doing, because it gave justification for the transatlantic slave trade that there was subgroups of humans that needed to actually be oppressed and enslaved. So we can wholeheartedly agree.

Scripture wholeheartedly agrees with critical race theory that race is a social construct. We might have different ethnicities, but there's no such thing as different races. The next thing that I would try to have kids see is that God does want us to seek justice as a way of loving our neighbor. I think when we read through the definition of critical race theory, we can agree that the Bible does want us to seek justice, that that's way, a way we love God through loving our neighbor. And two good passages to have kids go through first, Matthew 22, 34, 40 says, but when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, attest him, teacher, which is the greatest commandment of the law, and he said to him, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself on these two commandments, depend all the law and the prophets. Then ask our kids, okay, so what is God saying here? What is God saying that we are to do? First we're to love God and then we're to love others. That summarizes the entire law that God gave his people back when he was developing the mosaic covenant with them. So God wants us to love him and love others, and part of loving others means treating them as God wants them to be treated. Another passage to take kids to is Micah chapter six, verses six through eight, which reads, with what shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings with calves a year old?

Will the Lord be pleased with a thousand of rams or 10 thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body, for the sin of my soul? He has told you, oh man, what is good and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God. So then to ask our kids, okay, what is God saying that he desires in this passage? Okay, more than burnt offerings and oil offerings, fragrant offerings, God wants his people to do justice, to love and to walk with humility. And so we can have our kids summarize these passages and say, okay, pull out the main points in each of them first to love God and love our neighbor, then to show our love for God by doing justice, by loving others and walking humbly with God and say, okay, so there are some similarities.

There are some things that we can agree with as Christians with critical race theory. However, are there any ways in which these beliefs contradict scripture? And yes, there are many ways. My conclusion, if it was not clear from the last podcast as you're going to see right now, I'm going to say that we cannot adopt the critical theory framework as our Worldview because of the many ways in which it contradicts scripture that yes, we can affirm, okay, these things about critical race theory are good. However, the framework as a whole does not align with the biblical Worldview. So the first thing I would ask kids to say, okay, so critical race theory talks a lot about racism in what we read. Have we figured out how critical race theorists define racism? And that's important. We want our kids to get used to asking the question, how is this person using this word?

Because a lot depends on how a person is using this word. So we want to train our kids over and over and over and over and over and over and over to ask, how is this word being defined? Again in this 20 minute podcast, I don't have time to dive down into the original sources. So what I would encourage you to do with the kids, God is placed in your care, is to actually look for those who founded critical race theory according to critical race theory. How is racism defined? And so actually find some primary sources, read through them with your kids, print them off, have them highlight and circle so that they're learning how to do research. So when you dive down into what critical race theory teaches on racism, racism is defined in many sources as any act of whiteness. Those of you who are listening, you can't just see that my fingers went up for air quotes for whiteness.

And so there are many documents out there documenting different people's opinions of what whiteness is. And so many of you may be familiar with the document that came out from the Smithsonian Institute in 2020 that outlined things that are included in whiteness. And so some of the things that they included are things that we would say, is this really a white culture thing or is this just something that God has commanded us to do? Things that are included according to the Smithsonian Institute in whiteness, some of those things are the nuclear family, having a mom and dad and children. Another thing is objective, rational thinking. The belief that hard work is the key to success, respect for authority, planning for the future, being polite. Now, if we look into the Bible, all of these things, the structure of the nuclear family, using our minds well, to think, understanding that hard work is necessary, respecting the authority structures that God has in place, being wise in planning to a certain degree for the future, treating others with kindness.

These are not things that are valued by white culture alone. There are things that are valued by God because as with any culture, there's going to be things about that culture that honor God and things about that culture that are sinful and need to be critiqued. And so there are things about us culture right now that are sinful and need to be critiqued. But these things that are being critiqued that I just mentioned, that are being counted as whiteness, these are things that are actually mentioned in scripture. Now, these things may be expressed differently. How you respect an authority figure in the US is different than how you respect an authority figure in Japan, the different cultural things that are in place. However, respecting authority is something that God commands us to because these things are rooted in the character and nature of God. Okay?

