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When did Christianity become "White"?:

I've been reading history books lately, and there's a topic that keeps coming up from foundation of U.S.A. to slavery and expansionism and all. And the topic that I keep reading is something along the lines of "protecting and proclaiming the growth of a white Christian culture" or its variants.

I don't get that. Christianity isn't white, it's middle eastern. And this keeps showing up in history to, for example, promote racism. Even now the two are merged for politics (whether I agree with a particular issue or not, I don't like this mix because it gives it a bad name). When did this happen.

edited 26th Aug '11 8:17:29 PM by abstractematics

Now using Trivialis handle.
 2 KCK, Fri, 26th Aug '11 8:17:56 PM from In your closet
Can I KCK it?
When Constantinople introduced Christianity to Rome.
There's no justice in the world and there never was~
 3 USAF713, Fri, 26th Aug '11 8:19:37 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
The original immigrants to America came in two racial-ethnic flavors, generally and of the majority of cases, and two political positions, mostly speaking: white or black, and Only in It for the Money or to be The Moral Substitute.

From these two ethnic groups and socioeconomic/political positions, we get the South and the North, with the West being bred as its own kind of thing later by the expansionist, individualist spirit there...
I am now known as Flyboy.
 4 Totemic Hero, Fri, 26th Aug '11 8:19:59 PM from the next level Relationship Status: Abstaining
Mild panic
[up][up] And then Rome cut Constantinople off (the Roman Catholic - Greek Orthodox split). And history since then has conspired to make Christianity a thing centered around Rome.

edited 26th Aug '11 8:20:17 PM by TotemicHero

"These days they have a stat for how many times a guy goes for a cup of coffee." -Mark McGwire
What KCK said. And the primary people who spread it afterwards were the colonialists, who were generally "white".

Of course, it's hardly an exclusive thing at all. Religion and race are two different axis.
 
Chaotic New Troll
I remember reading a section in the book Sophie's World which mentioned Christianity and how it differed form other Abrahamic religions.

Basically, Indo-European culture (including Rome) always put a great emphasis on sight. Visual representations of deities were (are?) quite common.

This contrasted greatly with Semitic culture, which put a greater emphasis on hearing. (i.e., "Thus SAITH the Lord, " "Hear, O Israel!" etc.) Visual representations of God in Judaism is nonexistent. (In fact, devout Jews write God's name as G-d, and refer to him by another title in conversation so as not to refer to him directly.) Visual representations of God or the prophets in synagogues are nowhere to be found.

So when Christianity, which originally sprang up as an offshoot of Judaism, got to Rome, it had quite a bit of cultural revision to go through before it would be accepted by the masses. So in a sense, Christianity is more of an European religion than a Semitic religion.
 7 The Earth Sheep, Fri, 26th Aug '11 8:30:02 PM from a Pasture hexagon
Christmas Sheep
Timeline that may help:

  • Judaism founded somewhere in the Middle East
  • Judaism proliferates, spreads around Mediterranean sea.
  • Christ born in Middle East
  • Converts people to a new religion, with a new law transcending the Law of Moses, dies.
  • Other missionaries spread it, especially Paul, who goes on three famous missions, chiefly in Macedonia, Asia (what we now call Turkey), Greece, and Rome.
  • A couple hundred years pass, Christianity very much in the minority, Rome's state religion is Roman Paganism.
  • Constantine is leader of Rome, converts it to Christianity.
  • Rome falls, but Christianity persists, spreads throughout feudal Europe.
  • Europe ascends and stuff.

Note: Europe is primarily inhabited by Caucasians.

  • Europe colonizes the rest of the world, taking Christianity with it.
  • U.S. break off of Europe, keeping Christianity around. (To this day, even. Over fifty percent of American voters say they would not vote for a non-Christian)

So basically Europe = White = Christianity.

(Christianity only really subsists otherwise in the Byzantine empire, which breaks off and becomes Orthodox, but the remnants of the Byzantine empire are also pretty much white.)

Did this help? I think it might have been needlessly complicated.
Still Sheepin'
 8 USAF713, Fri, 26th Aug '11 8:33:17 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
(To this day, even. Over fifty percent of American voters say they would not vote for a non-Christian)

Depends on how the question is phrased, really.

If the OP is asking, "why is Christianity so heavily associated with 'white' in the US, " that's because of slavery and segregation and whatnot. Slavery was actually a big battle between two different kinds of religious thinking. One was the heir to the Puritan throne (in the North) which sought to end slavery in order to "purify" the US, while the other was a more Evangelical-type faith (in the South) which thought that faith could "save" the slaves, but only if they stayed in bondage and were therefore forced to receive the teachings.

Today, these each manifest as, respectively, religious fundamentalists, and television evangelical bible-quote mongers.

If you want to know why white = Christian around the world, I think it's been effectively answered...
I am now known as Flyboy.
 9 The Earth Sheep, Fri, 26th Aug '11 8:35:28 PM from a Pasture hexagon
Christmas Sheep
Oh, fun fact, ever since the colonization of Africa in the late 19th/early 20th century, a large amount of Africans are Pentecostal Christian. It's actually quite common there. So it isn't limited to whites.
Still Sheepin'
 10 Tzetze, Fri, 26th Aug '11 8:35:54 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
DUMB
(Christianity only really subsists otherwise in the Byzantine empire, which breaks off and becomes Orthodox, but the remnants of the Byzantine empire are also pretty much white.)