Another thing that we can talk, well, we can talk through with our kids is then say, okay, so what do we learn here according to this view of racism? Does this align with the things of God? And so hopefully they will come to the conclusion and we want to guide them to the conclusion that we can agree that treating someone differently because of the color of their skin, their ethnic background, or their culture is objectively, morally wrong. That is partiality which we are directly commanded against in scripture. So we can agree that yes, okay, partiality is wrong. However, we cannot agree in totality with critical race theory's definition of racism because they're defining racism in a way that is not in a line with scripture. So once we looked at, okay, how do they define racism? Then we want to look at, okay, another key term is the term justice.

How does critical race theory define justice? And again, this is something I would encourage you find primary sources with your kids, print them off. If they're online, have them circle and highlight, read together, talk through the different words, have them summarize what they learned. Now, as you dive down into the literature, what you'll discover is in literature that's written from the perspective of critical race theory, justice is most often described as equity rather than equality. Now, equality, what equality is, is equality. Is everyone receiving the same treatment for us, treating everyone as with respect us, treating everyone as if they're an image bearer of the holy God because they are treating everyone with kindness, treating everyone with dignity. Equity is everyone receiving the same outcome? So equality would be a teacher showing love to all of her students, providing support for them as they're learning the curriculum.

Equity is not just treating others fairly, but actually having everyone have the same outcome. So every single student in the classroom would need to receive the same grade. Or if you're in an art class, every single student would need to produce a piece, the same exact piece of art. God, throughout the Bible is all about equality, that we as humans are an equal standing before him. We are all image bearers of the holy God, and no one can take away our value as image bearers. We are also equal because we are all fallen and affected by sin. But the Bible does not support equity that everyone receives the same outcome. I mean, even thinking about that God is all about unity amidst diversity, that we are going to have different outcomes because we're gifted in different ways, and that's a good thing. That's a way that provides human, it leads to human flourishing.

So equality supported by the Bible, equity not another thing is according to critical race theory, justice equals the oppressed being able to overthrow the oppressor. So there's no way for there to be equality for racism to be overthrown unless the oppressed is overthrown. And this stems back to Marxism because this is the Worldview that critical race theory ultimately stems from. And so we think about, okay, in scripture, does God talk about just fighting back against any authority figure or against anyone who's in oppression? God is about liberty for the captives. So yes, when there was things like the antebellum slavery in the us, yes, that was biblical to overthrow that, but do we need anyone who has had some form of harm in their life to trample down on the backs of their oppressors? Well, we don't see that in scripture. So again, we'd want to have our kids summarize these differences.

So once they have summarized, okay, what is this theory according to those who founded it, then what, if any, are some of the ways that this theory aligns with scripture? What, if any, are ways this theory does not align with scripture? Then what we want to have them do is we want to have them summarize a conclusion. So after we have researched what this theory is, ways it aligns with scripture, ways it doesn't align with scripture, can we say that this Worldview is compatible with the biblical worldview? So I think a good way to summarize this from what we've already seen is that scripture agrees with critical race theory claims that racism is a social construct and that injustice is something that needs to be right. Those are ways in which scripture and critical race theory align. However, scripture contradicts critical race theory with the diagnosis of the problem.

What is the main problem? Its definition of key terms such as racism and justice and its solution. So therefore, Christianity and critical race theory are incompatible. And so this is just a model that I think we can apply to any situation in which our kids are confronted with an alternate Worldview and this process. You might have listened to this podcast and thought, oh my goodness, Elizabeth, this is a long process. Yes, it is. That we want our kids to have a deeply rooted faith. If we want them just to have a surface level faith where they have roots that only go down an inch deep and they're going to blow over in the first storm or the first alternate Worldview they're confronted with, then we can just go through things really quickly and their roots are only going to be shallow surface level roots. But if we want them to have roots that go down deep into God's word and understanding why they can firmly plant their feet on the truth of God's word, it's going to take time investment.

Now, if you watch me go through this process of evaluating and you're thinking, I want to be able to do this with my kids, but I don't think I can do it on my own, highly recommend that you check out our Comparative Worldview Curriculum for kids eight on up and our Careful Thinking Curriculum for kids 10 on up, because those materials really systematically take kids through evaluating different worldviews in a way that I just described.

Well, that's a wrap for today's episode, but as always, as we leave our time together, my prayer for you is that no matter the situation in which you and the children God has placed in your care, find yourself, you would trust that God is working all things together for your good by using all things to conform you more into the image of His son. I'll see you next time.

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