There's also the Ethiopian church, some Indian ones, etc.
 11 The Earth Sheep, Fri, 26th Aug '11 8:38:11 PM from a Pasture hexagon
Christmas Sheep
[up] I mentioned Africa, and Indian christians are also quite the minority, if I remember correctly.
Still Sheepin'
 12 USAF713, Fri, 26th Aug '11 8:38:44 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
Oh, fun fact, ever since the colonization of Africa in the late 19th/early 20th century, a large amount of Africans are Pentecostal Christian. It's actually quite common there. So it isn't limited to whites.

Look at the way I described the battle of ideals up there. Neither side actually cared about the blacks. It was all for their own personal gain. The slaves were a means to an end.

In the grand scheme of things, the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant controls the US Government. This will likely remain so for a very long time. The only thing I see really changing is the "Protestant" bit, in the short-term. I can imagine other denominations of Christianity getting in, before eventually other relations, then atheism. Although it's more likely for black Christians of either gender to have power before an atheist or Muslim of any race or gender...

edited 26th Aug '11 8:40:35 PM by USAF713

I am now known as Flyboy.
 13 The Earth Sheep, Fri, 26th Aug '11 8:45:04 PM from a Pasture hexagon
Christmas Sheep
Muslims won't rise to positions of great power in the U.S. for quite a while, I should say. Not because I have anything against them, but a lot of Americans still can't differentiate between 'Islam' and 'Salafist Jihadism'.

I predict we have an atheistic president before we have a muslim.
Still Sheepin'
 14 USAF713, Fri, 26th Aug '11 8:48:42 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
Yeah, I underestimated the "disgust at 9/11 veiling the fact that they're 'heathen'" versus just "bastard heathens."
I am now known as Flyboy.
 15 Tzetze, Fri, 26th Aug '11 9:04:51 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
DUMB
I mentioned Africa

I don't see it?

and Indian christians are also quite the minority

Yeah, and especially the ancient traditions I'm thinking of, 're distinct, so I thought that warranted some mention.
 16 The Earth Sheep, Fri, 26th Aug '11 9:07:07 PM from a Pasture hexagon
Christmas Sheep
Post 9

The point of my post was why Christianity is seen as interchangeable with caucasian-ness. I wasn't trying to list every sect of Christianity that ever existed.
Still Sheepin'
 17 Jimmmyman 10, Fri, 26th Aug '11 9:14:26 PM from polan Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
cannot into space
I think Christianity seems white because the number one place with the most outspoken Christians, America, is also predominantly white. Places like the middle east are not known for Christianity, and while China has an incredibly large Christian culture, it is against the law for most of them to be Christians.
Go play Kentucky Route Zero. Now.
 18 Tzetze, Fri, 26th Aug '11 9:24:46 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
DUMB
No, I meant the Ethiopian Church, which is far older. Since it's also not white, I mentioned it.
I see, Rome played a big part.

The part that I was reading was this passage about Josiah Strong and his book, Our Country. He was part of the Social Gospel movement. He states that the white race is the the fit race and should evangelize and assimilate the "lesser" races. That's strange, because that sounds like desegregation, which was opposed to the customs of that time (it was during the Plessy v. Ferguson days).

I would also like to mention the KKK's constant proclamation of a white supremacist Protestant nation seems to be missing the point of what Protestant means.
Now using Trivialis handle.
 20 USAF713, Fri, 26th Aug '11 9:27:48 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
That's just racism via the White Man's Burden.

I don't really think he's representative of the majority of Christians...
I am now known as Flyboy.
Well I found it interesting that Strong advocated this "Anglo-Saxon assimilation" because the tradition back then was that the whites wanted blacks out. That seems to be to the contrary.

The White Man's Burden is more heroic and actually makes more sense than some others, since it implied that the Americans knew they had an advantage that they should use to help the poorer brethren. This contributed to international missions.

I think that's a legitimate use of statistics, how the whites were more advanced and had an evangelical duty to reach out. The KKK's claim isn't.

edited 26th Aug '11 9:51:03 PM by abstractematics

Now using Trivialis handle.
 22 USAF713, Fri, 26th Aug '11 9:49:45 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
Well, it's kind of nice on principle, but in practice, it just reeks of Unfortunate Implications, mostly in the part about white people being inherently better than black (or any other ethnicity of) people.

Instead of, you know, the fact that the Europeans (AKA white people) and Americans irrevocably fucked up Africa and did nearly as much damage to Asia. Not to mention that they did worse in the Americas to the indigenous populations...

So, yeah, the idea is flawed via circular logic. "The white man is superior to all others because their culture is 'worse', despite the fact that the white man is the one that ended up ruining their civilization and culture in the first place."
I am now known as Flyboy.
 23 Tzetze, Fri, 26th Aug '11 9:52:57 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
DUMB
Well I found it interesting that Strong advocated this "Anglo-Saxon assimilation" because the tradition back then was that the whites wanted blacks out

Are you kidding, assimilating foreigners was half the justification for imperialism.
What about segregation? Throughout American history, whites thought mixing themselves with blacks was a bad thing and harmful to their lineage.

edited 26th Aug '11 9:58:47 PM by abstractematics

Now using Trivialis handle.
 25 USAF713, Fri, 26th Aug '11 9:56:22 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
Well, yeah, I mean, this is different. That doesn't make it any better, though.
I am now known as Flyboy.
Total posts: 184
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